April Showers bring May… Well, we sure hope for showers instead of snow this year! As things continue to warm up, we can all get more and more active in the backyard! Here’s our list of things you can do in April and don’t forget about Landscape Management 101: March if you are behind schedule!
- Finish pruning trees and evergreens. Avoid pruning maple, elm, birch, oak, and walnut trees at this time. Pruning these trees now will cause excess sap bleeding and increase the likelihood of contracting diseases such as oak wilt.
- Once the ground has thawed, fertilize grapes, raspberries, and blueberries before growth resumes.
- Rake the lawn when weather conditions permit. Raking when lawns are too wet will result in pulling out large amounts of roots and live grass parts.
- Pull out last year’s dead annuals if you have not yet done so.
- Dead flowers, stems, leaves, etc. can serve as protection for new plants and compost in place. There is no need to clean up too much this early in the season.
- Prune summer flowering shrubs.
- Plant fruit trees.
- Graft apple trees when buds begin to swell.
- Plant pansies in a pot and place outside. Pansies can handle some frost and cold temperatures.
- Do not work in garden soil when it is wet.
- Collect soil samples for testing. Test multiple areas separately.
- Uncover and prune roses if weather permits. You can vent rose cones (if you are still using them) during the day, but replace by sundown. Do not feed roses until mid-May.
- Check out your indoor plants. More sun and higher intensity will lead to quicker growth and more need for fertilizer and water. You can also prune back hard now to stimulate new growth.
- Seed or sod new lawns as soon as the soil can be worked.
- Vegetables that do well in cold temperatures such as broccoli, lettuce, and parsley can be transplanted outdoors after the average last frost date (May 21-31). In the meantime, you can slowly introduce plants to the outdoors by placing flats in shaded protected areas and gradually increasing exposure to sun and wind.
- Sow seeds indoors for the following: tomatoes, asparagus, beets, carrots, chard, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, mustard, onion sets, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, and turnips.
- Reseed or sod lawn areas injured by the winter.
- Dig and divide fall-blooming perennials before top growth gets too tall.
- Consider planting flowers which can be dried for winter arrangements. Strawflower, statice, Chinese lantern, celosia, and globe amaranth are some of the best choices for successful drying.
- Do not mow the lawn until it has grown at least 2 inches. The roots are being renewed in the spring and grass needs vigorous initial top-growth.
- Check birch leaves for birch leaf miner. Staying ahead of pests and treating trees early leads to greater health and success in the long run.
- Plant onions, carrots, beets, chard, leaf lettuce, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, and turnips.
If you are on top of all of these things and still chomping at the bit for more, check out our blog post Get Outside! 33 Outdoor Activities You Can Do Right Now!
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