Friday, April 1, 2011

Really, stay out!

New Heuchera heaved out of the soil.  Luckily I saved some earth this year so I could  blanket the little roots.
It isn't quite time to get out in the garden yet.  Tromping around in the wet earth will only compact the soil and cause all kinds of problems for your plants.  But we just can't wait for winter to be gone!  I was out picking up sticks in the garden, which had fallen from my big old trees and I had a good look for signs of life.  They are everywhere!  Crocus poking up, tulip bulbs up about an inch, and the fat green tips of hyacinths are ready to shoot up with the slightest bit of warm weather.
Hyacinths poking out, but the sedum has heaved and needs to be pushed back down.
Early crocus turn their purple faces to the sun in the morning, only to close on cloudy days!

Here's a list of things you may do in the garden in April:

 Remember: No walking on the grass or flowerbeds while the ground is wet and soggy. Soil compaction occurs, wait till the ground dries out

 Clean and sharpen hand tools such as pruners and shovels ready for the season

 Apply dormant oil sprays to fruit trees and woody plants to control hibernating insects. Apply it while the buds are swelling, but before the leaves open out. Good time indicator is when the frost is out of the ground.

 Once the ground has thawed, look for plants that have heaved out of the soil and resettle them. This is very important, as heaved plant roots are very susceptible to freezing when those blasts of 'below zero' occur.

 Start cutting back the ornamental grasses and dead stalks

April chores can include looking after your Lawn

Lawn Care:
  • April brings in warmer temperatures and spring rains, so now is a good time to seed, overseed, or sod the lawn. Be aware that newly seeded lawns may take two or more weeks to germinate in the cooler spring weather. Watch for temperatures above 10 degrees C for about 4 - 5 days as a gauge to start sowing.
  • When weather conditions permit, remove excess thatch from your lawn and aerate it, if necessary. This should not be done too often, and is actually better done in the fall for our area's cool-season grasses.
  • Get your mower blade sharpened. Mowing with a dull blade tears the ends of grass blades, leaving ragged ends which later turn brown, and also encourages the spread of fungus disease. You want to be ready for May and June growth!