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 Yard and Garden » Gardener’s To-Do List for April

Gardener’s To-Do List for April

Gardener’s To-Do List for April

Here’s a zone-by-zone to-do list for the month of April.

If you don’t know what USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you live in, check the map here to find out.

April To-Do List for Zone 3

  • Dig up and enjoy parsnips still left in the garden from last fall.
  • Dig compost into beds as soon as the soil can be worked.
  • Fertilize established lawns.
  • If weather allows, plant onion sets, lettuce, spinach, peas, sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), carrots, and parsnips in the garden.
  • Indoors, continue to start seeds of squash, melons, and corn.
  • Start gladiolus corms indoors.
  • Sprout seed potatoes by moving them from cold storage into room temperature.
  • In the last week of the month, remove winter covering from tender roses, perennials, and strawberries.

April To-Do List for Zone 4

  • When the soil has warmed and dried, plant cold-tolerant crops, such as peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes, and onion.
  • In flowerbeds, plant lilies, primroses, and lilies-of-the-valley.
  • Plant raspberries as soon as possible, but wait until the soil has begun to warm before planting strawberries.
  • Dig and divide perennials, such as daylilies and irises.
  • Indoors, start tomato seeds if you plan to set them out under protective covering next month.
  • Start broccoli seeds indoors for an early crop—but don’t delay; soon it will be too warm.

April To-Do List for Zone 5

  • If the ground has thawed, divide and replant perennials, such as asters, bee balm, and hostas.
  • Plant roses and lily bulbs.
  • When the ground is warm and dry, transplant early tomatoes outdoors, inside protective Wallo’Waters.
  • Seed a second crop of lettuce (start the seeds indoors or sow them directly in the garden).
  • Sow spinach in the garden to get tender leaves before the weather warms.

April To-Do List for Zone 6

  • Clean up the garden in preparation for the season ahead: Remove last year’s dead plants, rake back winter mulches, and top-dress beds with compost.
  • After you’ve finished preparing your beds, plant potatoes, peas, spinach, and other leafy greens as well as beets, turnips, and carrots.
  • Put up a trellis for tall varieties of peas as soon as they sprout.
  • Dig, divide, and replant perennials, such as helenium, fall asters, Shasta daisies, chrysanthemums, and phlox.
  • As soon as the weather settles, plant transplants of pansies, forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp.), foxglove (Digitalis spp.), and other cool-weather flowers.
  • Sow seeds of sweet peas, bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea cyanus), and larkspur (Consolida ajacis) in flowerbeds.

April To-Do List for Zone 7

  • Pass by broccoli and cabbage on sale at garden centers—hot weather will soon arrive, causing plants to go to seed instead of forming edible heads.
  • Thin crowded carrots, chard, and lettuce.
  • Remove floating row covers from peas early in the month. Drive tall, twiggy branches into the ground next to the plants for support.
  • Mulch around the base of cool-season crops to keep their roots cool and moist.
  • Select new azalea and rhododendron bushes while they’re in bloom to make sure that the color complements your landscape.

April To-Do List for Zone 8

  • Give flowers and vegetables a foliar feeding of liquid seaweed or compost tea; spray the liquid nutrients on foliage early in the day before it gets too hot.
  • Plant black-eyed, purple hull and crowder peas, okra, peanuts, sweet potatoes, squash, melons, cucumbers, and corn—all can withstand the heat that will arrive in less than 2 months.
  • Keep planting basil—it loves the warm weather.
  • Plant "bulbs" of caladium, calla, gladiolus, and water lily.
  • Keep adding kitchen scraps and grass clippings to your compost pile.
  • Replenish your mulch!

April To-Do List for Zone 9

  • If slugs and snails are decimating your plants, collect them in the evening, when you’re most likely to spot them.
  • Plant pumpkins, summer squash, melons, and other vegetables that thrive in heat.
  • Every 2 weeks from now until late summer, plant small blocks of bush beans and sweet corn to extend the harvest until frost.
  • Thin fruits on fruit trees to increase their size and keep branches from breaking.
  • Plant summer bedding plants, such as petunias, lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum), wax begonias, and impatiens.
  • Sow seeds of nasturtiums, marigolds, portulaca, amaranthus, salvias, vinca (Catharanthus roseus), sunflowers, and zinnias.
  • Plant perennials like ornamental alliums, bellflowers (Campanula spp.), daisies, yarrow, daylilies, coreopsis, penstemon, perennial geraniums (Geranium spp.), iris, and statice.

April To-Do List for Zone 10

  • Plant perennials so they can settle in before the summer heat arrives; give them plenty of water.
  • Plant heat-loving bedding plants, such as vinca (Catharanthus roseus), strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum), blanket flowers (Gaillardia spp.), and gazanias.
  • Plant roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), amaranth, and Malabar spinach (Basella alba) now through August; make sure you give the Malabar spinach some shade and extra water.
  • Try some tropical edibles: Buy malanga, gingerroot, and others at the market. Cut them into pieces at least 1⁄2 inch long, and plant. Harvest from October through December.
  • Trellis tropical cucurbits (luffa, chayote, Tahitian squash, and so on) on a fence, and reap the rewards this fall.


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