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April Gardening Checklist

Another month, another long list of chores to accomplish in the yard and garden! On the bright side, spring has officially sprung here in southwest Virginia. The trees are blooming, the grass is growing, and all of this warm weather is bringing us respite from the sedentary, indoor lives we led over the winter. Yes, it’s time to get back outside again, and what could be a better excuse to spend time outdoors than the amount of work it’s going to take to get your landscape in tiptop shape for the spring? Fear not, these chores can actually be a lot of fun—just remember to wear sunscreen!

spring garden

Photo by Mathias Heinel.

Garden Clean Up

Did winter do a number on your yard? Now is the time to clean up the mess and prep your land for a new season. Remove dead plants, rake up debris and winter mulch, and dress beds with a healthy layer of compost.

Plant Cool Weather Plants

Cool weather still lingers during April. Potatoes, peas, carrots, leafy greens, turnips, and beets are ready for planting. Cool weather flowers like forget-me-nots, foxglove, and pansies can also be planted during April. If you’re worried about the weather turning sour again, cover your beds with mulch to protect plants from temperature fluctuations. Warmer weather plants, like tomatoes, can be started indoors under a heat lamp. Corn, green beans, and other heat loving plants should wait until the ground temperature has reached 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Apply Pre-Emergent Weed Treatments

You may have already spotted some weeds sprouting up in your yard or garden. Now is the perfect time to prevent their proliferation by applying pre-emergent herbicides or organic weed controllers.

Prune and Fertilize

Finish pruning trees and shrubs and begin fertilizing rose bushes. If you use a slow release fertilizer, plan on adding it to your soil every six weeks or so until august. Some fertilizers recommend more frequent dosing. Check packaging to make sure.

Watch for Pests

Many garden pests are beginning to wake from their slumber. Inspect shrubs, trees, and plants for telltale signs: dead and fading grass patches, soft and spongey areas of the yard, and damaged leaves. If you notice a pest problem, spray a precautionary pesticide or use organic methods of pest control to eradicate it before it gets out of control. Remember, ticks are also very prevalent during the spring. After you finish working in your yard for the day, inspect yourself and your pets for ticks.


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