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Garden Checklist for April 2001
By Dr. William C. Welch, Extension Horticulturist
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
- Pruning of spring flowering shrubs should be done soon after flowering. Keep the natural shape of the plant in mind as you prune and avoid excessive cutting except where necessary to control size.
- Remove spent flowers, trim back excessive growth, and applying fertilizer to established annual and perennial plantings.
- As soon as azaleas have finished flowering, apply an acid-type fertilizer at the rate recommended. Donít over-fertilize, as azalea roots are near the surface and damage can occur. Water thoroughly after fertilizing. Splitting the recommended amount into three applications two weeks apart works well.
- Seeds of amaranth, celosia, cosmos, marigold, portulaca, zinnia, and other warm season annuals can be sown directly in the beds where they are to grow. Keep seeded areas moist until seeds germinate. Thin out as soon as large enough to transplant. Surplus plants can be transplanted to other areas.
- For instant color, purchase started annual plants. Select short, compact plants.
- Many flower or vegetable seeds left over after planting the garden can be saved for the next season by closing the packets with tape or paper clip and storing in a sealed glass jar in your refrigerator until needed.
- Start weeding early in the flower garden. Early competition with small plants can delay flowering. A mulch will discourage weed growth and make those that do come through easier to pull.
- Soil purchased for use in beds, low areas, and containers should be examined closely. Often nut grass, other weeds, nematodes, and soil-borne diseases are brought into the yard through contaminated soil sources.
- Watch the media for information regarding wildflower trails and plan to take a short trip to enjoy them at their prime.
- Turn the material in your compost pile to speed up decomposition. Water when needed.
- Select caladium tubers while there are ample stocks available. Early May is the best time to plant caladium tubers for most areas of Texas. Caladiums are warm climate plants and will not grow until soil temperature is at least 70 degrees or higher. They prefer moist, shaded, well drained soils. Plant so the top of the tuber is from l l/2 to 2 inches deep and 12 to 18 inches apart.
- Plant Southern peas, okra, peppers and other warm season vegetables after soil temperatures have warmed in your area.
This article appeared in the April 2001 issue of Horticulture Update, edited by Dr. William C. Welch, and produced by Extension Horticulture, Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas 77843.