Gardening Tips for April 2019

Dear Gardening Friends,

We made it to April!!! Even though there is snow on the ground today (4/1) we know spring is in the air. Snowdrops are up and I’ve seen some crocus as well. The conditions in your yard may be different from mine but mine is still too wet to work in and the soil way too cold. Once the night temps get warmer the soil will start to warm up.

The following are some things you can do while waiting to work in the soil:

  • First, the reasons to stay off the wet ground is that the weight of your footprint causes compaction of the soil. Basically it’s like squishing a sponge. This makes the soil more dense and difficult for the roots to grow through as well as harder for water to penetrate. Another reason is you may be stepping on a plant that hasn’t poked its head above the soil yet. Yes, this is frustrating and you just want to get out there and clean up, but if you leave a footprint stay off!
  • Rake up winter debris from roadsides and garden beds that you can reach.
  • Pick up sticks and other debris. If you can’t reach it from a path or walkway a rake can be used to pull it closer to you.
  • Cut back last year’s leaves from Lentin Rose and other perennials with evergreen foliage including grasses. Be careful not to snip off any of the new growth at the bottom.
  • This is still an ideal time to prune shrubs and trees that don’t bloom in spring. The buds are just starting to swell so you can see what’s alive from what’s not.
  • Before starting any pruning projects clean and sharpen and disinfect (10% Clorox solution or Lysol) your tools. It makes a huge difference.
  • Gently rake up leaves and mulch that may be over areas where bulbs and early perennials like day lilies are poking through. I always leave some leaves as protection for late season snow & frost. We are bound to have some of both before consistently warmer weather arrives. Remember the final average frost is LATE MAY!
  • This is a perfect time for “wishful thinking”. What changes do you want to make, plants to add, move, divide or remove? First consider the site, light, type of soil etc. THEN research plants suited to that site.
  • As the soil and air warm up you will be able to divide and move plants. Remember the soil has to be 50 degrees and “workable”. If a perennial comes up looking like a doughnut with an empty center or has had reduced bloom, those are signs it needs to be divided.

If you need advice on how to transplant, divide, prune, what to plant etc. contact me for a consultation.