April Gardening Calendar
Adapted from information from the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening located at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri.(www.GardeningHelp.org). Additional information provided by Cathy Bylinowski.
There is so much to do in the garden in April. It can be overwhelming. Prioritizing projects in your yard or garden that are most important to you is one way to organize spring tasks. Do not forget to enjoy the sheer beauty of the green beginning of spring.
COVID 19 changed our lives this year, but gardening can help provide healthy exercise, stress relief, and nutritious food.
- When buying bedding plants, choose sturdy transplants that have not begun to flower.
- When crab apples are in bloom, it is time to plant hardy annuals such as violas outdoors.
- Winter mulches should be removed from roses. Complete pruning promptly. Remove only dead wood from climbers at this time. Cultivate lightly, working in some compost or other organic matter.
- Fertilize established roses once new growth is 2 inches long. Use a balanced formulation. Begin spraying to control black spot disease.
- Examine shrubs for winter injury. Prune all dead and weakened wood.
- Groundcovers can be mowed to remove winter burn and tidy plants up. Raise mowers to their highest settings. Fertilize and water to encourage rapid regrowth.
- Shrubs and trees best planted or transplanted in spring, rather than fall, include butterfly bush, dogwood, rose of Sharon, black gum (Nyssa), red bud, magnolia, tulip poplar, birch, ginkgo, hawthorn and most oaks.
- Break off rims from peat pots when transplanting seedlings; otherwise, they can act as a wick to draw moisture away from the roots.
- Evergreen and deciduous hedges may be sheared. Prune the top narrower than the base so sunlight will reach the lower limbs.
- Easter lilies past blooming can be planted outdoors. Set the bulbs 2 to 3 inches deeper than they grew in the pot. Mulch well if frost occurs.
- Enjoy, but do not disturb the many wildflowers blooming in woodlands throughout Missouri.
- Look for flowering dogwoods and redbuds in bloom and oaks, hickories, and maples.
- Mow cool season grasses at recommended heights. For complete details, refer to University Extension Guide #6705, Cool Season Grasses.
- Top-dress low spots and finish overseeding thin or bare patches.
- Finish transplanting broccoli, cabbage, and other cold crops into the garden. High phosphorous fertilizers help get transplants off to a quick start.
- Plants started indoors should be hardened off outdoors in a protected place or cold frame before being transplanted into the garden.
- Finish sowing seeds of all cool-season vegetables not yet planted. Make succession sowings of these crops for a steady supply.
- Asparagus and rhubarb harvests begin. Remove flower stalks from rhubarb plants, if they develop.
- Keep your hoe sharp. Do not allow weeds to get an early start in your garden!
- Thin crowded seedlings from early plantings of cool season crops such as beets, carrots, lettuce, and radish.
- A rain gauge on a post near the vegetable garden keeps track of precipitation so you know when to water. Most crops need about 1 inch of rain per week between April and September.
- If you want blemish-free fruits applications of insecticides and fungicides will be needed. Consult University Extension Guide Sheet #G6010, Home Fruit Spray Schedule for more information
- Plant bare-root or potted fruit trees as soon as the soil can be worked.
- Protect bees and other pollinating insects. Do not spray insecticides on fruit trees that are blooming.
- Orange, jelly-like galls on cedar trees spread rust diseases to apples, crabapples and hawthorns.
- Begin sprays for fire-blight susceptible apples and pears using an agricultural streptomycin.
- Spider mites and codling moths become active on apples.
Miscellaneous Natural Events
- Honeybees are swarming. If you see a swarm in an inconvenient place, notify a local beekeeper organization to find a new home for these beneficial insects.
- Hummingbirds return from their winter home in Central America.
You can contact Cathy Bylinowski, Horticulture Instructor, email@example.com, University of Missouri- Jackson County for more information on vegetable gardening, landscaping, native plants, and other horticulture topics.