Aprilʻs Southern California Gardening Tips

April is the perfect time to purchase new plants, fix up your lawn, do last minute pruning, and prepare for a summer feast of blooms. You will need to water more as April can surprise you with sudden warm spells and some wind. If you have done a lot of transplanting, make sure you keep your transplants moist. Make sure you plant a tree for Arbor Day!

Perennials, Annuals and Bulbs
This is the best time to planting summer flowering bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas, cannas and lilies. Mix bulb fertilizer, processed manure and peat moss into the planting soil to give them the right drainage and a good start.

You can move your potted plants you have taken indoors for winter, back out into protected spots in your garden, repot them if necessary and give them a light trim.

Plant your annual seeds now.

Dead head your spring bulbs, but leave the leaves until they turn brown. The leaves provide food for flowering next year.

You can divide some perennials like Daylilies, Delphiniums, iris, chrysanthemums, and Daisies, and move them to a new area of the garden. Remember to keep them moist to help them root quickly.

Hybrid Tea Roses should be fertilized prior to buds beginning to bloom and new rosebushes can be planted before growth starts.

You should set aquatic plants in your pond, any time after the middle of the month.

Shrubs and Trees
Plant trees and shrubs in early April for best results.

The months of April and May are good for pruning evergreens, so if you have a Juniper, Cypress or conifers, remove all dead, diseased, and undesirable wood. Do not prune back into the bare wood part of the plant.

Fruits & Vegetables
Plant perennial vegetables now, along with your annual peas, carrots, beets, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. Root crops like potatoes, radishes, parsnips and onions can be planted at anytime. Later in the month you can plant beans and corn. Warmer weather crops like tomatoes; squash, cucumbers and peppers should not be planted until next month. As they sprout, remember to thin for best results.

Control weeds and aerate the soil by cultivating between the rows of plants.

April is a great time to plant fruit trees and berry plants, they do best when planted in full sun.

The application of a spring type of lawn fertilizer should perk up the lawn and improve its over-all color and appearance.

Spring is also a good time to thatch and over-seed the lawn. Remove thatch with a brisk raking, and over seeding will help fill-in the lawn. Use about one pound of quality grass seed for every 300 square feet of lawn area and apply a light compost or soil over the seed to keep it moist.

Use a garden fork and punch holes over the surface of your lawn to aerate it. This will allow water to penetrate deeper into the lawn soil and reduce the need to water during the dryer months ahead.

Remember, for even growth and overall health of your plants, turn them so that each side receives a share of light. As the sun gets stronger, some plants may need to be moved to prevent scorching of the leaves.

Rinse the dust from the leaves with the kitchen sprayer to clean leaves so the plants can breathe. Remove any yellowed leaves.

Pinching back the tips of foliage plants will stimulate new growth and make your plant fuller and bushier.