“It’s April” … What needs to be done
- Plant warm-season annual flowers. For sun (6+ hours per day): angelonias, copper plants, firebush, lantana, moss rose, purslane, pentas, ornamental sweet potatoes and zinnias. For shade (less than 4 hours per day): begonias, coleus, impatiens, and perilla. Select short, compact plants.
- Plant okra and southern peas (black-eyed peas, etc). Squash, cucumbers and melons can still be planted.
- Many herbs can also be planted from transplants (dill, parsley, fennel, mint, oregano and thyme).
- Now is the best time to plant Bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass sod. Grade and smooth area prior to installing sod to ensure good soil contact. Keep moist until roots are established.
- Seeded varieties of Bermudagrass may be sown starting mid-month. Keep soil moist until seeds germinate and grass has established a good root system.
- Select caladium tubers now, while ample stocks are available, for May planting.
FERTILIZING AND PRUNING
- Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer to established lawns. Use product containing at least half of its nitrogen in slow-release form.
- Mow common Bermudagrass at 1 1/2 inches and St Augustine grass at 2 1/2 inches. Frequent mowing with sharp blades will keep an established lawn thick and healthy; but avoid removing more than one third of the leaf surface each time.
- Fertilize roses every 4 to 6 weeks from now to September. Start with a balanced fertilizer, then apply ammonium sulfate or other high-nitrogen fertilizer as new growth appears, following a flowering cycle.
- Check new plant growth fo aphids. A few can be tolerated but large numbers should be controlled. Washing them off with a strong spray of water may be all that is necessary for control.
- Eliminate fire ants in your landscape by broadcasting labeled bait while temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees. If fire ants are still present after using bait, treat the individual mounds with appropriate insecticide. Contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Ellis County at 972-825-5175 for more information.
- Look for rose rosette disease. New growth on diseased roses exhibit elongated/enlarged canes, reddish leaves and stems, and excessive thorns. Remove and destroy infected plants and roots immediately. There is no proven control for this fatal disease.
- Soil purchased for use in beds, low areas, and containers should be examined closely. Nutsedge and other weeds are often brought into the yard through contaminated soil sources.
- Watch newspapers and other media for information regarding wildflower trails, garden tours and plant sales.
Texas Rock Rose – Pavonia lasiopetala, also know as Rose Mallow. Rock Rose or Wright Pavonia is native to the Edwards Plateau and Trans Pecos area. This perennial shrub thrives in dry, lean soil and can reach a height of 4 feet tall and have a spread of 3 feet. Popular for its long bloom period and versatility, it produces small pink hibiscus-shaped leaves. Plant this in sun to part shade and it will bloom from spring through fall. It is known to be very drought tolerant and stands up well to the fierce Texas heat.