University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Yard and Garden Activities Increase in April

April 1, 1999

While the weather can still be unpredictable, the yard and garden activity calendar gets busier now that April is here. Use caution not to rush the season too much, but just about all types of gardeners have something to do in the yard and garden over the next 30 days.

Since the snow cover has been gone for some time, lawn work draws considerable attention now. Resist the temptation to fertilize, however. Allow the grass to green up, grow, and be mowed once or twice, then fertilize it. Avoid excessive nitrogen fertilizer in spring; apply about one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn in late April or early May.

Most lawns look pretty ragged now, but should improve as temperatures warm and rainfall occurs. If bare areas need reseeding, wait until about the middle of the month for this. Rake away debris to assure good seed to soil contact.

Several hardy vegetables can be planted in the April, assuming soils have dried enough to be can be worked. Very hardy vegetables can withstand freezing and hard frosts and may be planted as early as April 10 and throughout the month. Crops in this category include asparagus, kale, kohlrabi, leaf lettuce, mustard, onion (sets or seed), peas, potato, rhubarb, rutabaga, spinach, and turnip.

April can also be a good time for planting trees and shrubs. Once again, soil conditions must be dry enough to allow digging. Dig a hole wide enough to for the roots to easily fit and the same depth as the plant was growing in the nursery. Bare-root stock is often shipped in April, as it is best to plant before the tree or shrub breaks dormancy. Garden centers and nurseries will also be having container stock available this month.

April can be a good time for pruning, as discussed here a few weeks ago. If the apples have not yet been pruned, do it now. Many shrubs may be pruned. Early blooming shrubs are should be pruned right after they flower; those that bloom later in the season may be pruned now.

April and the return of the growing season is met with great anticipation. Remember to be slightly cautious, however, in the event winter decides to make a curtain call.


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