April Yard and Garden Tips
Watch out for:
- Fireblight - inspect fruit trees for fireblight. If you had problems with fireblight last year, you will need to spray your blooms this year to prevent the spread. The best defense is a fireblight-resistant variety. See Fireblight for more information.
- Lawn diseases - it's time to begin watching for problems with brown patch and dollar spot in warm season grasses, especially if you had problems with one of them last year. See Brown Patch Disease of Lawns and Leaf Diseases of Lawns for more information.
- Chinch bugs - watch for chinch bugs in your warm season lawn. See Chinch Bugs for more information.
- White grubs - the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis does a nice job on Japanese Beetle grubs, but it does take a little time to build up in the soil. Bacillus thuringiensis does not, however, control other types of grubs. See White Grub Management in Turfgrass for more information.
Things to do:
- Bulbs - you should be planting your summer- and fall-flowering bulbs in April and May, such as dahlias, gladioli , cannas, and lilies. Be sure to plant after the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees F. See Summer- and Fall-Flowering Bulbs for more information
- Dividing - it's time to divide fall blooming perennials. See Dividing Perennials for more information.
- Spray fruit trees - it's time to begin spraying your fruit trees with a fungicide (Captan, etc.) every 7 to 10 days to provide the beautiful fruit you look forward to. Do not use any insecticides on the trees until less than 10% of the blooms remain - you certainly do not want to hurt your bee pollinators. The fungicide will have no effect on them.
- Add iron - centipede and St. Augustine lawns will appreciate an application of iron this month to bring out a richer green color without stimulating excessive growth. See Fertilizing Lawns for more information.
- Fire ants - if you broadcast baits, apply your first treatment during the last week of April or the first week few weeks of May. Be sure to apply fresh bait, and do it at the correct time of day (fire ants only forage actively when the ground temperature is between 70 and 95 degrees F). (See Fire Ant Management in the Home Lawn for more information.)
- Lawn Establishment - if you plan to plant a warm-season (centipede, zoysia, Bermuda, St. Augustine) lawn, the best time to plant is in the spring and summer. If you are planting Bermuda by seed, use the hulled seed at this time of year (you can seed with unhulled seed in the fall). Wait until next fall for cool-season grasses (fescue). See Lawn Establishment for more information.
- Nutsedge or "nutgrass" - nutsedge is very difficult to control. There are two main types in our area - purple and yellow. You must identify which you have before you begin treatment. Herbicides must be applied when the nutsedge is actively growing, which means decent soil moisture and warm conditions. See Nutsedge for more information.
- Irrigation - you may begin irrigating late this month if we have a dry spring. See the Home and Garden Center's irrigation publications for more information, especially the publication on Irrigation Time of Day. Spring and fall are good times for disease to blossom, so do not allow your irrigation scheduling to increase these problems. One inch per week is the appropriate amount for most lawns and vegetables (except sweet corn and yellow squash, which may require up to two inches depending on growth stage). Include rainfall in this amount, and see How Much Water to determine how much water you are actually applying.
- Pond fertilization - if your pond needs fertilization this month is a good time. Do not fertilize within 4 to 6 weeks of liming the pond. See Fertilizing Recreational Fish Ponds for more information.
- Vegetables - There is a lessening chance of frost in April (see SC Frost Dates), so many folks want to get an early start on the vegetable garden. Some planting times for more common vegetables (see Planning a Garden for a full list and planting depths and spacings):
- Cantaloupe - Apr. 15 - May 15
- Cucumbers - Apr. 15 - May 15
- Melons - Apr. 20 - Jun. 30
- Squash - Apr. 15 - May 15
- Snap, Pole, & Half-runner beans - Apr. 15 - 30
- Sweet corn - Apr. 15 - 30