April Gardening Tips

“Early spring is a wonderful time to enjoy brisk, sunny days outdoors as you clean up your gardens and watch your plants slowly begin to grow.  Nothing is more welcome than the first blossoms on snowdrops, crocus, magnolias, forsythia and other plants that herald the beginning of another growing season. Frost is likely every night in April but some cold hardy plants can shake off the cold weather and keep right on growing.”

Ferns in snow

Photo by http://portlandnursery.com/

General Tips

Weather can be quite random in Portland during April. Hail, then sun, then a warm afternoon followed by a frost at night…hard to predict. Frost is still possible throughout the month and well into May. It is probably still too early to have frost-tender crops out unprotected (basil needs protection). New plantings should always be watered in after planting; don’t assume the rain will do it. Though rainfall is usually frequent, don’t assume everything is thoroughly watered without at least a glance.

Ladybugs and beneficial nematodes become available in April once the temperatures are warm enough. Ladybugs are natural predators of aphids, whiteflies, and other sucking insect pests. Nematodes are useful for certain soil-borne pests such as crane fly larvae and root weevils.

Perennials and Annuals

Many annual flowers are appearing now on our shelves; from cold tolerant pansies and spring flowering bulbs to the first of the summer bloomers. This includes fuchsias, geraniums, alyssum, snapdragons,bacopa, and others. If you haven’t done so already, clean up those overwintered beds and containers and start planning and planting. Note that the most cold-sensitive items such as Portulaca and zinnias might need to wait for the warmer temperatures of May to be planted.

April is perennial planting time, no doubt about it. A vast selection of spring bloomers are looking great and ready to go, and many of the summer bloomers are poking their heads up. Some of the most heat-loving perennials are not available yet; you’ll have to wait a bit for late blooming Hibiscus or Zaschneria. Additionally, you can divide and separate perennials at this point.

Read more: http://portlandnursery.com/tips/

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