What to do in the garden in April

 

Summer is just around the corner. Gardening in April

It’s been a long, hard winter and spring is popping out all over. Be careful though; April may feel like a little piece of heaven on earth, but we haven’t completely turned the final bend into the warm days of spring. 

Here are a few garden tasks you can accomplish between April showers.

  • Prune flowering shrubs like lilac, forsythia and viburnum immediately after blooming. 
  • Prune roses before bud break, if you haven’t already.
  • Remove mulch gradually so the sun can heat the soil, but keep it nearby in case of a sudden freeze. 
  • Dig and divide hosta, as well as daylilies and other summer-blooming perennials.
  • Continue to bring in branches to force. Try mock orange, spirea, magnolia, mountain laurel or beautybush.
  • Depending on your climate, it may be time to plant potatoes, radishes, carrots and Swiss chard. 
  • Feed your lawn a high quality lawn fertilizer soon after new growth appears.
  • Clip spent flower stems from tulips, daffodils and other spring-blooming bulbs, but leave the foliage in place until it dies down and turns yellow.
  • Plant a few early bloomers like primroses, sweet peas, snapdragons and pansies.

Garden tasks to do in April

  • Dig in cover crops if you haven’t already. Don’t allow the plants to go to seed.
  • Direct-sow frost hardy, cool weather veggies like broccoli, beets, arugula, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, leeks, kale and onions.  
  • Test your soil if you haven’t had it tested for three to five years. Testing is especially important in areas that aren’t performing well.
  • Check garden hoses and replace them if they’ve outlived their usefulness. Replace worn out washers and repair leaky connections.
  • Apply pre-emergent crabgrass killer if the pesky weed is a problem in your lawn.
  • Rake winter debris from lawns and flower beds.
  • Get a head start on weeds in your flower beds by covering them with a thick layer of newspaper, then hide the paper with a layer of mulch. Newspaper will keep weeds in check for at least a year.
  • Plant bare root roses. 

Gardening chores to do in April

  • Start tomato seeds indoors about six weeks before the last average frost date in your area.
  • Start checking your perennials for aphids. Blast the pests with a strong stream of water or treat them with insecticidal soap.
  • Check yourself and your pets for ticks regularly. Use a permethrin-based repellent if the pests are a problem in your area.
  • Empty standing water hiding in old tires and other forgotten water containers. Eliminate as many mosquito breeding areas as possible.
  • April is a good time to apply a slow-release fertilizer to perennials bed.
  • Pinch back houseplants if they’re looking tired and leggy.