This Month in the Garden: April

"Spring in the Country," by Grant Wood

“Spring in the Country,”
by Grant Wood

When the April wind wakes the call for the soil, I hold the plow as my only hold upon the earth, and, as I follow through the fresh and fragrant furrow, I am planted with every foot-step, growing, budding, blooming into a spirit of spring.

— Dallas Lore Sharp, 1870-1929

For the lawn:

  • Last chance: Make sure your lawn mower is tuned up and ready to roll.
  • Fertilize your lawn. Apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn.
  • Aerate and dethatch to ensure proper flow of air and nutrients to grass roots.
  • Overseed any bare patches.
  • Mow every 4-5 days as needed. Keep grass no higher than 3 inches.
  • Dig out dandelions before they spread across the lawn.

In the garden (busy month!):

  • Prune your deciduous trees and shrubs. Thin out spring-blooming shrubs after blossoms fade.
  • Spray apple and pear trees for scab when buds appear, to avoid disease.
  • Once dangers of hard frost have passed, prune roses. Remove all damaged wood, spindly canes, crossing branches, and blind shoots without flower buds.
  • Fertilize:
    1. Berry plants — Spray insecticidal soup on strawberries if you spot aphids.
    2. Spring-blooming bulbs and ornamental plants that were not fertilized in March.
    3. Spring-blooming shrubs after they finish flowering.
  • Plant beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, peas, and potatoes.
  • If soil temperature is above 60 degrees, you may plant beans and sweet corn.
  • If you have transplants in the yard, protect them from any late spring frosts with a cover.
  • Keep an eye out for slugs. Clean up weeds and hiding places quickly. Avoid insecticides that kill beneficials. Use slug control products with iron phosphate — but keep away from pets.
  • Reduce insects and disease in your garden by providing your plants with proper ventilation and removing all weeds.
  • Use floating row covers to keep insects such as beet leaf miners, cabbage maggot adult flies, and other insects away.
  • Start annuals, such as marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos, indoors.
  • Let foliage of spring-flowering bulbs brown. Once died down, divide if desired.
  • Consider planting drought-tolerant flowers, such as coneflowers, iris, and sedums.


Skagit Valley Tulip Farm in April

Skagit Valley Tulip Farm in April.
Photo © Sonja Anderson.


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