Garden tasks for April 2016

red-rose-hips_FTrim back summer perennials when flowering has finished. These can be dug up, divided and replanted, or just wait for them to sprout back again in spring.

If you want red or orange hips for winter colour, now’s the time to stop deadheading your roses.

New season’s roses will begin arriving in late May – prepare your planned planting area with compost.

Prune back any flowering shrubs, such as hebe and hydrangeas, that have finished flowering.

This is your last chance to get spring bulbs, such as daffodils, freesias, crocus, lachenalia and hyacinths planted.

Autumn is the best time to plant new trees and shrubs so they can become established over the cold, wet winter months – add general fertiliser at planting time.

It’s the perfect time to remove spent summer flowering annuals and to plant your favourite winter flowers.

Plant out primulas, polyanthus, snapdragon, cinerarias, nemesias, violas, calendula, stock, hollyhocks and Iceland poppies.

Sow seeds of aquilegia, calendula, viola, statice, cornflower, alyssum, godetia, linaria, dianthus, lobelia, lupin, snapdragon, English and Livingstone daisy.

Fruit and vegetable garden

Harvest the last of your late summer veggies — pumpkins, marrows, potatoes and onions — store in a cool, dry place.

It you’ve got a sheltered, frost-free spot plant another crop of potatoes — a potato planter will allow you to grow them in a warm area of your garden or patio.

If you’ve planted leeks for winter eating, pile up soil around the stems to provide support and keep the stem white.

Sow seeds of beetroot, broccoli, broad beans, turnips, Swedes, cabbage, carrots, spinach, radish and onions.

Plant out your seedlings of broccoli, spinach, silverbeet, lettuce, celery, leeks and cauliflower.

Overcrowded rhubarb crowns will need to be dug up, divided and replanted into compost-enriched soil.

Feed all citrus with citrus tree fertiliser to promote strong, healthy autumn growth — apply to dripline and water in well afterwards.

Once leaves on stone and pip fruit have began to drop, prune and seal cuts with pruning paste. Collect and dispose of all leaves into your compost bin.

Lawns

April is the best time for sowing a new lawn or repairing your existing one. Mix Saturaid with your lawn seed and spread over the area – this will improve water penetration through the soil and reduce dry patches.

Mow lawns more regularly — as rain becomes more frequent, feed with lawn fertiliser.

Second thoughts

Hyacinth bulbs look great planted in pots or special hyacinth jars, but leave then outside during their growing period (they will become soft and leggy if kept inside). When bulbs begin to flower in spring bring them inside so you can enjoy their colour and perfume in the house.