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To do in the Garden

Fall garden to-do list
Spring is the busiest time in the garden! Click a month to see a list of monthly garden "to-dos" or
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March

Apply pre-emergent herbicides to shrub beds between March 15 and April 1, before mulching for the season.

Apply crabgrass and broadleaf weed preventer to lawns if you haven't yet. If you have to choose between weed control and lawn reseeding at this point, go for the weed control. Get control of the weeds this season and reseed in fall.

Apply HollyTone or Miracid to Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Pieris, Camellias and other acid-loving plants.

Fertilize other established shrubs and trees with slow release or organic fertilizer if they have not been growing vigorously in the past year. Skip fertilizing if they have been growing vigorously, have good color and are healthy and bloom well. Excess fertilizer=more pruning for you.

Divide overgrown perennials.

Move shrubs or perennials that need relocating.

Watch for ambrosia beetle borers in dogwoods, redbud, fruit trees and other young or stressed trees as weather warms up. Holes are the size of a pencil lead and may have sawdust around them. Spray trunks and branches with a permethrin insecticide weekly until trees leaf out.

If bagworms were a problem last year, spray affected trees with BT to kill any caterpillars that may have hatched.

There is still time to prune late season blooming shrubs if you didn't get to them in February.

Sharpen your lawn mower blades. Sharp blades cause less damage to grass when cut so your lawn looks greener.

Repot pot-bound houseplants. Use new pots, or clean used pots with a solution of 1 1/2 cups of bleach in a gallon of water. Use a bagged potting mix suitable for the plant type.

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April

Don’t work in plant beds if the soil is soggy-wet. This can cause compaction, which reduces the soil’s ability to hold oxygen and absorb water and nutrients. It also can cause clods that are difficult to break up. To test, squeeze a handful of soil. If it sticks together like clay, the soil is too wet. If it crumbles you’re good to go.

Apply Weed & Feed to lawns if not previously fertilized with slow release fertilizer. Apply only after weeds have emerged.

Watch for Lacebugs on Azaleas and Cotoneasters, especially in sunnier locations. They cause whitish, stippled leaves with tiny brown-black flecks on the undersides of the leaves. Control with systemic insecticides containing Acephate or Imidacloprid. Since lacebugs feed on the undersides of the leaves, non-systemic material such as horticultural oil and insecticidal soap must be applied there. Thorough coverage is essential, and make applications 7-14 days apart, or as directed on label.

Remove faded tulip and daffodil flowers with scissors. Wait until foliage of spring blooming bulbs yellows before cutting off. Do not braid or bundle the leaves after flowers fade-as long as they are green they’re providing valuable nutrients to recharge the bulb.

Check your irrigation system and adjust timing from last season.

Spray roses for leaf spot prevention & insect control. To keep them clean all season, plan on spraying every 7-10 days.

Apply deer or rabbit repellants to new plantings. Reapply as new growth emerges so it is protected, and/or after heavy rains.

April is an excellent month to plant perennials, giving them some time to establish before heat sets in.

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May

Observe lawn for brown patch. Poor soil drainage, lack of air movement, shade, cloudy weather, dew, over-watering, and watering in the afternoon all favor prolonged leaf wetness and increased disease severity, as does over- or late-fertilization.

Get mulch down to conserve soil moisture in the hot months ahead. Two to three inches will keep soil cooler and slow evaporation, reduce weeds, and supply organic material to the soil as it decomposes. Do not let mulch contact the stems of trees, shrubs or perennials.

Watch Crape Myrtles for aphids and mildew, treat at the first sign and regularly through the summer.

Watch for scale insects on shrubs.

Divide Cannas.

Stake taller perennials as they grow so summer storms don’t flatten them.

Fertilize blooming shrubs after blooms fade.

Prune Azaleas, Pieris and Rhododendrons as flowers fade. Complete all pruning on azaleas by July 4th so you don’t affect next year’s bloom.

Spray in late May with horticultural oil to kill crawler stage of scales.

Continue disease and insect control spray on roses every week to 10 days.

Plant summer-blooming bulbs like Gladiolus, Caladiums, Calla lily and Dahlias.

Set out any houseplants that summer outdoors when night temperatures are over 50 degrees.

Place houseplants in a shady area to acclimate and not get sunburn. Most houseplants prefer bright shade, or a few hours of early AM sun after an acclimation period of 7-14 days.

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