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These tips apply to those in USDA Zone 8 of Georgia but may apply to other regions in the southern United States.
HOORAY FOR SPRING! It's April, and this means that here in the South the roller coaster ride of up and down March weather is usually gone by now and warmer temperatures have set in to stay for a while. This means it's time to plant...anything and everything, including annual flowers and vegetable plants. That said, before planting these tender plants make sure to check to see that your local 10 or 15 day weather forecast isn't showing any temperatures below 40 degrees F. If so, wait a week or so and check the forecast again. When you see no more temperatures below 40 degrees that means it's safe to start planting flowers and veggies!
APRIL Landscape & Garden Tips
1. Plant annual flowers! If weather forecasters say there will be no more frost, you can begin planting annual bedding plants such as, marigolds, geraniums, salvia, petunias, and impatiens in flowerbeds and containers. After planting, provide enough water to keep soil moist, but not constantly wet, which can lead to disease.
2. Plant the vegetable garden! If the 10-day weather forecast during the first week of April says or more temperatures below 40 F, this means it's time you can begin planting warmer weather crops like tomatoes, squash and cucumbers in the garden and in containers. That said, wait to plant peppers, eggplant and okra until the middle or end of April; when low temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees F. If you have not yet refurbished the soil in your vegetable garden, till or turn in a 1/4-inch layer of composted organic matter into the soil before planting. If you do not make your own compost you can use mushroom compost, composted cow manure or some other form of organic matter.
If you are new to vegetable gardening, follow some of the links below to get helpful tips.
3. Plant fruit trees, bushes and vines! What could be more enjoyable and rewarding than installing a landscape you can eat? At the Nursery, you'll find a lot of hardy fruiting bushes, trees and vines that are all edible, and all perfect for use in the home landscape. There are so many types, you could plant your entire landscape in nothing but hardy edible plants and trees!
See some of the fruit bearing plants we carry at the Nursery >
NOTE: Not all of the fruiting plants and trees at the Nursery are available in our online store, and not all of the ones you see in our online store are available at the nursery.
4. Plant perennials! For those of you who are new to gardening, perennials are flowering or foliage plants that return year after year after you plant them in your garden. Hundreds of varieties of perennial plants begin arriving at the Nursery during April. Perennial plants can be planted in perennial garden beds, as accents or in groupings in landscape beds, or containers to add vibrant splashes of color in just about any setting in your landscape.
Whatever the situation or need, there is a perennial plant that fits! There are sun-loving perennials and shade loving perennials; wet soil perennials and dry soil perennials; butterfly attracting perennials and hummingbird attracting perennials. There are spring flowering perennials, summer flowering perennials, fall flowering perennials, and even winter flowering perennials. And then there's long blooming perennials that bloom from spring to frost. Got deer? No problem. There are many deer resistant perennials that deer turn their nose up to. There are fragrant perennials for adding sensory appeal to your garden, and cut flower perennials you can use for fresh or dried flower arrangements. Need to fill the gaps between stepping stones or pavers, there are creeping perennial plants to fill them. See, we weren't kidding. There's a perennial plant for every situation!
5. Plant herbs! April is a great time to plant herbs in garden beds and containers. At the Nursery, you'll find a great selection of the types and varieties that perform best in the north-central Georgia area.
6. Plant shrubs and trees! April is a great time to plant all types of evergreen and flowering shrubs and trees. If you need some help with landscape design, check out Do-It-Yourself Landscape Design Tips & Ideas, or consult with one of our professional landscape designers at Wilson Bros Landscape. You can check out many of the shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses, roses and more that we carry at the Nursery on our online store at WilsonBrosGardens.com.
NOTE: We carry many, many more plants at the Nursery than are listed in our online store. Also, a few of the plants in our online store, such as Bamboo, are not available at the Nursery.
7. Plant a new lawn! It's a little late to be planting a Fescue lawn, but right on time to start planting Bermuda, Centipede and Zoysia grass lawns. All of these lawn grass types can be planted using sod, and Bermuda and Centipede can also be planted with seed. When planting a Bermuda lawn from seed make sure to use "turf-type' Bermuda seed as Common Bermuda is best suited for pastures.
8. Plant a wildflower garden! Wildflower seeds can be planted now in tilled garden beds or natural areas.
1. Fertilize warm season lawn's during April. If new growth is emerging in your Bermuda, Centipede, St. Augustine or Zoysia lawn it's time to feed. If you are on one of the Wilson Bros DIY Lawn Care Programs it is now time for Step 2: the application of a lawn fertilizer that contains a weed preventer. If you apply a weed & feed type fertilizer, make sure you get the right type. Centipede and St. Augustine lawns require a specialty weed and feed that contains Atrazine weed killer.
CAUTION: If you are planning on overseeding your Bermuda or Centipede lawn within the next 8 weeks, do not use a weed and feed fertilizer or one containing a weed preventer. Instead, use a lawn starter fertilizer at seeding time.
TIP: Aerating and/or dethatching the lawn will allow water and fertilizers applied to penetrate deeper into the soil, which helps promote a deeper root system and less attention to watering during summer. Use a garden fork or aerating machine to punch holes and/or pull plugs over the surface of your lawn. If there is heavy thatch build up, April is also a good time to thatch and aerate before fertilizing. Thatch buildup can smother your lawn and provide an environment for diseases. Remove thatch with a brisk raking, or with a de-thatching machine rented from your local tool rental store.
2. Fertilize fescue lawns in the mid to latter part of April. The latter half of April is a good time to feed your Fescue lawn again. Don't wait until May because the hot weather usually rolls in at this time. Fescue grass is a cool season grass which, for the most part, goes dormant during the hot summer months, meaning it won't respond well to fertilization.
3. Apply pelletized lime at this time to Fescue, Bermuda, and Zoysia lawns. Lime is not a fertilizer, however, you may notice after applying it that your lawn greens up quickly. This is due to the correction of the soil pH, which can allow the roots of your grass to absorb fertilizer and nutrients applied in the past.
If you have never applied lime to your Bermuda, Fescue or Zoysia lawn, an application of one 30 LB bag of LIME RITE Pelletized Lime per 6,000 square feet of lawn area, or 40 lbs standard pelletized lime per 500 -1,000 square feet of lawn area, usually corrects soil pH to a level sufficient for these grasses to thrive and for fertilizers applied to be readily absorbed by the roots. Make sure to use "pellitized" lime as it activates instantly.
NOTE: Soil pH correction usually lasts for several years. You can test your soil pH with a soil test kit available at the nursery or buy soil testing kits online here. Your local extension service may provide soil testing services as well.
4. Fertilize perennial plants. if you didn't feed your perennial plants in March, go ahead and feed them now with a good flower fertilizer or natural or organic plant food. If you're unsure as to the nutritional needs of a specific type of plant don't hesitate to ask us any questions you might have when you're at the Nursery, or contact us here.
SEE: How To Fertilize Perennial Plants >
5. Fertilize roses. If you haven't fertilized your roses yet, go ahead and fertilize them now and again as directed on the product label. We feed our roses with Fertilome Rose & Flower Food, which contains a systemic insecticide. Alternatively you can feed your roses with a natural or organic plant food.
6. Fertilize shrubs and trees. If you didn't fertilize shrubs and trees in March you can do so in April. Wait to fertilize spring-flowering shrubs until their flowers have started to fade. Fertilize shrubs and trees with a well-balanced shrub & tree type fertilizer, such as Fertilome Tree & Shrub Food, or a "goof proof," non-burning natural plant food such as Nitroganic Organic Fertilizer. Follow application instructions on the product label.
Other Tips & Reminders
1. Control weeds in your lawn and landscape now. Take measures now to kill and prevent weeds in your lawn and landscape. If you allow existing weeds to keep growing they'll produce and scatter their seeds everywhere...and that just means more pulling and or spraying you'll have to do later!
If weeds have sprouted in your established Bermuda, Zoysia or a Fescue lawn use a weed killer such as Top Shot MSM Lawn Weed Killer to kill them now. if you've had a problem in the past with crabgrass, use Fertilome Weed Out with Crabgrass Killer. If you have a Centipede or St Augustine lawn, use Atrazine Lawn Weed Killer to kill existing weeds.
If weeds have sprouted in your mulched landscape beds and other non-lawn areas use a weed killer such as Hi-Yield Killzall to kill them. Killzall is the exact same product as Superconcentrate Roundup but about half the price! To avoid contact with your desirable shrubs and other plants, it's best to spray a weed killer on a calm day, or adjust your sprayer nozzle so that it sprays more of a stream rather than a fog, which can drift.
If you want to prevent weed seeds from sprouting in your mulched landscaped areas and other non-lawn areas, if you haven't already done so apply a weed preventer such as Hi-Yield Weed & Grass Preventer Herbicide Granules, which contains Treflan, which prevents weed seeds from sprouting for up to 1 year! Treflan works by killing weed seeds before they have a chance to germinate.
2. Weed control in the vegetable garden. Make sure to stay on top of weeds sprouting in the vegetable garden. A 2- to 3-inch layer of wheat straw can help prevent weeds from growing. Cultivating the soil between rows can also reduce weed growth. Otherwise, you can pull weeds by hand or remove them with a hoe or other weeding tool.
SEE: How To Control Weeds in the Vegetable Garden >
3. If you overseeded your Bermuda lawn with ryegrass during the winter do this now: Cut the ryegrass as low as possible. This will cause the ryegrass to die out and allow the Bermudagrass to emerge from dormancy.
4. Deadhead spring flowering bulbs. When spring flowering bulbs such as Daffodils have finished blooming deadhead the flowers but do not cut off the green foliage, yet. These green leaves continue to grow for a few weeks, and provide the bulb with food for flowering next year. Wait until the leaves have died to cut them back.
5. Divide perennials. First, not all perennials can or should be divided. Those that are more shrubby; having only a single stem that supports the branches cannot be divided without destroying the plant. Perennials that can be divided are those that spread by underground rhizomes or roots, such as Daylilies, Hosta lilies, and Iris. The additional plants you create can be traded or given to friends, or moved to a new area of the garden.
SEE: How To Divide perennial Plants >
6. Pond plants - If you have a garden pond, you can begin to set tropical aquatic plants any time after the middle of the month.
7. Houseplant care. Rotate your houseplants to allow each side of the plant to receive an equal amount of light. So your houseplants can breathe better, use a spray bottle and a cloth to clean the dust off of the leaves. Deadhead spent flowers and remove all dead or yellowing leaves and branches. Pinching back the tips of foliage plants will stimulate new growth.
If you can think of another good tip for us to add to this list please let us know! Use the Contact Us form >