April gardening tips
Plant and move evergreen shrubs, conifers and trees and remember to water them well until firmly rooted in. Plant evergreen hedges such as laurel, yew and box and again keep them well watered in dry spells. A good soak once a week is better than superficial watering on a regular basis.
Feed acid loving plants such as camellias and rhododendrons with ericaceous feed if you are on neutral or alkaline soil. A dose of sequestered iron also helps prevent the leaves turning yellow. (Tip - mulch regularly with fresh or composted pine needles. This can acidify the ground slightly.)
Finish pruning your roses and start spraying them with fungicide to ward against black spot and mildew. Repeat every fortnight until the autumn. Remember that if an infection sets in, all the stricken leaves must be burnt - do not leave them on the compost heap as this will become the perfect incubation site.
Prune hydrangeas - do not remove stems with a bud at the top, but snip off old stems bearing deadheads to just above the topmost healthy bud and remove weak shoots altogether from the base. With established plants, remove some of the older shoots right down to the base - this will keep the plant compact. The latter also applies to forsythia (prune once it has finished flowering by cutting back flowered shoots down to a new shoot further down - all the new growth this season will flower next year) and to flowering currants (Ribes).