Gardening Update – April 2021

— Written By

April is the month when spring flowers are blooming and leaves start emerging! There is plenty for the mountain gardener to do.

Plants in Flower

Crabapple, Carolina Silverbell, Dogwood, Redbud, Flowering Cherry, viburnum, Pearlbush, Lilac, Carolina Rhododendron, Sweet Shrub, Piedmont Azalea,

fothergilla shrub

Native plants such as Fothergilla do well in WNC

Loropetalum, Exbury Azalea, Spirea, Pieris, Evergreen Azaleas, Kerria (Easter Rose), Drooping Leucothoe, Weigela, Wisteria, Periwinkle, Ajuga, Candytuft,
Violets, Columbine, Trillium, Flags (Dwarf Iris), Bloodroot, Bleeding Heart, Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Anemone and Siberian Squill.

What to Fertilize

  • Fertilize shrubs if not done in March.
  • Once you can determine whether your fruit trees have any fruit, you can decide how much fertilizer to give them.

What to Plant

native rhododendron

Native rhododendron is one our best native mountain plants.

  • Many gardeners prefer to transplant azaleas in April so they can group the
    plants according to their flower color.
  • The following vegetables can be planted this month: beets, cabbage, Chinese
    cabbage, Swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, and potatoes.

What to Prune

  • Prune spring-flowering plants like azalea, lilac, forsythia, spirea, and
    weigela after the flowers fade.
  • Prune berry producing shrubs like holly and pyracantha while in flower to
    prevent complete removal of all of this season’s berries.
  • If needed, trim spring flowering trees like Bradford pear, flowering cherry and redbud.
  • Cut out any winter damage that may have occurred this year.

Pest Outlook

carpenter bee in a flower

Try to avoid using pesticides if at all possible to protect native bees and other beneficial insects.

  • Observe the following landscape shrubs for the following insect pests: azalea-lacebug, rhododendron-stem borer, boxwood-leaf miner, euonymus-scale, hemlock-wooly adelgid, and juniper-spruce mites and spray as needed.
  • Watch broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower for caterpillars. Use an organic product containing BT if control is necessary.
  • Observe your squash plants at first bloom near the base of the stem to control squash vine borer. Cover stems with straw to protect them.
  • Spray your apple and other fruit trees with following this organic spray guide.
  • Scout for pests regularly. Use all non-pesticide control tactics first saving pesticides as a last resort.

Lawn Care (see our calendar here)

  • Tune up your mower and weed trimmer!
  • Maintain mowing height of fescue and bluegrass at 3 inches.
  • Do NOT fertilize cool season lawns such as tall fescue or Kentucky bluegrass anymore this spring.


  • This is a good time to layer new plants by lowering a branch of your favorite shrubs and covering it with soil and a stone. Plants such as forsythia and azalea layer easily.

Specific Chores

  • Visit your local garden centers and nurseries to see what plants and products are available.
  • Mulch all of your landscape plants as needed. Pine needles, hardwood mulch, and pine bark are good mulches.
  • Prepare labels for all new plants and keep records on how well they perform.

Written By

Steve Pettis, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionSteve Pettis, Jr.Extension Agent, Agriculture - Consumer and Commercial Horticulture Call Steve E-mail Steve N.C. Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center
Updated on Apr 1, 2021
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