Tips for April – the fluctuating weather month

Flowers

  • Remember that it is still too early to plant non-hardy flowers (last chance of frost is mid-May)

  • Direct sow hardy annuals, biennials, and perennials (larkspur, annual poppies, and sweet peas)

  • Provide supports for peonies and other perennials that need staking

  • Divide and/or transplant perennials; train climbers onto trellises

  • Prune roses to buds that point outward, remove dead wood

  • Start seeds indoors to transplant next month

  • Plant gladioli, lily-of-the-valley bulbs

  • Work organic matter into flower beds, and prepare new beds

  • Control weeds by mulching, cultivating, or pulling

  • Plant blueberries

Garden

  • Plant cool crops (arugula, broccoli, cabbage,cauliflower, lettuce, peas,potatoes, radishes, spinach)

  • Plant and/or transplant strawberries, raspberries, or other small fruit

  • Protect seedlings from cutworms with collars

  • Thin cool season crops to proper spacing

  • Start seeds indoors to transplant next month

Lawn

  • Compost any nondiseased garden cuttings, add a little 5-10-5 organic fertilizer, and keep the pile moist

  • Control crabgrass before it germinates with a preemergent herbicide

  • Get ready to mow! Have the mower blades sharpened.

Trees/Shrubs

  • Plant and/or transplant shrubs and trees on windless, cloudy days

  • Prune spring flowering trees/shrubs after they bloom (forsythia, weigela, spirea)

  • Pinch back candles on evergreens to ½ to thicken

  • Mulch out – not up (2-4” high is plenty, 3” from trunk)

  • Prune twigs affected by winter kill after new growth begins

  • Look for insects that emerge this month (borers, white flies, leaf miners, lace bugs on azaleas; red mites or scale on peonies)

  • Fertilize trees if leaves are small, sparse, and pale

  • Begin looking for bagworms, remove and destroy them

 

Important: The average date of the last frost in Loudoun County is May 10th – be prepared to cover newly planted flowers and vegetables.

 

Contact the Loudoun County Master Gardener Help Desk with your questions:  703-771-5150 or loudounmg@vt.edu