Are you wondering when spring will finally get here? It sure has been a challenging year so far for gardening. We had one of the coldest January on record which did a lot of damage to many of our beloved broadleaf evergreen plants. February was the 4th warmest on record. Many plants came out of dormancy and began to show signs of blooming and growing. March was chilly all month. And, now, April is here and we still have the possibility of snow in our forecast for Saturday. What is going on?
I am whining and complaining about our weather just like most of you. But, the reality is that this weather pattern is not that unusual for us in April. Our average last frost date is around the 20th of this month. Two years ago we had a frost on April 27. I hope this tells everyone to be cautious and be aware of our weather forecast. There is a lot we can do in our garden at this time. But, we have a lot of gardening that needs to be “on hold” until our weather stabilizes. Be careful buying tender annuals, herbs, and vegetables. I did a soil temperature test earlier this morning. Our soil temperature is 46 degrees. It is warming up but slowly.
Here is a small list of assorted gardening chores that can be done in April:
- Prune spring-blooming shrubs, such as forsythia, spirea, etc., once they have finished flowering.
- Fertilize spring-blooming shrubs and trees once they have finished blooming. Espoma Plant-tone and Espoma Holly-tone are excellent plant food.
- With our temperature trend this year, don’t be too anxious to move your houseplants outdoors. I would suggest holding off on moving houseplants outdoors until around the first of May.
- A lot of shrubs and trees are being planted this time of year. For the first year, these plants need to be “babied.” Be sure to water these plants two or three times during the week for the first year. And, be sure that you water at the stem of the plant because this is where the root system is at this time.
- Consider planting a flower that attracts hummingbirds. You want a flower that is red or orange. Consider planting Monarda (beebalm) as a good perennial that provide nectar for these small birds.
- Do you want to plant something that is a bee magnet? Consider planting a Clethra or a Glossy Abelia. In herbs – Lavender, Sage, Fennel, Thyme, and Catmint are great bee magnet plants.
- Grass clippings are 85% water and break down quickly returning 20% of their nitrogen to the lawn. A mowing season’s worth of clippings is equal to about one application of a commercial fertilizer. My point is to convince you to stop bagging your clippings.
- Moss in your lawn? Acidic conditions could be responsible for moss crowding out your grass, but so could excessive shade, poor drainage, soil compaction, low fertility, and poor air circulation. When conditions do not favor healthy turf, moss can take over.