Peabody Preserve

Peabody Preserve

Butterfly on coneflower

Butterfly on coneflower

Timely Tips

What to Do April, 2024
Weekly Gardening Timely Tips from
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County

April 20 to 26

Perennials: Lavender has become increasingly popular with the advent of hardier varieties, though it still may be relatively short lived in the Hudson Valley. These plants require full sun and well-drained soil, and even with optimal conditions, they may eventually become straggly. To promote fullness, lavender may be cut back to approximately 6 inches above the lowest new growth. If the plants don’t recover well or continue to look thin, consider replacing older plants with new, or choosing a different species that is better adapted to the site.

Flowers: Continue to sow seeds of hardy annuals (alyssum, dusty miller, marigold, etc.) outdoors. You can also plant seedlings of these hardy annuals now.

Fruits and Vegetables: Continue to plant and transplant cool-season vegetables, again waiting to plant cauliflower and broccoli until nighttime temperatures are consistently at or above 50°F. Container vegetables can be convenient and practical, arranged in a pleasing way, and grown on a deck or patio with at least six hours of sun. Choose compact varieties. Make sure to use a potting mix (not topsoil) in a good size pot, preferably with a water reservoir.

Trees and Shrubs: You can prune early flowering shrubs that have finished blooming, as well as late-flowering shrubs such as butterfly bush, hydrangea and Rose of Sharon. Remove a few of the oldest stems to encourage new growth and those that are very small or thin. Take no more than ¼ to ⅓ of the total growth in a given season.

Lawns: At this time of year, the grass may be growing fast. The more it is mowed, the faster it may grow. To regulate grass growth and slow it down, consider mowing every two weeks. Leave clippings on the lawn unless they form clumps. If you have to pick up clumps, add them to a compost pile, mixing in carbon sources (shredded paper or leaves) as you go.

Houseplants: Continue to shape plants that have grown leggy.

Earth Day is Monday. To create earth friendly practices for the garden and lawn: increase native plantings, reduce lawn area and pesticide use, save water, and improve the soil with compost if needed. Identify and remove invasive plants before they take over. Contact your local Cooperative Extension for advice.

Do you know how to tell a friendly insect from a pest?Learn how at the next Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester 2024 Home Gardening Webinar Lecture Series: Recognizing Insect Natural Enemies of Pests with Dr. Amara Dunn-Silver, Biocontrol Specialist with the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, Cornell University.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024, from 10 to 11 am, remote on Zoom, $5.

For more information, contact or 914-285-4620. See

web counter


Amy Albam
Horticulture Educator/Master Gardener Program Coordinator

Last updated April 19, 2024