In the Garden
What to do
Like March, April is a rather dry and windy month. Monitor the landscape for water distress. Fruiting trees need at least an inch of water weekly. Replace disease-prone impatiens and heat-sensitive annuals with pentas, gailardias, salvia, or other hardier, less thirsty plants.
• Add a rich look to beds with beautiful new suntolerant coleus cultivars,
• This is the season for “pass-along plants” so divide bulbs, ornamental grasses and herbaceous perennials to share with friends.
• April is a buggy: watch for spider mites, aphids, leafhoppers, and thrips.
• Inspect mature trees and trim as needed before hurricane season begins.
• Be vigilant. Examine your garden and landscaping on a regular basis to avoid major problems caused by drought, insects, or disease. Apply a good layer of mulch to keep moisture in and weeds down but don’t let mulch touch the trunk of trees. Ideal depth: 2 to 3-inches around trees and shrubs and 1-inch in flowerbeds.
• Think about creating low maintenance perennial beds, a butterfly area, or clustering herbs and flowering plants in pots, which can be moved to a location where there is shelter from the relentless summer sun.
Water only when the soil begins to dry or plants show signs of stress.
• Use seed, plugs or sod to start new lawns or fill in the bare areas. Chinch bugs are causing yellow spots in St. Augustine lawns; treat if needed.
• Trim old flowers stalks from amaryllis, Amazon lilies and other spring flowering plants.
• Feed palms with a slow release fertilizer as instructed on the label.
• Add holiday poinsettias to the landscape and give them a spring trimming.
• Complete herb plantings before hot weather; many grow best in containers.
• Feed vegetable plantings lightly every 3 to 4 weeks.
• Finish spring feedings of fruit trees.
• Wash away dust and insects from leaves and stems.
• Give foliage plants a spring feeding if you haven’t already.
• Apply wonder-worker
on both sides of leaves of fruit trees and stressed, ailing plants. As with all sprays the best time to use is late afternoon; second best is early morning.
WHAT TO PLANT
Seeds to plant in April: Celosia, Coleus, calliopsis, Crossandra, dusty miller, Exacum, Gaillardia, Gazania, hollyhock, Impatiens, Lobelia, Marguerite daisy, marigold, Nicotiana, ornamental pepper, Pentas, periwinkle, Phlox, Portulaca, Rudbeckia, Salvia, Streptocarpus, sweet William, Thunbergia alata, Torenia, Verbena and Zinnia. PERENNIALS AND BULBS
Bulbs to plant in April: Achimenes, African iris, Amazon lily, Aztec lily, tuberous Begonia, blood lily, Caladium, Canna, Crinum, Gladiolus, gloriosa lily, kaffir lily, shell ginger, society garlic, spider lily, tiger flower, walking iris and Watsonia.
In April, plant beans, cantaloupe, collards, okra, sweet potatoes, southern peas, New Zealand Summer Spinach, and peanuts for summer harvest. Through June plant sweet potatoes, southern peas, peanuts, okra and Swiss chard.
Plant bananas and other tropical fruits such as guava, papaya and pineapple to take advantage of the frost-free growing season. Containerized fruit plants can be planted throughout the year. See below for details of April plant sales.