April Gardening Tips

— Written By

April is Gardening Month in Wayne County! Now is the time to get out and enjoy gardening! Below are some tips for what to do in the garden during April.

•Mow your turf at the correct height. Bermuda at 1 to 1.5 inches, St. Augustine at 2 to 3 inches, centipede at 1 to 1.5 inches and zoysia at 1 to 2 inches.

•This is the month to begin fertilizing bermudagrass and zoysia lawns. Apply nitrogen at a rate of one pound per 1,000 sq. ft. This equals 6 lbs. of 16-4-8 per 1,000 sq. ft.

•Wait until next month to fertilize centipede and St. Augustine lawns.

•Water and fertilize carefully — applying too much water and fertilizer encourages large patch, a destructive fungal disease of lawns.

•If you have not soil tested in the past two years, do so this month before fertilizing to see if additional nutrients or lime are needed. Soil tests are free from April 1st to December 1st.

Trees, Shrubs and Flowers
•Prune spring-flowering plants, such as forsythia, azalea, and spirea immediately after flowering. If you wait until summer or fall to prune, you will remove next season’s flowers.

•If your annuals are flowering vigorously when you plant them, remove at least half of the flowers to give the plants a good start on root, leaf, and flower growth.

•Newly planted trees require regular watering through their first summer. Apply 2-3 gallons per inch of trunk diameter to the root ball at least once a week if it does not rain.

•Newly planted flowers will benefit from liquid fertilization the first few weeks, in addition to slow release fertilizer applied at planting time.

•House plants can be gradually brought outdoors by the middle to end of the month, and any overcrowded plants can be divided and repotted.

Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs
•Prepare garden beds before planting. Till in compost and fertilizer. Add lime ONLY if recommended by soil test reports.

•Set out young pepper and tomato plants in mid- to late April. Wait a few more weeks before setting out cold sensitive eggplant and basil plants.

•Keep an eye out for Colorado potato beetle larvae on potato leaves.

•Direct sow seeds of green beans, limas, field peas, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, winter squash, and sweet corn.

•Harvest garden peas, sugar snaps, and snow peas every few days.

•Thin fruit on apple, peach, and pear trees to increase fruit size, prevent limb breakage and reduce insect/disease problems. Fruit should be thinned when they are about the size of a nickel.

Learn More!
•Subscribe to Wayne County Gardening e-newsletter and receive timely gardening information and announcements of upcoming extension gardening events.
oTo subscribe: Visit: http://go.ncsu.edu/subscribewcg. Scroll down to enter your email address in the “address” box and click on the subscribe button. You will then receive an e-mail which will direct you to a website to accept the subscription.
•Visit our websites at www.waynecountyag.com and http://wayne.ces.ncsu.edu/
•“Like” us on Facebook to receive timely garden tips, ask questions, and learn of upcoming gardening events. www.facebook.com/waynecountygardening

Upcoming Wayne County Extension Gardening Programs
Garden Festival & Plant Sale – April 22nd
Come celebrate Gardening Month in Wayne County! Doors will be open 9 a.m. to noon at Wayne County Extension Office (208 W. Chestnut Street, Goldsboro). A large variety of plants will be for sale along with Master Gardener Volunteers being on hand to answer your gardening questions. There will be displays on plant propagation, selecting fertilizers and lawn care. Beekeepers of the Neuse will have honey for sale. There will be children’s activities with Wayne 4-H and Wayne Extension Foods & Nutrition Agent will have food demonstrations. Extension gardening publications and soil sample kits will also be available.

Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension Agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County. Horticulture program information can be found at http://wayne.ces.ncsu.edu/. Forward any questions you would like answered from this week’s column to Jessica.Strickland@waynegov.com.