April Gardening Tips
March marked the true start to the spring planting season. April and the months to follow are a continuance of March. The weather is getting even warmer and if you didn’t plant last month, you can plant now! The colors of spring are getting brighter and bolder. Gardens have been started and regular maintenance and continued planting is what we will do in our yards this month. Now we plant, plant and plant some more; maintain and wait for our first fruits & veggies to harvest!
What to Plant
- It’s prime planting season for everything from flowering trees and shrubs to ground covers and roses. Protect new plantings from insects with Bayer® Tree & Shrub.
- Plant vegetables, flowers and bedding plants. Spruce up the garden for colorful displays and future harvests.
- If you haven’t already, add warm season edibles to the vegetable garden. Plant vegetables and herbs –It’s time to plant warm-season crops like tomatoes, squash, peppers, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, melons, okra and corn. Also plant basil, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme and other heat-lovers. Consider using Superthrive® for healthier, fast growing plants. Superthrive® is excellent for reducing transplant shock and reviving stressed plants.
- Continue to plant cool-season veggies such as beets, carrots, celery, chard, chives, endive, leeks, lettuce, green onions, parsley and parsnips.
- Many spring and summer blooming annuals can be planted from seed or transplants this month in pots or directly in the ground. As the weather warms switch out winter annuals for summer picks. Great annuals to pick from include celosia, coleus, dianthus, linaria, lobelia, marigolds, nicotiana, zinnias, petunias, salvias, and verbena.
- Plant perennials such as campanula, columbine, coral bells, delphinium, foxglove (digitalis), diascia, penstemon, salvia, yarrow and so much more.
- Container Gardening: If you don’t have backyard space for a garden, consider container gardening. Herbs, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant and zucchini can all be grown in containers. For planting in containers, hanging baskets and raised beds, use a good potting soil such as Gardner & Bloome® Potting Soil.
- Plant cool-season lawns –This is a good time to plant fescues from sod or seed. Use Grangetto’s Tall or Dwarf Fescue Grass Seed, Marathon® Seed or Am Sod® Tall or Dwarf Fescue Sod.Make sure your soil is healthy. Use Gypsum and nutrient-rich compost such as Gardner & Bloome® Soil Building Conditioner to amend your soil before you plant.
- Roses. Roses. Roses. There’s still time to plant roses.
- Continue to purchase, plant, and transplant succulents, including cacti and euphorbias.
- Time to plant dahlias, begonias–and get in the gladiolus bulbs. Add some Down to Earth Bone Meal to the planting hole for great root development and beautiful blooms!
Feeding & Maintenance
- Reseed Your Lawn: Now is the time to reseed thin or bare patches or the entire lawn. First, make sure the lawn is mowed closely. Then apply grass seed and cover with a thin layer of Kellogg® Topper. Water twice a day for two weeks. New growth will begin in about three weeks.
- Fertilize lawns –If you haven’t fertilized yet, do so now with a fast acting fertilizer such as Best® Turf Supreme 16-6-8 or a longer lasting feed using Best® Super Turf 25-5-5. For an organic fertilizer use G&B Organics Lawn Food. For convenience in small areas use a Hand-Held spreader. For larger areas use a Broadcast Spreader.
- Cool-season lawns are growing vigorously. Mow weekly or bi-weekly if you don’t have the time.
- Dethatch warm-season lawns, if necessary, once the lawn starts to grow.
Plants, Trees & Shrubs
- FEED! – In short, now is the time to feed trees, shrubs, groundcover, perennials, and other permanent plants. Start a fertilizer schedule according to your package directions.
- BENEFICIAL INSECTS – If you are a beneficial insect lover, flat-topped flowers like Shasta daisies, scabiosa, strawflowers, and yarrow are perfect additions to your garden for feeding them. Beneficial insects such as the almost microscopic parasitic wasps, ladybugs, etc. keep other insect pests away from your vegetable gardens by eating aphids, scale, and other annoying intruders. You can use beautiful flowers to tempt these garden friends into your garden. Try putting some of these flowers near to your rose garden for aphid control!
- VEGETABLES – Revitalize Garden Soil: Gardening in the same location over the years may mean your garden needs refreshing. Rotate your crops (i.e., plant tomato plants where peppers were grown last year) and this year introduce a good soil blend such as Gardner & Bloome® Soil Building Conditioner or Kellogg® Harvest Supreme followed by a two to three inch layer of mulch around garden plants. Try using Humic Acid twice a year for optimal soil reconditioning! Start a fertilizer schedule for your warm season crops.
- HERBS – Weed and prep beds. Amend with Kellogg® Harvest Supreme. This garden mix has a starter fertilizer in it already. Now you are ready to plant your annual herbs. Protect your new plants from snails and slugs with Monterey® Sluggo®. Continue to harvest your native herbs such as sagebrush, Yerba Mansa, white sage, black sage and elderberry among others.
- FRUIT TREES & VINES – Check trees for pests. Wash foliage periodically with a forceful spray of water to dislodge aphids, spider mites and whiteflies. Watch for powdery mildew on grapes. If a pesticide is needed, use a pesticide that is short residual activity such as insecticidal soup, horticultural oil or pyrethrin to protect beneficial insects. Keep ants off trees by wrapping a band of heavy paper or duct tape around the trunk and coating it with a sticky material like Tanglefoot®. Trim branches that touch other objects to stop access for ants. Use ant baits such as AntPro Bait and Station.Continue fertilizing citrus and avocado trees this month for both coastal and inland areas. Use Gardner & Bloome® Citrus and Avocado Food for an organic approach or use a conventional fertilizer such as Yara® Triple 15 for larger areas.Watch for chlorosis on your citrus. This yellowing of the leaves between the veins is a sign of iron deficiency for the plant. Feed with a good iron supplement such as Ironite® Mineral Supplement.
- DECIDUOUS FRUIT – Continue to thin out fruit on apples, pears and stone fruits when they are about one-half inch in size. Space fruit four to six inches apart. Leave one fruit per spur.
- ROSES – Continue your routine of fertilizing and pest protection. Be sure to apply at least one inch of water twice per week to keep plants hydrated if rains are not adequate. Control aphids, powdery mildew and rose slugs.
- BULBS – The narcissus and daffodils are blooming, as well as other spring blooming bulbs. As soon as the blooms are spent, you can deadhead–but don’t remove the foliage! The bulb needs that green foliage to add nutrients back to the bulb for next year’s flowers. Hide the clippers for a little while longer. Try an old-fashioned technique of braiding the leaves. If you must cut, leave at least half of the leaf length for the bulb. It will thank you with next year’s bloom!
- FLOWER BEDS – Continue with fertilizing those areas of the garden you haven’t gotten to yet. Gro Power® Flower ‘N’ Bloom is a great plant food for all your flowers!
- CAMELLIAS – If you forgot to feed your camellias last month do so early this month. The rule of thumb is to feed camellias six to eight weeks after the last blooms fall. Feed again six to eight weeks later, then one more feeding six to eight weeks after the last. March should have been your first feeding. Feed again in May and again in July. Use an acidic mix such as G&B Organics® or Lilly Miller® Camellia and Azalea Food. Watch for aphids and hose them off with a spray of water.You may see some chlorosis on your acid-loving plants like the azalea & camellia. This yellowing of the leaves between the veins is a sign of iron deficiency for the plant. Feed with a good iron supplement such as Ironite.
- CACTI & SUCCULENTS – Continue your fertilize schedule. Broadcast a time-release solid fertilizer throughout your garden. Feed all container-grown succulents with a well-diluted complete liquid fertilizer. Make sure to give plants adequate water after fertilizing. Spring is an important growth period for both your winter and summer growers. Thoroughly water your cacti. Slowly soak the soil if planted in the ground and place potted cacti in pans of water to drench the soil but not the plant. Do not over-water.
- PLUMERIA – Your potted plumeria should be in full sun now. If it wasn’t warm enough last month to fertilize your plants last month, you should be able to do so now. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer such as Gro Power® Flower N’ Bloom 3-12-12. or G&B Organics Bud & Bloome Booster It is 100% organic. Make sure you protect potted plumeria from heavy rains if they should occur. Move them out of the rain and remember to put them back.
- DAHLIAS – Dig and divide dahlias now. Plant tubers now when soil is warm, early this month should be ok. Tubers should be planted four to six inches down and planted with “eye” up. Stake at this time. Keep moist but not too wet. Protect from harsh sun. Protect from snails and slugs.
- FERNS – Continue to divide and repot overgrown plants as they start to grow. Top-dress others. Spray for aphids, thrips and scale. Watch for giant white flies. Continue watering more frequently. Sow last year’s spores.
- TROPICALS – Feed palms this month with Gro-Power® Premium Palm & Tropical Plant Food 9-3-9. It contains magnesium & manganese for greening up palms plus humic acid. For larger areas consider using Apex® 13-5-8 Palm Special. Feed them each month during the growing season (spring through fall).
- BEGONIAS – Continue your routine from last month. If you didn’t do so last month; replenish your soil and mulch where needed. Start feeding ¼ strength with a good all-purpose plant food such as G&B Organics All Purpose once a week. ½ strength if twice a month or full strength once a month. Keep plants moist but not soggy. Start new plants from cuttings or seeds. Remove all spent blossoms as needed.
- BROMELIAD – Keep snails and slug away with Monterey® Sluggo®. Continue the fertilizer schedule you started last month. Protect your plants from too much sun using shade cloth. Gradually increase watering has the weather warms. Bromeliads do not like soggy roots, so don’t over water.
- TREES & SHRUBS – Continue your fertilizer routine. There are many products available in both organic and conventional style feeding. Continue to prune your ornamental shrubs for hedges. Wait to prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees until their blooming is over.
- FUCHSIAS – Continue to remove berries (seed pods) from fuchsias after flowers fall. Fuchsia bloom only on new wood so continue to pinch back in order to have bushy plants with lots of flowers. As the weather becomes drier water all garden plants regularly. Use a liquid fertilizer when watering during their growth period (April through September).
- IRIS – Continue your fertilizer schedule with low-nitrogen, all-purpose fish fertilizer. Water regularly if there is no rain. Clean beds and keep weeds under control. Watch for pests.
- PELARGONIUMS –Keep your plants well watered. Continue your feeding schedule. Fertilize with an all purpose plant food every 2-3 weeks when they are actively growing. Continue to prevent pests and disease. Look for a combination product that will treat both with one application.
- ORCHIDS – Maintain or increase watering for deciduous orchids as the weather continues to warm. Continuing fertilizering. Make sure to protect from sun damage. Finish all repotting before the weather is too hot.
- NATIVE PLANTS – If rainfall is adequate, no extra watering is needed. Most plants can go 3 to 4 weeks before watering. You should have finished most of your heavy planting last month. Some natives can be planted throughout the year. Check Las Pilitas Nursery for best times to plant.
- ATTRACT BIRDS – Attract a variety of birds to your yard with KAYTEE® Brand Bird Seed and bird feeders. Place some hummingbird feeders around your yard to keep them coming back. Then relax and listen to the birds.
- MULCH, MULCH, MULCH! – We will always tell you to mulch. This does not mean mound up the mulch to 5 feet. It means continue to replenish the mulch and maintain a 2-4 inch blanket over your soil. So when you hear us singing the MULCH song, you know just what we mean!
- Reset your irrigation timer to water more frequently as the weather starts to warm up. Adjust as needed if we get adequate rain fall.
- Water gardens – For best use of water, water around established plantings once the soil is dry about 6 inches below the surface. Check irrigation systems. Fix clogs and broken sprinklers. Adjust spray heads. Begin watering as weather warms. Apply a fresh layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture.
- Apply at least one inch of water twice per week to keep roses well hydrated.
- Water lawns –Check irrigation systems. Fix clogs and broken sprinklers. Adjust spray heads. Begin watering if weather warms but only after soil has partially dried. Check with your local water department or cooperative extension service for lawn watering guidelines.
- Now is a perfect time to start planning on how you are going to save water in your landscape, if you haven’t already. Installing or retrofitting an existing irrigation system to utilize the most up-to-date technology will help you save water. Grangetto’s can help you make the SMART WATER CHOICE in your landscape. Call us or stop by your favorite location so we can help! Here are some water saving devices
Did you know that you could SAVE up to 30% on Your WATER BILL? Consider replacing old irrigation systems with updated water efficient weather based systems from HUNTER® Irrigation. Replace your old outdated nozzles with HUNTER® MP Rotators.Be sure to follow your local watering restrictions and guidelines.
Pests to Watch For
- Control indoor & outdoor pests – To control insects like spiders, fleas and ants, use Spectracide® Triazicide, which provides up to 12 months of insect protection. It controls insects in lawns & around homes so they don’t come inside!
- Control mosquitoes – Use Mosquito Dunks in ponds or standing water to help control mosquitoes.
- Rabbits – protect your vegetables and herbs from foraging rabbits! Use Rabbit Scram Repellent to keep rabbits away. This repellent is natural and organic and works as a barrier so it never has to touch your plants.
- Snails & Slugs – Use Organic Organic Sluggo® Plus, Original Sluggo® or Corry’s® Snail & Slug Meal or Pellets.
- Aphids – Control aphids with insecticidal soap and beneficial insects. Safer® Insect Killing soap is a good organic choice.
- Thrips – Wash foliage with water from a garden hose. For stronger infestations use Bayer® Advanced Tree and shrub Insect Control. This is a systemic that gives 12 months of control.
- Scale – Use Monterey Spray Oil or Summit Year Around Spray Oil to control crawlers.
- Lawn pests – Use Bayer® Multi-Insect Killer or Spectracide® Triazicide
- Rats & Mice – Use Tomcat Bait & Stations.
- Gophers – Use Wilco® Gopher Bait
- Caterpillars – Use Safer® Caterpillar Killer, Monterey® Garden Insect Spray with Spinosad. Look these pests on your broccoli and cabbage!
- Rose Pests – Use Bayer® All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, Bayer® 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control.
- Powdery Mildew – Warm days and cool nights are ideal conditions for powdery mildew. Especially near the coast, this is the time we begin to see powdery mildew on our rose foliage (and other plants too). There are several different foliar fungicidal sprays to that can help. Consider Bayer® Insect Disease and Mite Control or Spectracide Immunox
- Powdery Mildew on Grapes – Apply a sulfur spray such as Safer® Garden Fungicide.
- Fruit Tree Pests – Use Monterey® Garden Insect Spray to combat caterpillars and other listed pests on fruit trees, vegetables and ornamentals. It is OMRI listed for Organic Use too.
- Lawn Weeds – To control weeds in lawns while giving them a good feeding use Bayer All in one weed control
- Weeds – Use Bonide® Crabgrass Preventer or Bayer® Season Long Weed Control in lawns. Use Green Light® Amaze in ornamentals & flower beds. For non-selective areas, use Roundup ®or QuickPro® products. Be sure to use a good sprayer such as Hudson® Sprayers. DeWitt® Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric prevents weeds without chemicals. It still allows air, water and nutrients to go through. Lay this fabric down before planting your gardens.
Note: All information provided is based on typical season, weather and environmental statistics. These tips are provided for information purposes only and to be used as a general guide. Products/Brands mentioned may be discontinued at anytime and not guaranteed in-stock. Grangetto’s invites you to contact us or visit one of our locations for more specific care instructions.