There’s always something to do in one’s garden, and April is no exception to this. It’s already the middle of spring and summer is about to arrive. So, what should you be prioritizing at this time of the year? Check out our comprehensive guide about gardening tasks and projects for April.
Early in April, you should consider transplanting any shrubs and trees. Doing this later in the month isn’t recommended. The process isn’t that easy, but it’s worth noting if you’ve invested quite some time on your favorite shrubs and trees. Likewise, it’s likely that some of your indoor plants have grown at a point where they require a bigger area.
Transplanting seedlings isn’t difficult, but relocating trees and fully grown shrubs is another thing. You must have pruned them a season before transplanting. Afterward, you need to carefully dig up the plants. Shrubs that haven’t reached four feet in height and trees with a diameter no bigger than one inch can be dug up without their respective root balls. Otherwise, you’d need to include the root ball.
Remember to pick a location that offers the right amount of sunlight for the shrub or tree. Likewise, the soil must be suitable for them. You can verify this by conducting a soil test and applying the necessary adjustments. Lastly, consider replacing a shrub or tree instead of transplanting it if it has been exposed to pests or diseases.
Read more: How To Transplant Grass Without Much Effort
Apart from March and May, April is a great time to prune evergreens such as the eastern hemlock and the blue spruce. As for pruning the Forsythia shrub, do this only after its flowers have blossomed. Do remember that pruning should be done for a specific reason — and this rings true for conifers such as junipers, redwoods, yews, and hemlocks.
Conifers do benefit from pruning. However, you must remember that regrow new parts as fast as other shrubs and trees. One valid reason is if you want to maintain their form. Homeowners like the triangular form of conifers, but a single leader branch can grow faster than expected and change the appearance.
In addition, the growth of another terminal leader or two can ruin the visual appeal. Worse, these extra leader branches are likely to get broken down during storms. Of course, health is a good reason for pruning conifers. Any rotten or damaged branches must be removed as quickly as possible. Branches that cross against other branches could make them more susceptible to diseases.
Once the daffodil blossoms have begun to wilt, deadhead the flowering plants. However, let the leaves remain for at least six weeks and become discolored before removing them. This period will stimulate the daffodils to bring all of their nutrients to the bulbs, which eventually leads to vibrant flowers in the coming year. Meanwhile, roses should be pruned and given a light application of fertilizer in April.
April is a great time to have various perennials in your garden. Transplanting bare root perennials in April ensures that your garden will have vibrant flowers in the summer season. Just visit your local garden nursery or check online for bare root perennials. These plants are likely a year old and have had any soil removed from their roots.
A bare root perennial you can transplant is the daylily. Some varieties of daylilies have flowers that bloom in the morning and wither at night, but there are also those with flowers that bloom at night. Daylilies come in different colors such as yellow, red, and pink. Moreover, these flowering plants can thrive in various climates.
There’s also the Astilbe perennial flower to plant in April. This looks wonderful throughout the spring and summer seasons. You can pick among many cultivars including the pink-flowered Venus cultivar and the crimson-flowered Fanal cultivar. Choose the Irrlicht cultivar if you want dark green leaves and white blossoms.
Astilbes should be ideally grown where there is partial sunlight — full sunlight would quickly damage them. Use well-draining soil that is rich in organic materials. Sowing the seeds is possible, but germination isn’t easy. Thus, we recommend getting cuttings from fully grown astilbes. Each plant must be at least one foot apart.
If you will transplant an astilbe, dig a hole that is double the overall size of the perennial. The roots must point downwards and they must be at a depth of six inches from the soil surface — even the crown should be an inch underneath the ground. Fill the hole with enough soil and press it down.
Apart from perennials, you can have some lovely annuals in April. Specifically, we recommend growing sunflowers and cosmos flowers in your garden.
The most popular annual is the drought-tolerant sunflower plant. These flowers will thrive if they receive full sunlight. Sunflowers aren’t that picky about the soil if it’s well-draining. They will thrive as long as the pH level of your soil ranges from 6.0 to 7.5. You can even grow a new batch of seeds every couple of weeks to ensure constant blooms.
Sow each sunflower seed six inches apart from each other at a depth of two inches, especially if you have sandy soil. Cover the seeds with soil and water them frequently until they sprout after a week or so. Once you the second batch of leaves appear, you must thin the sunflower plants and keep them two feet away from each other. Expect the plants to reach maturity in about three months.
However, please avoid growing sunflowers near pole beans and potato plants. These crops could have stunted growth once exposed to the substances released by the seeds, foliage, and stems of sunflower plants. Similarly, grass shouldn’t be close to them if birds usually visit the flowering plants to feed on their seeds. After all, empty shells of sunflower seeds can severely affect the grass. Thankfully, the released substances aren’t harmful to people and to your pets.
These annuals are quite simple to take care of. Cosmos are characterized by their long and thin stems and their bright flowers ranging from pink and orange to yellow and maroon. These flowers will keep blooming for months and they will easily attract birds and butterflies. Furthermore, you can grow cosmos in garden beds or in containers.
Growing the seeds indoors is fine if you do it a month before the last spring frost, but it’s arguably better to saw the seeds directly in your garden. This is due to how fast the seeds will grow even when compared to those you grew indoors. Just scatter the seeds around and each cosmos plant will support one another. You can also buy seedlings if you don’t want to start with cosmos seeds.
Just like sunflowers, cosmos have a great tolerance to drought and are best grown where there is full sunlight. This is a low-maintenance flowering plant that will survive even if the well-draining soil isn’t fertile — too much organic matter is actually bad for cosmos. For optimal growth, the soil pH must be between 6.0 and 6.8. Expect cosmos flowers to bloom in less than two months.
Apart from trees, shrubs, and flowering plants, you should also pay attention to your fruits and vegetables. For one, it’s time to cultivate the soil between your garden rows. Using a spade or fork to dig into the soil and loosen it up will help improve the air circulation. Likewise, cultivating the soil helps to impede the proliferation of weeds.
Strawberries are grown in free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. You can amend your garden soil with an application of well-rotted manure or compost. Furthermore, strawberries can grow whether they get full or partial sunlight. Each plant should be 18 inches apart with each garden row having a 30-feet distance between each other.
If you don’t have enough space, you can grow strawberries in hanging containers. Apart from improving the visual appeal of your garden, growing the fruits in the baskets will prevent slugs and snails from damaging them. On the other hand, strawberry runners should have their roots spread well and their crowns must be located right on the soil surface. Don’t let the crown go any higher since the strawberries could wilt.
You should also grow some melons in April. Sow the melon seeds in the middle or at the end of April. They must be half an inch below the soil surface and the container must be placed near a window that gets enough sunlight. These fruit-bearing plants can be transplanted once they have at least four leaves and the late spring frost is over.
The outdoor area should be free of any weeds and an application of fertilizer before planting them is recommended. Water the soil adequately and cover the area with some transparent polythene to increase the soil temperature before the melons are planted. Also, they should be grown deep in well-draining and fertile soil.
Some of the perennial crops to grow include asparagus and horseradish. Asparagus is best grown in a weed-free and grass-free garden bed since it cannot tolerate competition well. Every asparagus crown should be 18 inches apart in the garden bed. Apply some organic fertilizer and rock phosphate in the bed to encourage root growth.
As for horseradish, its aggressive growth is both good and bad. Thus, it’s best to place the crop strategically. For example, you can grow them at the end of your vegetable row. Here, the horseradish will effectively stop weeds from spreading. In addition, the crop will deter people from accidentally walking on the garden row.
You can also grow other crops including cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, and beets. The same goes for root crops such as potatoes and onions. At the end of April, grow some corn and beans in your garden as well. No matter what vegetables you grow, you must thin them out eventually to prevent overcrowding.
The sunlight your houseplants receive becomes stronger in April. While aloe vera, snake plants, and African violets usually enjoy a lot of sunlight, you should move them away for now. Keeping them in windows facing the south direction could expose them to leaf burn. On a similar note, rotate the houseplants so that all sections of them get enough sunlight. This prevents uneven growth that ruins the overall form of the plants.
Get rid of any flowers that have finished blooming and shown signs of wilting. Remove any leaves that have turned yellow or brown. Dead branches should also be taken away. Keeping your houseplants free of any damaged or decaying parts will keep them away from diseases.
Similarly, spray some water to rinse the dust away to improve circulation. Check the tips of your leafy houseplants and pinch the tips to encourage lush growth. If you the Coleus flowering plant indoors, you can get some cuttings for transplanting outside.
Cut a stem located underneath the leaf node using a keen and spotless knife. Get rid of the leaves at the lowest section. Apply rooting hormones to the cut part of the Coleus before placing the cutting in potting soil. Wait for two months before transplanting these cuttings to your garden.
Overall, there are many activities that you can do in your garden in April. Trees and shrubs alike will benefit from pruning. Likewise, April is an ideal month for growing several fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Also, transplanting crops and taking care of your houseplants are recommended.
We hope that our April guide will help you maintain your garden. If you have any questions, feel free to send us a comment.