Can it be true? Has spring finally arrived? By my calculations we are about one month behind. But don't worry Mother Nature can quickly catch up. We all know it won't be long before we will be flicking the air conditioners on.
Your plants are likely growing very rapidly too. Tomatoes are needing trellising and new growths from shrubs are pushing over the pathways. There is a lot of training and controlling of growth to be done at this time. The sooner you do it the better. Out of bounds plants are hard to get back on the right track. Wire cages make great containers to use in trellising tomatoes as seen in the picture.
Many want to know if the lawns are going to survive. By now you should be getting an answer. Most are sending up new shoots signaling all is well. Now is the time to encourage growth with the spring feeding, watering and mowing as needed.
Now is also the best time to control many of the weeds. Winter weeds put on lots of growth. Yes, some like chickweed will decline no matter what you do but others can continue to blanket the turf. You have a choice of using weed and feeds or liquids made for your lawn type. Just be sure to follow all label instructions.
When it comes to vegetables, it is warm season time. Transplants of the cool season crops are not a good buy. It's tomato, pepper, bean, squash and cucumber time. If you are planting tomatoes and peppers might I suggest you obtain the larger plants. Quickly it is going to get too hot for some of these crops.
Use my list of more Gotta Do's to catch up on all the spring chores:
- Complete spring lawn feedings; select a low or no phosphorus fertilizer.
- Control weeds while they are small and more likely to be affected by herbicides.
- Weed & feeds can be substituted for regular fertilizers; follow label instructions.
- Fill in bare spots left by cold or pests before weed growth begins.
- Begin regular mowings at recommended heights for the lawn type.
- Chinch bugs are active: apply needed control to St. Augustine lawns.
- Rake dead grass blades out of the lawn or allow new growth to hide the brown.
- Spring is often dry; water when the lawn begins to show moisture stress.
- Adjust sprinklers to avoid sidewalks and roadways and water only the turf.
- Apply up to three-quarters of an inch of water at each irrigation.
- Consider a drought tolerant grass when installing a new lawn.
- Remove weeds, adjust the pH and till the ground before installing a new lawn.
- Yellow lawns can often be regreened with an iron only application.
- Remove excessive amounts of tree leaves from home lawns before mowing.
- Eliminate established crabgrass and resod to prevent seed germination.
- Check the soil acidity of home lawns; adjust the pH if needed.
- Continue to prune cold damaged from landscape plantings.
- Give severely damage plants time to recover before considering replacements.
- Replant with a majority of cold hardy shrubs and perennials as needed.
- Consider Florida tolerant bulbs for your perennial plantings
- Most trees and shrubs are very drought tolerant; water only when they show signs of stress.
- Create separate watering zones for trees, shrubs and other ornamentals.
- Maintain 2- to 3-inch mulch layers around trees and shrubs; one inch in flower beds.
- Water annuals and perennials when the soil begins to dry or they show signs of wilting.
- Install water conserving micro-sprinklers among flowers and shrub plantings.
- Repot or add holiday poinsettias to the landscape; give all a spring trimming.
- Weed landscape plantings to reduce competition for water and nutrients.
- Complete pruning of overgrown plants.
- Prune spring flowering trees and shrubs after the blossoms fade.
- Inspect older trees and trim as needed before the hurricane season begins.
- Create low maintenance perennial gardens.
- Check sagos for white cycad scale; control as needed with a natural oil spray.
- Use slow release fertilizers to feed landscape plantings and help reduce pollution.
- Trim old flowers stalks from amaryllis, amazon lilies and other spring flowering plants.
- Edge walkways and trim limbs obstructing traffic.
- Replace declining winter flowers with warm season color.
- Trim palms as needed but keep most of the green fronds; sterilize pruners between palms.
- Feed palms with an 8-2-12-4Mg slow release fertilizer as instructed on the label.
- Divide perennials before the really hot weather arrives.
Fruit & vegetable plantings:
- Select large tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants; sow seeds of most other crops.
- Gardeners with limited space should consider growing vegetables in containers.
- Complete herb plantings before hot weather arrives; many grow best in containers.
- Feed vegetable plantings lightly every 3 to 4 weeks or use a slow release fertilizer.
- Install miro-sprinklers or use soaker hoses to conserve water.
- Help maintain a moist soil with a 2- to 3-inch mulch layer with all but citrus.
- Add edible fruit bearing trees, shrubs and vines to the landscape.
- Blueberries need a very acid soil; have the soil pH checked before planting.
- Pine bark fines may be used to make soils more acid for blueberries.
- Many bananas are regrowing from the ground; keep moist and feed lightly monthly.
- Hurry to prune grape vines and train them to an arbor or trellis.
- Citrus greening has become a problem; decide if you can control the pests before planting.
- Control citrus psyllids at each flush of growth; use sprays or soil treatments as instructed.
- Apply minor nutrient sprays to citrus trees at each flush of growth.
- Finish spring feedings of all fruit trees.
- Transplant papaya seedlings to the landscape, keep moist and feed monthly.
- Begin plantings of tropical vegetables that won't mind the summer heat and humidity.
Indoor foliage and landscape plants:
- Remove damage and reshape plants that suffered from cold.
- Remove yellowing foliage and flowers; repot indoor plants as needed.
- Give foliage plants a spring feeding.
- Move spindly plants to the patio for warm season rejuvenation.
- Give remaining indoor plants the brightest spot possible but out of the direct sun.
- Add a saucer to plants on patios to capture and conserve water they can continue to use.
- Wash away dust and insects from leaves and stems.
- Move orchids & bromeliads outdoors to a shady location.
- Replace poorer quality plants with new selections.
- Discard declining tulips, hyacinths and daffodils but keep the pot.
April 2018 Plantings
Flowers: African daisy, ageratum, aster, bacopa, balsam, begonia, black-eyed Susan, blue daze, bush daisy, cat's whiskers, celosia, cleome, coleus, coreopsis, cosmos, crossandra, dahlberg daisy, gazania, gaillardia, gerbera, goldenrod, impatiens, Joseph's coat, lantana, lisianthus, marigold, melampodium, Mexican sunflower, million bells, moon flower, nicotiana, nierembergia, pentas, periwinkle, porterweed, portulaca, purslane, salvia, sunflower, torenia and zinnia.
Vegetables: Calabaza, cantaloupe, cassava, chayote, cherry tomato, cucumber, dasheen, eggplant, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, lima bean, malabar spinach, malanga, New Zealand spinach, okra, pepper, roselle, Seminole pumpkin, snap beans, squash, Southern pea, sweet potato, tamarillo, yam and yard-long bean.
Bulbs: Asiatic lilies, achimenes, African iris, agapanthus, amaryllis, Amazon lily, blackberry lily, blood lily, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, dahlia, eucharis lily, gingers, gladioli, gloriosa lily, society garlic, tuberous begonias, and rain lily.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, cardamom, chives, coriander, dill, borage, ginger, lemon balm, oregano, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, sweet marjoram and thyme.