April Gardening Guide

This is a great time to plant perennials, shrubs, and many trees, but be aware that as the weather warms up, you’ll need to keep an eye out for stress, especially related to dehydration or sun scorching.  Be sure to plant any new additions to your garden or landscape in a situation that will minimize unnecessary stress and be willing to act quickly to prevent or minimize stressing.  The experts at Randy’s can help steer you in the right direction regarding specific requirements for planting and growing everything we offer at the nursery, including the fish.

If you’re lucky, you still have some peaches on your trees, most likely between the sizes of peppercorns and pistachios.  Your apple and pear trees may still be blooming or even already have swellings at the base of spent blossoms.  In my garden, pecan trees are just starting to wake up and unfurl, leaf buds on the muscadine vine are swelling, and the figs are still out for the count.  It looks like at least half of my fig trees may have died back to the ground.  Again. 

It won't be too long before the grape leafbuds burst open.

It won’t be too long before the grape leaf buds burst open. Training grape vines makes maintenance and harvesting much easier, and helps reduce disease due to poor air flow through the vines. I’m still trying to sort out how best to tackle pruning my wild and woolly muscadine, but that certainly hasn’t stopped it from bearing a bumper crop in late summer.

Keep a watchful eye on your fruit trees, addressing pest and fruit crowding issues as they arise.  It’s also time to check evergreen shrubs for pests and treat those accordingly.  There are links just below for UGA’s home orchard maintenance guide and Clemson’s shrub pest management guide.  As always, it’s best to use non-toxic remedies whenever possible, and when necessary, use low toxicity remedies very carefully so as not to harm beneficial insects, birds, or fish.  I still haven’t found any fish in my yard, but I know they’re here somewhere.

http://www.caes.uga.edu/content/dam/caes-website/departments/entomology/documents/ga-pest-management-handbook/2017-homeowner/ORCHARD-FRUIT.pdf

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/shrubs/hgic2051.html

Whether you've diligently started all your spring vegetables indoors, or plan to sow them directly into the garden, now's the time to get them in the dirt.

Whether you’ve diligently started all your spring vegetables indoors, or plan to sow them directly into the garden, now’s the time to get them outdoors, and into the garden. If you’re behind on everything, like me, you’ll be heading to the Randy’s to buy your vegetable and herb plants.

Next week, it’s reasonably safe to start transplanting tender vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers out to the garden.  You can also plant beans, cantaloupe, corn, eggplant, okra, field peas, summer squashes, and watermelon in situ.  If you haven’t started tomatoes yet, you can still plant the seeds while you’re planting all the stuff in the previous sentence.  If you don’t have chickens, plant the watermelon anyway.  You can always get some chickens before they’re ripe (who ripens first, the chickens or the watermelons?).  There’s more spring vegetable gardening advice here:

http://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C943&title=Vegetable%20Garden%20Calendar#April

Dahlias love as much sun as you can give them.

Dahlias love as much sun as you can give them. In zone 7, if the winter hasn’t been too cold, they’ll come back up. You can always dig them up in fall and store them until it’s time to plant them again. Be sure to have stakes on hand for the taller stalk with heavy flowers.

The last week in April, is a good time to start warm weather annuals from seed and plant tender bulbs and tubers such as gladiolas, dahlias, and caladiums.  Take measures to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, as the weather continues to warm up.

After your gardenias and azaleas finish blooming is the best time to prune them.  Waiting too long may cost you flowers next spring.  Learn which flowering shrubs should be pruned as soon after blooming as possible, and take care of the essential pruning tasks first, then go back and do some touch up pruning and debris removal as necessary.

Deadhead the azaleas, clean up any dead flowers or leaves, and then get ready to prune once they finish blooming.

Deadhead the azaleas, clean up any dead flowers or leaves, and then get ready to prune once they finish blooming. Mites and lace bugs are common azalea pests, so you may need to treat for those as well. Pruning azaleas is a matter of taste. Shearing into specific shapes may result in higher blossom density, but bare or dead branches at the center of the plant. Selective pruning results in a more natural, open form, fewer blossoms, and better ventilation.

Mulching is a great way to conserve soil moisture, keep plant roots cool, and keep weeds in check.  Old mulch and debris around the base of your perennials, shrubs, and trees can harbor mold, fungus, and pests.  If you haven’t already replaced the old mulch around your shrubs, trees, and strawberries, now’s a great time to do that.  Keep the ground under your fruit trees cleared of dead leaves, fallen fruit, and debris.  Remember, close to a third of your fruit could fall prematurely, so don’t be alarmed, just clear them away.

There are a lot of gardening related events taking place in our state this month, so check out the schedule below, and make plans to share some good times with friends and former strangers while learning new and exciting gardening type stuff.

http://statebystategardening.com/ga/calendar/

Here are some additional resources that provide even more information on what to do with houseplants, your lawn, and how to tackle some common April problems in the garden.  There are also some cultivar recommendations at the other end of the Mother Earth Living link.

http://www.walterreeves.com/seasonal-gardening-calendar/april/

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/gardeners-april-to-do-list

https://www.southernliving.com/garden/grumpy-gardener/april-gardening-spring-pruning-azaleas

https://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/gardening-tips/zone-by-zone-zm0z17mazfol

http://www.walterreeves.com/seasonal-gardening-calendar/april/

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/gardeners-april-to-do-list

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