April garden maintenance in the Southwest varies widely depending on elevation, microclimates, and other factors. Gardeners in lower elevations are enjoying warm, sunny, and dry days but frosty mornings (and possibly even snow) are still likely at higher elevations.
Either way, taking care of April gardening tasks will make your life easier as summer progresses and temperatures rise. Take a look at our Southwest garden guide for April, then check tasks off your gardening to-do list.
April Gardening Tasks in The Southwest
- Prune trees and shrubs to remove broken or damaged limbs. Also, remove limbs crossing or rubbing other limbs. At low elevations it’s safe to plant tender annuals. Wait two to four weeks in higher elevations, or until all danger of frost has passed.
- Gardeners in lower elevations can also plant vegetables such as squash, beans, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, carrots, and cucumbers. In higher elevations, wait until the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees F. (15 C.).
- Apply a 3-inch (7.5 cm.) layer of fresh mulch such as compost or shredded bark. Replenish mulch that has blown away.
- Feed perennials and roses at two week intervals. April gardening tasks should include fertilization of trees and shrubs. Spring is also a good time to plant new roses.
- As temperatures rise, increase irrigation accordingly. Deep watering is nearly always better than shallow, frequent watering. Potted plants may need water every day (or even twice) during hot weather.
- Thin apples, plums, and other deciduous fruits after fruit set to a spacing of about 6 inches (15 cm.). April gardening tasks like this will pay off with larger fruit at harvest time.
- Check plants for aphids, spider mites, and other sap sucking pests. You may be able to knock them off with a strong blast of water. Otherwise, get rid of pests with insecticidal soap spray. If you’re spraying fruits, vegetables, or herbs use a commercial product formulated for edibles. Be careful not to spray plants with insecticidal soap during the heat of the day or when the sun is directly on the plants, as the spray may cause leaf burn.
Don’t forget to add Arbor Day, the last Friday of April, to your gardening to-do list. For instance, plant a tree, go on a nature hike, or volunteer to help clean up a public park or highway.