April Gardening Activities - Region 1

Gardening Tips for April

Northwest and Northern California Gardens

Learn2Grow Region 1 Map

States in the region:

Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Northern California

Key Issues for April

  • Be aware of the last-frost dates in your area. Cold, damaging temperatures can sneak up without warning in early spring. Covering new growth with old pots, buckets and light linens at night will help protect tender plants from frost.
  • Prepare your roses for new growth by pruning them once the leaf bud eyes start to form. Remember to seal the ends of the canes with white glue (but not school glue, because it’ll wash off). This sealing protects the freshly cut canes from cane borers.
  • Clean your lawn, landscape and garden beds of any debris and branch damage. Starting your outdoor spring cleaning now will help you save time in the garden later this season. Note: Serious tree work should be done by a licensed arborist!
  • Add some early spring color to your outdoor planters. Ranunculus, sometimes called Persian buttercup, is adored for its showy, ruffled, pompon-like flowers in shades of yellow, pink, orange, red, purple and white.
  • Nurture your Easter lily. If you plant your potted houseplant in the garden after it’s bloomed, you won’t see any more flowers this year, but you’ll be rewarded next summer!
  • Practice water-conservation techniques in the garden. Mulching, watering carefully, planting native species and teaching plants how to be self-sufficient are just a few ways to help keep your garden healthy, thriving and beautiful – without wasting a valuable resource.
  • Grow cool-season crops like lettuce, radish and peas. You can start vegetables from seed either directly in potting soil in containers or right in the garden. Wait for your soil to warm before planting tomatoes, melons, squash and other heat-loving vegetables. With careful planning, you can grow vegetables year-round.
  • Maintain your turf and practice good spring lawn care. Mow using sharp blades, keep weeds under control and water appropriately when April showers aren’t enough.
  • Become familiar with the different types of lawn-care products available to help you and your turf get off to a healthy start this spring. Use a pre-emergent herbicide (weed killer) to control grassy weeds, like crabgrass, in the lawn. Note, however, that not all herbicides are the same! Always carefully read and follow all label directions for a safe and appropriate application rate for your weedy situation.
  • Repair dead spots in the lawn before weedy plants take over. Remember, a dense lawn is your best defense against weeds!
  • Prepare your houseplants for an outdoor retreat: Repot plants that are container-bound. When all danger of frost has passed in your area, send them outside to the deck, patio or balcony.
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs after your area’s last-frost date. Here are a few that can bring great interest to summer planting beds and containers:
    • Cannas offer bold foliage and showy, lily-like flowers in shades of red, rose, pink, salmon, orange and yellow.
    • Calla lilies are popular cutflowers that come in white, yellow, pink, red, orange or purple, depending on the species.
    • Dahlia blooms range in size from 2-10 inches and come in a variety of colors and forms, depending on the type.
    • Tuberous begonias have glossy leaves and big, camellia-like blossoms. The flowers come in all colors except blue.
  • Divide perennials – but not the spring-blooming varieties. Dividing is best done when a plant’s new growth is still only several inches tall.
  • Let the foliage of your spring-flowering bulbs fully ripen before removing them. Allowing the leaves to naturally yellow and wither helps your bulbs store needed energy for next year’s flowers. Unattractive yellowing foliage can be tucked around other emerging perennials, or plant annuals in the flower bed (after your area’s last-frost date) to keep your garden looking neat and pretty.
  • Plant fruits and berries in the garden or in containers. Choose a location that offers full sun and well-drained soil. Your local garden center should have its best selection available now.
  • Fertilize roses while the plants are pushing new spring growth. The frequency of application depends on the type of fertilizer you use: quick or slow-release. Always read and follow package directions carefully.
  • Conserve water! Use rain barrels and/or other rain-collecting methods so you can reuse what nature’s provided to keep your plants watered and healthy throughout the season.