Early Color & Turf Care – “Plan” is Part of Planting
If you’re excited to work in your yard or garden, but not sure where to start now that Spring is here, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together a garden to do list for April 2018 of things to do throughout the month. Don’t feel overwhelmed, there is always a bit more in the beginning of the season.
You must do everything on this list! April Fools! – In reality, you may not need to do everything on this list. For example, if you don’t have shade trees to fertilize or transplants to harden off, skip those items on the list. Just pick what applies to your yard and plan out when you will do it all throughout the month!
PLAN and PLANTING
Plot and Plan – If you don’t have one already, get a spiral notebook or anything you want and create a Garden Journal. (Or at least take out a piece of scratch paper.) Sit down and plot out or list the tasks you need to do specifically in your yard. ie. Where you are going to transplant certain plants? What new material you want to add to your yard this season?
Plant Trees and Shrubs – You can plant trees and shrubs anytime your ground is not frozen. Be sure to follow your garden expert’s procedures for a successful planting of your material. It truly can make a big difference in your success.
Turf Training – Now is the time to train your lawn’s roots. Do not water your lawn! Mother Nature is taking care of that for us this month and into May. We highly recommend reading our ARTICLE for details on how to properly train your lawn. Depending on your soil type and seed type, it is possible to eventually water your lawn once every two weeks or less. If you live in Utah, this post is a must — Learn how – Train Your Lawn article.
Turf Weed Protection – If you haven’t already, apply pre-emergent or weed blocker. The blooming Forsythia bush is your guide for timing. Spurge & Crabgrass get started now, so you be vigilant at eradicating it early.
Turf Aeration – now is a perfect time to aerate your lawn. Watch out for the sprinkler heads! Also, Snow Mold can be an issue if you’ve had a lot of snow piled in certain areas of your lawn when the warm days hit. Read this article on how to prevent or deal with snow mold.
Turf Fertilizing – Apply the proper spring fertilizer. Follow the directions explicitly. Good time to apply is just before a rain storm so Mother Nature waters it in for you!
Turf seeding or overseeding – Our April weather is ideal to seed a new lawn or fill in patches. Come ask us about our new product of drought tolerant lawn seed and steps on how to properly do it yourself for success! Here is a good post of step by step instructions to reseed bare patches.
Lay Sod, if you can find it. It is safe to lay now.
TREE & SHRUB CARE
Deep soak ALL trees & shrubs – Deeply water if rainfall has been inadequate. You may have to turn your water off again if our temperatures drop below freezing, so watch the weather. Your trees will like a very good drink. Remember we do live in a mountain desert!
Fruit Trees – If you haven’t already done so AND your tree hasn’t begun to bloom or bud, you can still apply the dormant oil spray. Some trees have already passed the time, i.e. apricots
Shade Trees – Now is fertilizer time. Use the correct tree and shrub fertilizer for the type of plant material; ask our experts.
Plant your trees and shrubs – You can plant anytime the ground is not frozen. Plants LOVE to get their roots settled in the spring. Also, your best selection of trees and shrubs are when the first shipments arrive at the garden center. If there is a particular tree or shrub you are looking for, visit your garden experts at Western Gardens and ask if they will be getting some in or if they can find it from their growers.
Soil Amendments – Now is the time to prepare your soil. A good practice by most expert gardeners is to mix in or just over-dress your beds with our favorite product “Bumper Crop”. Your plants will love you and you will love your harvest!
Perennials – Time to divide and transplant any of those summer and fall blooming perennials. It’s fun to share with others. Do not divide or transplant those that bloom in spring. They won’t like it until they are finished blooming.
Annual color – If your ground is not still frozen, plant those pansies or other spring cool tolerant annuals.
Bulbs – Spring bulbs that are blooming are absolutely gorgeous. Remember to only deadhead the flower when done blooming. Leave the greenery. During this time, the greenery is taking nourishment down to the bulb so you will have color again next spring! Bone meal can also be applied during this time. Do not trim back the greenery/leafs until they are brown. Gardener’s Tip: Fold over the leaves of the plant and wrap with a rubber band. The leaves are still attached, but your spring garden will look more tidy and kept. They the clumps turn brown, the clump will easily pull out from the ground, leaving the bulb to sleep until next spring.
Containers/Planters – Sift out any dead roots from last fall. Loosen soil. Remove about one-third of your old soil and mix in our favorite product “Bumper Crop” to amend your soil. Your plants will love you and you will love your masterpiece in a bit!
Planting Outside Schedule – Be sure to follow a planting schedule of when it is safe to plant outdoors in Utah, or know your area. At our garden centers, we display a sign for our customers about those tender plants that need protection from the cold. You can always ask one of our experts too.
Seedlings – If you already started seeds indoors during February or March, now is the time to thin out your seedlings. Choose the healthiest and leave it to continue growing.
Hardening Off – Harden off transplants and seedlings while we are transitioning out of winter. Move seedlings to a cool place like a garage for two or three days before planting them outside, next month for most plants!
Second Planting of Cold Crops – Examples are lettuce & radish. Plant first crop if you didn’t in March.
Raised Beds / Grow Boxes – Time to prepare these for planting. Kid-friendly grow box building project. Mix in our favorite product “Bumper Crop” to amend your soil. Your plants will love you and you will love your harvest!
Snails and Slugs – NOW is the best time to rid your yard of snails and slugs. They are just coming out of dormancy, looking for food, and laying their eggs for hundreds little baby snails. If you are persistent this month, you will have less plant damage during the season. See our experts for some very good products and for some organic alternatives. Here is an article of 3 ways to rid your yard of snails. Just remember, consistency is your best friend and the snails worst enemy!
Remove or spray for weeds when they first appear; don’t let them set seeds. This will cut down on future weeding work! Past article on tips for weed control.
Bind Weed and Puncture Weed – Be on the look out for Field Bind Weed and Puncture Weed. These can make your yard and your life miserable if you let them take over. They are tough to eradicate, but again begin early and be consistent.
SUPPORT REPUTABLE INDEPENDENT GARDEN SHOPS
Why? Because you don’t want to purchase plants that have already been stressed before you ever buy them. Next time it snows this spring, go by a big box store and see how many poor little plants are buried in snow and will definitely die, or if they bounce back, they are very stressed by the time you get them. Independents take care of their product because they own it until you purchase it. Big box stores don’t own the product, therefore, not as much TLC is given those plants. Read Article about spring experience 2017
Sno-blower – Time to drain the old gas and put away until next season.
Snow Shovel – Keep a shovel around for those little spring snows we Utahans enjoy!
Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away next month. Ask your local expert about a good tool that will help your loved one in the garden. We have expert gardeners to help you know what tools are worth your time and money.
Father’s Day will be in a couple of months. Keep your eye out for something Dad would enjoy in the garden.
Assess Your Garden Tools – Time to pull them out of the shed if you haven’t already and dust them off.
Add one new tool to your garden work this year. Eventually you will have just what you need and want.
Visual Satisfaction Idea – Purchase a new fresh pair of garden gloves. If you have had a problem in the past with family members taking your gloves, mark them with a sharpie. Faithfully use these gloves throughout the season. By the end of harvest next fall, you’ll have a pair of well used gloves to serve as a visual reminder of the time you spent to get such a wonderful garden.
Be sure to enjoy the more frequent days we can wear just a t-shirt and work in the yard.