It may not seem as if there is much to do in the yard and garden in April, but the things you can get to now will help you considerably once plants (and weeds) start popping up.
Some of these things will depend heavily on what planting zone you are in, so take that into consideration when planning.Our weather has been even more unpredictable than usual this year. Keep an eye on the temps! If you have plants beginning to bud because of recent warm weather and don’t want to lose those buds, cover the plant with paper or cloth (no plastic) during freezing overnight temperatures.
- Soil Check! – get a soil pH test done! This way you’ll have plenty of time to correct the soil if needed and be off to a great start this season. This is one of the most overlooked pieces of the garden puzzle and one of the most important for lawns and all plants. Faddegon’s does these for free. Bring about a tablespoon of dry soil in taken from the area you would like tested. At the very least, it’s best not to add lime unless you know you need it!
- Horticultural Oil – This comes at the top of the list because of the benefits. We like to promote the use of horticultural oil for fruiting and ornamental trees, and shrubs since it can negate the need for pesticides later in the season. Horticultural oils smother the eggs of pests if applied before the plant leafs out or buds.
- Apply when the temp is 40 degrees or above.
- Applying twice with a separation of a week or 10 days gives extra protection.
- Prune – Some trees and shrubs can be pruned now. Remove damaged or crossing branches taking no more than a third of the limb off. This will encourage a strong central leader for trees and a good shape for trees and shrubs. For pruning times, take a look at our chart.
- Rake – up leaves and debris from flower beds and lawns. This isn’t just a cosmetic fix, grass and young plant shoots need the air and light you’ll provide by doing this.
- Apply – Step one of your lawn program to prevent crabgrass and other weeds. If you are doing an organic method, this is also the time to put down corn gluten, before weeds emerge at all. A reminder that leaving your grass a bit taller than you might think normal, cuts down on lawn weeds taking hold over time.
- Weed – it’s never too early! Those little shoots will come up faster than you think in an attempt to take over. If you begin early, weeds are easy to pull when they’re small. Getting mulch down in bare spots will help as well.
- Prune Fruit & Berries – Yes! This is a good time to prune fruit trees and berry shrubs. Also a good time to plant them. They enjoy the longest season possible to establish their new roots.
- Amend – As soon as the soil can be worked top-dress flower beds with compost or aged manure. You won’t need to dig it into the soil unless you’re making a new bed, as it’s actually best to let the elements leech it in for you. In established beds, the soil likely has a structure best left undisturbed.
- Divide – This is a good time to divide and plant some perennials. Daylilies and irises take well to being replanted early. Hostas are another plant that grows quickly and does well when divided.
- Plant – Berry bushes and fruit trees can be planted as soon as the ground is workable. Cold weather veggies like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Onion sets can go into the ground now as well.
- Start – Seeds indoors for pumpkins, melons and squash. You can transfer them to the outdoor garden in Mid-May. This also doubles as a great indoor activities for kids!
- Transplant – Along with fall, this is a great time to transplant shrubs and perennials. Dig out as much of the root mass as possible and re-plant just as you would with a new plant.
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