In The Garden in April
At long last, spring has arrived! Are you wondering, “where do I even begin?” There’s so much to do in every corner of the yard this month that it’s difficult to know where to start.
Shrubs and Trees
There’s still time to plant trees and shrubs, however by the middle of April it will be a
bit late to transplant large trees or shrubs, so do them now. March, April and May are ideal for pruning evergreens. Remove all dead, diseased, and undesirable wood. Broadleaf and coniferous evergreens benefit from lightly spreading a high nitrogen fertilizer around their bases. Prune your forsythia after it finishes flowering.
Annuals, Perennials and Bulbs
April is the month for planting summer flowering bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas and lilies. Mix bulb fertilizer, processed manure and peat moss into the planting soil. Plant annual seeds of asters, cosmos, marigolds and zinnias.
Tuberous begonias and canna should not be set outdoors until all danger of frost has passed, so wait until next month. At that time you can also move your stored fuchsias and geraniums outdoors. Trim them back, feed and re-pot if necessary. Water them well.
When they have finished blooming, you should deadhead your spring flowering bulbs. Do not cut off the green foliage yet! These green leaves continue to grow for a few weeks, and provide the bulb with food for flowering next year.
Divide perennials like daylilies, delphiniums, iris, chrysanthemums, daisies,and phlox now to create additional plants.
Hybrid tea roses should be fertilized prior to buds beginning to bloom. Using a systemic fertilizer will help prevent insect infestation later in the summer, as it feeds your rose.
Plant new rosebushes before growth starts and buds swell.
Fruit and Vegetable Gardens
It’s time to plant perennial vegetables like asparagus, rhubarb, and horseradish as well as peas, carrots, beets, spinach, cauliflower, and cabbage. Late this month you can plant beans and corn. Plant warmer weather crops next month.
April Lawn Care
Apply a spring lawn fertilizer to perk up the lawn and improve its overall color and appearance. If moss is growing in the lawn, use spring lawn fertilizer that has moss-killer included so you can do both jobs in one easy application.
Thatch buildup can smother your lawn and provides an environment for diseases. Remove thatch with a brisk raking, or with a dethatching machine. Overseeding helps fill in the lawn and deters the regrowth of moss and weeds. Apply a light compost or soil over the seed to keep it moist and in place. Aerating the lawn will allow water to penetrate deeper into the soil and reduce the need to water during dry months. Using a garden fork, punch holes over the surface of your lawn.
Odds and Ends
Although we think of this as a rainy month, it can fool us. Keep transplanted flowers well watered during dry spells. Be sure to check container plants and those under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens to see that they are getting enough water.
Remember – whatever you do in the garden now cuts down on yard maintenance later this season!
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