Timely Tips: April 2015

clock_LGHere are the most critical projects for this wonderful month of the year.

Plant: Warm-season annual flowers as cool-season types like pansies and ornamental cabbage and kale decline. Perennials from 6-inch and 1-gallon pots into well-prepared garden beds. Warm-season vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, squash, melons, cucumbers and eggplant and, later, okra, southern peas and sweet potatoes. Warm-season lawngrasses, including bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia. Herbs of the dozens of different types. Container plants for the patio and entryway. Use highest quality potting soil and long-lasting plants. Overgrown houseplants can be repotted into larger containers and set outdoors in a shaded location. However, you might want to wait another couple of weeks for any additional cold and windy weather to have a chance to pass by.

Prune: Azaleas, quince, bridal wreath, forsythia, wisteria and Carolina jessamine immediately after they finish blooming. Reshape the plants so they can retain compact forms. “Pinch” growing tips out of plants that get lanky, to keep them more compact, including mums, fall asters, copper plants, coleus, salvias. Low limbs that cast excessive shade on turf areas can be removed now. Seal cut ends of oaks to prevent entry of diseases. Remove errant branches from elaeagnus, Lady Banksia roses, abelias and other plants that send out vigorous shoots.

Fertilize: Apply high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen fertilizer for burst of growth in lawn. Same food will work well with crape myrtles, althaeas, also spring-flowering shrubs and vines that have finished blooming. Container plants with timed-release product, also with water-soluble product. Add iron and sulfur supplements to correct chlorosis (yellowed leaves with dark green veins, most prominent on newest growth). Keep all iron products off surfaces that could be stained.

On the Lookout: Caterpillars can quickly devour foliage. Use Bacillus thuringiensis (“B.t.”) for looping types, and either Sevin or B.t. for types that do not arch their backs as they move. Continue weekly rose sprays for blackspot and powdery mildew. Be on the lookout for rose rosette disease (see story this issue). Continue fruit sprays for insect and disease prevention. Fungal leaf spots can be controlled with a broad-spectrum fungicide. Control snails, slugs and pillbugs with Sevin dust or baits. Apply “broadleafed” weedkiller spray to control any weed that isn’t a grass, notably bur clover, dandelions, thistles, dichondra and poison ivy.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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