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Spring Gardening Tips

Fertilizing - All plants need food or fertilization. The best time to apply fertilizers is during the initial growing season in March or early April.

Shrubs -  Generally shrubs do not require more than 1/4 lb. (1/2 cup) of a complete and balanced fertilizer, such as formula, per square yard of bed area. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the plants and water. Do not allow raw fertilizer to stick to stems or leaves. Burning may result.

Roses - Roses should also have about 1/4 lb. of a complete and balanced fertilizer per plant. Evenly distribute the fertilizer around the plant. Do not let it touch the stems or canes of the rose plants.

Lawns - If you did not fertilize in late February, apply 20 lbs. of a complete and balanced fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn area. Apply when the grass is dry, distribute equally over the lawn area, and water in or off the grass to prevent burning. Apply nitrogen fertilizers in mid or late May.

Pruning - Prune summer flowering shrubs and evergreen shrubs in March or early April. Spring flowering shrubs such as spiraea (bridal wreath), forsythia, and flowering guince should be pruned after flowering in late March and early April, depending on weather conditions. Always preserve the natural form of a plant when pruning. Thin out from the center rather than shearing the plant which destroys its form.

Landscape Gardening - Bedding Plants

Begin setting out bedding plants after danger of frost is over.

Prepare a good soil mixture before planting. A well drained soil with a high humus content is best for bedding plants.

For best growth, cultivate often, keeping out grasses and weeds which use up the moisture and available nutrients from the plants.

Vegetable Gardening

April is a great month to plant snap beans, butter beans, collards, cucumbers, eggplants, cantaloupes, okra, southern field peas, peanuts, pumpkins, winter squash, summer squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes (late April), tomato transplants, pepper transplants, and watermelons.

May  is a great month to plant sweet potato transplants, heat tolerant tomatoes, okra, southern peas, pumpkins, peanuts, sweet corn, collards, watermelons, cucumbers, butter beans, squash, cantaloupe, and eggplant transplants.

Weed Control - The healthiest lawn and garden can begin to look bad if weeds are allowed to take over.

Turf Weeds -  Herbicides can control weeds in your turf. Chemicals that are useful are 2-4D blends, Asulox, Simazine, Atrazine, and Basagran. Be sure to follow label rates and warnings.

Broadleaf Weeds - Use selective postemergence formulations which contain two or more herbicides to control broadleaf weeds. Formulations of 2-4D are available for most southern grasses. Some examples are Green Light Wipe Out, Broadleaf Weed Killer, Spectrum 33 Plus, Trimec, Fertilome Weed Out, and Weed-B-Gone. Most labels will stress use on younger weeds growing in the cooler mid-to-late spring. A temporary discoloration of the lawn may occur. A second application three weeks later is often needed on pesky species.

Care of New Plantings - The first of summer is a critical period for any new plantings. With a little extra attention in the initial stages, plants can thrive.

Moisture - Water thoroughly weekly rather than giving more frequent sprinklings.

Mulch - A  4"-6" mulch of compost, pine needles, leaves, bagasse or other organic matter will reduce watering frequency considerably.

Levee - A small levee around the base of  trees, shrubs, and new plantings will form a water reservoir to prevent excessive runoff.

House Plants - After months of confinement in areas that are not usually favorable for plant growth, move your house plants to porches, beneath large shade trees or other outdoor areas where more favorable conditions exist.

Sink pots in beds if possible to conserve moisture over the summer.

Most house plants are very tender, so avoid placing them in areas where they get full sunlight or heavy winds.

April is the ideal month to repot house plants. A good soil mixture is five parts garden loam soil, four parts peat moss or leaf mold, and one part builder's or sharp sand. If the plant is outgrowing its current container, repot it to at least one size larger


Lawn Maintenance Improves Home Security

A landscaped and well-maintained yard will help deter a criminal from approaching your home.  Burglars tend to choose homes with overgrown lawns and shrubs which indicates that your home may be vacant or that you're not very concerned about the security of your home.  The following lawn care tips will help you improve security at your home.

  • Keep shrubs and trees trimmed, especially near doors, windows and walkways.   Also avoid shrubs and trees that block the view to your neighbors' homes.   This will give both you and your neighbors the ability to watch each other's homes.
  • Keep your yard and driveway clear, never allowing newspapers to accumulate in your yard, on your driveway or near your front door.  This gives the impression that you are away from your home.  Keep your lawn furniture and ladders put away so a thief will not have an opportunity to use them to gain access to your home.
  • Keep taller trees trimmed away from your roof so that the branches cannot be used to climb onto your roof or into your second floor windows.
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