April In The Garden
Featured in the May 2008 handbook.
Give lawns a rake over
Months of wet weather will have caused moss to become a problem in many lawns. Thick moss quickly smothers out grass, so action is needed this spring to remove it, boost grass growth and improve surface drainage across the lawn. Chemical moss killers can be used to destroy existing moss, but this will still need to be raked out. Far better to use a powered lawn rake to scarify the lawn, raking out moss and debris. These can be hired for a weekend if you don't own one. Afterwards, fork over the whole area to improve surface drainage. Later, in April or early May, apply fertiliser and check regularly for weeds, digging out any that you find.
Start spot treating lawns to get rid of any perennial weeds or moss. Hoe during dry weather to prevent weed seedlings establishing. Restore soil nutrients Months of rain through autumn and winter will have washed away a large proportion of the soluble nutrients in your soil. As soon as trees, shrubs, roses and hedges surge into new growth their roots will be searching for food, and this is an ideal time to provide it. Sprinkle a general fertiliser, such as blood fish and bone, pelleted poultry manure or something similar, over the soil between established plants. Where possible, hoe into the soil's surface.
Slugs and snails
Watch out for slugs and snails. Trap them under tiles or grapefruit skins and dispose of them daily. Sprinkling a layer of sand, grit or crushed eggshells around plants may help. Alternatively, sparingly scatter slug pellets around plants most at risk. Never leave pellets in piles.