April Gardening Tips
Seeds of warm season annuals, such as marigold and zinnia, can be sown directly into outdoor beds. Make sure to keep the seeded area moist until the seeds germinate. Mulching will help to retain soil moisture and will also discourage weed growth. Don’t forget to thin out the seedlings once they have three to five sets of leaves—crowding of too many plants causes them to be spindly and weak-stemmed.
Any warm-season vegetable seedlings, such as tomatoes and peppers, which were sown indoors, may be planted out during the second week of April. Be sure to acclimate these plants to their new environment slowly by first placing them in an area free from sunlight and wind. After a few days, move the seedlings to an area of partial shade. Next move them into full sun for a few more days and then plant them into the garden.
Fertilize roses with a complete fertilizer (one containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) just as you begin to notice new growth. Fertilize again in four to six weeks with ammonium sulfate. Roses that are susceptible to black spot should be sprayed with a general fungicide to help prevent this disease—follow the directions on the product label.
Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer, such as a 2—1—1 or 3—1—2 (nitrogen—phosphorus—potassium), to warm season turf grasses such as Bermuda, Saint Augustine, and Zoysia. If you use a “weed-and-feed” fertilizer, be careful not to apply it in areas where you have trees, shrubs, and other non-grass plants. The weed-killing chemicals in these fertilizers will damage and may even kill other plants in your landscape.
Keep a closer eye on irrigation of trees, shrubs and perennials in your landscape—as temperatures begin to warm up, more water will be required than was applied during the winter months.
Plant summer bulbs such as agapanthus, canna, iris, and lily.
Check garden hoses and irrigation systems for leaks and repair if necessary. Sharpen garden tools and oil pruners and loppers. Scrub any pots that you wish to re-use with a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water. Make sure that lawn mowers and edgers are in good working order and make any necessary repairs.