I was asked to write a short article for the GHI Communicator about what to do in the garden, for their April issue. So I enlisted help from the gardeners in GHI’s Yard Solutions Task Force, and then boiled it down to the requested 400 words. Here’s what we came up with:
- First, remove last year’s stalks and dead leaves in borders, beds and around trees and shrubs, dig up the weeds, and apply 2-3 inches of mulch to all bare ground. That will hold moisture, prevent weeds and moderate soil temperatures.
- After the flowers on your spring-blooming shrubs have faded, prune them if they need it – and we bet they do – to encourage new growth at the base and therefore a fuller shape or to reduce the overall size if needed.
- As for lawn care, if yours already looks fine, do your yearly feeding in the fall. Troubled lawns need help in the spring, too, and April is a good time to fertilize, repair patches or overseed the whole lawn to thicken it up.
- Now, when the garden centers are full and before it’s too hot, is the perfect time to make your yard more of a garden by adding small trees, shrubs and perennials. But don’t plant them just anywhere – create new curvy borders for them, or islands around existing trees or shrubs, with a nice sharp edge between the border and your lawn if you have one.
- Lastly, be a neighborhood do-gooder and clear the plant debris from inner sidewalks near you. Safety first!
Gardening How-To Help
For excellent instruction on planting anytime and for pruning and lawn care in the spring, we recommended the Very Best Videos that Teach Spring Gardening. These guides were produced by a nonprofit that selects videos produced by the University of Maryland and experts across the U.S. for their accuracy and quality. While you’re on the website, get inspired by browsing videos about plants and video tours of home gardens.
Full disclosure: I edit that website, with help from other garden communicators and some actual scientists.