Gardening Tips for April

With cooler weather behind us and the prospect of higher temperatures ahead, here’s a garden checklist for the month of April.

As your lawns, plants, trees and shrubs start their growth season, fertilize using a plant food high in nitrogen.  For new plantings, use a root stimulator to promote a healthy root structure and vigorous growth.  On your vegetable garden, use a fertilizer with a high phosphate content as this too encourages strong root growth.

On your lawns we recommend using McDade’s balanced 16-4-12 fertilizer blend for best results in the Cedar Creek Lake area.

If your are laying new sod this spring, like St Augustine, it’s best to wait until it has been mown 2 or 3 times and the root system is established  before feeding with a fertilizer.

As the soil temperature begins to rise, summer vegetable crops like beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers,  watermelon, eggplant, okra, peppers, pumpkins and squash can be planted.

In your flower beds that receive bright sunlight, you can plant color annuals like petunias, pentas, vinca (periwinkles), purslane, portulaca, verbena and zinnia.  For areas in the shade consider azaleas, hostas, impatiens, nicotiana and ferns.

If you want to attract birds and butterflies, plant milkweed, butterfly bush, red yucca, zinnia, hibiscus, lantana, salvia and vines like trumpet, passion and honeysuckle.

Be on the lookout for snails, slugs, fungi and other pests, especially on tender new growth.  Apply a fungicide to control black spot and powdery mildew on plants if you see signs of infestation.  Both chemical and organic treatments are available.

Later in the month, as the soil begins to dry out remember to maintain a regular watering schedule.  A deep morning watering twice a week is recommended.  Pay special attention to plants in hanging baskets and containers as they can dry out quickly especially in warm and windy conditions.

Remember to mulch around shrubs, newly planted trees and in all your beds to conserve moisture.  Cedar mulch in your vegetable garden acts as a natural insect repellent.

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