APRIL GARDENING THOUGHTS!

April means Spring has arrived, but it doesn't always mean the snow is gone. Remember 3 snows after t he Forsythia blooms! Who said that? I think we have had at least 5 snows, flurries anyway. We can think about getting back into the garden for some clean-up and prep work.

SHRUBS and TREES

We had a pretty hard winter. Some of the more sensitive trees and bushes may not recover. I am hoping the Azaleas and Rhododendrons are alright. It's to late to prune trees. Prune your summer flowering shrubs now but, be aware that spring bloomers have already produced their buds last fall, and pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers. Pruning to improve the shape of the plant, as well as to open up the center of the plant to good air circulation and sun exposure. Always start your pruning by removing all dead, decayed or broken branches.

Check out our link to the OSU Extension Service for detailed information about dormant spraying and other Shrub and Tree needs for this time of the year.

Forsythia, privet and spirea can be pruned after they are finished blooming.

Go ahead and fertilize shrubs and evergreens if you haven't done so. For evergreens, rhododendron and azaleas use an acid formulated fertilizer.

INDOOR PLANTING

April is a great time to start seeds, tubers, and bulbs indoors for planting in late May and June. I use a mixture of sphagnum peat and potting soil at a ratio of 2 parts sphagnum and 1 part potting soil. I also place them under a grow light.

PERENNIALS

Winter heaving can be problematic with your flower beds so be sure to push the soil back around the plants if heaving has occurred. Bulb fertilization is important at this time of year. Use something such as a 10-10-10 at a rate of 1 lbs. per 50 square feet. When you first see the foliage starting to appear is the time to apply the fertilizer.

Remove mulch to prevent mold and disease. Donít remove all the mulch at once. You want to acclimatize your plant as you remove the mulch so do so a little bit at a time. This way the plant can harden off from the winter winds as you remove the mulch. Itís easy to rush to get back into the garden so pay close attention to the weather some activities may better be done later than earlier. Once plants are doing well in May or June replace mulch.

Your ornamental grasses should be cut all the way to the ground. If you want to move the plants or divide them this is the best time to do that. Cut dead flower stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring flowering bulbs as the flowers fade. Do not cut the foliage until it dies naturally. The leaves are necessary to produce strong bulbs capable of re-flowering.

You can dig up and divide chrysanthemums once they start to show new growth. Remove woody stems and replant about a foot to foot and a ahalf apart.

Most perennials may be pruned, divided and moved up until they begin to show new growth.

GENERAL STUFF
Donít forget the birds. Clean out the bird houses and feeders. keep plenty of food and water available. Spring is hear I hear some birds singing!

Remove sticks, rocks and other debris from your lawn to prevent damaging your lawnmower or injuring yourself when mowing. Check your lawnmower and other lawncare equipment in preparation for the coming season. Now is a good time to change the oil, put in a new spark plug and sharpen the blade.

I think you were reminded last month to take care of your tiller and lawn mower maintenance so their ready when you need them. You still have time, but better hurry. Most yard already need mowing!

If you have put off ordering seeds and bulbs your cutting it close.

Donít feed your pond fish until it reaches 45 degrees and stays there. You can dip out leaves that have accumulated, but donít stir-up the bottom sediments and debris anymore than necessary. This temperatures were so warm the last of March and the first of April that I started to feed my fish. I check them every other day to see if they still want to eat now that it turned cold again.

Now would be a good time to take a soil sample to the Franklin County Extension Service. Call ahead to make arrangements. Their phone number is 614-866-6900.

For more tips and information go to the Buckeye Yard and Garden Newletter at:

Buckeye Yard and Garden Newletter



Good Luck and Good Gardening To You!

Stu Lewis, Web Master
Hilliard Area Garden Club