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Garden Tasks for April

I plant the seed,
You make it grow.
You send the rain,
I work the hoe.
- Author Unknown


  • Continue preparing beds

  • Start seed of fast-growing annuals indoors such as Zinnias and Marigolds

  • Sow seeds of hardy perennials outdoors, such as Cornflower and Larkspur

  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide, such as “Preen” to reduce spring germinating weeds.

Vegetables and Herbs

  • Plant cabbages and onions

  • Direct-seed peas and continue succession plantings for lettuce, radishes and spinach

  • As soil warms, direct-seed beets, carrots, turnips and other cool-season crops.

  • Cut back over-wintered sage and lavender, and direct seed or plant other hardy herbs.

Patio and Container Plants

  • As the weather permits, place over-wintered containers and those started indoors outside

  • Fill gaps or replace winter plantings with those for spring and summer

  • Be prepared to protect tender plants from possible late frost. Cover with a fabric material, not plastic.

Tree and Shrubs

  • Apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch around new and established plants

  • Prune young azaleas, rhododendrons, and wisteria just after flowering to encourage compact growth. Remove dead and misshapen branches.

  • Apply a well-balanced fertilizer, such “Hollytone” to evergreens with yellowing leaves

  • Pinch off contorted new growth on pines to remove pine shoot moths.


  • Prune ever-blooming roses

  • Plant container roses anytime until July

  • Apply complete slow-release fertilizer, such as “Osmocote” to established roses

  • Begin weekly sprays to control black spot and mildew

  • Remove winter-killed wood from old garden roses but do not shape or thin at this time.


  • Start main season varieties indoors now. There are usually 4-6 weeks of unpredictable weather left before being transplanted outside

  • Early seedlings sown indoors may need transplanting to individual pots

  • Finish incorporation fertilizer, compost, over-wintered cover crops, or crop residues into the beds.

  • Check and clean last year's cages, trellises, stakes, etc.

Perennials and Bulbs

  • Complete soil preparation, division, and planting

  • Weed, water and fertilize with “Osmocote” or “Plant Tone” as-needed

  • Do not remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs until it has started to dry-out on its own


  • Sharpen mower blades

  • De-thatch and aerate if not done earlier in spring or previous fall

  • Apply “Green Power” or “Preen for Lawns” at the recommended rate

  • Over-seed with a variety suitable for your area if not over-seeded last month

  • Keep moist until seeds until seed sprout. After 4-6 weeks, treat as an established lawn.

  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide “Crabicide Green” to established lawns.

Adapted from Reader's Digest "1001 Hints and Tips for your Garden," 1998.