April gardening tips

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April is Gardening Month in Wayne County! Now is the time to get out and enjoy gardening! Below are some tips for what to do in the garden during April.

Lawn

Mow your turf at the correct height. Bermuda at 1 to 1.5 inches, St. Augustine at 2 to 3 inches, centipede at 1 to 1.5 inches and zoysia at 1 to 2 inches.

This is the month to begin fertilizing bermudagrass and zoysia lawns. Apply nitrogen at a rate of one pound per 1,000 sq. ft. This equals 6 pounds of 16-4-8 per 1,000 square feet.

Wait until next month to fertilize centipede and St. Augustine lawns.

Water and fertilize carefully. Applying too much water and fertilizer encourages large patch, a destructive fungal disease of lawns.

If you have not soil tested in the past two years, do so this month before fertilizing to see if additional nutrients or lime are needed. Soil tests are free from April 1 to Dec. 1.

Trees, shrubs and flowers

Prune spring-flowering plants, such as forsythia, azalea, and spirea immediately after flowering. If you wait until summer or fall to prune, you will remove next season’s flowers.

If your annuals are flowering vigorously when you plant them, remove at least half of the flowers to give the plants a good start on root, leaf and flower growth.

Newly planted trees require regular watering through their first summer. Apply 2 to 3 gallons per inch of trunk diameter to the root ball at least once a week if it does not rain.

Newly-planted flowers will benefit from liquid fertilization the first few weeks, in addition to slow release fertilizer applied at planting time.

House plants can be gradually brought outdoors by the middle to end of the month, and any overcrowded plants can be divided and repotted.

Fruits, vegetables and herbs

Prepare garden beds before planting. Till in compost and fertilizer. Add lime ONLY if recommended by soil test reports.

Set out young pepper and tomato plants in mid to late April. Wait a few more weeks before setting out cold sensitive eggplant and basil plants.

Keep an eye out for Colorado potato beetle larvae on potato leaves.

Direct sow seeds of green beans, limas, field peas, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, winter squash, and sweet corn.

Harvest garden peas, sugar snaps, and snow peas every few days.

Thin fruit on apple, peach, and pear trees to increase fruit size, prevent limb breakage and reduce insect/disease problems. Fruit should be thinned when they are about the size of a nickel.

Got gardening questions? We can help! Contact the Wayne County Extension Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. One can reach the Wayne County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Clinic by phone at 919-731-1433, e-mail at Master.Gardener@waynegov.com, or stopping by the Wayne County Extension Office at The Maxwell Regional Agricultural & Convention Center (3114B Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro).

Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.

Learn more

Subscribe to Wayne County Gardening e-newsletter and receive timely gardening information and announcements of upcoming extension gardening events.

To subscribe: Visit: http://go.ncsu.edu/subscribewcg. Scroll down to enter your email address in the “address” box and click on the subscribe button. You will then receive an email which will direct you to a website to accept the subscription.

“Like” on Facebook to receive timely garden tips, ask questions, and learn of upcoming gardening events. (www.facebook.com/waynecountygardening)

Upcoming programs

Growing Vegetable & Herbs Workshop, April 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wayne County Extension Office, The Maxwell Center, 3114B Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro. Workshop will cover how you can successfully grow a vegetable garden and herbs. Learn about site selection, raised beds, when to plant different vegetables and herbs, garden maintenance and common pest problems. Registration fee is $5. Registration is not required. Arrive a few minutes early to register.

The Farm Credit Farmers Market opens on April 11. Located behind The Maxwell Center at 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro, the market will be open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Garden Festival & Plant Sale May 3-4. Save the date for our annual Garden Festival & Plant Sale. This year will be a two-day event, so come early for the best selection of plants. The festival will be located at the Farm Credit Farmers Market, behind The Maxwell Center, 3114 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro.

A large variety of plants, crafts, and raffles will be for sale along with Master Gardener volunteers being on hand to answer your gardening questions. Be sure to visit the Farm Credit Farmers Market during the event along with a food demonstration on May 3 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and Beekeepers of the Neuse will have local honey for sale both days.

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