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April & May Garden Chores -


April Checklist

  • Keep mowing cool-season grasses.
  • Seed warm-season grasses at recommended rate.
  • Check trees and shrubs weekly for insects and diseases.
  • Check camellias for scale. If present, treat with horticultural oil once temperatures are between 40-85ºF.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs that bloom before July 1 right after flowers fade. These include forsythia, spirea,    deutzia,daphne, winter jasmine, camellia, azalea and weigela.
  • Destroy poison ivy by uprooting young plants and disposing. Use an herbicide recommended for poison ivy on older plants.
  • Feed azaleas after bloom if they were not fed last month.
  • Set out tender annuals after April 15 – the average last frost date.
  • Remove faded flowers from spring-flowering bulbs to prevent seeds from developing.
  • Condition or harden-off seedlings started indoors.
  • Remove suckers from the graft union of roses; inspect roses for rose aphids and spider mites.
  • Fertilize palms with a slow-release fertilizer such as 3:1:2 analysis (18-6-12 or 15-5-10).
  • Continue hand-pulling weeds.

May Checklist

  • Continue pruning spring-flowering shrubs and trees as their blossoms fade.
  • Begin pinching back chrysanthemums every other week for shorter, stockier plants with more blooms.
  • Cut chives to the ground at the beginning of the month to remove woody flower stems. Water and fertilize lightly to stimulate growth.
  • Continue setting out transplants of warm-weather vegetables. Set out eggplant and pepper transplants when soil is about 65° and nights are continuously 50°.
  • Plant seeds of warm-season vegetables anytime this month. Wait until later in the month to plant okra. Soak okra seeds in tepid water for 24 hours to speed germination.
  • Houseplants can go outside at the start of the month. Start in shade and gradually move to sun.
  • Cut back flower stalks to the ground on daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs as flowers fade. Do not cut the leaves until they die naturally.
  • Check azaleas for color and growth. If more growth is desired, fertilize with a 16-4-8 slow-release fertilizer according to soil test recommendation. If soil test results are not available, fertilize using 1-2 pounds/100 square feet.

*Reprinted from the Grapevine 2013
Sources: Clemson University Extension Service.
Robert Polomski, Month-by-Month Gardening in the Carolinas.
Francis Worthington, The Piedmont Gardener.