Gardening in Small Spaces

Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips For April

If you’re tired of being stuck in the house and can’t wait to get in the garden, the month of April is a good starting point. While the soil may still be too cold and wet to do major work there are a number of tasks you can do to give you a head start on the gardening season. Here a few timely activities to consider:

  • Check your landscape for winter damage. Snow, ice and high winds may have damaged trees and shrubs. This is a good time to remove any damaged limbs or other compromised plant parts. Use sharp pruning tools and remember that pruning or removing large trees is a job for a professional arborist only.
  • Clean up any debris and excess leaves you missed in the fall. You can start a compost pile with the leaves or simply work them into the garden soil for added organic matter.
  • Take a look at the health of your lawn. Sparse areas of grass or excessive moss could indicate a problem. Consider having a soil test done by your CCE office to see if any amendments are recommended.
  • Check your mower before the grass really starts growing. A tune up and blade sharpening should be done before you have to start mowing late in the month.
  • Clump forming perennial flowers like daylilies, hostas and chrysanthemums can be divided easily now before they get too large.
  • Cut a few small branches from your flowering shrubs and trees and force them into bloom inside before they burst out in color outside.
  • 2020 is likely to be a big year for home vegetable gardens. Visit your local garden store or check out some seed catalogs online for varieties of vegetables to grow in your garden.
  • Cold tolerant vegetables like peas and spinach can be planted directly in your garden in mid to late April as long as your soil is not too wet.
  • Hardy pansies can add spring color and compliment spring flowering bulbs which are also blooming now.
  • It’s a good time to prune flowering shrubs like Rose of Sharon and butterfly bush. Roses can be pruned back to remove winter damaged portions of canes.
  • Last call early in the month for pruning of apples and pears.
  • If you grow lilies, watch for the invasive red lily leaf beetle. The adult of this insect emerges as the foliage peeks out of the ground. Early control by hand picking the adults helps.
  • Run the excess fuel out of your snowblower or add a gas stabilizer before its stored for next year.
  • Consider gardening in raised beds this year. It’s easier and can help avoid poor soil and drainage issues. You can buy ready made kits from garden suppliers or find plans for building your own on line.
  • Look for developing weeds in your garden and landscape now. They are easier to remove when they are small and young.
  • Check on the status of your local greenhouse, garden center and nursery businesses. Many will be offering more delivery and curbside pick up options this year due to COVID-19.
  • Get outside into the fresh air and walk through your yard. Gardening is therapeutic and we call all use a fresh outlook on things.

Last updated April 23, 2020