04 Apr Gardening Jobs for April
I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time in the garden as the weather warms up. But before I can relax, I have a list of gardening jobs for April. All of which can be done with social distancing in mind.
My 5 recommended gardening jobs for April
Clean patios and paths
Spring cleaning your patio will remind you just how beautiful those pavers really are
Patios tend to get a bit dull and tired looking over the winter time. It might be tempting to give them a blast with the pressure washer to brighten them up, but that can damage the stone and the grouting so please don’t do that if you can avoid it.
Brush first. Start your patio cleaning by sweeping the whole area with a nice stiff broom. You’ll be surprised at how much this improves the look of it. Choose a dry day and you’ll be able to remove most of the dirt this way.
Detergent. All the water that runs off your patio will eventually be soaking into the soil. Using bleach or other harsh chemicals could potentially upset the balance of microbes in the soil – in other words you’ll be killing good bacteria. Bleach can also damage the stone itself and that’s awfully difficult and expensive to repair. For most patios, a good old fashioned solution of washing up liquid and warm water is all you need to clean the surface. Mix up a bucketful, pour it on and use a broom to move it around and scrub the surface. When you think you’ve done the whole area, wash it off with clean water. Simple. If you can find a stockist who is working through the Coronavirus crisis, look out for Lithofin products. They’re excellent and environmentally friendly. Check out the Lithofin website here.
If you have moss and weeds growing between pavers, use a blunt knife to grub them out. Try not to disturb the mortar any more than you need to. At some point in the very near future, you will need to re-point your patio. However, this is a job for a professional and it can’t be done safely until the threat of coronavirus has passed.
Spruce up your decking
Wooden or composite decking can sometimes get a bit green and slippery after a wet winter. Cleaning your decking is much the same as for patios. Sweep first, avoid harsh chemicals. Use a mild detergent to scrub the deck and then rinse with clean water. Composite decking shouldn’t need any further treatment.
Once your natural wood deck has dried you’ll be able to assess whether or not it needs a coat of oil or preservative. Personally I tend to err on the side of caution and do it anyway. Find your preferred treatment and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.
Lawn care jobs for April
Lawn care is high priority in my list of gardening jobs for April. Your lawn is just waking up. And if, like me, you are isolating to avoid spreading Coronavirus, you’ll have plenty of time to get your lawn looking its very best in time for summer.
Scarifying: Normally I’d suggest you either go to a lawn care company or hire a mechanical scarifier from the tool hire shop. Neither of those are very practical at the moment. Instead, you can use a spring tine rake to pull some of the moss and debris from the bottom of the sward. This will help improve airflow around the plants, let rainwater get down to the roots and allow new young plants to fill in the gaps.
Aeration: Again, machinery hire is likely to be difficult so it’s going to be manual labour. Hollow tine aeration is the most efficient. You can order a great little tool online. It’s nowhere near as quick as the mechanical version but that’s OK. Aeration helps the roots to breathe and encourages them to grow deeper into the soil. It makes a huge difference to lawns where the soil is clay based, waterlogged or compacted.
Weed control: I absolutely hate the idea of throwing chemicals around the garden willy nilly. So I’m not a fan of using those lawn feed and weed products unless there are a lot of unwanted plants to deal with. Personally, I prefer to spot treat any rogue plants either with a dab of weedkiller or by digging them out.
Nurturing your lawn for fabulous results
Feed your lawn. Apply a good quality lawn feed. One with a spring-summer formulation that has a good balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These are the main nutrients that grass needs to stay strong, healthy and green. If you can’t get to the garden centre, Turfonline have an excellent fertiliser to buy online – there’s even a spreader for it if you need one.
Your mowing regime. Honestly, the best looking lawns are the ones where the grass is maintained at around 5cm high. Scalping your lawn is the very worst thing you could do to the plants. Mow little and often and if you like the idea of stripes, this video help you to achieve the perfect striped lawn.
Five steps to a perfect lawn
Mulching beds and borders
While the soil is damp, it’s well worth applying a nice thick layer of mulch to beds and borders. Woodchips are a popular mulching material, so is organic green compost. Mulch will help keep moisture in the soil and it will stop weed seeds from germinating. But why I really like mulch is that it supports the earthworms and soil microbes that keep soil healthy.
Some local garden centres are offering to deliver mulch and soils to their customers. You can order and pay online and have the goods delivered to your door. If you are able to support local businesses please do so it would be a shame to lose our garden centres.
I particularly like this bio-mulch. It’s produced locally and very quickly starts adding nutrients to the soil.
April is a little bit too early to plant out tender bedding plants but hardy perennials and shrubs are just as beautiful and in my opinion, they’re better value for money. Brighten up you borders and planters with some spring flowering plants and colourful foliage. Think too about your summer displays.
The whole family can get involved with planting. Here’s Oliver planting chives. He’s too young to realise it, but chives are a great companion plant for roses – they help keep aphids at bay.
It’s not possible to go to the garden centre to pick your own plants right not. However, until the Coronavirus restrictions pass, some local plant suppliers do have online ordering facilities and will deliver. A good one to investigate is Hedging Plants Direct from Colchester. I trust them to pick out the very best and healthiest plants for their customers. They also supply compost for mulching.
Planting plans to help get spectacular results
Not sure what to plant where? Talk to my colleagues at Tapestry Design Studios. Based on the measurements you send us and what you tell us about the soil type and the aspect in your garden, Katie can create a planting plan for you.
Planting plans can contain as much or as little information as you’d like. Perhaps you just want to know what plants will thrive in your borders – or maybe you need some idea as to how many plants to buy and where to place them. Discuss your needs with Katie or Paul and we will give you an honest price for your planting plan.