Residential Lawn & Garden

Gardening Almanac

April

What to Plant in April

Flowers

Annuals: Ageratum, Alyssum, Amaranthus, Asters, Balsam, Browallia, Celosia, Cleome, Calliopsis, Coleus, Cosmos, Crossandra, Dahlberg Daisy, Dusty Miller, Gazania, Gomphrena, Impatiens, Marigold, Melampodium, Mexican Sunflower, Morning Glory, Nasturtium, Nierembergia, Nicotiana, Ornamental Pepper, Periwinkle/Vinca, Portulaca, Salvia, Silk Flower, Strawflower, Sunflower, Torenia, Verbena, Wax Begonia, Zinnia.

Vegetables

Pole Beans, Lima Beans, Collards, Cantaloupes, Okra, Southern Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Summer Spinach, Peanuts, Jerusalem Artichokes, Watermelon.

Herbs and Spices

Anise, Basil, Bay Laurel, Borage, Caraway, Cardamon, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro/Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Ginger, Horehound, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mexican Tarragon, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.

Bulbs

Achimenes, African Lily, Amaryllis, amazon Lily, Aztec Lily, Blackberry Lily, Blood Lily, Caladium, Canna, Crinum, Crocosmia, Dahlia, Elephant Ears, Gingers,Gladiolus, Gloriosa Lily, Kaffir Lily, Lilies, Louisiana Iris, Moraea, Rain Lilies, Society Garlic, Spider Lily, Watsonia, Walking Iris.

What to Do in April

For more details on the following, call your local Extension office or visit the University of Florida’s publication website: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 

Plant and fertilize annuals. (See January)

Watch for lacebug infestations. (See March)

Spray roses to prevent black spot and powdery mildew disease. (See March)

Control lawn weeds. Selectively spray winter weeds with a post-emergent weed killer labeled for your type of grass. Temperatures will soon become too hot to use many weed killers.

Water wisely. April is typically dry. Ornamental plants and fruit trees need 1 inch of water or rain per week. Lawns need 1/2 - 3/4 inches of water when 30% to 50% of the lawn shows signs of wilt (blue-gray color, folded blades). Place a few shallow cans or glasses in each irrigation zone and measure how much water your sprinklers apply. (This is a good way to make sure brown or dying areas are getting enough water.) Adjust your timer and sprayers accordingly.

Remove thatch from lawns. Thatch, a layer of organic matter, builds up between the soil and grass blades. Thick thatch can cause mowing and pest problems. Verticut St. Augustine and Bermuda lawns, power rake Bahia lawns.

Seed, sod or plug lawns. New or existing Bahia lawns can be seeded now. Buy "scarified" seed to increase germination rate. Apply at a rate of 5 to 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Sod or plug new or damaged lawns.

Correct yellowing (iron deficiency) in Bahia lawns. The green color will eventually return as the growth rate slows. Meanwhile apply a spray of ferrous sulfate (2 ounces in 3-5 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet) or a product with chelated iron. This will green-up the yard without encouraging excess growth.

Prune and fertilize spring flowering shrubs. Established plants benefit from several light prunings early in the spring season. Pruning, coupled with fertilization, will produce full, well-branched plants.

Watch for signs of turf insects; treat if necessary. Chinch Bugs attack St. Augustine lawns and cause brownish dry patches. Sunny areas of the lawn usually are attacked first. Mole crickets breaststroke through the soil, damaging grass roots. Sod webworms feed at night by chewing grass in concentrated areas (Note: Webs in the lawn indicate harmless spiders, not webworms). To test for the presence of these pests: Add 1½ ounces of dishwashing detergent (lemon-scented is best) to a 2-gallon sprinkling can full of water and drench a 2 foot by 2 foot area of lawn. Observe the area for about two minutes. If present, chinch bugs, caterpillars or mole crickets will be flushed to the surface. Treat the affected area and a 5-foot buffer around it. It is not necessary to spray the entire lawn.

Spray cucumbers, squash and melons. Both powdery and downy mildew diseases severely affect plants in the Cucurbit family. Leaves look scalded and progressively die. Preventative sprays of fungicides labeled for these diseases are recommended.

Control thrips on gardenia, roses and gladiolus. Flower thrips cause bud drop and discoloration of the petals. Spray every 7 to 10 days with any insecticide labeled for thrips on that particular plant.

Sidedress vegetable plants with fertilizer. Two or three applications of fertilizer are desirable during the growing season unless a slow release fertilizer was originally applied (See March). Apply 1 to 2 pounds of 6-6-6 or 6-8-8 , or similar fertilizer per 100 feet or row.

Fertilize outdoor potted plants. Soluble fertilizers should be applied frequently during the spring and summer months. Or a slow release fertilizer, such as Osmocote can be applied once or twice during the season.

Celebrate National Arbor Day. The last Friday in April is National Arbor Day. Plant a tree or palm. Dig the planting hole at least width of the root ball. Position the plant at the same depth (or slightly higher) than it was growing in the pot or ground. Remove all wraps from the root ball. Backfill the hole with soil and water as you go. Mulch well and water again. Stake if necessary.

 

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