Teresa’s What to Do in Your Garden Reminders April 2024

April Calendar 2024

Average temperature: High 83 Low 60

Rainfall: 2.42 inches

This month is National Gardening Month. It’s a wonderful time to work that green thumb! Start a small garden, adopt a houseplant, add a piece of art to your garden.

What can you plant?

Vegetables: Calabaza, cantaloupe, cassava, chayote, cherry and Everglades tomato, cucumber, dasheen, eggplant, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, lima bean, Malabar spinach, malanga, New Zealand spinach, okra, pepper, roselle, Seminole pumpkin, snap beans, squash, Southern pea, sweet potato, tamarillo, yam and yard-long bean.

Flowers: African daisy, ageratum, aster, bacopa, balsam, begonia, black-eyed Susan, blue daze, browallia, bush daisy, cat's whiskers, celosia, cleome, coleus, coreopsis, cosmos, crossandra, dahlberg daisy, diascia, gazania, gaillardia, gerbera, goldenrod, impatiens, Joseph's coat, lantana, licorice plant, lisianthus, marigold, melampodium, Mexican sunflower, million bells, moon flower, nicotiana, nierembergia, pentas, periwinkle, porterweed, portulaca, purslane, salvia, sunflower, torenia and zinnia.

Bulbs: Asiatic lilies, achimenes, African iris, agapanthus, amaryllis, Amazon lily,

blackberry lily, blood lily, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, dahlia, eucharis lily, gingers, gladioli, gloriosa lily, society garlic, tuberous begonias, and rain lily.

Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, cardamom, chives, coriander, dill, borage, edible ginger, lemon balm, oregano, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, sweet marjoram and thyme.

Lawn care

· Cold winter temperatures affected lawns but most survived and have begun growth.

· Patches of dead or recovering weeds are easily found and should be replaced with good grass.

· Complete feeding of Bahia, Bermuda and St. Augustine lawns to encourage spring growth.

· Delay feeding centipede and zoysia lawns until they begin new growth.

· Weed & feeds can be substituted for regular feedings.

· Know your weeds and the herbicides that provide control; make applications as needed.

· Fertilized but yellow lawns can often be regreened with an iron only application.

· Check the soil acidity of all home lawns; adjust the pH if needed.

· Mow zoysia lawns to the desired 2- to 3-inch height.

· Remove weeds, adjust the pH and till the ground before installing a new lawn.

· Starter fertilizers can be used with new lawns to supply phosphorus for root growth.

· Chinch bug controls are often needed at this time for St. Augustine lawns.

· Mole crickets are back in bahia, bermuda and zoysia lawns; control as needed.

· Spring is often dry; water when lawns begin to show moisture stress as permitted.

· Adjust sprinklers to avoid sidewalks and roadways and water only the turf.

· Apply up to three-quarters of an inch of water at each irrigation.

· Change the oil and service air filters of gas powered equipment.

· Sharpen mower blades when the cutting edges begin to dull.

· Edge lawns growing along sidewalks.

· Aerate lawns and remove thatch if needed.

· Don’t fight the shade; consider another ground cover for these problem spots.

Landscape chores

· Don’t waste plant growth; do needed pruning before new shoots form.

· Many plants normally affected by cold are still green; prune these to keep them in bounds.

· Prune the dead from declining plants several inches into healthy wood.

· Redirect the growth of out of bounds shoots and thin trees and shrubs as needed.

· Prune spring flowering trees and shrubs after the blossoms fade.

· Keep palms healthy; only remove the brown fronds plus fruiting stems as needed.

· Rake and use leaves as mulch or compost them for later use in the gardens.

· Keep weeds under control; control the young growths and apply a mulch.

· Plant a tree, shrub or vine on National Arbor Day April 30.

· Remove declining cool season annuals and add spring warm weather selections

· Make sure the root balls of all plant are moist at planting time.

· Build berms at the edge of root balls of new trees and shrubs to direct water to the roots.

· Give all poinsettias a spring trimming; repot new ones or add them to the landscape.

· Maintain 2- to 3-inch mulch layers with trees and shrubs; one inch in flower beds.

· Water annuals and perennials when the soil begins to dry or they show signs of wilting.

· Use slow release fertilizers that can feed landscape plants for months.

· Palms need special feedings; use fertilizers made for palms every 3 to 4 months.

· Inspect older trees and trim as needed before the hurricane season begins.

· Be safe; have arborist do the pruning of larger and older trees.

· Trim old flower stalks from amaryllis, amazon lilies and other spring flowering plants.

· Water new plantings as needed to keep the soil moist.

· Divide perennials before the really hot weather arrives.

· Train vines to a trellis or arbor.

· Add a water feature to the landscape; clean established ones.

· Transplant and feed water lilies and bog plants.

Fruit & vegetable plantings

· Hurry to plant tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in the garden.

· Select larger transplants for this time of the year.

· Remove cool season crops completing their harvests and add the seeded crops.

· Many bananas were damaged by the cooler weather; remove declining portions.

· Trim tropicals unaffected by cold as needed to keep them in bounds.

· Citrus greening has become a devastating problem; remove severely affected trees.

· Control citrus psyllids at each flush of growth; use sprays or soil treatments as instructed.

· Apply minor nutrient sprays to citrus trees at each flush of growth.

· Finish granular spring feedings of all fruit trees.

· Start sweet potatoes to have transplants for May.

· Pant tropical vegetables that won’t mind the summer heat and humidity.

· Complete herb plantings before hot weather arrives; many grow best in containers.

· Feed vegetable plantings lightly every 3 to 4 weeks or use a slow release fertilizer as labeled.

· Help maintain a moist soil with a 2- to 3-inch mulch layer with all but citrus.

· Add edible fruit bearing trees, shrubs and vines to the landscape.

· Blueberries need a very acid soil; have the soil pH checked before planting.

· Grow blueberries in pine bark fines or add them to non acid soils.

· Transplant papaya seedlings to the landscape, keep moist and feed monthly.

Foliage & Indoor plants

· Winter weary foliage plants would love a filtered sun location outdoors to recover.

· Groom to reshape and remove declining portions.

· Trim overgrown stems of foliage plants to make cuttings.

· Repot foliage plants that have outgrown their containers.

· Trim Christmas and holiday cactus if needed to keep compact; root the cuttings.

· Give foliage plants a spring feeding with a slow release fertilizer.

· Add a saucer to plants on patios to capture and conserve water for use.

· Transplant amaryllis that flowered during the winter to the garden or grow in containers.

· Wash away dust and insects from leaves and stems.

· Insects like scale, mealy bugs & thrips may need an insecticidal soap or oil spray for control.

· Move orchids & bromeliads outdoors to a shady location.

· Repot orchids & bromeliads when they begin spring growth as needed and begin feedings.

· Replace poorer quality plants with new selections.

· Most forced bulbs cannot be regrown in Florida; toss the plants and keep the containers.

· Consider using foliage plants for shady landscape sites.

Photo: Teresa Watkins

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