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It’s April… What Needs To Be Done?

Planting

  • Plant warm-season annual flowers. For sun (6+hours per day): zinnias, moss rose, portulaca, lantana, pentas, copper plants, firebush, angelonias and sweet potato vines. For shade (less than four hours per day): wax begonias, coleus, impatiens, perilla and torenias.
  • Plant vegetables such as okra and southern peas (black-eyed peas, etc). Squash, cucumbers and melons can still be planted this month.
  • Many herbs can also be planted from transplants (for example: dill, parsley, fennel, mint, oregano and thyme).
  • Plant Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass sod. Complete grading and smoothing of area prior to installing sod to ensure good soil contact. Keep moist until roots are established.
  • Seeded varieties of Bermuda grass may be sown starting mid-month. Keep soil moist until seeds germinate and grass has established a good root system.

Pruning and Fertilizing

  • Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer to established lawns. Look for products containing at least half of their nitrogen in slow release form.
  • Mow common Bermudagrass at 1½-inches and St. Augustine grass at 2½-inches. Frequent mowing will keep an established lawn thick and healthy, but avoid removing more than one-third of the leaf surface each time.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs soon after flowering. Keep the natural shape of the plant in mind as you prune and avoid excessive cutting except where necessary to control size.
  • Roses have high fertilizer requirements. For most soils, use a complete fertilizer for the first application just as new growth starts, then use ammonium sulfate or another high nitrogen source every four to six weeks, just as the new growth cycle starts following a flowering cycle. For organic sources use cottonseed, rotted manures or alfalfa meal.

Garden Watch

  • Check new tender growth for aphids. A few can be tolerated, but large numbers should be controlled. Always follow label instructions on approved pesticides for control. Washing them off with a strong spray of water may be all that is necessary for adequate control.
  • Eliminate fire ants in your landscape by broadcasting labeled bait while temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees. Follow label directions closely to achieve best results. If fire ants are still present after using bait, treat the individual mounds with appropriate insecticide. Contact the Ellis County Texas AgriLife Extension Service at (972) 825-5175 for more information.
  • Watch for rose rosette virus. New growth on diseased roses exhibits elongated/enlarged canes, reddish leaves and stems and excessive thorns. Remove and destroy infected plants and roots immediately. There is no control for this fatal disease, which is spread by a mite.
  • Soil purchased for use in beds, low areas and containers should be examined closely. Often, nutsedge and other weeds are brought into the yard through contaminated soil sources.

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