Alsip Home & Nursery Gardening Calendar for April

  • Add 1 to 2 inches of good quality compost to your planting beds this spring. This will help break up heavy clay soils as well as adding fertility and beneficial nutrients to new or existing beds.
  • Get a head start on summer bulbs now. Bulbs such as cannas, begonias, caladium, and dahlias can be potted and placed near a furnace vent, water regularly, this will give them a jump start before transplanting outside. Summer bulbs from Netherland Bulb are available now while supplies last.
  • Add a layer of fresh mulch while plants are small. When mulching around trees do not push mulch against the base of the tree or shrub, leave a gap of 4 inches. Mulch can cause the tree bark to soften and rot.
  • Set peony rings when stems are 12” tall. Remove side buds for larger main blooms.
  • Increase flowering on Rhododendrons by pinching back the tips of new leaf growth. Fertilize with Espoma Holly-Tone per instructions.
  • If reusing containers wash with one part bleach solution to 8 parts hot water; allow them to dry in the sun.  Do not reuse the potting soil.
  • Prevent crabgrass in your lawn.  Now is the time to apply your first step of fertilizer with a crabgrass pre-emergent.  Alsip recommends Jonathan Green for the best results.
  • Want to prevent weeds in your flower beds and vegetable garden?  Then this is the perfect time to begin applying Preen to these areas, this will keep your beds and gardens weed free for weeks.  After your planting is all finished then apply another round of Preen – this will keep you weed free until fall.
  • Prune roses now.  It is best to prune them the first couple weeks in April.
  • This is a great time to put down some soaker hoses.   Snake them through your flower beds and/or vegetable gardens.  Put them just under the soil surface for easier watering later in the summer.  This will make watering much easier and also conserve water.
  • Attact hummingbird arrivals. The northern parts of Illinois and Indiana start to see the arrival of hummingbirds from the first part of April through the middle of the month. Hummingbird feeders should be placed outside the last week of March to make sure any early birds can access the food.

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