Minding Your April Garden: Things to watch for: Fruits Fireblight - inspect fruit trees for fireblight. If you had problems with fireblight last year, you will need to spray your blooms this year to prevent the spread. The best defense is a fireblight-resistant variety Lawns Lawn diseases - it's time to begin watching for problems with brown patch and dollar spot in warm season grasses, especially if you had problems with one of them last year Chinch bugs - watch for chinch bugs in your warm season lawn. White grubs - the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis does a nice job on them, but it does take a little time to build up in the soil. Trees Watch for powdery mildew on crepe myrtles. Vegetables Garden insects - keep an eye out for corn earworm and cucumber beetle in the garden. Things to do: Flowers Bulbs - you should be planting your summer- and fall-flowering bulbs in April and May, such as dahlias, gladioli, cannas and lilies. Be sure to plant after the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees F Dividing - it's time to divide fall blooming perennials Fruits Spray fruit trees - it's time to begin spraying your fruit trees with a fungicide (Captan, etc.) every 7 to 10 days to provide the beautiful fruit you look forward to. Do not use any insecticides on the trees until less than 10% of the blooms remain - you certainly do not want to hurt your bee pollinators. The fungicide will have no effect on them. Lawns Add iron - Centipede and St. Augustine lawns will appreciate an application of iron this month to bring out a richer green color without stimulating excessive growth. Fire ants - if you broadcast baits, apply your first treatment during the last week of April or the first week few weeks of May. Be sure to apply fresh bait, and do it at the correct time of day (fire ants only forage actively when the ground temperature is between 70 - 95 degrees F) Lawn Establishment - if you plan to plant a warm-season (centipede, zoysia, Bermuda, St. Augustine) lawn, the best time to plant is in the spring and summer. If you are planting Bermuda by seed, use the hulled seed at this time of year (you can seed with unhulled seed in the fall). Wait until next fall for cool-season grasses (fescue). Nutsedge or "nutgrass" - nutsedge is very difficult to control. There are two main types in our area - purple and yellow. You must identify which you have before you begin treatment. Herbicides must be applied when the nutsedge is actively growing, which means decent soil moisture and warm conditions. Irrigation - you may begin irrigating late this month if we have a dry spring. Spring and fall are good times for disease to blossom, so do not allow your irrigation scheduling to increase these problems. One inch per week is the appropriate amount for most lawns and vegetables (except sweet corn and yellow squash, which may require up to two inches depending on growth stage). Include rainfall in this Trees Tree fertilization - April is a good month to fertilize trees Vegetables Vegetables - There is a lessening chance of frost in April, so many folks want to get an early start on the vegetable garden. Some planting times for more common vegetables: Cantaloupe - Apr. 15 - May 15 Cucumbers - Apr. 15 - May 15 Melons - Apr. 20 - Jun. 30 Squash - Apr. 15 - May 15 Snap, Pole, Half-runner beans - Apr 15 - 30 Sweet corn - Apr. 15 - 30
Soil Test Now is the time to test the soil in your planned beds for plant nutrients. Soil tests usually take 10 days, so test now to have the results when you plant bulbs and beds. It is important to till in the lime needed for faster soil pH adjustment. You may also sample your vegetable garden now if you do not plan to add more fertilizer for late crops.