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Flowerland April Gardening Tips

Vole and mole turf damage, snow mold, crabgrass pre-emergents, start landscaping…

This is a big month for turf issues! Aside from obvious vole and mole damage, April is a month to identify and begin repair for snow mold. Both gray and pink snow mold will be evident as the snow clears, especially in areas where snow was piled or on the north side of the house. Rake up debris and leaves from the lawn. Consider applying a fungus control to the lawn in areas affected. Many times the turf will recover after a light raking allowing air, light and warmer temperatures into the crown of the grass plants stimulating new growth. In serious cases of snow mold re-seeding may be necessary when the soil temperatures are warm enough for seeding.

Purchase your 4-step lawn program from Flowerland. 4 step programs make it easy to apply fertilizer to your lawn over the course of the year. These steps are generally applied based on the “holiday plan” meaning give or take a few weeks you would apply around Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Remember this is a very general rule. Weather conditions will dictate the best times to apply. Ask us, we can help.

April is generally the month crabgrass pre-emergence controls are applied to the lawn. Crabgrass pre-emergence controls are usually in the first step of a four-step plan. You can also purchase crabgrass pre-emergence controls separately without fertilizer. Many people time applications to tax day or when the forsythias are in bloom. The best and most effective way is to base applications on soil temperature. When the soil warms to between 50 and 60 degrees is when crabgrass seed will germinate. This of course varies from year to year, ask us, we can help. Make sure to water in step 1 or pre-emergence applications. If the application is not watered into the lawn, UV rays can break down the effectiveness of the crabgrass barrier in 24 to 48 hours. Finally, make sure to do a thorough job of applying the crabgrass control along driveway and sidewalk edges and the hottest parts of the lawn.

After the first mowing of the year, raise the deck of the lawn mower for the rest of the year. Your lawn will be less stressed and much healthier. 3 inches is a good healthy mowing height for your lawn.

Some cool season plants like pansies and Cole crops like broccoli can be successfully planted in April in Michigan. Raised beds work well because the soil warms faster in spring.

Take tender plants outside in a shaded area protected from the wind to begin to “harden them off” on nice days. Bring them in at night.

April is the month landscaping projects start with planting of woody plants and evergreens. Arbor Day falls in this month, a great time to plant a tree! Some plants are available dormant in economical packages for a brief time in April.

Fresh mulch can be applied to beds in April. Do not pile on mulch too thick, it can do serious damage to plants. Do not mound up mulch around the base of trees. Tissue accustomed to being dry will rot and you can create an environment for root problems including collar rot and girdling roots.

Prune back or clear off dead foliage from last year on your herbaceous perennials. Cut back ornamental grasses to just above the ground. Don’t leave too much old stem remaining on these grasses as it will create a “halo effect” of growth with a dead center on your ornamental grasses.

April is a great time to “split your plants” when it comes to herbaceous perennials. Perennials like hostas, daylilies and sedums to name a few divide well when just beginning to emerge from their winter sleep.

Feed your ornamental plants in the landscape. Spring is a good time to feed broadleaf evergreens like Rhododendrons or Azaleas. You won’t want to be feeding them late in the year because we want them to harden off well for next winter. Feed them now while they prepare to bloom and then develop new buds for next year’s bloom.

For grub control in the lawn use 24-hour Dylox at this time of the year. Your best bet is an application of season long grub control in early July (see July calendar).

If you have moss in the lawn, use a moss control product, raise the deck on the mower and aerate the turf to improve soil conditions. Grass has roots, moss does not. The presence of moss is often an indication that conditions are good for the growth of moss not grass. Change the conditions by core aerating the turf and soil. Also consider taking a soil pH test.

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