Rosie shares her gardening tips for April.
It’s a good idea to rake the lawn at this time of year in order to get rid of the thatch and moss that has built up over the winter. If you can beg or borrow someone’s scarifier it will make the job much easier. Towards the end of the month the lawn will need feeding. My husband used to use a product called “Weed and Feed” which is designed to do as it says on the box but if the conditions are not just right, it’s very easy to burn the lawn. It’s also not advisable to use it if there are pets or children around. He’s therefore started to use something called “After Cut” because the instructions are much simpler and we’ve found it to be very effective. It encourages growth and although it doesn’t contain any weed killer, if the lawn is cut on a regular basis, it does help to combat weeds.
It is good to aerate the lawn at this time of year too, before the ground becomes too dry and hard. My husband has some aerators that he straps to the bottom of his shoes or boots and walks around the garden with his iPod in his ears. You can do this job with the garden fork or with an aerating implement but these are not as enjoyable, apparently!! I don’t have much to do with the lawn as you can probably tell, but now and again I scour the lawn for weeds such as dandelions and spray them with a biodegradable weed killer which is designed especially for lawns.
It is very important to use LAWN weed killer or you will find that you’ve killed patches of your grass as well.
Someone once said of me, in my hearing I might add and in a rather disparaging way, “She picks out every single weed!” I do feel passionate about weeding and yes, I do pick out every single weed for a very good reason! Most weeds spread by setting seed and every single weed plant contains a couple of hundred seeds each. So, it stands to reason that if we can get those few weeds out of the ground before they flower and produce seeds, we’re saving ourselves a huge amount of work. Once the seeds are in the ground they can stay there for up to 7 years . But please don’t despair, because if we start tackling them this year and really do battle with them regularly this season, we will find that next year we could have reduced the number of weeds in our garden by 50%!
Planting and Pruning
As soon as shrubs like forsythia and quince have finished flowering, they can be pruned. You can start planting hardy herbs and herbaceous plants, splitting established clumps you already have in your border and replanting them in another spot. It is the best time of year for planting or moving evergreens. It is a good idea to get ahead with your hanging baskets early (using a slow release fertiliser), if you have somewhere to shelter them until all danger of frost is gone. The longer they have to fill out, the better they will look when they go outside.