April Gardening Calendar

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Spring is here! Plants and shrubs are blooming so we’ve gathered some gardening to-do’s for your landscape.

Lawn Care

  • Bermudagrass and Centipedegrass can be seeded in late April. Remove existing vegetation and debris, adjust soil pH and nutrients according to soil test report and grade the area for good drainage. Cover the seed with a bail of wheat straw for every 1,000 square feet.
  • After the lawn has completely greened up toward the end of April apply a ½ pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn except for Centipedegrass which needs a little longer to green up.
  • Usually colorful and smelling awful, stinkhorn mushrooms may appear this month. The fungus aids in breaking down organic matter and releasing nutrients back into the soil.

Trees and Shrubs

  • When selecting trees and shrubs check the NC Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox database to make sure they will grow well where you intend to plant them. Check the plant height, width, sun and soil requirements. Select ones that will fit when mature and not just while they’re young and growing.
  • Keep a look out for leaf spot diseases can be a problem on trees and shrubs in early spring. Need one identified, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension for help.
  • Powdery mildew, a fungal disease, can be a problem on several different plants in the landscape. Proper spacing will allow better air flow and reduce the chance for problems.
  • If you haven’t already done so, apply some fertilizer around your trees and shrubs. In the absence of a soil test report recommendation, a 5-10-10 fertilizer can be applied according to label directions.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs such as azaleas, quince, Indian hawthorn, spirea and weigela after they finish flowering.
  • Lace bugs appear with new spring growth. Check azaleas, cotoneaster andIndian hawthorn for tiny insects under the leaves. Shiny black spots on the underside of the leaf are a sign the insects are there, even if you don’t see them.
  • Tiny caterpillars dangling from oaks and other hardwood trees are cankerworms. At this point, they have done their damage and are returning to the soil to pupate. Make a note of which trees have lots of caterpillars so they can be treated in the fall to prevent the adults from laying eggs.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • This is a good time to plant fig trees. Some favorites that do well here include Celeste and Brown Turkey.
  • The average last frost date in Carteret County is March 20th give or take 17 days. Crops such as green beans, sweet corn, squash and zucchini will tolerate a light frost. Crops that like it hot like peppers, tomatoes and eggplant should be planted after the middle of the month.
  • Sow seeds for herbs outdoors. The easiest to grow are basil, borage, chives, dill, sweet marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, summer savory and catnip.
  • Fertilize blueberry, blackberry and fig plants to get good fruit production. Mulch around the bases to control weeds and keep moisture in the soil.

Ornamental flowers

  • Allow the foliage of spring bulbs to turn yellow before cutting it back.
  • Apply a fresh layer of mulch in annual and perennial flower beds to keep weeds down and soil moisture consistent.
  • Plant summer annual flowers now for that splash of color all summer long.
  • Summer flowering bulbs such as dahlias, cannas, gladioli and caladiums should also be planted now.

Other Activities

  • Transfer houseplants back outdoors for fresh air and rainfall.
  • Bees and wasps are on the move and many are looking for a mate. This early in the spring, they may get close to you while working in the garden but they don’t have a nest to protect so many of them will not be aggressive.
  • Rain and warm weather trigger termite swarms. As long as they are outside there isn’t a problem. If swarming inside your house call an exterminator, as they are likely in the wood of the house.
  • Insects that may have been hibernating inside the walls of your house like stink bugs, lady beetles and others will be trying to find their way back out. Some may find their way inside the house.