Some garden chores to do in April

Published on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 18:35 - Written by ANDIE RATHBONE, Smith County Master Gardeners

There’s no denying it now, winter is over and spring is here. And judging by the non-winter we’ve had, it’s hard to say how much longer we’ll be able to enjoy our nice spring weather before the summer heat is upon us.

This is the month for plant sales, and it seems like there is one (or more) just about every weekend. Out local nurseries are also full of great looking perennials and annual bedding plants just waiting to be planted in your landscape. So clear the decks and get ready to spend some quality time in the garden. Here’s what you need to be doing:

- Prune spring-blooming shrubs and climbing roses after they bloom.

- Deadhead faded flowers from roses.

- Divide summer and fall-blooming perennials.

- Plant trees and shrubs if not done earlier in the year.

- Mulch vegetable and flower beds to a depth of 4 to 6 inches to preserve moisture in the soil and keep the soil cool.

- Continue planting the vegetable garden. Add trellises for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and pole beans.

- Plant eggplants and peppers.

- Plant warm-season summer annuals and summer bulbs, such as gladiolas.

- At the end of the month plant heat-loving plants like vinca, caladium, zinneas, portulaca and copper plant.

- Feed camellias and azaleas.

- Apply nitrogen fertilizer to evergreen shrubs, shade trees and fruit and nut trees around the drip line.

- Watch for lace bugs on azaleas.

- Check daylilies for aphids. Treat with a strong blast of water or insecticidal soap for severe infestations.

- Pinch back growth on chrysanthemums and asters to make the plants fuller for fall blooms. Continue to do this through mid-July.

- Keep on top of the weeds. Pulling them when they are small is a lot easier than when they become established.

- Clean out birdhouses and birdbaths. Keep your hummingbird feeders full.

Enjoy the wonderful spring weather and make the most of every day. The heat will be upon us all too soon.