April To-Do List

Find out what our HGTV experts are up to this month in their gardens.

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©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo by Julie A. Martens

Photo By: Image courtesy of potterymarketnc.com

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo by Mick Telkamp

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ball Horticultural Company

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of St. Lynn's Press

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Longfield Gardens

Tend Perennials

I will cut down dry perennial stems I had left in place through winter. I’ll cut Russian sage and butterfly bush back to only 18 inches, though, in case a late frost arrives. I’ll prune them to their ideal 6 to 12 inches after mid-May.—Julie Martens//Frostburg, Maryland

Tackle Weeds Early

To keep weed seeds from germinating, I apply Preen, a pre-emergent herbicide, to gravel areas like the dry creek bed, driveway edges and around the shed.—Julie Martens

Stake the Daffodils

I insert metal hoop stakes (bottoms I cut off tomato cages using bolt cutters) around early season daffodils to keep stems upright during blustery April showers.—Julie Martens

Remove Mulch From Garlic

I pull the heavy winter mulch off fall-planted garlic so shoots can soak up sunshine.—Julie Martens

Plant Brussels Sprouts and Kale

As soon as I see plants for sale, I’ll plant Brussels sprouts and Tuscan kale seedlings in the vegetable garden, and sow lettuce seeds in pots. I tuck onions and potatoes into the garden, too.—Julie Martens

Top-Dress Beds

I top-dress perennial beds with a poultry manure-based, slow-release fertilizer. I also add a fresh compost layer to raspberries, roses and clematis this month.—Julie Martens

Eat the Weeds!

I gather a few weeds—young dandelions and chickweed—to add to spring salads.—Julie Martens [Editor's note: Be cautioned that some wild plants can be poisonous, and poisonous plants sometimes resemble edible plants which often grow side by side. It is the responsibility of the reader, or the reader’s parent or guardian, to correctly identify and use the edible plants described. HGTV does not guarantee the accuracy of the content provided in this article and is not liable for any injury resulting from use of any information provided.]

Move Houseplants Outdoors

I gradually move my houseplants outdoors, letting them acclimate to the wind, sun and temperatures. -Lynn Coulter/Atlanta, Georgia

Add Lime

Add some lime to my lawn.- Lynn Coulter [Editor's Note: Lime added to acidic soils will help balance the pH level, and make the lawn more receptive to added nutrients and better able to fight disease.]

Freshen Mulch

It’s breaking down and compacting, so I’ll add a fluffy, new layer to help prevent weeds from springing up.- Lynn Coulter

Uncover Herbs

I uncover any herbs that are trying to re-sprout in my garden, so they’ll get lots of sun.- Lynn Coulter 

Trim Forsythia

I trim my forsythia bushes when the flowers die back.- Lynn Coulter

Deadhead Any Daffodils

Deadhead any daffodils or other bulbs that have finished blooming. But I’ll leave the foliage to absorb sunshine and help make more flowers for next year.- Lynn Coulter

Organize Canning Equipment

Canning season is right around the corner. Time to make sure equipment is in good working order and I have an ample supply of jars and lids to preserve the bounty ahead.—Mick Telkamp/Raleigh, North Carolina

Source Egg Cartons

Longer days mean the chickens have returned to high egg production. Time to hit up friends and neighbors for their empty cartons. With a promise of fresh eggs on their doorstep, they are happy to oblige.—Mick Telkamp

Till the Garden

The garden soil will get a good turn to work in the nitrogen-rich chicken manure applied at the end of last season.—Mick Telkamp

Reconnect the Rain Barrel

Time to clean out any debris and reconnect the fittings. Once I got into the habit of using the rain barrel to water the garden, it has become an integral part of my gardening routine.—Mick Telkamp

Mapping the Garden

Crop rotation is especially important this year after dealing with some tomato plant disease last summer. We try to keep good records and rotate crops to get the most out of our soil.—Mick Telkamp

Lawn Mower Tune-Up

Time to make sure the spark plug is clean, the oil is changed and the mower is in top condition to tend to a lawn finally turning green.—Mick Telkamp

Begin a Post-Winter Clean-Up

Dewinterize: clean up the garden shed, pull hoses out, oil and clean tools, hose off cushions and patio furniture. Dream of warmer days ahead because the ground is still too frozen to work in the garden.—Kim Visokey/Winnetka, Illinois

Tend to Roses

Later this month I plan to remove protective mulch around the base of rose bushes. I will also be picking up broken branches and winter debris.—Kim Visokey

Plan Container Colors

I will be planning out color scheme and plant combinations for accent containers. Gardening in zone 5 still too early to shop for plant material.—Kim Visokey

Spruce Up Containers

Toward the end of the month, I’ll be removing spent winter annuals from my container gardens, replenishing the soil with fresh new soilless mix, and scrubbing the outsides of the pots in preparation for planting summer annuals in May.—Danny Flanders/Atlanta, Georgia

Plant Heuchera and Hosta for Shady Spot

I’ve already got a heuchera growing in a pot and I love it, so I’d like to plant some more in addition to hosta, which is another good shade plant. I’m also heavy-handed on the watering can, so anything that loves moisture is a plus for me. I have a chocolate mint plant growing that I thought didn’t survive our extra cold winter, but it’s started growing back now that the weather has started breaking.—Jessica Yonker/Atlanta, Georgia

Hang Strawberries

I’m purchasing a hanging basket that I’m going to plant some strawberries in—because of my shady, ground-level porch, I’m hoping hanging the plants a little higher will help them catch some extra rays and keep the fruit away from the critters.—Jessica Yonker

Feed Roses

I will continue to feed the soil beneath my roses if I haven't already gotten to all of them. I will also watch new growth on roses for aphids which are a big problem in spring.—Dee Nash/Guthrie, Oklahoma

Mulch With Leaves

I'll mulch the garden with chopped oak leaves we shredded last fall. We get two sets of leaf fall from our native oak trees, and nothing is better for our soil than these used as mulch.—Dee Nash

Plant Dahlias and Gladiolus

I'll plant summer bulbs like dahlias and gladiolus in bare spots in the garden.—Dee Nash

Plant Edibles

I will set out tomatoes, peppers and eggplant after the last frost date which for us is April 20. If the weather looks warmer, and there isn't a freeze in the forecast, I may do it earlier.—Dee Nash

Sowing Seeds

I'll be sowing seeds for green beans, corn and summer squash as soon as soil temperatures are greater than 65 Fahrenheit.—Dee Nash

Promoting My Book

Part of my spring will be spent promoting my new book, The 20-30 Something Garden Guide, at destinations across the country.—Dee Nash

Marking Bulbs

I have put little marked sticks beside the spring bulbs I want to find later to divide, after they have had time to make next year's flower buds before their foliage goes dormant.—Felder Rushing/Jackson, Mississippi

Cleaning Water Features

I am bailing out my water gardens, getting dead leaves and other nasty sunken stuff out before refilling with fresh water in time to help my garden toads and frogs in their aquatic breeding season.—Felder Rushing

Tending Houseplants

I am taking fingers and clippers to my overwintered potted plants, removing dead or weak stems and getting the plants ready to set back out on a shaded porch for summer.—Felder Rushing

Screen Compost

I built a frame to hold half-inch hardware cloth for screening big bits and other debris from my compost as I harvest it to add to spring flowerbed soil.—Felder Rushing 

Clean Bottle Tree

While cleaning my windows to better enjoy the spring sunshine, I took the glass cleaner and rag to my bottle trees and other garden glass art to make it sparkle!—Felder Rushing

Plan Woodland Garden

Using spray paint, I laid out where I want to break up some of my concrete drive (before it gets too hot) for creating a new woodland garden with trees and ferns and other shade plants this summer.—Felder Rushing

Aerate the Lawn

I'm giving the lawn a good raking to remove dead thatch. I'll also aerate and reseed the bald spots in the lawn.—Melissa Caughey/Osterville, Massachusetts

Planting Pansies

I'm cleaning out planters and visiting local garden centers to pick up some pansies.—Melissa Caughey

Enjoying the Hellebores

I'm going to be enjoying the small patch of blooming hellebores in my garden.—Melissa Caughey

Planting Gladiolus

My dream is a cut flower garden and the Glaminis gladiolus from Longfield Gardens are going to help set me on my way. The short, sturdy stems mean the flowers don't have to be staked and with flowers that last for almost three weeks, I should be in blooms for some time.—Felicia Feaster/Atlanta, Georgia

Plant Ornamentals With Edibles

My vegetable garden is forced to follow the sun in my front yard (pictured above). So this year I am determined to make my raised bed vegetable garden not only functional, but beautiful. I'm looking for ways to integrate ornamentals with my edibles to make these beds prettier.—Felicia Feaster