Things to Do This Month

Ornamental Annuals and Perennials

  • April 15 is the average last day of frost. Be cautious of planting tender annuals before then.
  • Fertilize roses with a 12-12-12 slow-release fertilizer. Uncover roses after April 15. Begin spraying for blackspot.
  • Plant hardy annuals later in the month.
  • Mow liriope and other groundcovers, fertilize and water.
  • Plant summer bulbs such as dahlias and gladiolus at two week intervals to extend blooming season. Wait to plant caladium, elephant ears, canna’s and other tropicals until soils warm a little more.
  • Harden off any plants started indoors before planting in the garden.


  • Start mowing cool-season grasses at recommended heights.
  • Apply crabgrass control when forsythia is in bloom or by April 15th.
  • Aerate to loosen compacted high-traffic areas, and overseed thin spots. Use a starter fertilizer after seeding.

Trees and Shrubs

  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs as soon as possible after flowering.
  • Examine for winter injury and prune off dead, diseased, and damaged limbs.
  • Begin control of holly leafminer with insecticide applications as soon as new leaves appear.
  • Spring is the best time to plant or transplant many trees and shrubs, including dogwood, hibiscus, black gum, red bud,  magnolia, birch, ginkgo, hawthorn and most oaks.
  • Control growth of evergreens by pinching back candles as they enlarge.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Start cucumber, cantaloupe summer squash and watermelon seeds indoors in peat pots.
  • Thin out seedlings of cool-season crops, and make succession sowings.
  • Begin setting out transplants of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and sweet potatoes.
  • Control leaf rollers on apple trees and stink bugs and tarnished plant bugs on peaches.


  • It’s termite swarming season, but don’t be unnecessarily alarmed. Ants also swarm at this time. Inspect under a magnifier for i.d. Termites have thick waists and straight antennae, while ants have thin waists and bent antennae.


For more gardening tips for this month, go to

Kemper Center for Home Gardening Garden Calendar