April Showers

By: dragonflyF15 , 4:55 PM GMT on April 08, 2012

Although this Easter is beautiful, though a bit chilly compared to the unseasonable temperatures we had the past few weeks (90's!)


April to do list (Zone 4a-6a) Each category is listed in order of activity from top of the list to be done in the early month to the end of the list to be done mid-late April.

Ornamentals:
-When buying bedding plants, choose compact, bushy plants that have not begun to flower.

-Study your landscape for gaps that could be nicely filled with bulbs. Mark these spots carefully and make a note to order bulbs next August.

-Enjoy, but do not disturb the many wildflowers blooming in the woodlands.

-When Crab Apples are in bloom hardy annuals may be transplanted outdoors.

-Fertilize established roses once new growth is 2 inches long. Use a balanced formulation. Begin spraying to control black spot disease.

-Examine shrubs for winter injury. Prune all dead and weakened wood.

-Shrubs and trees best planted or transplanted in spring rather than fall, include the Butterfly Bush, Dogwood, Rose of Sharon, Black Gum, Vitex, Red Buds, Magnolias, Tulip Poplar, Birch, Ginkgo, Hawthorn and most Oaks.

-Winter mulches should be removed from Roses. Complete pruning promptly. Remove only dead wood from climbers at this time. Cultivate lightly, working in some compost or other organic matter.

-Break off rims from peat pots when transplanting seedlings, otherwise they can act as a wick to draw moisture away from the roots.

-Transplant Virgina Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) after bloom before the foliage disappears.

-Do not prune boxwoods before April 15th

-Evergreen and deciduous hedges may be sheared after mid-April. Prune the top narrower than the base so sunlight will reach the lower limbs.

-Groundcovers can be mowed to remove winter burn and tidy plants up. Raise mowers to their highest settings. Fertilize and water to encourage rapid regrowth.

-Balloon flower (Platycodon), Hardy Hibiscus, Gasplant (Dictamus albus) and some lilies are slow starters in the spring garden. Cultivate carefully to avoid injury to these tardy growers.

-Apply controls for holly leaf miner when the new leaves are just beginning to grow.

-Easter lilies past blooming can be planted outdoors. Set the bulb 3 inches deeper than they grew in the pot. Mulch well if frost occurs.

-Prune spring flowering ornamentals after they finish blooming

-Begin planting out summer bulbs such as Caladiums, Gladiolus, Acidanthera at 2 week intervals

Lawns:
-Start mowing cool season grasses at recommended heights.

-Topdress low spots and finish over seeding thin or bare patches

-Aerate turf if thatch is heavy or if soil is compacted

-Apply crabgrass preventers as the Forsythia comes to the of it's bloom period. Do not apply to areas that will be seeded

Veggies:
-Finish transplanting Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, and Cauliflower plants into the garden. High phosphorous fertilizers get transplants off to a quick start.

-Asparagus and Rhubarb harvest begins

-Finish sowing seeds of all cool season vegetables not yet planted

-Start Cucumber, Cantaloupe, Summer Squash, and Watermelon seeds indoors in peat pots

-Plastic films can be used to pre-heat the soil where warm season vegetables are to be grown.

-Plants started indoors should be hardened off outdoors in cold frames before being transplanted into the garden.

-Keep your hoe sharp! Don't allow weeds to get an early start in the garden.

-Flower stalks should be removed from Rhubarb plants if they develop.

-Handpick and destroy Asparagus beetles.

-Try an early sowing of warm season crops such as Green Beans, Summer Squash, Sweet Corn, New Zealand Spinach and Cucumber

-Thin out crowded seedling from early plantings of cool season crops such as Beets, Carrots, Lettuce, Onions, and Radish

-Sow seeds of Luffa and hard-shelled Gourds indoors in peat pots. Soak seeds overnight before planting.
-Begin setting out transplants of Tomatoes, Eggplants, Peppers and Sweet Potatoes

-Begin planting Lima Beans, Cucumbers, Melons, Okra and Watermelon

Fruits:
-A white interior latex paint may be brushed on the trunks of newly planted fruit trees to prevent sunburn. This will gradually weather in time.

-Prune Peaches and Nectarines now.

-Leaf rollers are active on Apple trees. Control as needed.

-Stink bugs and tarnished plant bugs become active on peaches.

-Wooden clothespins make useful spreaders for training young limbs. Place pins between the trunk and branch to force limbs outward at a 60 degree angle from the trunk.

-Plant bare-root or potted fruits as soon as the soil can be worked

-Remove tree wraps from fruit trees now.

-Protect bees and other pollinating insects. Do not spray insecticides on fruit trees that are blooming.

-Destroy or prune off webs of Eastern Tent Caterpillars. B.T. (Dipel) is a safe biological spray.

-Orange, jelly like galls on Cedar trees spread rust diseases to Apples, Crabapples and Hawthorns. Handpick these before they open or spray.

-Begin sprays for fire-blight susceptible Apples and Pears using agricultural streptomycin.

-Spider mites and codling months become active on Apples.

Miscellaneous:
-Termites begin swarming. Termites can be distinguished from their thick waists and straight antennae. Ants have slender waists and elbowed antennae.

-Look for Morel Mushrooms when lilacs bloom and the forest floor turns green.

-Mount a rain gauge on a post near the garden to keep track of precipitation so you can tell when to water. Most gardens need 1 inch of rain/water per week between April and September.

-Mole young are born in chambers deep underground. Best way to get rid of moles is taking away their food source (grub worms!). May take several seasons of applications to get this under control.

-Honeybees are swarming. If this is a problem for you, do not destroy, but instead contact a local Beekeeper to find a new home for these beneficial insects.

-Wasp and hornet queens begin nesting. Be careful not to get stung!

-Hummingbirds return from their winter home in Central America. Clean, stock up and get those feeders ready!

-Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems help you save water and money. Consider adding these to your garden.

Happy Gardening!


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6. ycd0108
5:12 PM GMT on April 21, 2012
Good morning Dragonfly:
Thanks for the information re: Dogwoods.
I'm afraid the older Dogwood will get full afternoon sun in summer. #4 quote well worth the posting, by the way.
I don't Facebook.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 210 Comments: 5510
5. dragonflyF15
3:23 PM GMT on April 21, 2012
Hey there weather friends, if you are looking to add me to your FB, please let me know who you are on WU. I keep getting requests, but I don't know who everyone is when you use real names :)

Member Since: February 13, 2006 Posts: 201 Comments: 2156
4. dragonflyF15
3:21 PM GMT on April 21, 2012
Just to share:
Good Karma

This is a nice reading, but short. Enjoy! Some say this is from the Dalai Lama. All it takes is a few seconds to read and a lifetime to live.

Instructions for Life

-Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
-When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
- Follow the three R’s
Respect for self,
Respect for other’s and
Responsibility for all your actions.
-Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
- Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
-Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
-When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
-Spend some time alone every day.
-Open arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
-Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
-Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
-A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
-In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
-Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
-Be gentle with the earth.
-Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
-Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
-Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
-Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
Member Since: February 13, 2006 Posts: 201 Comments: 2156
3. dragonflyF15
4:26 PM GMT on April 09, 2012
Dogwoods in nature tend to be understory trees, so they don't usually do well in full sun and prefer dappled sunlight. They have some varieties out now that are a bit more sun tolerant, but I still wouldn't plant them in a full 8 hr, esp afternoon sun location. More than likely your mature dogwood is going to stress, and with that kinda like our immune system being compromised, it can invite a host of other problems. Is it in a location where it will get full sun during the afternoon hours?

Garden Grrl: I had my first rose pop out last week, way earlier than usual! We are getting some cool weather fronts this week, so it will be interesting to see how the garden reacts. Thanks for stopping by! :)

Hope everyone had a blessed weekend! :)

Member Since: February 13, 2006 Posts: 201 Comments: 2156
2. GardenGrrl
10:34 PM GMT on April 08, 2012
All my roses are blooming great right now. Hooray for spring.

Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 294 Comments: 11790
1. ycd0108
5:15 PM GMT on April 08, 2012
I was thinking of asking you how a mature Dogwood might react to suddenly getting much more sunlight. We have cleared the big conifers but preserved the Dogwood.
Very informative blog up there. I'll print it out for Tloml 'cause she does the gardens (and most other useful things) around here.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 210 Comments: 5510

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About dragonflyF15

40yrOld Horticulturist,which means I'm a plant/tree/shrub Geek.My work revolves around Mother N and weather.I love working,playing,resting outdoors!

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