Things to Do This Month
Ornamental Annuals and Perennials
- Don’t rush things. If soil is too wet, working in the garden can cause compaction and damage soil structure. Make a ball of soil; if it crumbles easily, it’s time to get to work.
- Clean up beds, removing dead leaves and limbs. Loosen mulch.
- Check mail-order bare-root plants as soon as they arrive, checking for dry, broken or diseased roots. Keep roots most and plant as soon as possible.
- Seeds of larkspur, bachelor’s buttons and California poppies may be sown directly in the garden.
- Cut ornamental grasses to the ground before new growth appears.
- Plant cool-season annuals like pansies, snapdragons and toadflax.
- Clean up debris and mow grass low as new growth appears.
- Overseed thin lawns and bare spots, and fertilize with a low-nitrogen starter fertilizer.
- Apply controls for broadleaf weeds. Read labels regarding timing and restrictions related to seeding.
Trees and Shrubs
- Avoid heavy pruning of trees once leaves begin to develop.
- Prune spring-flowering shrubs within six weeks after blooming to avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds.
- Apply sulfur (1/2 lb. Per 100 sq. ft.) around acid-loving shrubs like azaleas, rhododendrons, hollies and dogwoods.
- Apply dormant oil sprays before buds break.
Fruits and Vegetables
- Plant asparagus and rhubarb as soon as soil conditions allow.
- Start seeds indoors for tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
- Plant cool season crop plants such as lettuce, radishes, turnips and spinach outdoors.
- Sow seeds of beets, carrots, parsley and parsnip outdoors.
- Time to repot houseplants that have outgrown their containers. Choose a container one size larger, and trim off any roots that appear dead or unhealthy. If black, mushy, sour smelling roots exist, trim off and treat roots with fungicide before repotting in fresh potting soil.
- If you didn’t do it last fall, have soil tested. You can take samples to the Plant Doctor desk at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening (Missouri Botanical Garden). Many garden centers also offer the service.
- Clean and install purple martin houses.
For more gardening tips for this month, go toKemper Center for Home Gardening Garden Calendar