April Garden Checklist

April Garden Checklist

April in Iowa will often change from year to year, but we've made a list of gardening tasks that are usually best completed in April.  Here is what you should be working on in the garden, as soon as the snow clears.

April Garden Checklist

Spring Clean Up

√ Clean-up any plant debris that may still be in the garden.

√ Cut back perennials to the ground (or within a few inches).  Leave climbing perennials, like clematis until you see some growth, as well as hardy hibiscus, butterfly bush, and other tender perennials.

√ Cut back perennial grasses to about 4 inches above the ground.  Be sure to get this checked off your list before green grass starts to grow through last year's growth.

√ Cut back summer blooming shrubs if needed (spirea - not the spring blooming varieties, potentilla, and white flowering hydrangeas)

√Avoid pruning spring blooming shrubs (rhododendron, lilacs, forsythia, bridal wreath spirea, etc.) and most trees (especially Oak Trees) - Check out this blog for more pruning tips.

√ Plan out your garden and think back to the problem areas from last year.  Did you have any disease or insect problems?  Stop out and let us help you combat these garden problems before they show up this season.  Prevention is the key to success.

Planting & Prepping

√ Start amending your garden soil with compost or fertilizer.  Add compost to lighten clay soil. Only work the ground once it dry and has thawed.

√Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials after the ground has thawed.

√Divide hosta and daylilies once the plant has put on a few inches of growth.  Stop in the garden center to see our new tool that will make dividing perennials a breeze.

√Plant cool season veggies, onion sets, and potatoes, as well as direct sow peas and beans later in the month (weather permitting)

√Clean out old potting mix from containers.  This should be done every year for best results.

√Start planting spring containers with cool weather lovers like pansies, violas, senetti, stock, and ranunculus.  If the weather is unseasonably cold or a cold snap is coming, it is best to move containers in a garage to protect the flowers and buds from dying back.

√Put down a pre-emergent (like Preen) on beds to help combat weeds this spring.  Make sure to avoid any area you will be planting seeds.

√Put down a crabgrass preventer when you see the forsythia in bloom (yellow blooming shrubs).

√Watch for animals chomping on your plants.  Use a repellent early to deter animals from making your yard the neighborhood buffet.


√ If you didn't get your houseplants repotted in March, now is a good time to do so.  The days are longer and your houseplants will be ready to thrive during the spring and summer months when you might get too busy to repot.

√ Start vegetable seeds that need to be transplanted outdoors in May, like tomatoes and peppers.

√ Plant up a succulent garden or miniature garden to enjoy until spring is finally here.


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