Timely Tasks

clock_LGHere are the most critical of all the April gardening responsibilities. Hope the list is of help.

Plant: Maybe this week’s cold was the last really bad cold snap of the season. With that in mind, top things to plant in early to mid-April include full-sun annuals moss rose, purslane, trailing lantanas, pentas, Dahlberg daisy, cosmos, celosias, small-flowering zinnias, marigolds, firebush, copper plant, cleome, purple fountaingrass, ornamental sweet potatoes and amaranthus. Shade annuals including coleus, impatiens, nicotiana, caladiums, elephant ears, begonias. Tropical annuals you’ll want to plant now in South Texas and in a few weeks in North Texas include crotons, allamanda, Gold Star esperanza, mandevilla, sea hibiscus, tropical hibiscus, poinciana, Mexican heather. Warm-season vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, melons, corn, cucumbers, followed a couple of weeks later by eggplant, okra, southern peas and sweet potatoes. Nurseries have outstanding selections of trees and shrubs now. Let your Texas Master Certified Nursery Professional advise you on the best choices for your landscape.

Prune: Wait 5 to 7 days before trimming any branches of shrubs that appear to have been damaged by the cold. Those branches may sprout out with new leaves very quickly now that it’s warming again. Mow grass at the recommended height to keep it low and dense. Tall grass soon weakens due to competition for sunlight. Spring-blooming shrubs and vines as needed to shape, immediately after they finish flowering.

Fertilize: Lawns and landscape plants, also vegetables to promote vigorous growth. Soil tests usually suggest all-nitrogen plant foods for clay soils, and high-nitrogen (4-1-2 ratio as example) for sandy soils. Choose quality fertilizer with half or more of its nitrogen in slow-release form. Container plants with diluted, water-soluble plant food with each watering.

On the Lookout: Lawns for broadleafed weeds (clover, dandelions, dichondra and others). Apply broadleafed weedkiller spray containing 2,4-D. Slugs and snails feed at night, and slime trails are often visible. Treat with bait or dust. Thrips may cause rose buds to singe around petals’ edges and fail to open. Systemic rose insecticide will eliminate. Broccoli, cabbage leaves that have been riddled by cabbage loopers. Control with B.t. biological worm spray or dust. Euonymus, Chinese photinias, zinnias, crape myrtles, roses and other plants affected by powdery mildew. Keep foliage dry and provide best possible air circulation. Apply labeled fungicide.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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