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April Gardening Tips

David Hillock, Consumer Horticulturist

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

Division Of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

  • Fruit and Nut


    Don’t spray insecticides during fruit tree bloom or pollination may be affected. Disease sprays can continue according to schedule and label directions. (EPP-7319)


    Control cedar-apple rust. When the orange jelly galls are visible on juniper (cedar) following a rain, begin treating apple and crabapple trees with a fungicide. (EPP-7319, EPP-7611)


    Fire blight bacterial disease can be controlled at this time. Plant disease-resistant varieties to avoid diseases.


    Continue spray schedules for disease prone fruit and pine trees.

  • Trees/Shrubs


    Proper watering of newly planted trees and shrubs often means the difference between success and replacement.


    Remove any winter-damaged branches or plants that have not begun to grow. Prune spring flowering plants as soon as they are finished blooming. (HLA-6404, HLA-6409)


    Control of powdery mildew disease can be done with early detection and regular treatment. Many new plant cultivars are resistant. (EPP-7617)


    Leaf spot diseases can cause premature death of foliage and reduce plant vigor.

  • Lawn

    Warm-season grass lawns can be established beginning late April from sprigs, plugs or sod. (HLA-6419)


    Fertilizer programs can begin for warm-season grasses in April. The following recommendations are to achieve optimum performance and appearance of commonly grown species in Oklahoma.

          - Zoysiagrass: 3 lbs N/1,000 sq. ft./year

          - Bahiagrass: 3 lbs N/1,000 sq. ft./year

          - Buffalograss: 2 - 3 lbs N/1,000 sq. ft./year

          - Buffalograss/grama mixes: 3 lbs N/1,000 sq. ft./year

          - Bermudagrass: 4-6 lbs N/1,000 sq. ft./year

          - Centipedegrass: 2 lbs N/1,000 sq. ft./year

          - St. Augustinegrass: 3-6 lbs N/1,000 sq. ft./year

    When using quick release forms of fertilizer, use one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. per application; water in nitrate fertilizers. (HLA-6420)


    Mowing of warm-season lawns can begin now (HLA-6420). Cutting height for bermudagrass and zoysiagrass should be 1 to 1½ inches high, and buffalograss 1½ to 3 inches high.


    Damage from Spring Dead Spot Disease (SDS) becomes visible in bermudagrass (HLA-7665). Perform practices that promote grass recovery. Do not spray fungicides at this time for SDS control.


    Grub damage can be visible in lawns at this time. Check for the presence of grubs before ever applying any insecticide treatments. Apply appropriate soil insecticide if white grubs are a problem. Water product into soil. (EPP-7306)

  • Vegetables

    Wait a little longer for it to warm up before planting cucurbit crops and okra.


    Plant vegetable crops in successive plantings to ensure a steady supply of produce rather than harvesting all at once.


    Cover cucurbit crops with a floating row cover to keep out insect pests. Remove during bloom time.


    Watch for cutworm damage and add flea beetle scouting to your list of activities in the vegetable garden.

    Garden Planting Guide for Warm Season Vegetables

  • Flowers

    Most bedding plants, summer flowering bulbs, and annual flower seeds can be planted after danger of frost. This happens around mid-April in most of Oklahoma. Hold off mulching these crops until spring rains subside and soil temperatures warm up. Warm-season annuals should not be planted until soil temperatures are in the low to mid 60s.


    Harden off transplants outside in partial protection from sun and wind prior to planting.


    Let spring flowering bulb foliage remain as long as possible before removing it.

  • Landscape and General

    Hummingbirds arrive in Oklahoma in early April. Get your feeders ready using 1-part sugar to 4-parts water. Do not use red food coloring.


    Keep the bird feeder filled during the summer and help control insects at the same time.


    Lace bugs, aphids, spider mites, bagworms, etc. can start popping up in the landscape and garden later this month. Keep a close eye on all plants and use mechanical, cultural, and biological control options first.


    Be alert for both insect pests and predators. Some pests can be hand picked without using a pesticide. Do not spray if predators such as lady beetles are present. Spray only when there are too few predators to be effective.

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