April is the perfect time to prime your flower gardens, trees and shrubs for the summer season. A little preparation and work in the spring will result in significantly less time and energy on maintenance in the coming months.
First, make sure only to prune flowers that bloom in the summer or later. Flowers that have already bloomed or are about to bloom should not be pruned at this time. Examples of flowers that should not be trimmed at this time include: forsythia, lilacs and other spring flowers.
Summer flowers that will respond well to pruning include roses, Montauk daisies, the butterfly bush, PeeGee Hydrangea and more.
Start your spring cleaning by removing any stems that appear to have sustained damage over the winter or look diseased. A quick way to tell if a shoot is healthy is to scratch it and if it is green, the limb should be hearty. After you’ve removed those stems, feel free to trim back the plant to help shape it, but be careful not to overcut. Generally you shouldn’t cut more than a third of the plant or the plant may not survive. Trimming these flowers at this time in the spring will not only result in a vigorous plant, but will also give it a full and bushy appearance. Additionally, a well trimmed plant is a healthier plant and is better able to survive insect predation and minor drought.
Another good idea is to spread some granular rose and flower care around your plants. Applying this application now will allow the spring rains dissolve it into the ground and will help deter insects during the summer season.
April is also the perfect time to spread pre-emergent, a treatment designed to prevent weeds from germinating. Both organic and conventional options are available. A common organic choice is corn gluten and the most common conventional treatment is called Preen. Laying the pre-emergent down now may save you countless hours of weeding as the summer progresses, giving you more time to enjoy the gorgeous weather.
Trees and Shrubs
Feed your trees and shrubs. Much like a hibernating bear, trees and shrubs are emerging from winter hibernation and they sure are hungry. A little fertilizer at this time of year encourages new growth and also helps them restore depleted reserves. This is especially important this year with such limited moisture when pests such as the winter moth are likely to have a greater impact. Again, a healthier tree or shrub is much better equipped to survive damage from insects. Both organic and conventional fertilizer are both effective and you can find them both at Wilson Farm or your local nursery.
Plants and flowers begin emerging faithfully greeting the warmer temperatures in April and a little attention now by their caregivers will result in months of glorious color and hearty vegetation.
Information for this article was contributed by Wilson Farm, 10 Pleasant St., Lexington.