April

Plant:

  • Sod St. Augustine, bermuda and zoysia. After mid-month see common bermuda. Keep new grass moist the first 2 weeks, then let dry out between waterings to encourage deeper roots. THE LOWEST-MAINTENANCE “GROUND COVER” IS ACTUALLY TURFGRASS unless you have problem areas (excessive shade, steep slopes, etc.).
  • Annuals:  trailing lantanas, moss rose, hybrid purslane, zinnias, cleome, purple fountaingrass, oranamental sweet potatoes, cosmos, celosias, firebush and copper plants for sun; coleus, caladiums, impatiens, begonias and flowering tobacco for shade.
  • Perennials from 6-inch, quart and gallon containers. This month the selections are best. Prepare beds carefully before planting and the soil will not need reworking for a long time.
  • Herbs into beds and containers.
  • Last plantings for vegetables will be okra, eggplant, southern peas and sweet potatoes. They need the warmth to establish and grow.
  • If you are looking for unusual trees, shrubs, vines and groundcovers, this is the month you’re most likely to find them.
  • Roses while they are in full bloom in nurseries this month. Watch for Texas A&M-tested EarthKind varieties.
Prune:

  • St. Augustine-mow 2 to 2 1/2”, common bermuda at 1-1/4 to 1 1/2”. Hybrid bermuda and zoysia will vary in heights, depending on variety. Buffalograss @ 3 to 3 1/2”. Mow frequently to keep grass low and spreading. Vary mowing patterns to avoid “grain.”
  • May need to re-pot and reshape over-wintered tropicals when moving them outside.
  • Spring-flowering shrubs and vines (forsythia, bridal wreath, azaleas, wisteria, Carolina jessamine, climbing roses) as needed by early to mid-month to maintain their natural form.
  • Lower branches of shade trees if excessive shade is threatening your lawn. Oaks would be an exception. They should be pruned in mid-summer or mid-winter when oak wilt fungus is not active.
  • Fall asters, coleus, copper pants, chrysanthemums by pinching to remove growing tips and to keep the plants low and compact.
  • New tip growth of blackberry clumps to encourage side-branching and more compact plants.
Fertilize:

  • Pecans with all-nitrogen fertilizer, one pound per inch of trunk diameter. Repeat one month later.
  • Lawngrass with high- or all-nitrogen fertilizer (half or more of nitrogen in slow-release form). Repeat at 8-10 week intervals.
  • Flower, vegetable beds with same high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen food (as dictated by reliable soil-test results)
  • Pots and hanging baskets with complete-and-balanced, water-soluble food with each watering. Apply encapsulated, time-released fertilizer for long term feeding.
  • Wisterias, azaleas and other plants prone to iron deficiency (chlorosis)
  • Apply iron/sulfur soil acidifier. Repeat monthly during growing season. Keep iron products off surfaces that could be stained.
Watch For:

  • Cankerworms hang from single threads after stripping portions of tress of their new leaves.  Apply Bacillus thuringiensis (“B.t.”) as well as nitrogen fertilizer to promote new leaves.
  • Cabbage loopers leave holes in leaves of cabbage, broccoli and related crops. Apply ”B.t.”–only reliable control.
  • Thrips cause rose buds to fail to open properly and to turn brown and scorched around edges of petals.  Apply systemic insecticide.
  • Slugs and snails chew large holes in many types of plants. Feeding is nocturnal, and slime trails will be visible.  Apply bait or dust.
  • Aphids congregate on new growth of plants.  Look for small, pear-shaped insects. Most general-purpose insecticides will eliminate them.
  • Fire ant mounds will appear when soils are wet. Use individual mound treatments where needed. Area-wide baits are very effective.
  • Fruit crops must be protected against insect and disease problems. Use labeled insecticide and fungicide at 10-14 day intervals until harvest.
  • Roses show black spot on foliage. Dark areas will be surrounded by yellowed halos. Keep leaves dry as you irrigate, and apply labeled fungicide.
  • Powdery mildew on new growth of many types of plants causes dusting resembling flour. Keep foliage as dry as possible, and apply labeled fungicide.
  • Broadleafed weeds such as clover, dandelions, dollarweed, dichondra and others can be eliminated with application of 2,4-d herbicide according to label directions.

“April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.”

~Christopher Morley

Information collected from Neil Sperry

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