April Borderland Planting and Yard Care Tips

Weather Talk
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 10:41am

This month is the ideal month to get your yard and plants in tip top shape for the upcoming summer!

I past by my neighbors house today that always has a beautiful yard all year long! Yes, they are the envy of the rest of the neighborhood. The man and wife who live there always seem to be one or two steps ahead of the changing seasons in preparing and growing and protecting the plants and yard. That got me thinking about checking in  with my plant and yard friend Daphne Richards, a County Agriculture & Horticulture expert. She now is Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Horticulture. She is originally from Lorena, Texas. She studied botany at the University of Texas (hook 'em), then taught biology and physical science to some amazing ninth graders in La Joya, Texas.She just received an award that recognizes AgriLife Extension faculty and staff members who provide outstanding performance in education or to the agency. She was presented this award Jan. 8th during the agency’s Centennial Conference in College Station. She worked 9 years in El Paso County as an Extension agent and 4 years in Travis County and now for Texas A&M. This lady knows her horticulture and plants!

I thought this would be a perfect time to share her April advice for planting and yard maintenance for the Borderland in today's "Weather Talk".  I wrote Daphne a quick Face Book message and here is her reply;

“Howdy! It's early April, and I know most people are itching to get those tomatoes in the ground. But they'll still need protection if there's an odd late-season frosty night. But also, protection from the wind! We used large, barrel-shaped tomato cages and wrapped them in a large clear plastic bag. Cut straight across the bottom of the bag, so that the top and bottom are both open. Then slide the trash bag down around the tomato cage and secure it with gardening twine to keep the bag from tearing and blowing away. This trick also helps to keep the birds from getting to the fruit.”
The following is more planting and yard maintenance advice for April advice was written by Daphne Richards for me and NewsChannel 9 in our “Weather Wise Almanac & Handbook” a few years back. I know you will enjoy her April planting and yard care “words of wisdom”!

The following is more planting and yard maintenance advice for April advice was written by Daphne Richards for me and NewsChannel 9 in our “Weather Wise Almanac & Handbook” a few years back. I know you will enjoy her April planting and yard care “words of wisdom”;

“Seeds of warm season annuals, such as marigold and zinnia, can be sown directly into out door beds. Make sure to keep the seeded area moist until the seed germinate. Mulching will help to retain soil moisture and will discourage weed growth. Don’t forget to thin out seedlings once they have three to five sets of leaves crowding of too many plants causes them to be spindly and weak stemmed.

Any warm-season vegetable seedlings, such as tomatoes and peppers, which were sown indoors, may be planted out during the second week of April. Be sure to acclimate these plants to their new environment slowly by first placing them in an area free from sunlight and wind. After a few days, move the seedlings to an area of partial shade. Next, move them into full sun for a few more days and then plant them into the garden. Be sure to protect new additions to the garden from our harsh spring winds.

Fertilize roses with a complete fertilizer (one containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) just as you begin to notice new growth. Fertilize again in four to six weeks with ammonium sulfate. Roses that are susceptible to be sprayed with a general fungicide to help prevent this disease- follow the directions on the product label.

Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer to warm season turf grasses such as Bermuda, Saint Augustine and Zoysia. If you use a “weed-and-feed” fertilizer, be careful not to apply it in all areas where you have trees, shrubs and other non-grass plants. The weed-killing chemicals in these fertilizers will damage and may even kill other plants in your landscape.
If you did not fertilize them last month, fertilize non-native trees and shrubs with a good, all purpose, complete fertilizer.

Keep a close eye on irrigation of trees, shrubs and perennials in your landscape-as temperatures begin to warm up, more water will be required than was applied during the winter months.

You should plant summer bulbs such as Agapanthus, Canna, Iris and Lily.

Check garden hoses and irrigation systems for leaks and repair if necessary. Sharpen garden tools and oil pruners and loppers. Scrub any pots that you wish to re-use with a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 9 parts water. Make sure that lawn mowers and edger are in good working order and make any necessary repairs.”

Daphne says she loves being apart of our NewsChannel 9 "Weather Talk' and still has many friends back here in the Borderland.

So now we have some weekend projects to help get our yards and plants in premium condition for April. I have more monthly planting and yard advice that I will share with you as we head into summer, fall and into Winter from Daphne that I will share with you in future “Weather Talk” articles through the end of the year. That way we can keep our yards one step ahead of the seasonal and upcoming weather.

Chuck DeBroder, Chief Meteorologist
KTSM, NewsChannel 9, NBC, El Paso, TX
www.twitter.com/ Chuck DeBroder NC9 @wxchuckNC9

Daphne Richards, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Horticulture

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