April means a little bit of winter and a little bit of summer! And that is why we should not go too far with work in the garden, in particular, as to uncovering plants protected for winter. Depending on the region of Poland, the April frosts and even heavy snowfalls are still possible. However, on the other hand, April (Polish: kwiecień) owes its name to flowering, therefore let us rejoice in spring and go to the gardens!
What shall we do exactly in the cultivated garden to enjoy soon its charm and fruits?
April is the last moment for spring pruning of trees and bushes. Although most of these treatments should be done in March before the buds are set, however, the beginning of April will be favourable to frost-sensitive species, such as apricot, plum, peach, nectarine. If there are no fruit trees in your garden yet, you can still plant them in April. At present, their richest offer can be just found in garden shops and centres. However, remember, when deciding on specimens with so-called uncovered root, i.e. being dug from the ground, to choose leafless ones. After planting such a tree should be pruned, even a little bit more than the plants planted in autumn.
Still on the fruity subject, the vine cutting cannot be overlooked. We should not forget that in case of these climbers only one-year shoots sprouted from lignified two-year shoots fructify. Delaying the treatment makes no sense at all because this may have an impact on crops.
In April you can also think about grafting trees, i.e. simply put – combining the graft of a fine variety which usually richly fructifies with the root stock which guarantees health.
Plant protection and preventive treatments
Before we move to the details, firstly, it must be made clear that prevention is better than cure. This means that preventive sprayings are more favourable for the plants, environment and us. Anticipating multiplication of diseases or pests we limit later additional interventions and applications of higher amounts of plant protection products. We should not wait for the first symptoms but prevent them! At the same time, we should remember to keep basic safety principles. First, we should use professional and certified sprayers dedicated to gardening. Second, we should never increase doses of plant protection products against the manufacturer’s recommendations specified on the package. Third, we should pay attention to the weather because sprayings must be made only on a windless, dry but not sunny day.
The first days of April, i.e. the state when there are no leaves on trees and bushes, this is a perfect moment for plant protection treatments, in particular, fruit trees and bushes. The precise deadlines for sprayings depend on the individual development phases of particular species and the weather. However, we should remember that we say here about the first treatments. The next ones are performed at the phases of leaf development, before flower bud opening, at the time of blooming etc.
What will the treatments performed at this time protect our plants against? These are the most popular diseases affecting fruit trees:
- Apple scab – at the phase when first leaves are getting out from end buds
- Apple mildew
- Apple blossom weevil and pear blossom weevil
- Plum leaf blotch
- Peach leaf curl
- Pocket plum
- Red spider and soft scale
The beginning of April is the last moment to make a decision on the preparation of own seedlings. Why? Because later the weather conditions outside will be more favourable. What vegetables should be treated gently at the stage of germination? First, thermophilic, second, such ones which grow slower, third, these ones what crops we care most about. Those will include tomatoes, pepper, courgette, lettuce, cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower.
- To use the dedicated soil when preparing seedlings;
- If possible, to use organic materials – peat pots, egg shells, ice cream wafers;
- To ensure seedlings a clear and wet place;
- Not to water but spray seedlings regularly. Why? Because excessive watering or strong jets of water simply wash out seeds or expose them to rotten. For this purpose select smaller, hand sprayers with a low water spraying pressure. You will see that your seedlings will be grateful for such gentle treatment.
- Do not forget about pricking in! The young plants can be planted out already to the final containers after three weeks.
The seeds of red beet and medium-late varieties of carrot and parsley, leek, spinach, sorrel or broad bean can be sown directly in the ground, in particular, in warmer pats of the country.