Jobs to do in the garden in April

Take a look at these jobs to do in the garden in April to help you on your way to a spring-happy outdoor space

April sees the arrival of warmer weather so it's time to head out into the garden to start sprucing things up.

As Brits gear up for the first of their spring projects in the garden, their lawns, beds and borders will likely be in a state of recovery following the recent spate of intense cold weather. Waterlogging, loss of soil nutrients and perished plants are just a few of the damaging side effects from the ‘Beast from the East’, which swept across the UK recently with heavy snowfall and penetrating frosts, according to Wyevale Garden Centres.

Want to get ahead of your gardening? READ: Jobs to do in the garden in May: repotting, pruning and planting

Plant summer-flowering bulbs

summer flowering white bulbs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Michelle Garrett)

Make sure your summer-flowering bulbs are in the ground, if not done already. Prepare the soil first, to ensure that drainage is sufficient to prevent the bulbs rotting. Anemone coronaria tubers, for instance, need particularly well-drained soils. Check that the plants you buy have strong shoots and plant them into well-prepared soil.

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Similar plants, Wyevale Garden Centre (opens in new tab)

Get pruning

black pruner with pink flower stem

(Image credit: TBC)

Prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs after flowering, before full leaf growth and while you can see their shape more clearly. When pruning perennials some plants will benefit from having their flowering shoots thinned out. Although this results in fewer blooms, but they will be larger and of much better quality. Plus, B&Q have 20% off all plants from today until Monday 2nd April.

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Similar garden tools, B&Q (opens in new tab)

Hang a basket of beautiful blooms

hanging basket pink flower plant

(Image credit: TBC)

Plant up hanging baskets. Single species (like the fuschia seen here), or foliage-rich baskets – a bountiful mixture of fern varieties is particularly striking – are ideal for spring. To sharpen the look, add in white violas and cyclamen. Stand the container in a bucket for support and fill to two-thirds with John Innes No 3. Pack the plants together, water and leave to settle for a couple of days before hanging.

Make your water feature a focal point

bricked house garden area with colourful flower plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

Clear and maintain water features, and plant pond (oxygenating plants that live beneath the water) and marginal water plants (which provide food and habitat for animal and insect life, as well as providing colour and form to your pond or lake edge). Feed large aquatic plants by inserting slow-release fertiliser tablets well below soil level around the base of the plant.

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Similar water plants, Waterlily (opens in new tab)

Think about annuals and perennials

summer yellow orange flower plants in garden area

(Image credit: Amateur Gardening)

It is too late to plant bare-root shrubs and trees but April is the month to start planting annuals (try laceflowers and cosmos) and hardy perennials such as coreopsis (pictured) and agastache.

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But now: Similar plants,
Hayloft plants (opens in new tab)

Unwrap tree ferns

bricked house with unwrap tree ferns

(Image credit: TBC)

Unwrap exotic plants from their protective horticultural fleeces. If you've been protecting your tree fern or exotic plants from the frosty weather, now is the perfect time to unwrap them. You may notice on some of the crowns, newly emerging fronds are revealed, curled up tight waiting to unfurl. Tree ferns thrive in a sheltered, humid and shaded position, with plenty of room so that the top of the plant can spread without crowding.

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Similar plants, Wyevale Garden Centre (opens in new tab)

Bring out the bird feeder

hanging blue textured bird feeder

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Birds will still appreciate you putting seed out for them to eat, and you should also start growing a good selection of bee-friendly flowers and shrubs; include annuals such as cosmos and sweet violets, perennials such as asters and campanula, and flowering shrubs such as Mahonia japonica and rosemary.

Related: Check out these top tips for creating a wildlife friendly garden

Sow a wildflower meadow

garden grassy area with hammock and table

(Image credit: TBC)

We would encourage you to have an organic lawn, or even an area of grassy land that is more like a meadow, rather than a cricket-pitch-perfect mono culture (the latter requires regular and considerable watering, feeding and weed control, as well as mowing to keep it in perfect condition). You can convert your non-organic lawn quickly and simply by taking your foot off the pedal and letting nature have more free rein; you can still mow but not as frequently, and leave the clippings to decompose, thereby feeding the ground with natural nitrogen; a spray of liquid seaweed will help make your grass grow richly green.

Veg out

vegetable plant stand with clay pots and garden fork

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Young vegetable plants and seedlings are now well on their way but should still be kept under cover. Plant out tomatoes under cover and outside, get your garlic, onion, shallots and potatoes into the ground. While you should keep an eye on the weather forecast for sudden overnight frosts, most vegetable seed can be sown straight into the ground now. As the young plants grow, keep them safe from violent rainfall and strong winds, and harvest as crops become ready, to avoid a glut.

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Garlic bulbs, Dobbies (opens in new tab)

Start pulling up unsightly weeds

gardening tools with flower plant

(Image credit: TBC)

Keep on top of the weeding, hoeing once a week if possible, and keep mulching thinly but evenly. All weeds can be controlled without weedkillers, but persistent or deep rooted weeds may be very difficult to eradicate. Hoeing, hand-pulling, repeated cutting and flame guns are just some of the many methods used to remove weeds.

It is a good idea to put weed barriers in place in late winter, as they work better as a preventative measure. Use deep organic mulches such as bark or wood chip to smother weeds around plants. Keep it topped up to ensure its effectiveness. Garden edging boards can be used to prevent unwanted invasive rooted grasses such as couch grass from entering the border.

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Woodchip Mulch, £80, B&Q (opens in new tab)

With this months jobs done take a few moments to sit in the sun, listen to the new birds song and enjoy your spring planting. Make a note of any gaps in your planting to order any bulbs in the autumn for next year.

Jennifer Ebert