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In spite of a Valentine freeze, April wildflowers are still beautiful. And with all the dead looking gardens, we need something beautiful! If you want wildflowers in your own landscape, plant seeds in late September or early October for next spring’s flowers. Thirty of the best wildflowers in Texas are found here: https://texashighways.com/wildflowers/wildflowers-of-texas/Pruning chores this month include azaleas, wisteria and climbing roses after the flowers fade. Roses such as Lady Banks, Veilchenblau, American Beauty and the Swamp Rose bloom only in spring. Remove any dead, old, or crossing canes. Lightly prune remaining canes after blooming and refrain from additional pruning until after next year’s bloom.
If you missed fertilizing in March, feed plants with a slow-release organic fertilizer now. Azaleas respond well to organic fertilizer and a three-inch layer of mulch such as pine needles or native mulch. Do not use dyed mulch!
Fertilize turf grass around April 15 with a slow-release fertilizer that contains no more that 15% nitrogen. High nitrogen fertilizers can cause thatch and are more likely to pollute the environment. One of my favorite fertilizers for turf grass is Nitro-Phos Sweet Green. It contains 11% nitrogen, 0% phosphorus and 4% potassium. This fertilizer releases its nutrients over a longer period of time. Texas AgriLife Extension does not recommend the use of weed and feed combination products for two reasons:
The herbicide in those products will weaken or even kill trees and shrubs.
The application timing of herbicide and fertilizer differ. So STOP using weed and feed!
Vegetables to plant: transplants of peppers and tomatoes until mid-month, transplants of eggplant. Seeds to plant include butterbeans, bush green beans, corn, cucumber, cantaloupe, okra, southern peas, watermelon, and until mid-month, summer & winter squash. Watch potato and squash plants for clusters of eggs on the underside of the leaves. Remove the eggs.
All summer-blooming flower transplants can be set out in April; however, wait until the end of the month or May to set out vinca transplants. Vinca likes a well-drained hot spot and is susceptible damping off, caused by a soil-borne fungus, when soil temperatures are cool. According to scientists, the disease is greatly decreased when seedlings are watered with a four percent solution of fish emulsion.
Most summer-blooming flower seeds can be planted now. Wait until the end of April to plant zinnia seeds. Plants that are given good air circulation and full sun have fewer fungal leaf problems. Dig and divide crowded fall-blooming bulbs such as lycoris and perennials such as aster and chrysanthemum, especially if they failed to bloom well last fall.
Tender herbs, such as basil, can be planted now. If growing basil for culinary use, do not allow it to bloom. According to the late Madeline Hill, the taste of the basil changes if allowed to bloom.
Evaluate the plants in your landscape. If you find yourself constantly battling insects or disease on any plant, get rid of that plant. Replace freeze-damaged and insect-prone plants with natives.
Check out our website, https://mcmga.com/ for information and classes.
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