Gardening with Laurie: The magic of April
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In April, everyone is a gardener. For us veteran gardeners, April is almost like magic. Our weather during this wonderful month is usually as close to perfect as it gets. Plants are flowering, deciduous trees are budding out and vegetable gardens are starting to produce bounties of fresh vegetables.
If you have a vegetable garden that is starting to produce, this would be a good time to apply or reapply some of your organic fertilizer. A nutrient boost can help to keep plants healthy and productive.
This month is also a good time to plant just about anything. The sooner you plant, the sooner the plant can get acclimated to its new environment. Getting acclimated now, while the weather is pleasant, will be easier on the plant than during harsh summer conditions.
Not to say you can't plant during the summer. It is just easier during this milder time of year. Right now, watering isn't as big a factor as it will be in a couple of months.
Many people are already reporting seeing June bugs. This means that grub worms from last summer are maturing, turning into beetles, also known as June bugs, and are starting to emerge from your ground.
While the June bug was a grub worm, it was feeding on root systems of your lawn, plants and vegetables. The best way to stop this destructive pest is with some beneficial nematodes.
The June bugs are still in the larval stage as grubs.
Beneficial nematodes are very easy to apply and will also help rid your soil of ants, fleas, termites, ticks and most other soil-dwelling pests.
If you are wanting to do some pruning on any spring blooming shrubs that have finished blooming, then now is the time. Do not trim on any shrubs that have not yet bloomed, like crape myrtles. Trimming at this time would prevent any blooming.
If you grow any abelia shrubs in your landscape, try to keep any pruning on these to a minimum. Even though abelias are frequently grown as hedges, they will not bloom well if they are consistently trimmed.
Abelias are shrubs that need to grow more freely, which will then allow them to produce an abundance of blooms on a regular basis.
Keep a close look out for snails in all your flowerbeds and gardens. With the very mild winter this year, it appears that the snail population has really flourished. Keep your Slugg-o Plus snail bait sprinkled around all your plants.
Another pest to watch for are aphids. These tiny little insects will congregate on the tender new growth of plants. Aphids will suck juices out of your plants, making the plant sick. Release ladybugs and/or silver lacewings on a regular basis to keep this pest, and many others, controlled.
Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all your weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.