April Gardening Tips + To-Dos: How to Grow a Garden You’ll Love

INSIDE: Looking for April gardening tips? Here’s the ultimate guide to April garden chores. It includes vegetable garden jobs, flower garden tasks, and spring landscaping tips.

It’s time to take advantage of the gardener-friendly spring weather!

Getting important garden chores done now will reduce your workload later when the summer heat sets in.

April is a busy time in the garden, no question, but this checklist will help you keep on top of things!

Keep reading to find out what to do in your garden in April.

As a bonus for joining my weekly newsletter, download a free gardening in April checklist. You’ll be sure to get the right things done this month!

Heads up: If you buy something after clicking a link in this post, I’ll earn a small commission. I only link to products I’d recommend to my best friend.

April gardening, beautiful lawn with flowers
With a little planning, your garden can look great this April.

Vegetable garden chores for April

  • Warm up your garden soil with UV-stabilized clear plastic for a week or two before planting.
    • Clear plastic works better than black plastic to warm the soil.
    • Remove it as soon as you’re ready to plant.
  • Sow vegetable seeds.
    • Sow seeds of warm-season veggies indoors.
    • Direct-sow cool-season crops.
    • Here’s a full list of what to plant in April.
  • Harden off and set out transplants of cool-season crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and onions.
  • Put up a trellis for peas as soon as they sprout.
  • Weed your vegetable beds.
  • Handpick and destroy asparagus beetles.
  • If your rhubarb develops flower stalks, remove them.
  • Place cutworm collars around seedlings if needed.
  • Shear onion seedlings back to 2-3” tall if they’re floppy.

Fruit and orchard care in your April garden

closeup of a cherry tree in a garden in April
Early spring is the best time to get a head start on preventative disease and pest control for your fruit trees.
  • Apply a pre-bloom, multipurpose orchard spray to fruit trees.
  • Remove winter mulch from strawberries. But keep mulch handy if late frosts are predicted. And replace it when the soil warms to keep weeds under control.
  • Fertilize established fruits with a thin layer of compost.
  • Prune grapevines to remove dead or weakened limbs and to thin them as needed.
  • Weed around all fruiting plants.
  • Protect fruit blossoms from late freezing temperatures with frost protection fabric when possible.
  • Prune peaches and nectarines now.
  • Remove tree wraps from fruit trees.

April landscaping tips

  • Clean up the garden to get ready for the season ahead.
    • Remove last year’s dead plants.
    • Rake back any extra mulch you applied last year to protect plants over the winter.
    • Shred and compost everything except diseased plants.
  • Evergreen and deciduous hedges may be sheared. Prune the top narrower than the base so sunlight can reach the lower limbs.
  • Complete pruning chores on trees and shrubs–remove dead and injured branches first.
  • Prune off Viburnum-beetle egg cases before the larvae hatch.
  • Remove tree wraps from young trees.

My favorite books and tools to use when I’m pruning in April:

Prices last updated on 2024-05-16 at 15:16

  • Remove tree wraps from young trees.
  • Trim groundcovers to remove winter burn and tidy plants up.
  • Remove winter covers from any plants that are marginally hardy in your area.
  • Repair support trellises as needed.
  • Replace any plant labels that have deteriorated.
  • Water your garden if your soil is dry.
  • Protect tender garden plants from late freezing temperatures.
  • Divide ornamental grasses when new growth begins to emerge

Related: How to create a low-maintenance yard.

  • Apply chelated iron (FeEDDHA) to plants with prior problems with Iron Chlorosis. And avoid overwatering in the spring. This is the most common cause of chlorotic plants in the spring.
  • Check sprinkler systems for leaks, clean filters, fix and align heads.
  • Remove finished compost from the bottom of the heap to make room for incoming debris.
  • Add mulch to your garden beds if it’s getting thin.
  • WEED! Small, newly emerging weeds are easier to remove, and if you keep on top of the weeds through June, the rest of the season will be much more manageable.

Here’s how to make gardening easy this month… Get a FREE gardening checklist for April when you join my newsletter It’s everything you need to do in April.

April gardening tasks to do in your flower garden

roses trailing over a garden fence in April
Maintain your roses in April for beautiful blooms this summer!
  • If it was too cold to do so last month, remove winter covers from your bush, climbing, and tree roses. But keep mulch nearby to protect them from late freezes.
  • Wait to prune roses until after buds begin to swell to avoid late frosts damaging new growth.
  • Begin spraying roses to control black spot disease if not started already.
  • Stake floppy rose growth and tie up climbers.
  • Prune spring-blooming shrubs (those that bloom before June) such as forsythia and spirea after they have completed flowering.
  • When they start to show signs of life, divide overgrown perennial clumps.
    • Dig up, divide, and transplant crowded daylilies, phlox, helenium, fall asters, Shasta daisies, chrysanthemums, bee balm, and hostas.
    • Don’t divide Oriental poppies or Iris now. Divide Oriental poppies in the fall and Iris in late summer.
  • Cut flower blooms and stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring-flowering bulbs as the flowers fade.
    • But don’t cut the foliage until it dies back naturally. The leaves are necessary for the bulbs to re-flower next year.
  • Daffodil clean-up tip: Use the browned leaves of daffodils as tomato ties. They’re strong enough to hold up the vines and flexible enough to not damage the stems.
  • Divide clumps of older bulbs in need of rejuvenation.
    • Replant in a sunny spot and water in well.
    • Spring-blooming bulbs prefer locations that are not heavily watered during their summer dormancy. So, don’t overplant with summer annuals or perennials that prefer wet conditions.
  • Hydrangeas: Prune paniculata hydrangeas and Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ (not mop-top blue types).
  • Cut Buddleia back hard once you see the very first signs of life.
  • Stake tall-growing perennials, such as peonies and delphiniums, before they reach six inches.

Related freebie: Download a FREE landscape maintenance checklist pdf

April garden planning and journaling

  • If you haven’t begun a garden journal, now is a fantastic time to start one.
    • Choose a format that you’ll actually use (paper or electronic).
    • The longer you keep a journal, the more you’ll learn about your garden.
    • It’ll become a prized gardening resource.
  • Start keeping track of your weekly rainfall in your garden journal.
    • Measure the rainfall with a rain gauge so you can tell when to water.
    • Your garden needs about one inch of water per week from April to September.
  • Watch for pests and diseases. Make notes of what happens and when.
  • Plan container plantings for decks, patios, and other places.
  • Look for gaps in your landscape that could be nicely filled with bulbs. Take photos of these areas and make a note to order bulbs in August.
  • Start a naturalist’s notebook. Keep a journal of nature observations, and create a record of nature in your garden.

April lawn care tips

woman mowing a lawn with a riding mower in April
Proper lawn care in April sets the stage for the rest of the summer.
  • Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to control crabgrass in lawns.
    • The exact timing varies each year with weather conditions. For a precise application timing based on Growing Degree Days (GDD), visit Michigan State University’s GDTracker. Enter your zip code and select “Crabgrass PRE.” The target GDD window for crabgrass prevention is 250-500.
  • Over-seed sparse areas in lawns, but don’t apply crabgrass pre-emergent to these areas.
  • If you didn’t do so last month, stock up on lawn fertilizer for the season.
  • Remove sticks, rocks, and other debris from your lawn to prevent damaging your lawnmower or injuring yourself when mowing.
  • Start mowing cool-season grasses at recommended heights. Check with your cooperative extension for the correct mowing heights.

My favorite lawn care books

Prices last updated on 2024-05-16 at 16:19

Wildlife in your April garden

  • Put a birdhouse or two in your garden to attract insect-eating friends if you didn’t do this in March.
  • Take advantage of spring planting time to add bird-friendly plantings to your yard. Plant groups of shrubs in your yard to break up big open spaces. Provide cover for birds with deciduous trees. Add “corridor” plantings that allow birds to travel safely through your yard by flying from plant to plant.
  • Plan to plant a hummingbird garden if they frequent your area. The first scouts will show up soon!
  • Watch for bats at dusk (if you have them where you live). They’re important insect predators.

Houseplant care for April

  • Apply fertilizer to houseplants according to label directions as days grow brighter and longer and new growth begins.
  • Continue to bring houseplants inside at night but outside during warm days. Most houseplants can remain outside when night temperatures are consistently 40 to 50 degrees. When in doubt, wait until after your last frost before placing houseplants permanently in the garden.
  • If orchids have finished flowering, begin to fertilize regularly with a very dilute orchid fertilizer with every watering. Monitor them closely for scale.

My favorite houseplant books

Prices last updated on 2024-05-16 at 15:16

Frequently asked questions about what to do in your April garden

Is it too late to start a garden in April?

No, it’s not too late to start a garden in April. For most gardeners, April and May are the best times to start a vegetable or flower garden. Here’s a list of my favorite vegetables and flowers to plant in April.

How do I prepare my garden in April?

To prepare your garden in April, clean up any debris from winter, edge and prep your soil, plan an area for composting vegetable scraps, and fight pests before they take hold. And it’s time to start planting! Plant spring annuals in beds or borders for pops of color, and consider adding some trees or shrubs too. See my complete April gardening to-do list.

What are the best vegetables to plant in spring?

The best vegetables to plant in spring are cool-season crops. Carrots, potatoes, radishes, kale, and spinach love the cool spring weather; lettuce is another cool-weather favorite you can enjoy all throughout spring. This is also the time to start warm-season veggies indoors, such as cucumbers, eggplant, pumpkins, and tomatoes.

April gardening calendar: download your free checklist

You’ll always know what to do when!

Join my weekly-ish newsletter; as a bonus, you’ll get the printable checklist! Click here to download and subscribe.

Here’s a sneak peek of your checklist:

monthly garden checklist

Download the April gardening checklist now. You’ll be sure to get the right things done in your garden every April!

Your turn: what to do in your garden in April

Did I miss any important April garden chores?

Let me know in a comment below!

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2 thoughts on “April Gardening Tips + To-Dos: How to Grow a Garden You’ll Love”

  1. Nelsons

    Thank you, this will be helpful. We moved from Florida to Virginia so need to learn how veggies and plants need to be cared for, etc.

    1. Cheryl Spencer

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful. I wish you much luck with your new garden!

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