Gardening ABCs for April
from the Johnson County Master Gardener Association

Apply fertilizer to 0-5 fertilizer to almost every plant you’re growing this month.

Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer with a 4-1-2 ratio to lawns or in some cases, a good all-nitrogen fertilizer. A soil test will help you determine which will best suit your needs. If it doesn’t contain a weed killer additive (Weed & Feed), you should use a little more around shrubs and trees.

Apply a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 to annual flowers and vegetable transplants.

Avoid planting hot season plants such as okra, sweet potatoes, southern peas, caladium, firebush, lantanas and fountaingrass till at least mid-April.

Avoid putting new sod or grass seed till then as well. Begin planting warm season flowers and vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, melons, squash, etc.) early in the month.

Begin trimming overgrown houseplants so they can regrow during spring and summer.

Beware of cutworms, snails, slugs and pillbugs around tender young plants. Paper, plastic or metal collars will protect plants from cutworms. Use snail and slug baits or sevin dust to control the others.

Beware of increasing populations of aphids, caterpillars and spider mites. Treat them with insecticidal soap or if you use a general-purpose insecticide, be sure to read the label.

Complete trimming shrubs and vines after they have bloomed and remove erratic new growth. The new growth of many shrubs can be trimmed back to the canopy to maintain a more uniform shape.

Control spring weeds by mowing your lawn regularly and keep it short to encourage new turf growth. Broadleaf weedkillers will eliminate most spring weeds. Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) can be used to control cankerworms, which if left unchecked, will devour most of the new growth in many shade trees.

“Happy Gardening!”

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