Spring is probably the busiest time of year for gardeners. As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, nature comes back to life and plants surge into growth. April/May is a pivotal period of preparation to ensure the best results year-round. With that mind, here are some essential spring tasks to help make the most of your garden.


Get Busy With Pruning

Spring pruning fosters lush blooms, verdant foliage, and vibrant stems. Lavender, buddleia, and ornamental grasses benefit from pruning during this season. Summer-blooming shrubs like fuchsia and buddleia should undergo rigorous pruning to stimulate fresh growth from the base. Additionally, trim any herbaceous plants left untouched since autumn, such as sea hollies and sedums.


Give Your Lawn A Trim – But Not Too Close!

When your lawn mower returns to action in spring, you should resist the temptation to scalp too closely – it’s better to apply a light trim than a buzz cut.

Set the blades high for the first few weeks to even out the grass. Then, as the weather gets warmer and the grass starts to grow more vigorously, gradually reduce the blade height but keep it slightly on the long side. Mowing this way will produce a greener and healthier lawn.


Give Your Soil Some Attention

Nurturing soil health in spring is paramount for a flourishing garden. Address compacted soil by removing stones and debris and aerating with a fork. Thoroughly rake the soil to achieve a fine, crumbly texture, and consider topdressing with compost as bulbs emerge. Spring is an ideal time to apply organic slow-release plant food around perennials and shrubs.


Get On Top Of Weeds

Combatting weeds early in spring saves a lot of hassle later in the year.  It’s better to avoid using chemicals and instead rely on manual removal. Pull up annual weeds by hand or fork before they seed and run a hoe over a bed or between rows to kill weed seedlings. Tools like weed knives prove invaluable for clearing weeds between paving slabs. In larger weed-infested areas, repeated strimming over several years can weaken or eradicate growth.

You can also apply a range of seed barriers including deep organic mulches (such as bark or wood chip) or weed-suppressant fabrics (such as plastics or woven material) laid over cleared soil to suppress the re-growth of old weeds.


Shield Against Frost

Although average temperatures rise in spring, the season is still prone to the odd frosty morning which can damage your plants.

Flowers and buds are especially vulnerable to frost and may need protection. If freezing temperatures are forecast,  cover up plants that have tender emerging buds or foliage.

You can purchase a professional row cover or save money by using old sheets and towels, but don’t use plastic sheeting: if plastic touches a newly emerging bud, it can intensify the effect of cold weather instead of reducing it.


Sow Vegetables And Hardy Annuals

April is the optimum time to sow your vegetable patch – as soon as your soil reaches 6ºC you can begin sowing directly outside. Spinach, leeks, carrots, lettuces, rocket, spring onions, and beetroots thrive when sown during this time. Prior to planting, ensure that the area is weed-free and well-fertilised. Additionally, April is a favourable month for sowing hardy annuals such as marigolds, and for planting perennials and bulbs that bloom in the summer, such as lilies and gladioli.

One piece of advice is a hardy perennial for any keen gardener: giving your garden some TLC in spring will make it healthier, more vibrant and easier to maintain throughout the year.