Gardening Tips for April

Your lawn can now be given its spring feed. Lawn sand will give a general feed to the lawn and a granular Weed & Feed’ or ‘Weed, Feed and Mosskiller’ will do just that. First of all, just lightly trim your lawn with the lawn mower setting on high and then apply the granular feed with a lawn spreader. Care must be taken, especially with the lawn weed, feed and moss killer, to apply the recommended amount, as an overdose will burn your lawn.

Any rose bushes in the garden can now be pruned back. A good rule of thumb is to cut them back so that there are three buds showing on the stem. A feed can also be given, to help it during the growing season. Adding an organic mulch will increase water retention and promote growth.

For those gardeners with a vegetable plot, now is an excellent time to dig over the soil, remove any clay or hard areas of soil ready for the planting of your vegetables. Chicken manure is an excellent organic feed and very easy to apply. Normally sold in a pellet form and around £5 for a 6.75kg tub.

The ‘Green House’ can be washed down with a disinfectant, such as ‘Jeyes Fluid’, ready for any tomato plants and any young bedding that you might have.

Sharpen the lawnmower and give the lawn its first mow. Avoid always cutting the lawn in the same direction, as this will weaken the grass. Any holes in the lawn can now be filled with a fine soil or compost and then sown with a suitable grass seed. Remember to buy either fine or course seed, depending on your lawn type

Remove any weeds in the garden. This will stop them from germinating and cut down on weeding later on.

Outdoor Plants for April

Juniperus Communis ‘Repanda’

Juniperus Communis ‘Repanda’ Founded in Ireland, in the 30’s, by Maurice Prichard this variety is one of the best of the ground cover Junipers around. It’s dwarf habitat makes an effective carpet using it’s semi-prostrate leaves to create a thick matting effect. The loosely formed dull green leaves can become bronzed tinged in the winter thus creating an effective weed control and contrast in any garden. It’s eventual height is around 1.5 meters in diameter with a spread around 3 to 4 meters.

Junipers are fully hardy especially to winter frost, and grows with ease in any well drained soil. It thrives in a good sunny position but will tolerate a slight shady position in the garden. Little pruning is needed, however it is always best to prune out from underneath of the plant therefore creating a thinning out of the plant. Propagation can be rather slow as some seeds can take up to 5 yrs to germinate when planted in pots. The easiest method would be root ripewood cutting in September. The plants can be prone to twig blight, honey fungus and scale insects but once the symptoms are noticed, it can normally be cured.

Magnolia

The Magnolia Soulangiana is a variety that truly stands out during this time of year. It is probably the best and most popular of all the magnolias due to its acceptance of most positions and soil conditions. The variety was named after Monsieur Soulange-Bodmin who raised this variety in France during the early 19th Century.

The plant is usually seen spouting large wide spreading stems bearing tulip shaped flowers before the leaves during the end of April and early May. There are many varieties but the ones that stand out are ‘Alexandrina’ that bares large erect free flowering white flowers with a purple flush at its base. ‘Lennei’ has enormous goblet shaped flowers that have thick fleshy rose purple petals on the outside and a creamy white colour on the inside. This variety can sometimes flower again in the autumn depending on the climate. It was originated in Italy in the 1850’s and can become a main feature in any garden.

The plant is fully hardy but the flowers can become damaged by a sharp frost. Diseases can vary from Honey fungus to coral spot to scale insects but with normal garden care & maintenance one should have no problems.

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