Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To Do List for April

From In the Garden

As is customary here at In the Garden, the first day of the month is when I post my to do list for the month. I am on the edge of Zone 6B/7A; which covers a big area. Even so, your to do list may be different based on your weather pattern. Feel free to add in the differences here as readers in your area will be able to use your suggestions too. I cannot possibly remember all you must do but I try-truly I do. Here goes:

1) Cut back ALL perennials that have not already been cut back. These include: Butterfly Bush, Artemesia 'Powis Castle', Salvias, coneflowers, brown eyes and grasses. Most of these have been cut by now, but if not do it right away.

2) Mow your yard. I mow mine short this month depending on rain and temperature. I have a cool season grass (Fescue). I have already started mowing the lawn-four times so far! The weather is warmer this year so the grass is growing better.

3) Fluff up mulch and refresh as necessary. Inevitably this must be done. I am always amazed at just how many of the leaves I use for mulch disappear from my gardens.

4) Apply pre-emergent fertilizer/weed killer EARLY in the month if you are going to apply it to your lawn.

5) Begin hand pruning and shaping of shrubs. Pruning stimulates growth. Try to cut near a bud which will grow in the desired direction. I trim my Silverberry, some hollies, boxwoods, photinias, deutzia, and cleyera. Pruning not only stimulates growth, but helps the shrub to grow dense. I like my shrubs dense yet open and airy and rounded so as to maximize the sun's light.

6) Cut back Hydrangea paniculatas if you haven't already done so. I have. These include the PGs, Limelight, Tardiva, and Pink Diamond.

7) Cut back roses, hard. The hybrid teas can be shaped to strong canes, but roses like the Fairy should be cut back hard to keep compact and to encourage new growth.

8) Divide crowded bulbs such as: Daffodils and Muscari now, while you still know where they are. Be sure to add a pinch of bulb booster to the new holes.

9) Take cuttings of Forsythia if you want to make more.

10) Divide hostas as they emerge from dormancy. I think it is better to do this before the plants get too big, the recovery is barely noticeable.

11) Trim out dead areas of your crepe myrtles and Japanese maples. You should be able to see the freeze damaged areas by the end of this month. Most crepes and Japanese maples in this area should have recovered from the late freeze in 2007, but you may still find some damaged areas. Don't fret, just cut it out.

12) Pull any plants out from under your house if you stored them there. Mine came out fine, just a bit dry. I store: a bromeliad, Boston Ferns, and Brugmansias. I also store dahlia and caladium bulbs under the house. You can plant the dahlias and caladiums now, but do not expect growth until the nights stay above 50-60 degrees.

13) Guide your growing vines such as Clematis and Jessamine onto their supports. Clematis in particular need this type of firm hand to situate them correctly.

14) Weedeat.

15) Stay on the weeds! Weeds are especially bad in the spring because water is plentiful, the weather is somewhat moderate, and perennials and ornamentals haven't yet filled out so weed seeds get plenty of sun. This leaves plenty of opportunities for those weeds. Mowing the lawn regularly, usually twice a week, also helps to keep down weeds and weed seeds.

16) Look for emerging perennials and be sure the mulch is pulled back from them.

17) Don't hesitate to fill in gaps with annuals and new perennials, but be patient, some perennials are slow to emerge. Exercise restraint (Tina!)

18) Clean out bird feeders and bird baths. Hang your hummingbird feeders.

19) Tender bulbs can be planted out toward the end of this month. Begin planting warm season transplants such as tomatoes and peppers after the 15th of the month.

20) Transfer houseplants to the outside. Some I move to my porch are: Pothos, philodendrons, spider plants, a huge umbrella plant, amaryllis, and various other tender plants like begonias and so on. To be safe, wait until your average date of last frost. For us here in the Clarksville area this date is 15 April.

21) Begin hardening off seedlings by moving to a coldframe or greenhouse or placing outside for a few hours at a time when the temps stay above 45 degrees all the time. Planting should begin at the end of the month for warm season crops and flowers. Cool season seedlings should have already been planted in the garden.

22) Move around volunteer seedlings. Some I have been moving include: hellebores, columbines, sweet autumn clematis, and cosmos. You may want to pot some up for a plant sale or swap too.

23) Check your perennials for vole damage. I am noticing they are loving my peonies this year. I have had to add soil and stomp the ground several times already. Pulling back all mulch also helps.

24) Uncover bird baths if you covered them for the winter.

in the garden....

As usual, here is my disclaimer. I am simply republishing updated To Do lists each month. If you do not wish for your comment to be posted again next year, please do not comment. I can tell you that with all the research I do on the Internet, when I find a blog post talking of the particular plant or garden item I am researching, I not only read the post BUT all of the comments and what a big help they are!! I believe the comments are the other half of the post with the amount of information and input all readers add when they take the time to write something down. So thanks all!

It is spring break this week and while I have managed to visit most all blogs I usually visit and also Blotanical, I must really take a break. I have decided not to post this week except of course this list on today's date. I don't normally answer comments on this post and since it was prepared already it is not a big deal for me, but I really must turn off the computer this week. Instead of this blog being without a daily post for the next few days, Skeeter has kindly volunteered to fill in for me. Have fun all and Happy Gardening! See ya when I get the chance to get back on track.

in the garden....digging and mulching and weeding and dividing and planting....oh my!


  1. You are going to be very busy this month! Very impressive and thorough list.

    The rain makes it tough to do digging but pulling weeds should be a snap.


  2. Tina,
    I heard puning the hollies from the inside out is the proper way of getting a full bush of berries. Each shoot should be 2'' from one another. True? Mine were eaten completely down to nothing a few years back and are desperate for cutting. The deer couldn't find any food. Musta been hard on the mouth! Fer sure.

  3. OHHH, you scared me with the hard freeze comment! You got me! That is a good idea to make the monthly list, and the spring pruning is something I dearly love to do, things are still small and you can see the branch structure. I agree with you about the tulips and have also gone to more species and greigiis. It seems that the first year does tire them out, but if you are patient and let them grow some babies for a couple of years then divide those, you'll get some flowers again. If they don't rot! We are thankful for this rain, hope to see those April showers this year.
    Frances at Faire Garden

  4. gail, dawn and frances-good morning!

    gail, rain is always good. not in evansville where our other house is located though. they are getting flooded. enough rain.

    dawn, i don't know specific way to prune hollies, but you usually need male and female cultivars. the deer must've been very hungry and i don't think it would go down easy. i think deer eat the hollies down here too. fortunately i don't have that problem, though another goldfish mysteriously disappeared from the pond-wonder what it could be? i thought a cat but a gardening friend said probably a raccoon. deer are bad too.

    frances, hand pruning is my favorite garden chore too! i especially gain pleasure from trees i plant and i can shape during their formative years. it is so rewarding.

    are you having success with species tulips? i did so much research and all for naught. in a few years the hybrids do rebloom, then go away for a few more years. it is not worth it. i hope the species bloom each year.

    also, i just dug about 200 baby tulip bulbs that come up each year but never bloom. they are teensy tiny. can you tell me how to get them to bloom size? i was thinking of a nursery bed with lots of fertilzer for a month or two, dig then replant. then i think-is it really worth it? i have no idea what to do with them and my heart refuses to allow me to compost them.

  5. Hi Tina --once again a great list of "ideas" for me, lol. I will attempt some things that I feel I can do. I really should separate some of the plants in this yard. Just might give it a shot this month. I am still enjoying the partially mulched yard, rofl. I spoke with a neighbor from our subdivision and WOWSER --they charge an arm and a leg to mulch just one yard --like front shrubs etc. So, I can tell hubby how much money I am saving him, lol. Better get off here --on twice this morning. Little man and I walked all around the yard this morning, spotting tulips, worms and then down to see the cows. It is very nice outside --hope it stays like that.

  6. That sounds like a lotta work to me Tina. Makes me wonder if I really wanna do a garden this year or not!

    Dawn if you have not checked on the holly this year you may find the same problem again. Been a hard winter for the deer again this year. But then again, maybe there was too much snow for them to get to you. By the way, are you guys coming down for Josh's birthday? Not this coming Sunday but next Sunday. I said I'd cook but Sarah said she would bring chicken or something and we could do a BQ.

    Hi Francis. Glad you have started coming here. I check your blog each day, along with many others. I rarely comment on them as I have to do my commenting here seeing how Tina is my first (as you always say) offspring. So glad you found out it was not a rodent in the shed and enjoy the nest now.
    You do take wonderful pics. I sure enjoy them!

    Tina do deer eat fish. If so I just learned something (nothing new on here). Sorry you lost another fish.They were so big and pretty and you have had them so long.

    Good morning to all, hope everyone has a good day. We have another dark, dreay day with showers here.

  7. Ok, so I have a LOT to do. Thanks for the reminder there Tina! (said with LOTS of sarcasm) My poor yard has been neglected for the past 2 years and it really shows, but I am motivated to get out there and get it done this year if it will ever stop raining. Oh, and I just got back from the post office, you should have something in your box in a few days!

  8. Hmm, I never thought about storing plants under the house. That sounds like a good idea. I'll have to remember that for the fall. Your list gives us plenty to do!

  9. Thanks Tina for a good list/reminder. I have been in the yard since daybreak, so thought I would come in for a break. I have been replanting, raking leaves, setting out shrub etc. So much work to get done!

    While I was in the front yard the electric meter reader drove up and said he had stopped and looked at the yucca, he said "very neat, it fooled me". Saturday I was in the local pharmacy and a young lady asked me what they were.

    Must get back to work.

  10. anonymous-nice yard and tulips. you need some more mulch but do it yourself to save hubby some money. he should be appreciative but i think it matters more to you that you save money.

    mom, keep your garden small. where are you going to do it? for sure by your seven sisters area and really only where you can enjoy it up close. where you walk frequently. like by the door and stuff. get terri-lynn to do one too. did she comment on sarah's blog? was that her? as terry? i don't think so but thought i'd ask.

    it is warm but overcast here. no, deer do not eat fish. i believe they are herbivores only. i am sure it is a raccoon or skunk maybe? i had a patio screen door over the little pond but it was off when this fish disappeared. then, big old bj decided he was hot. i did not get his swimming pool up fast enough so he jumped his big 115 pound butt in the little bathtub fish pond ON TOP of the screen door. you can guess the screen door suffered some serious trauma. the fish too probably, and the pump. he is a pain sometimes. i have to watch him. but i did get his pool out. i hope dawn's hollly doesn't get nibbled off.

    jillybean-just trying to keep you ahead of the chores! go cut them roses-or have you already? in your neck of the woods in georgia it is definitely time. looking for my gift certificate. if you all haven't followed jillybean's post it blog she ran a contest. i beat dave to the answer (just barely) and won a $25 gift card-which was very, very nice of her. but the contest was fun even without that. i had to work. i think dawn also guessed? it was fun and innovative. i should come up with something too and maybe jillybean can win her gift card back? :) check her out she is on my sidebar.

    dave, i plan to post on the plant under the house thing. now skeeter said hers did not make it. mine are wunderbar. took out the ferns and brugmansia yesterday. perfect condition. i have another friend who also does it. beats throwing away the ferns or dealing with the mess in the house. it will come soon. it works!

    nina, you are already well ahead of this list aren't you? so much to do! it sometimes overwhelms me but i just plug along and it works out. time goes by so fast. it is a good day to work outside. i had a meeting and school tonight so i am NOT in the garden today.

    i did visit joe at the nursing home. while he was sleeping he woke up for a minute. someone posted the article above his bed. now everyone will know about him. i asked the director about his window bed, she said she will check soon. i saw some very nice pictures and cards from some of you readers and i also hung them on his wall. someone had opened them and i hope read them to joe, as they were very thoughtful. thanks guys! how do i get so wordy? does anyone besides my mother read all this?:) i mean truly?

  11. Frances, so far you are the only one who caught the big freeze! My April Fools day joke. The real joke will come if we truly get one. it is scheduled to be cold tonight.

  12. Nice list Tina. Will have to print it out so I won't forget. Will try to get those pics to you tonight. Did some work in yard now hurting like crazy. Oh well aspirin cometh. And I do read every word. I really enjoy your blog.

    Hey guys, hope all had a great day & got some of the things done that you wanted to do. Great gardening day.

  13. I caught the AF, got a chuckle out of that one. Tina you are so funny.

  14. Hi Tina --it was good finally seeing you today. You sure stay busy and I hope on time --you know I love to talk and haven't been out much, lol. My mom came by this afternoon but I didn't get mulch because I was waiting on Dish to come fix the satellite --it was loose or something and not picking up signal. I can honestly say I didn't notice I don't watch too much TV. I did watch American Idol for a bit but it stays light outside for longer now so I forgo the TV and then we just come in for bath and bed. Have to go check on the kiddos, be back later! Hi y'all!!!!

  15. Hi Guys,
    Righto mom, can't get to my holly, can't even see it. The plowed snow is still shoulder high although we had alot of fog today. Question, does fog eat up snow (melt it faster) or does the melting create the fog? Jack of all trades protests and defends the latter, myself and a tech say the first. I keep telling hubby not to go into the fog, its dangerous, might eat him up! Chomp...chomp...chomp
    Yes, I guessed on jillybeans contest. The hints were soooo luring, I really wanted to know what the answer was.
    Well, no heat in the mobile this am, ran out of kerosene this weekend and put 20gals in, while cleaning so we knew about it. (cheaper to buy by the jugful, esp. with it getting warmer) But, my heating tech didn't change the nozzle--that was the problem this morning. 53 degree for showers. Yikes!! I told my burner guy he was overcharging me and to put it on my tab!
    Off to a meeting with a warn footstool. nite.

  16. Tina I will probably do something in front of the house and in the middle of the front yard. The pool is where I used to have some of it. And I don't know how close to go to the pool. Peggy lost all her high bush blueberries from the pool chemicals.

    It was not Terri-Lynn. Don't think she has EVER been on a blog site. I keep trying to get her on here and she says she will but as you see, it has not happened.

    Glad you got to go see Joe. That is very, very nice of you.

    I don't think it is skunks as they can't climb. You know how low a step my stone steps at the kitchen door are. Well when I used to put the food out for them and the racoons they had a very hard time getting up those steps as I would watch from the window.

    Yes I have read jillybeans blog. Read em all. Very cute blog. I like the recipes. Will try some.

    I noticed the April Fools joke but just laughed and moved on since we know we still have plenty of frosty nights ahead. LOL

    Dawn we still have snow banks from the plowed piles in town but think most of here is gone. One of the benifits of the ocean air.

    Jack of all Trades is a pretty smart man and I usually agree with him. However, I think this time he is dead wrong. Tell him I said so but I love him anyway. Chomp, chomp, chomp....very cute.

    Not much sense in putting anymore fuel in the mobile than you need since it will be gone before long. How much longer before you can get water in the house?

    You need to tell those guys you will fire them if it happens again. LOL

  17. this is my third time trying to respond. internet explorer keeps shutting down!!!! so, in the interest of my sanity and the safety of my computer since i was getting so technical and wordy (what's new?), i will just say hi to all and i hope everyone had a great day in the to you all in the morning as i have a problem with this internet explorer at night for some reason.

  18. Dawn you are too funny, chomp, chomp, chomp indeed. No heat, Yipes. But no use to buy more unless you really need it.

    Hi Jean, The chlorine in a pool will surely kill anything. The neighbor behind & over one house emptied their pool & it ran along the fence of my backyard as it slopes in that direction {East}. Well it killed my lawn about 2' back into my yard & it's higher than where the water ran. Afterward the lady behind me had no grass or anything---the chlorine killed it. Her yard is a bit lower than mine. I was livid about that. It took about 3 yrs to grow it back. She still doesn't have much grass. But she isn't an outside person. Her son {only} is in Iraq so he can't do for her. My neighbor in front mows her grass--oops weeds to help her. He & her son know each other.

    Has anyone heard from Skeeter? I'm becoming concerned about her. Surely she is feeling a bit better. If any one hears please let us know.

    Tina, I'm glad you got to see Joe. Maybe they will give him a window so he can watch the birds & such.

  19. Hi Tina --glad to know I wasn't the only one having issues getting on here tonight. I'll catch you all in the morning --I did get out tonight --to the Book Store --YEAH!!!! Books for the girl model and sidekick --I just HAD to leave the subdivision, rofl. I think tomorrow night I might get my wheels back:) If the parts come in the morning like they are supposed to.

  20. Lola, sorry about your lawn. That was very rude and uncaring of other people of her. If she wanted to empty it she should have done it slowly.

    Yes I am worried about Skeeter as well as it has been 8 days now. But I know if anyone hears anything they will let us know.

    Hope you do get your truck back Anonymous as it is the pits not having your own at your disposal.

  21. Good morning Tina --sorry about the lawn Lola. We use softswim --it doesn't burn the eyes and actualy feels soft on the skin. I never had a problem with that on the plants around the deck and the kiddos sure get alot of water out there. Hi Jean --I will be one happy mama when I know I can go-go-go --not that I go alot of places just the concept:) rofl Gotta get the two big ones to school.

  22. lola, that is a shame about your lawn! those pool chemicals can be hard of living things. that is for sure.

    not heard from skeeter. i would'v thought she would come on by now. do hope she is ok and the saint would let us know if she is not.

    morning mom, wish skeeter would let us know all is well. not like her to be gone for so long.

    anonymous, when do you get your truck back? today? hopefully soon. did you explorer act up too? don't know what it is. maybe i write too much and it is telling me i overloaded it. lol

  23. Hi Guys,
    Mom, looking at this week because the weather is warm, that is going to mean next week for the water. Guys were going to do it yesterday but one tech was stuck at a parts store when a girl (who was texting) drove thru the front doors, narrowly missed him. We thought it was a April fools joke, he took pics with his phone. Soooo time ran out.
    Tina, you still have dial-up? was it windy? I get kicked of alot because of that. Very, very windy today but 50's again tom.
    I'm concerned about Skeeter too. Tonsilectomy takes alot, not only painful but recooping with out substainable food can make tiredness. Hope she is not pushing it. Miss her comments.
    Mom, yes, we will be down for Josh's b-day.

  24. Good you guys will have a big get together for my grandbaby's birthday! Reminds me....

  25. Oh my goodness Dawn but glad no one was hurt. Musta been scarey for him and anyone else there.

    Good glad you are coming down. I know it has only been 3 months since you saw him but he has grown soooooo much. He walks, no runs ever where. He is so darn handsome.

  26. I have some flowers in the garden that are bluish-purple, attract lots of honey bees and are about 4 inches in the length of the actual bloom with all tiny little blooms like spikes on them, however, they are not sharp - just bloom spike-like and when cut, smell of licorice. What is the name of these? I can't remember.

  27. Anonymous, This is Agastache, aka Anise Hyssop. A real keeper!

  28. I think I've been working off your list! Oh how the chores never cease. It's good to be out in the garden again, though. Have a good break, unless that's an April Fool's joke.

  29. Hi, it seems like you'll having a busy month / gittan

  30. 山男 (Yamaotoko)April 1, 2009 at 6:13 AM

    That's an impressive list!

  31. Tina, for those of us new to the blogging world I appreciate the 'reruns'. These lists of to do items are a great reference. Funny our last average killing frost in Tidewater is April 10, very close to your date.

  32. Tina .. phew ! I got tired out just reading your list .. funny enough I do most of it too but since I have never really listed it and spreading it out over a few days it didn't seem this LONG ? LOL

  33. I am so excited--I have done lots of the things on the list already. Good to know about hostas-I never thought about dividing them early.
    Thanks Tina!!

  34. Great list of things to do in the garden. We took down our seed bird feeders and put up hummingbird feeders this past weekend.


  35. Have a good break Tina!

    The list is great but I will still cut my grass long even in spring. It keeps the unwanted weeds at bay and builds deeper roots for later! My neighbor scalps his and there is probably a 10 to one ratio in dandelions compared to mine.

  36. I see that our grass or should I say moss needs to be mowed! It really has just started to grow. Moving volunteers, another one I can get out and do!

  37. Interesting reading last years comments.

  38. Hi all! Heading to the garden but stopped for a sec.

    Mom, I SO agree about seeing last year's comments. It kind of makes you stop and think and it is nice to reflect on where we all were last year.

    Hey you all-have fun with your gardens on this great spring day-rain coming in tomorrow!

  39. If it would only quit snowing I could get out and finish some of these up myself! Great list as usual Tina. Enjoy your spring break. It's well deserved.

  40. Tina, gorgeous color! Wow, when do you find time to blog?

  41. I've got most of the list done. Will have to wait till it dries out a bit as we had rain all night & today. My yard is a river. lol
    I tried to do a couple things & was walking around in water. That is not good for the lawn.

  42. Relax..take a deep breath.
    If you can't do it all, it's ok.

    Wait a second...
    that's me who has to relax. I just got out of breath reading your list.
    We're 7a and still have 2-3 weeks for most of your list.
    I'm trying not to think about it. :)

  43. Great tips Tina! Your April list looks a lot like my May list.

    I'm sure you'll get lots done In the Garden during your blogging holiday! Enjoy!