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Top Garden Projects for April

'Spring is Finally Here!' What a beautiful time of the year with the rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias, forsythia and all the other spring flowering plants reaching their peak of beauty. There are a few things one can do to help keep the garden looking its best the rest of this season. Remember what is accomplished early in the season will help cut down on garden maintenance the rest of year. So here are a few April garden projects.

WATERING - Be sure to take a little time to check the plants under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens to see that they are getting sufficient moisture. In some cases, plants in these locations are bone-dry and in desperate need of watering. Container plantings should also be given watering attention. Speaking of watering, mulching flower and shrub beds will cut down on water consumption later this summer. Likewise, aerating the lawn will allow water to penetrate deeper into the lawn soil, so it should not be necessary to use as much water to keep the lawn looking nice this summer.

LAWN CARE - Right now is a good time to give some attention to the lawn. The application of a spring type of lawn fertilizer should perk up the lawn and improve its over-all color and appearance. If moss is growing in the lawn, select a brand of spring lawn fertilizer that has the moss-killer included, so you can do both jobs in one easy application. If needed, spring is also a good time to thatch the lawn. Over seeding the lawn with new grass seed will help fill-in the lawn and help deter the re-growth of moss and weeds. Use about one pound per 300 square feet of lawn area.  See Also: Lawn

PLANT FRUITS AND BERRIES - Spring is a great time to select and plant fruit trees and berry plants. Local garden outlets have their finest selection of both types of plants at this time of year. All types of fruits and berries do best when planted in full sun.

VEGETABLES - It's time to get the vegetable garden underway. April is a great month to plant the perennial vegetables like asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, etc. It's also time to plant peas, carrots, beets, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. Later this month one can plant beans and corn. The warmer weather crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers should not be planted until next month. Root crops like potatoes, radishes, parsnips and onions can be planted at anytime. See Also: Wide Row Vegetable Gardening  Companion Planting  Seed Planting Chart

SUMMER FLOWERING BULBS - April is the month for planting summer flowering bulbs like dahlias, glads and lilies. Mix bulb fertilizer, processed manure and peat moss into the planting soil. Tuberous begonias should not be set outdoors until all danger of frost has passed, so it would be a good idea to wait until next month (in cooler climates) before setting them outside. Also wait until next month before setting out Canna lilies.

HOUSEPLANTS - It's time to re-pot the geraniums and fuchsias that were wintered-over. Re-pot them into fresh soil and begin a regular three or four week feeding of these plants, so they will be growing and ready to set outdoors when weather conditions are favorable.  See Also: Houseplants that Purify the Air

TREES AND SHRUBS - There still is time to plant trees, shrubs, perennials and other plants. However, it is getting a little late to transplant large trees or shrubs. Rockery perennials and hardy annuals can also be planted at this time.

PRUNING - The months of March, April and May are ideal for pruning evergreens. So if you have a juniper, conifer or cypress that needs shearing or pruning this is a good time to accomplish this task. Keep your pruning cuts within the green (foliage) parts of the plant. If you cut back into bare branches it is sometimes difficult or impossible for the plant to re-grow from the old growth.

Remember what is accomplished now, will definitely cut down on garden maintenance later this season.

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