April

General Maintenance Of Gardens

  • This month ends bare root planting season
  • Don’t use organic mulches until soil has warmed (early July)
  • Hang new bird nests
  • Record last frost date
  • Keep adding compost, while keeping pile moist, and covered
  • Weed dandelions as they bloom, remove at least top 4 inches of root, less chance of root re-growth
  • Keep up slug and snail patrol
  • Control foliar diseases by using compost spray on roses, apple, pear, cherry, any plant

Plant Specific

  • Since flowers and fruits are nutrient sinks, remove flower heads from daffodils, tulips, rhododendrons, and azaleas
  • Do not fertilize azaleas and camelias until after they stop blooming
  • Plant cool crops of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower before end of April
  • Plant beets, chard, collard, kale, kohlrabi, parsnips, radishes, spinach, and turnips in April
  • Plant potatoes and peas in straw bed (pull straw away, drop potato, cover with straw, maintain straw 12+ inches) prepared last September
  • Start tomato and pepper seeds indoors, plant in six to eight weeks
  • Currant worms may appear on gooseberries and currants, spray with pyrethrin or rotenone if found (CAUTION: Broad Spectrum Killers).
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs (azalea, forsythia, rhododendrons) just after they flower
  • Prune summer-flowering shrubs before they start to put on new growth
  • Lawns, check for European crane fly larvae (called leather jackets), remove 1 square foot of lawn and count leather jackets, if 25 or more use beneficial nematodes

Fruit Tree, General

  • Check trees and shrubs for tent caterpillars, control by pruning out in evening or morning, can use Bt for control if caterpillars are young
  • Graft fruit trees
  • Start looking at plant leaves and stems for insect problems
  • Non-bearing limb? Try “scoring” a knife cut made on the underside of such a limb about ten days after bloom may activate latent buds
  • Spray fruit trees for fungal diseases such as scab, mildew, and brown rot (all fungi), recommend compost tea
  • Mildew spores cannot germinate when there is free moisture and may be killed; plantings with overhead sprinkler systems or frequent water sprays have reduced incidence of powdery mildew.

Fruit Tree, Specific

  • Peaches and nectarines, set pheromone traps or mating disruption lures for Oriental Fruit Moth, first part of April
  • Apples; PRE-PINK: codling moth, begin monitoring with traps, pheromone or water molasses, or Isomate-C. Scale, aphids Safer’s Insecticidal Soap, lacewing, lady beetle release – release early before population build-up
  • Apples; PRE-PINK: control ants with Tanglefoot barrier on trunk
  • Apples; PRE-PINK: apple scab, mildew; compost tea, lime sulfur, sulfur
  • Apples; PRE-PINK: monitor environment for scab
  • Apples; PRE-PINK: leaf rollers, leaf miners; Monitor with pheromone traps, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) when present
  • Apples; bloom (first bloom to petal fall) – monitor weather for conditions favorable to scab, fireblight, bacterial blast, powdery mildew, spray with compost tea
  • Evidence that compost teas control scab, fireblight, bacterial blast, and powdery mildew
  • Apples; bloom (first bloom to petal fall) – in mating disruption orchards, put pheromone dispensers out
  • Apples; bloom (first bloom to petal fall) – continue to examine shoots and bloom for aphids – use soap sprays
  • Apples, pears, plums, peaches; earwigs are predators, to increase the number of earwigs in the canopy, hang clay flower pots, upside-down with tie through the drain hole, stuffed with straw, earwigs will hide here in the daytime and patrol your tree by night (if you do not have earwigs, place straw stuffed pot near compost, check during daytime to see if you have earwigs in pot, if so hang in tree)