Your garden this month

April is finally here and winter should be behind us. Enjoy this month in your garden.  
For more specific horticultural information and other advice please visit the Horticulture-news-tips page 


*Azaleas, roses, clematis, perennials.​


*Spray azaleas and cotoneaster with Orthene or Sevin if you have lace bugs.

*Spray boxwood with Orthonex or Diazinon if you have leaf miner or psylids.

*Divide summer and fall blooming perennials. When dividing ornamental grasses, discard the center portion.

*Hosta: iron phosphate (slugo) is fatal to slugs. Apply ¼ teaspoon in the heart of the plant, not the perimeter.

*Flowering Ornamental Cherries: check trunks and limb crotches for signs of borers. If amber colored gum mixed with sawdust is present, spray with Thiodan. 


 *You can put weeds in your compost if they are they are not flowering, have no seeds or are not rhizomes.

*Pick daffodil blooms by hand rather than cutting them to prevent spread of viruses. Do not tie the leaves.

*To determine if soil is ready to work, squeeze a handful into a tight ball, then break the ball apart. If the ball crumbles readily in your fingers, the soil is ready to be worked. If it stays balled, it is too wet. Try again in another week.

*The first grass clippings of the season are rich in nutrients and contain fewer weed seeds than those collected later. Put them in your compost pile or mow frequently and leave them on the ground.


*Spring flowering shrubs, such as quince, spirea, lilacs, weigela, fothergilla, after they finish blooming. To rejuvenate the shrub, cut out 1/3 of the old wood. Beautyberry can be pruned to the ground as it produces berries on new growth.

*Start pinching ½ inch of chrysanthemum tips from now until July and feed monthly with liquid fertilizer or fish emulsion until color is seen in buds.


 *Perennials: foliar feed with compost tea

*Boxwood: cottonseed meal, 1 cup per 3 feet diameter of bush. Broadcast evenly inside plant.
*Lilies: 10-10-10

*Iris: 0-10-10 or 5-10-10 when flower stalks emerge.

*Clematis: ½ cup of bonemeal or super phosphate + ¼ cup lime

*Hydrangea: (NPK goal of 25-5-30) feed ammonium sulphate and potash.

*Tree peonies: Plantone and compost

*Crepe Myrtle: 5-10-10

*Blueberries: 1 cup ammonium sulphate when buds swell.

*DO NOT feed raspberries and blackberries.

*ROSES: Start fertilizing when in full leaf. Roses should be fed once/month:

1 cup 10-10-10
½ cup Epsom salts
3 cups Rosetone

Ann Lovejoy suggests spraying roses with compost tea, 1 gal/1000 sq.ft. Spray the top and bottom of leaves 2x/week in the Spring, then once/month. This will decrease the need for fungicides.


*Tulips benefit as 1/3 of their reserves are consumed in seed production. However, you might want to forego deadheading to take advantage of volunteer seedlings. Tulipa clusiana, T. sylvestris, T sprengeri will all self-seed.

*Daffodil hybrids rarely produce seed and do not need deadheading. However, the following produce seed: Narcissus bulbocodium, N. Mite. N. poeticus recurvus, and minatures Little Gem and Little Beauty.

 *Allium drummondii also self sow.


*Your flower beds to improve soil texture and preserve moisture.


*If it does not rain, water your tulips and daffodils weekly.

*Roses need to be watered once/week all growing season. Give them 10 gallons of water, 5 gallons for minis. Do not water every day. Roses prefer to get a good drink all at once.


*A useful tool for successful gardening is an insect calendar. This will tell you what bugs are typically active in each month. But, we all know that with changing weather patterns, plants are sometimes blooming either earlier or later. So, an even better way to monitor insects is with phenological plants. These are indicator plants: their bloom time coincides with certain insects in the environment. (April is the approximate month of bloom in parenthesis.)

Eastern Redbud/Dogwood blooming (April) equals: Pine sawflies which strip the needles of pine trees. Cut off infected branch tips, or spray with insecticidal soap, Sevin or Orthene now, and again in June and early August.

Boxwood psyllids, (sapsuckers): leaves are puckered and cup over each other like cabbage. Gobs of white, waxy threads and honeydew appear on the leaves. 
RX: spray with dormant oil or a foliar systemic (Orthene).

Boxwood leafminers. Yellow-orange blisters or “mines” (tunnels or trails) appear on the leaves.
RX: Spray with Orthene when you see pin holes on the undersides of leaves. Or, spray with dormant oil in spring and fall.

Boxwood mites. RX: spray with dormant oil in spring and fall.

Lacebugs suck sap from the underside of leaves. As the leaves lose chlorophyll, they appear speckled or blotched. Black spots (insect excrement) are seen on the undersides of leaves. Lacebugs target azaleas, cotoneaster, pieris, rhododendron and sycamore trees. Different species attack specific host plants only. Cotoneaster and azaleas planted in full sun are the most affected. Lacebugs have 4 generations per year.
RX: spray the underside of leaves with insecticidal soap, horticulture oil or Sevin starting in April and every few weeks.

I've mentioned dormant oil and insecticidal soaps above. Here is some information that you should know.

Dormant oil
Make a 2% solution: 2 tablespoons per gallon of water.
Don't spray wet foliage.
Spray when humidity is low.
Dormant oil will dissolve the waxy blue coating on trees such as blue spruce.
Good for aphids, scales, mites, psyllids.
Repeat applications.

Insecticidal Soap 
Good for insects, mites.
Spray when humidity is high.
They work better when you combine them with ½ the recommended rate of a systemic insecticide (Orthene).

I highly recommend purchasing either, or both of these excellent reference books:
The Ortho Home Gardener's Problem Solver and Southern Living's Garden Problem Solver.