Green Tips for the Month of April

New lawns can be started this month. Sod can be planted at any time,
but wait until soil has warmed to plant bermuda seed.

Warm-season vegetables including beans, tomatoes, corn, squash, cucumbers, melons and peppers 2 weeks after last killing freeze. Summer vegetables, including okra, eggplant, southern peas 4 weeks after last freeze.

Warm-season annual flowers including begonias, impatiens, zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, celosia and Dahlberg daisies, 2 weeks after last killing freeze. Tropical annual color plants, including hibiscus, pentas, firebush, copper plant, purslane, moss rose, purple fountaingrass, caladiums, fanflower, lantanas, bananas, 4 weeks after last killing freeze.

Perennials from 6-inch and 1-gallon pots. Nurseries have their best selections of the year this month.

Pot large-leafed, showy tropicals such as crotons, sansevierias, philodendrons,aglaonemas and showy-leafed begonias, for display in shade gardens.

Groundcovers into well-prepared soil to take advantage of the burst of new spring growth.

Herbs into flower beds, vegetable gardens and patio containers. Many herbs areattractive as well as edible.

Roses in full bloom, to ensure you get exactly the shade you prefer.

Trees and shrubs are available in profusion this month. Transport them home carefully, protecting them from highway winds, then plant them immediately. Hand-water them regularly during first summer.

Climbing roses, also antique roses that only bloom in spring, following flowering to remove weak growth and reshape plants.

Spring-flowering shrubs and vines to reshape immediately after they
finish blooming.

Low-hanging limbs from shade trees to allow sunlight to reach grass beneath.

Mums, fall asters, Mexican bush sage and other fall-flowering perennials, also blackberries, coleus and begonias, lightly to encourage side branching and more compact habit.

Tropicals, such as hibiscus, that have grown lanky over a winter indoors can be trimmed back now.

All lawn grasses should be fed this month. Use quality high-nitrogen or all-nitrogen plant food.

Other landscape, garden plants with same lawn-type fertilizer unless soil tests suggest otherwise. Have soils tested every 2 to 3 years to monitor nutrient levels.

Container gardens. Use complete-and-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20 with trace elements. Apply diluted solution with each watering.

Feed roses monthly with specialty rose food.

Use iron additive with sulfur soil acidifier to correct iron chlorosis (yellow leaves with dark green veins, most prominent on new growth first). Keep iron products off masonry, painted surfaces that could be stained.

Cankerworms strip new leaves from trees. Larvae will hang by very thin threads from trees. Bacillus thuringiensis biological worm spray is best control.

Cabbage loopers with same B.t. spray or dust.

Snails, slugs, pillbugs devour tender new stem, leaf growth. Apply dust or specialty bait.

Leafrollers tie leaves of cannas, sweetgums, redbuds, pyrancathas and others together. Apply systemic insecticide for ongoing protection before problem becomes serious.

Thrips cause roses and other double flowers to fail to open, turn brown around petals' edges. Systemic insecticide to control.

Aphids on brand new growth of daylilies, tomatoes, roses and a host of other plants. General-purpose insecticide will eliminate.

Roses for black spot and mildew. Use labeled fungicide weekly into summer.

Powdery mildew on new growth of crape myrtles, zinnias, euonymus. Treat with approved fungicide.

Maroon freckles on leaves of redtip photonias, Indian hawthorns suggest fungal leaf spot. Treat with approved fungicide, but be prepared to replace plants. This disease is epidemic.

Broadleafed weedkiller to eliminate existing clover, dandelions, dichondra, wild violets and poising ivy.