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Spring Gardening: April Garden Checklist Zones 9-11

Signs of spring are everywhere throughout the month of April, particularly in Zones 9-11. Much like the birds are darting this way and that while prepping their spring nests, gardeners are preparing their yards and gardens for new life. It’s a busy month for gardeners, as spring signals the gateway to the gardening season!

Check out some of the things you can do in the garden this month and add them to your April garden checklist to ensure a phenomenal growing season full of bountiful crops and beauteous blooms.

Gardener mulching with pine bark juniper plants in the yard. Seasonal works in the garden

Stock Up on Garden Supplies

It’s a delightful time to go shopping for garden supplies!  Garden centers and nurseries should be putting out this year’s gardening tools, supplies, summer bulbs, dry root fruits and vegetables, fruit trees, hanging baskets, and bedding plants. Peruse the aisles and snatch up some of the most sought-after items on your April garden checklist while the shelves are fully stocked.

  • Pick up some organic fertilizer for your lawn and garden beds.
  • If any tools were beyond repair, have gone missing, or you have longed to acquire, now is the time to do it!
  • Purchase irrigation supplies such as hoses, timers, and drip irrigation systems.
  • Once you get your soil test results, you can gather some soil amendments to boost your soil’s performance.
  • If you haven’t acquired seeds yet or need more, you can be sure to have them on time by purchasing them at your local nursery or garden center-the same goes for seed starting supplies.
  • Summer bulbs such as Gladiolus, Elephant Ears, Cannas, Lilies, and Dahlias will be fully stocked on store shelves now. You can start planting them this month!
  • Bare root plants are also most plentifully stocked at this time. You’ll have the best options to pick from this month. This includes roses, strawberries, rhubarb, berry bushes, fruit trees, seed potatoes, and other favorites.
  • Plants and shrubs will be found in multitudes on nursery shelves. If you have made lists of some of the new plants that you’ve dreamed of having in your garden spaces, add them to your cart while the varieties are at their peak availability.

How To Prepare and Maintain the Garden

It is best to have garden beds prepped and ready to go so that you can put on your April garden checklist what plants you want to fill the space. Be aware that the ground is waking up, and if rain has been prevalent in your area, avoid walking or driving on your garden when the soil is saturated. Compressing the soil with weight will result in soil compaction, leading to many problems in the garden bed.

Here are some housekeeping items on the April Garden Checklist Zones 9-11 that will enhance your spring gardens’ productivity.

General April Garden To-Do List

  • If you planted vegetable garden cover crops, cut them back and turn them into the soil prior to planting.
  • It’s time to turn your compost pile, start a new compost heap, and add compost around your plants.
  • Proactively set out sticky traps to catch common insect pests like Whiteflies, Aphids, Leaf Miners, and Thrips.
  • Pull up early weeds before they establish themselves or use organic weed control methods to eliminate them.
  • If you planned to use a drip irrigation system, begin setting things up.
  • Don’t forget about your lawn. Keep it thriving by aerating and overseeding grasses. Have your lawn soil tested for pH and fertilize accordingly with an organic fertilizer.
  • Divide and transplant perennials that have overtaken their space in the garden beds.
  • Assess if your spring bulbs will need dividing. Make a note in your garden journal. Digging up and division of bulbs should only be done after the foliage has withered and browned.
  • Plant your summer flowering bulbs and dry root plantings.
  • Wash out your planters and containers and fill them with premium potting soil.
  • Spread an organic fertilizer around shrubs and perennials. Be sure to use an organic fertilizer to treat the soil and microbial life rather than just the plants.

Spring Garden Pruning

  • Prune flowering shrubs after they have finished blooming.
  • Do a hard pruning of overgrown shrubs.
  • Pull out any partially dead shrubs or do a hard prune in an attempt to rejuvenate the plant.
  • Cut back spring ground covers like carpet phlox after they have finished blooming.
  • Check plants regularly for signs of pests and disease. Prune damaged limbs and dead portions of shrubs.
  • If a plant needs to be relocated, now is the time to do it.
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green bird house in a tree surrounded by pink flowers

Mulching and Amending the Garden

It’s a great time to start mulching and amending, so add it to your April garden checklist. Just as mulch insulated your garden beds over the winter, it will keep your plant roots cool as the temperatures begin to heat up. Adding a couple of inches of mulch to your garden beds can also help stomp out reseeding weeds and regulate moisture.

Once your soil test results are in, add compost and any other necessary amendments to help build healthier soil.  Support microbial life by using organic fertilizers and mulches. These actions will bolster your soil and prevent propagating spring weeds from overtaking your garden before your gardens are in full swing.

Take Care of the Wildlife in Your Yard

Don’t forget about the wildlife throughout the month of April. One of the most enjoyable parts of spring for many gardeners is watching the birds darting around and hearing their sweet songs. Inviting birds to your backyard helps create a wildlife habitat significantly helps control the insect population, which can protect your plants. Be sure to add these tasks to your April garden checklist!

  • Fill up some bird feeders or hang some suet and watch the array of birds that flock to the feast.
  • Do a thorough cleaning of bird feeders and birdbaths.
  • Fill birdbaths with fresh, clean water.
  • Add a birdhouse or two to help provide a safe new home for nesting.

Outdoor Spring Garden Planting

Outdoor planting of seeds and transplants is in full swing for gardeners in Zones 9-11. Always check with your local extension center for the best planting times in your area. Once you have prepped soil with amendments and weeds have been pulled, you can start sowing seeds outdoors.

Sow seeds for vegetables such as:

  • Beets
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • Watermelon
  • Melon

Additionally, by early to mid-April, you can transplant tender vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and more outdoors. Always harden off seedlings to allow them to acclimate before planting outdoors. In Zones 9-11, that may mean protecting young plants from too much direct sunlight or garden pests.

Farmer holding fresh organic carrots

Harvest Winter Garden Vegetables

If you planted for late winter or early spring harvest, you can relish in a healthy yield of plenty of cooler weather varieties of vegetables and herbs. Spring harvests always depend on the time of planting.

Gardeners in these zones can continue to harvest things such as:

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Peas
  • Leeks
  • Parsnips
  • Swiss Chard
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Fennel
  • Chervil
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Onions

Share The Garden Love


green birdhouse hanging from tree.
man holding harvested carrots

4 Comments

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    • Hi Jeleta, we’re so sorry to hear that you’re experiencing issues with our soil. There are a few ways to reduce soil compaction; gentle, even watering, amending your soil with organic matter, and mulching your containers.

      – Water with a gentle spray on your hose setting. If you are watering with too intense of a spray, this can pound down on the soil and result in compaction.
      – Amend your garden soil with organic soil amendments using the layering method. You can also add things like compost, worm castings, earthworms, well-decomposed poultry manure, grass clippings, pumice, and more. These amendments will seep into the soil over time, significantly improving the soil structure.
      – Add mulch to the garden beds to reduce the impact of heavy rain and add a cushion of protection to the soil beneath. Over time, the mulch will break down and improve the soil considerably.

      To learn more about soil compaction and how to avoid and fix it, please check out this blog post: https://www.kellogggarden.com/blog/gardening/everything-to-know-about-soil-compaction/. If you have any questions, we’re happy to help.

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