April is an unpredictable month: some years Spring explodes in all its glory, while other years Winter just won’t give up and the seasons swing back and forth between cold and mild. Often this includes a late season snowstorm coming right after pleasant, balmy days.
The lure of the garden is too hard too resist for most, and between the bloom of the daffodils and the early blooming trees and shrubs, one has to get out and start working in the dirt! Here’s some of what’s in store:
– Continue pulling back the protective mulch from the crowns of perennials and other bulbs to allow air and light to reach the plants, promote hardiness, and help the soil and leaves to dry out.
– Begin to remove the mulch from roses, but keep it handy if the temperature dives again. Prune dead wood off rose branches. Stan to fertilize roses again with a good rose food.
– Start planting or transplanting nursery stock and perennials. Don’t forget to water well and mulch.
– Fertilize perennials and bulbs with a good balanced fertilizer, or one high in phosphorous to encourage strong root growth.
– Apply growth supports to peonies and other top-heavy perennials.
– Overseed lawns or start a new lawn. Avoid using nitrogen-based fertilizers before your lawn has greened up as the nitrogen boost could end up encouraging the growth of broadleaf weeds or other unwanted grasses. Wait until late April or early May before applying: once your lawn has greened up, grown and been mowed once or twice.
– Prevent crabgrass and other grassy weeds before they start by applying a pre-emergent herbicide before the ground temperature reaches 55 F (ie. before the yellow forsythia stops blooming and the lilacs blossom). This will kill the seed as it germinates, since crabgrass. is an annual weed that reseeds itself.
– Deadhead daffodils and other flowering bulbs as their blooms start to fade. Don’t remove, bind up or braid foliage of early flowering bulbs until after the foliage ripens.
– Start renewing mulch around flowerbeds and trees. Incorporate decaying mulch into the soil, fluff up existing mulch, and add a thin layer of new mulch to existing beds to refresh coverage. Take care to keep mulch away from direct contact with your plants.
– Start seeds indoors of heat-loving vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers.