COLUMN: April will see leaves begin to unfurl

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The garden really comes alive in April and the number of tasks to be carried out is considerable. 
Making the best use of the lengthening days is a bonus and, providing the weather stays good, it can be a brilliant gardening month. In addition to dead-heading spring bulbs, now is the time to get planting and some seeds can be sown directly into the ground or into containers.

It’s also the time of year that you see the first leaves beginning to unfurl on early shrubs and trees such as Japanese maples. An ideal choice of tree for any small, compact or courtyard garden Japanese maples are great for creating a focal point in the garden and their natural shape and growing habit of branches make them perfect for growing in large patio pots.

Different leaf shapes, sizes and range of colours from deep greens to yellow, gold, purple or even variegated patterns gives gardeners a huge variety to choose from. Japanese maples are ‘plant of the moment’ in garden centres and nurseries around the UK which means you can add a little maple magic to your garden this month that will put on a show from early spring to late autumn.

Don’t forget to mulch any new planting with compost. In fact you should start mulching and feeding all plants from now on and throughout the summer. The weeds that have been dormant over the winter will now start bursting into life so now is a good time to take control – and the same applies to the lawn ... which will need some care and attention and repair of any bare patches.

Here’s what the experts suggest for April’s gardening ‘to do’ list including the following advice from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Spring is finally in evidence as daffodils and flowering trees start to bloom.

Expect the inevitable April showers this month but with sunny days too, when you can turn your attention to the lawn. It’s an exciting month, with indoor-sown seeds well into growth, and it’s also time to start sowing outdoors. Just watch out for frosts.

Alan Titchmarsh adds: “Your garden soil is likely to be in poor condition right now, after the wet winter has washed away many of its nutrients.

“So one of the very first jobs to do, now that the weather has warmed up, is to get the soil up to scratch – then it can nurture all your plants, just as they’re starting to grow.”