April Gardening Advice

We hope that you enjoyed the Easter break and we think it’s safe to say we don’t want to see any more chocolate for a good while! Or maybe just for this week…
Now that the clocks have changed we are finally seeing lighter evenings meaning that we are definitely heading towards the Summer months. This means that you will now start to see the hard work your Winter gardening has achieved with the daffodils and blossoms coming out to welcome us more and more each day. The term ‘Spring clean’ is more prominent now than ever and so we thought it would be helpful to list some of the main jobs you can be doing in your gardens this month…

Evergreen

You can move and plant evergreen trees and shrubs early this month, providing the soil is not waterlogged. They are best moved or planted once actively growing and when there is less risk of cold weather. If you would like more information on evergreen hedging or for some advice on which evergreen hedging species is best for you, see our Evergreen Hedging section on our site. Use the handy filter tabs on the left hand side to find species with specific features such as flowers or hedging with berries. We recommend species such as Oleaster (Elaeagnus x ebbingei ‘Limelight’) , Cherry Laurel and Privet.

Deciduous 

In colder areas, you can also still plant container-grown deciduous hedging plants. Our most popular selling deciduous species include Beech, Blackthorn and HawthornStakes and rabbit guards should be put in place at the time of planting to prevent damage to the rootball and bark. Remember that watering and establishment may be problematic for large plants as the weather gets warmer and dryer, and you may be better delaying planting them until October.

Pruning and training 

Remove any frost damaged shoots from evergreens damaged by earlier cold weather. Remove any reverted green shoots on hardy variegated evergreens, to prevent reversion taking over.

Winter-stemmed shrubs such as Salix and Cornus can still be cut back at the beginning of the month. Prune back hard all the previous year’s growth to within 1-2cm (0.5-0.75in) of the framework.  Other shrubs that are routinely stooled (cut back hard) in spring, to keep their larger or more brightly coloured juvenile foliage, such as the smoke bush (Cotinus) and elders (Sambucus), can be cut back this month. You can leave a couple of branches un-pruned if you are reluctant to lose all the height gained last year.

Delay pruning spring-flowering shrubs such as Forsythia and Chaenomeles until after they have finished flowering, otherwise this year’s display will be lost. Lightly cut back lavenders to prevent them getting too leggy and woody. Treat Helichrysum (curry plant) and Santolina (cotton lavender) similarly.

Pest and disease watch 

Bracket fungus (left) on trees is more visible at this time of year. If the tree is in poor health it is worth calling in a tree surgeon for a professional opinion. Phytophthora root rots can cause die back on mature trees and shrubs. Wet winter weather and poorly drained soils are likely to encourage this problem on susceptible woody plants.

Check for damage or cankers on deciduous trees. Put rabbit guards around newly planted trees and shrubs to protect the bark.  Avoid planting new roses in areas where roses were previously growing otherwise the new plants may suffer from rose replant disease.

Inspect sick-looking box and holly trees for signs of blight. Be aware that insects emerge as temperatures rise. Caterpillars, aphids, and other fly pests may all become problematic during mild spells. Early infestations can often be managed by hand removal, making insecticides unnecessary.