Jobs to do this April

Dahlias are easy to grow and they put on a great display later in the summer, as well as providing lots of flowers for cutting. The simplest way to grow them is to plant dormant tubers straight into the ground, using lots of compost or well-rotted manure.

If you’ve an evergreen plant in the wrong place, now’s a good time to move it. Once re-planted, give it a good watering to help it settle into its new position.

Stake tall growing plants like delphiniums while they’re still young. The plants will quickly cover the stake and very soon you’ll never know it’s there. For the most natural look, use plant spirals rather than bamboo canes.

Sow sweetcorn, marrows and pumpkins in pots indoors and they’ll be decent sized plants by the time you put them out in late May. For extra early tomatoes, pot on some plants, grow them inside, ready to put on a sunny patio after the last frosts.

Give your lawn a real boost by feeding it with a professional feed like Lawn Magic. The difference will be amazing. Within a few days, your lawn will turn a wonderful deep green and it will stay looking great for weeks.

For an even better display of daffodils next year, take off any dead flowers and seed pods, and feed them once a week with a high potash fertiliser, like Flower Power. It’s also important not to tie up or remove the leaves for the first six to eight weeks after flowering.

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Put your bedding plants outside on fine days but bring them in at night. This will help them harden up so they’ll get off to a much better start once you finally plant them outside when the last frosts have finished.

For masses of cheap summer colour, you can’t beat hardy annuals like Californian poppies, clarkia, pot marigolds and love-in-a-mist. Sow the seeds now in sunny borders and they’ll be a riot of colour from late June.

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The weeds are romping away in the warmer weather. Hoe the ground once a week on dry days to control annual weeds like chickweed and groundsel. Tougher perennial weeds like ground elder can be sprayed with my Double Action Weedkiller.

Plant container-grown trees, shrubs, climbers, fruit, roses and perennials. Getting them established now will help reduce how much watering they’ll need throughout the summer months.

Sow brassicas – broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages – in a seedbed outside to produce young plants for planting out to their cropping position in May/June. Or you can always buy young vegetable plants.

Check that seedlings or young plants in pots on windowsills do not become leggy or lopsided by turning them through 90° every day to make sure that they receive even light on all sides.

Lift and divide primroses and polyanthus once they’ve finished flowering, to produce new plants for next year. Replant in well-drained, humus-rich soil and water well until they’re established.

Prune spring-flowering shrubs, like forsythia and flowering currant, after they’ve finished flowering. Aim to completely remove one in three of the oldest flowering shoots and cut back some of the remaining shoots too.

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