April in the Garden

by Jane & Wilson Grahame

  • Pull out weeds.
  • Deadhead tulips and daffodils, but leave stems and leaves to die down.  Leave flower heads of smaller bulbs such as squill and grape hyacinths to allow them to seed themselves.
  • Fertilize bulbs – they will flower well next year.
  • Plant all summer flowering bulbs by mid May, including dahlias and gladioli.
  • Divide primulas and polyanthus after they have flowered.
  • When camellias have finished blooming it is time to start feeding them using rhododendron and azalea fertilizer.
  • Fertilize rhododendrons before and after blooming.
  • Yellowing foliage on camellias and azaleas usually indicates lack of iron – fertilize with milorganite.
  • Make sure you have pruned your caryopteris (bluebeard), buddleia and lavatera. They bloom on new growth.
  • Remove suckers from tree peonies.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs, I.E. forsythia, philadelphus (mock orange), ribes (flowering currant) and weigela after flowering in late April and June. Cut back 1/3 of the oldest branches to the ground, leaving the new ones to produce new flowers next spring.  Good time to take cuttings!
  • Prune lavender and other grey leafed shrubs to prevent from looking straggily.
  • Prune away the dead wood on hardy fuchsias to just above developing buds.
  • Support tall perennials as they grow – have delphinium stakes and supports in place by mid May.  Use tomato cages turned upside down over peonies and delphiniums.  They will require very little tying up later.
  • Sow hardy annuals out doors this month, i.e. nasturtiums, scabiosa, nigella (love-in-a-mist), lavatera.
  • Remove about 1/3 of old soil from large containers and replace with fresh soil and a little slow release fertilizer.
  • Winter flowering heather can be sheared after blooming is over.
  • ROOT WEAVIL attacks rhododendrons, azaleas and clematis.  Telltale signs are notched edges on the leaves.  They are a hard backed, nocturnal beetle.  With the use of a flashlight they can be picked off plants at night.  Another remedy is to put planks around the base of the plants, the weevils will hide under them during the day, and you can gather them ‘on your time’. Or use ‘tanglefoot’.
  • Lawn care – aeration – lime – fertilize.  Mow regularly twice a week now and leave clippings on the lawn.  This returns nitrogen to the soil.
  • DON’T FORGET to water your new plantings.  April can be very dry.

Posted in Gardening Tips