April

In the garden:

Feed trees and shrubs with a slow-release fertiliser.

Now’s the time to lift and divide clumps of perennials. Lift gently using a fork, working from the centre out. Some plants can be divided by hand, others will require two forks as levers or even a knife. Consult a good garden guide for the technique for each plant.

Bulbs for summer-flowering plants like gladiolus, ranunculus and lilies can be planted out in beds or pots.

If daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs are still active, remove dead flower heads to keep them blooming. Leave flowers on any bulbs you would like to naturalise into their setting.

Cut back any dead foliage on your shrubs and perennials.

Sow hardy annuals in beds. Some favourite hardy annuals include, calendula, California poppies, Nigella and poached egg plant.

Fruit and veg:

Build cane supports for your peas and beans. The two commonest arrangements are rows or wigwams. For rows, plant two lines of plants about a foot apart with canes sloping up to be fixed to a central horizontal cane. Wigwams need a wide circle of plants with the canes sloping up to a central point where they can be tied together or fixed into a cane ring. In fact, you can explore a large range of structures from arches to allowing your plants to climb up netting on a wall or fence. Peas and beans both have very attractive flowers and make a nice decorative feature in the garden.

It’s time to plant vegetable seeds like parsnips, radishes, cabbages and many more outside. Follow the instructions on the packet for each species and variety.

Peach leaf curl affects peaches, nectarines and almonds, twisting and colouring leaves and causing them to drop. You can spray the leaves with Bordeaux mixture, but only this year. Bordeaux mixture is being withdrawn and stocks should be used or disposed of by 30th November 2015.

Feed citrus trees with a specialist feed.

Feed your raspberries with Growmore or another all-purpose fertiliser.

Other jobs:

You can plant hanging baskets inside the greenhouse to give the plants chance to get established before you hang them out for a big summer display. Use good quality compost and take care of feeding and watering needs from the start.

On sweet pea and fuchsia plants, pinch out the soft growing tips at the top of the plant. Use scissors or your fingernails and be gentle. This will encourage side shoots to grow and produce bushy plants with lots of flowers. You can repeat the process after side shoots under the pinched out shoot have developed a couple of leaves.

Get some high nitrogen feed onto your lawn. Apply in moist conditions or when rain is forecast.

If you’re planting a new lawn, or want to seed bare patches in your current lawn, April is a good time to sow seed.

Houseplants should now be given more water as they start to flourish after the winter.