This is the APRIL installment of Horticulture Week's month-by-month guide to essential maintenance and management tasks for parks, gardens and grounds maintenance staff.

Update pesticide records
Update sowing records
Prepare for extra mowing duties, organising seasonal workers or contractors if necessary

Control slugs and snails
Increase intensity of weed control

Trees, shrubs and hedges
Inspect for wind damage
Check ties and stakes and water newly planted trees and shrubs
Plant conifer and broadleaved evergreen hedges
Prune sambucus and cotinus
Prune early-flowering shrubs such as forsythia and chaenomeles

Beds and borders
Buy in bedding plugs
Stake tall-growing plants
Apply a chemical fertiliser if not already done
Finish dividing and replanting summer-flowering subjects
Plant dahlia tubers in south, wait until next month in the north
Keep winter bedding neat a little longer
Keep beds and borders tidy
Trim winter-flowering heathers
Cut back lavender
Continue taking basal-stem cuttings
Continue sowing hardy annuals outdoors
Sow annual grasses

Wall plants
Tie in new shoots and train climbing and rambling roses and clematis

Plant out summer flowerers
Divide nerines

Clean and prepare for summer displays

Greenhouses and conservatories
Check for panes loosened by gales
Damp down on the hotter days
Provide shade for young plants where necessary
Check regularly for vine weevil
Control aphids

Water features
Inspect regularly for algae bloom and treat accordingly

*Jobs should only be undertaken when ground and weather conditions are suitable and will vary according to location and may vary significantly from year to year. And remember that while the year nicely divides into 12 months, activities often overlap.

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