The Gardening Year Apr 2020

What to do now - April

Pruning power

Throughout April, many different types of shrub in the garden can be pruned to either control their size or to encourage new growth later in the year.

The secret to successful pruning is to always use sharp secateurs. A clean cut will heal over very quickly in comparison to a jagged wound which can allow fungal diseases into the plant. Our Garden Tool Sharpener can be used to sharpen the blades of any garden tool including pruners, hedge shears, grass shears and loppers.

Anvil or bypass?

Choose from anvil or bypass pruners depending on whether you are cutting new stems or tougher, woodier growth.

Anvil blades help to reduce the strain on the wrist when cutting older, thicker stems. The blade closes against a softer metal on the lower jaw which provides the extra power required and avoids unnecessary stress on the hand. This does not produce such a clean cut as bypass secateurs, but this is not so important on older growth.

Bypass blades work on a scissor-like cutting action with one blade ‘bypassing’ the other. They are best used on younger growth as they provide a very clean cut, essential for maintaining a healthy plant or shrub.

 

Shrubs to prune over the next couple of months:

  • Roses – remove old stems completely and cut back younger growth to an outward facing bud
  • Buddleja (butterfly bush) – cut all of last year’s growth back to the old framework of branches and the new shoots that grow will flower in late summer
  • Cornus (dogwoods) – grown for their colourful stems, cut all growth down to ground level to encourage strong new shoots
  • Evergreen shrubs grown for their foliage – lightly prune to shape, maintain their size and encourage new shoots

 

Quick tips:

  • Rake up the winter debris from your lawn and start to mow it regularly, starting on a high blade setting and lowering it gradually throughout the season
  • Earth up your potatoes to protect them from light and frost
  • Keep a close eye on slugs and snails and take the necessary measures to control them
  • Begin planting hanging baskets to introduce bursts of colour in more areas around your garden

 

Products to use this month: