By April we are really ready to start getting in the garden. Nurseries will soon be well stocked and ready for your business. While plants do sell best when they’re in bloom, when it comes to annual flowers it’s better to look for those that are compact and have only a few, if any, flowers on them. Let the tall, lanky ones with lots of flowers go. For the best selection you might consider buying early and holding the plants for a few weeks. If needed move them to larger pots and move tender plants inside only if a freeze threatens.
Does anyone in the neighborhood have an old-time lawn roller? With all the mole depredation of our lawns, a light pass with a roller before you mow might save some of the higher mole tunnels from being scalped. Some riding mowers have a roller attachment that could do the same thing.
Most woody weeds are better controlled with late summer or fall applications of glyphosate (Roundup). However, research has shown that for English ivy a spring application when the ivy has 2 to 4 new leaves provides better long term control than summer or fall treatments.
Refresh mulches to prevent summer annual weeds from germinating. But, not too much! Woody landscape beds should have no more than 4 inches of mulch, including the old and the new. So, when you add new mulch to existing beds, only replenish what has been lost since last year. And don’t pile much against the trunks as the retained moisture can cause crown rot . You want to be able to see the root flare, the point near ground level where the trucks curves outward.
Strawberries can be planted now for next year’s crop but remove any flowers that develop. Check the established bed for weeds and add mulch if needed. If you haven’t finished pruning in the home orchard, better to do it now than let a whole year go by.
This was written by Extension Master Gardener Glenn Palmer in 2008 and originally published in the Asheville Citizen Times.