Weather expert Dave King gives gardening tips for an icy spring
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April is a crucial time for the garden as spring flowers fade away and new growth replaces seasonal blooms. While there is plenty going on for gardeners across the UK, it is also a good time to tell where things are going wrong in your beds, pots and borders. Identifying the problem with your plants is the first step to solving the issue, and Express.co.uk spoke to the gardening experts to find out exactly how to do it.
Pests, disease and even the way you water your garden can have a huge impact on the growth of your plants, but how can you tackle the problem before your garden display is ruined for summer?
Disease, pests and mould
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Tom Hilton, director of indoor gardening specialists, National Greenhouse said: “Whether you’re growing plants indoors or outdoors, pests can find their way into and onto your garden plants, interrupting the growing process and spoiling nature’s beautiful creations.”
How to keep aphids and slugs away from your plants
Aphids are incredibly dangerous garden pests as they attack in colonies and are attracted to most plants.
While Tom recommended a good pesticide for spiders and other unwanted bugs, Gena Lorainne, an experienced gardener working for Fantastic Services believes that natural methods are more useful.
She said: “A natural way to deal with these pests is to either attract or purchase ladybugs.
“They are able to consume up to 5,000 aphids in their lifetime, making them incredibly efficient in the battle with aphids.”
For slugs and snails, a combination of crushed egg shells and garden fertiliser is best to keep these foliage-destroyers away.
Attracting wasps to your garden is another natural way to combat pests, such as caterpillars.
According to Gena, wasps eat caterpillars and other pests, making them beneficial for your garden – though you should be aware that they are attracted to fruit.
To avoid nuisance wasps ruining your peaceful time in the garden, place some sticky insect traps near the plants they are attracted to using jam and small jars.
How to combat disease and mould in your garden
Nutrients should be tailored to different plants in order to keep mould and disease at bay.
Tom said: “Make sure to do plenty of research on your plants, reviewing frequently to see if they’re getting the right type and amount of nutrients.
“For instance, in an indoor, hydroponic garden, you can make sure they have specialised ways of being fed nutrient solutions, such as an automated feeding system.”
Soil care is another crucial method to prevent unpleasant disease, so make sure you’ve analysed the soil first before just getting stuck into adding new plants to your garden.
Tidy up the beds, filter where you can, and top up with the right compost if you need to, to give your plants the best foundation and rooted areas.
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Watering and lawn care
Watering your plants in the warmer months can be quite tricky, as the weather can easily shift from hot and dry to summer thunderstorms.
In excessively hot summer days, it is essential that you regularly check the soil moisture and temperature with your fingers.
Gena said: “Water your plants early in the morning in order to avoid evaporation and move potted plants to a shady area or indoors if possible during summer thunderstorms.”
Lawn browning is another common issue faced by gardeners at this time of year, especially during very hot spring or summer weather.
A brown lawn is the biggest tell-tale sign of a scorched lawn, but you should avoid excessive watering in an attempt to revive it.
Gena added: “Grass is very durable and able to bring its pleasing green colour after the first rainfall.
“You can support your lawn by raising the height of the cut of your lawn mower which will delay the browning of the grass.”
Not all plants will flower every year, but if you notice certain varieties that should produce blooms looking a little empty, it’s time to do some pruning.
Many plants will stop flowering if being let running to seed, according to Gena.
To rescue troublesome growth, she recommended deadheading your plants regularly, which will keep them flowering in summer and early autumn.
Removing faded flowers will make your garden look nicer, and will prevent flowers from popping up where not desired.
One simple way to prevent and reduce weeds from overcrowding your garden is to leave them no space to grow.
Gena said: “Plant your beds more densely so the place is filled with your own plants. “Another thing to keep in mind is that weeds can grow back easily from tiny bits that break off of them, so make sure you remove as much as you can and add a thick layer of mulch around your plants.”
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