Horticulture Tips for April

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
As you consider the following tips for your April landscape, also take a look at this very unique opportunity for our area: On April 7th and 8th, the OSU student branch of the American Society of Landscape Architects will be hosting the Finding Center Conference at the Stillwater Community Center. The mission of this conference is to focus on sustainability issues, especially as they relate to our landscapes and built environments. For free registration and details, go to www.findingcenterconference.org.

  • If you have not already done so, April is a good time to fertilize your cool season turfgrasses like tall fescue.
  • Delay fertilizing warm season turfgrasses such as bermuda, zoysia, or buffalo until May.
  • For apple growers, monitor cedar apple rust on neighboring cedar trees. If you see a significant number of cedar-apple galls (a large orange growth that resembles a Christmas ornament), be prepared to spray your apple trees with an appropriate fungicide.
  • Insects begin showing up in April. Remember that the majority of insects in the landscape are not harmful to plants or people. Monitor your garden and landscape regularly, as insect problems are much easier to address when they are caught early. See OSU publication E-1023 Conserving Beneficial Arthropods in Residential Landscapes (large file) for an enlightening look at helpful gardening insects.
  • Delay planting tender annuals and warm season vegetable crops until danger of frost has passed. Normally, this means about mid-April for Payne County. Remember that last year we had a solid freeze in the first week of May!
  • Continue to keep a close eye on newly planted material for irrigation needs. Our spring winds can do a lot of damage to a drought stressed plant in a short period of a time.
  • Mulching is an important water and weed management tool in our region. However, mulching this early, especially with a cool spring, can delay the growth of some plants. In some cases, it might be better to postpone this task a few weeks. Call or email the extension office if you are uncertain about which plants might benefit.
  • The best window of opportunity for applying herbicides to control pesky broadleaf weeds like henbit and chickweed has effectively closed for this year. Treatment now is not as effective as these weeds have matured and are completing their life cycle. Also, the products used to control these weeds can be a real problem for tender garden plants and should not be applied on windy days. If you are determined to “not let this happen again next year”, mark your calendar now to contact our office in August to discuss a plan of action.

For more information of this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

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