Spring is in full swing in the South in April. In the North, there can still be days when it feels nasty outside: The season can't seem to make up its mind as to whether it is here to stay or yielding back some ground to winter. Regardless of how raw it feels outside some days, though, your plants are confidently powering forward in spring mode.
Northerners should be ready with a to-do list so that, when the April weather does cooperate, they can stay ahead with their gardening work. Spring can be a short season: Some years, it seems to be gone in the blink of an eye, yielding to the heat of summer. Do not get caught having to do spring chores when temperatures suddenly soar into the 80s next month.
- Send a sample of your soil into your local county extension so that they can test it. It is the only scientific way to know what (if anything) needs to be added to your soil. Once your results come back, amend your soil as directed by your extension.
- Turn over your compost pile to help it break down faster.
- Prune shrubs that bloom on old wood after they have finished blooming.
- Plant new perennials.
- Divide old perennials as needed.
Spring will have completely sprung in April, for the most part. But some days will still be much nicer than others for working in the garden. Take advantage of those days and get some work done.
- Sow seed outdoors for all but transplanted vegetables that you've started indoors.
- Prune rose bushes before bud break. This may be your last chance.
- This is your last chance to plant trees and shrubs without risking the chance that they will have to deal with hot weather before they become established.
- Once nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 55 degrees F, transplant hardy annuals.
April will bring good and bad weather to the Midwest, so do not miss out on getting your gardening tasks done on the good days.
April brings hope to the garden in the Northeast, but also frustration. You may wish that you could garden in short sleeves whenever you feel like it, but that's probably not happening. Accept the fact that not every day is going to bring pleasant weather, bundle up as needed, and get your gardening work in. That way, when temperatures suddenly skyrocket, you can go to the beach instead of working in the garden.
- Direct sow cool-season vegetables and flowers once you can work the soil easily.
- Start to harden off cool-season seedlings that you will transplant at the end of the month.
- Divide perennials as needed.
- Where the foliage of early perennials and bulb plants is poking up through the soil, remove enough of the mulch on top of them so that they can emerge unimpeded.
You will experience moderate temperatures in this region in April, but do not put away the row covers just yet. It will still be wet, but drier times are on the way.
- Till under cover crops.
- Once the soil dries out some, set out the transplants that you started indoors from seed.
- Direct sow leafy crops outdoors.
- Divide perennials while it is still wet in the garden.
April is one of the most pleasant times of the year to garden in Northern California. You tend to have low humidity, lots of sunny days, and less rain than you have had in the prior months. In Southern California you usually have about three days of rain in April, an average high of 73 degrees F, and average low of 54 degrees F.
In Northern California:
- Plant warm-season plants.
- Fertilize perennials.
- Add mulch where necessary, particularly around the roots of your trees and bushes.
In Southern California:
- Check mulch levels and add mulch as needed.
- Start planting tropical plants outdoors.
- Plant any perennials that you have not already gotten around to planting outdoors.
It's getting hot in your region. Some of your plants love it, but so do certain plant pests.
- Direct sow the seeds of warm-season plants.
- Spray Neem oil on your citrus trees for citrus scale.
In the high desert, expect average highs in the mid-60s F and an average low of 32 degrees F. That's cold enough to require you to protect tender plants some nights. You can still get some snow, yet you are likely to get only four days worth of rain. In the low desert, count on dry weather, highs in the 80s F, and lows around 60 degrees F.
April is a great time to garden in most parts of the Southeast. Temperatures are still moderate, and there is enough rain to keep your plants happy but not so much that you will be miserable working out in the garden. Do not put away the row covers just yet, however, as you can still get the occasional cold night.
- Stake tall perennials such as hollyhocks before they get too big and start flopping over.
- Finish pruning rose bushes.
- (Late April:) Direct sow the seed of warm-season vegetables.
- (Late April:) Start transplanting the seedlings of warm-season plants outdoors. Nighttime temperatures need to stay above 50 degrees F for this.
- Fertilize bulbs when they are done blooming but do not cut back the leaves until they start to turn yellow.
Florida generally sees highs in the 80s F and lows in the 50s F in April. The number of rainy days ranges from about four to seven.
- Prune flowering shrubs after they are done blooming.
- Practice grasshopper and mosquito control.
- Mulch around plants as needed, especially around trees and shrubs.
- Water your plants during dry spells.
- Transplant container-grown fruit trees and nut trees.
- Inspect citrus trees for citrus-leaf miner, aphids, scale, and other pests. Spray with Neem oil as needed.