April Gardening Checklist for Austin

April Gardening To-Dos

Vegetable Garden Illustration - April Gardening To-DosThe danger of frost should have passed, but be prepared for a surprise late freeze. April is the month that all warm season plants can be seeded or transplanted. It’s also the official start of regular lawn mowing and irrigation. See below for other things that should be on your April gardening to-dos.

Things to Do This Month

FERTILIZE

Fertilize lawns after the second mowing according to soil test results. Apply fertilizer to blooming trees or shrubs when blooms have faded according to soil test results.

WATER

Begin regular water schedule if spring rains have not arrived. Monitor new seedbeds and transplants and water them as needed.

PLANT

Seed remaining warm-season vegetables like okra, set out sweet potato slips late in the month. Plant warm season bulbs like caladiums and fall bloomers like oxblood lilies. Plant summer annuals and set out hanging baskets. Move container plants outdoors but monitor for late frost.

SOIL

Mix in compost to the top layers of vegetable, flower, and ornamental beds. Apply a three to four inch layer of mulch to deter weeds, hold moisture and moderate soil temperature as summer approaches.

LAWNS

Plant turfgrass seed to cover bare patches or create new lawns. Begin regular lawn care.

DISEASES/PESTS TO LOOK FOR

Harlequin bugs will appear on cole crops as the temperatures warm. Rather than spraying, pull up and compost the plants since they are at the end of their harvesting season. Caterpillars will be out in full force this month, many of whom become beautiful butterflies. Treat only those plants that are not larval hosts to our native pollinators. You can see a list of Austin butterfly plants here. Sooty mold, black spot, and powdery mildew may also start to appear. Consult the Grow Green FAQ sheets for least toxic solutions. Aphids, white flies, and spider mites may also start to appear in greater numbers. Control them with regular water blasts to the undersides of leaves. Watch out for fire ants, they become more active after a rain.

MAINTENANCE

Spring bulbs will rapidly fade in the heat. Allow their foliage to completely die before lifting or cutting back. Be sure to leave grass clippings on the lawn to maintain soil organic matter. Cut back leggy herbs and perennials, deadhead flowers. Prune flowering trees, shrubs, and roses when they have completed blooming. Keep up with weeding and don’t let them go to seed. Reducing the seed bank at this time will help control weeds for the rest of the year.

IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

You can still plant eggplant and pepper transplants this month. Extend your bush bean harvests by planting a short row of seeds a week or two apart. Fertilize corn when it is one to two feet tall, and hill some soil around the corn stalk base to help anchor them. Harvest the last of your winter vegetables so that you can transition into warm-season plants. Sweet potatoes can be planted any time in April of May. Look for slips at local nurseries, from online sources, or sprout your own. Fertilize tomatoes with a water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks to encourage vigorous growth. See the full Vegetable Garden Planting Guide (en español) and Vegetable Varieties for Central Texas.

Daphne on CTG - April Gardening To-DosAs a contributor to Central Texas Gardener (CTG), Daphne Richards, County Extension Agent-Horticulture, answers questions and shares knowledge on new and tried & true plants for Central Texas.  Check out some of our favorites for April!

YouTubeWhat is Slime Mold|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener
YouTubeSterilizing plant pots|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener
YouTubeSeed starting tips|Daphne Richards|Central Texas Gardener

Get Growing!

Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher and poet wrote, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”  This handy reference will help you accomplish your gardening goals and serve as a guide for what things to do in the garden each month: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December.

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