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April Gardening Tips

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Landscaping Tips

  • There is much to do in the April garden...add soil amendment to vegetable and flower gardens if it hasn’t already been done. Compost added to planting areas for summer annual beds also gives the plantings a boost and helps retain water through dry summers. Bulk quantities are available through Cedar Grove, Red-E-Topsoils and Pacific Topsoils.
  • Fertilize shrubs and trees in your landscape if you didn’t do it in March. Established trees need very little if any fertilizer, but if shrubs are putting out very little new growth, fertilizer may help. Do not fertilize when the soil is dry; be sure to water the granules into the ground. Go easy of the nitrogen on plants that you want to flower. Nitrogen will stimulate the green growth and limit flower production.
  • Plants begin to respond to warmer temperatures and more daylight by growing vigorously. Choose and set out new container plants from nurseries. If planting in low, wet areas, choose plants that will thrive under less than ideal drainage conditions. Selecting plants for water conservation is a wise way to plant as the population in the Northwest grows and the demand on water resources becomes stronger.
  • Check stored dahlia tubers and sprinkle a little water on them if they are dried or shriveled. Most dahlia experts recommend planting them in mid-May after soils have warmed a bit. Gladiolus corms can be planted in April.
  • Moss seems to be bad this year again and many lawns have been trashed. April is the ideal time to do any lawn work. You should fertilize late in the month. If installing a new lawn, be sure to prepare the ground deeply and well. Even the best quality sod will languish if it isn't given a root run of well drained soil of a minimum of 4 inches with 8 inches preferred. Choose grass seed adapted to the Northwest conditions. Research has shown that perennial rye grasses and tall fescues, in combination, produce a good quality lawn. Blue grass does not grow well here. Fertilize the lawn this month using a 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer.
  • Check your thatch, if over 1/2 inch it’s time to have it thatched. After thatching, the lawn may look bare and scruffy in spots. Apply grass seed and rake the seed into the bare ground. Put a bit of peat moss or a bit of mulch over it and water well until it is established.
  • Late in the month, move fuchsias and geraniums outside. Place in a sheltered spot and give them sun during the day but take them indoors if nights are still in the low 40's. In mid May set them out in permanent spots. Summer annuals will be in the garden stores but it is still too early to plant them. Resist the temptation until after Mother's Day.

Vegetable Gardens

Add organic material to gardens now, putting 3-4 inches and mix it in before planting. Sow any cold-tolerant veggies like beets, carrots, chard, collards, lettuce, mustard, peas, radishes, spinach. Get your potatoes in and tie raspberry canes. Be sure and rotate crops to new locations so disease and insect problems don't build up. Plant some new fruit trees if you have room.

Child's Garden

Choose a warm, bright place to start squash and pumpkin plants indoors. Plant a smaller cultivar like "Jack Be Little" or "Baby Bear" (about 3 inches across)