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April – Monthly Check List

Satsuma flowerCitrus: Depending on citrus fertilizer label, apply fertilizer every six weeks or as directed. If using a slow release fertilizer apply March, June, and September.  Check for citrus insects; apply insecticidal soap before 10am or after 6pm if insects are detected. If you don’t see the insects, applying the insecticidal soap is useless. Check for diseases; apply fungicide just at new leaf flush or after bloom drop. Maintain 2-3 feet unmulched area from the trunk outwards past the root-ball.

Fruit: Weed as needed. Apply Azalea fertilizer to blueberry shrubs, at 1/2 pound per 3’ of shrub. Granular fertilizer may require about 1/4 inch of water to allow the root to absorb the nutrients. Blueberries can begin fertilization program using acid loving fertilizer in February, April, June, August and October in small amounts. Apply general garden fertilizer to plum trees. Weed as needed.

Flowers: Annuals to plant now include celosia, coleus, coreopsis, dusty miller, geraniums, hollyhocks, impatiens, kalanchoe, lobelias, marigolds, portulacas, rudbeckias, salvia, verbenas, zinnias. Groom to reshape perennials. Prune hard to correct growth problems. Divide overcrowded fall flowering perennials and bulbs. Bulbs to be planted now include achimenes, agapanthus, amaryllis, Asiatic lilies, begonias, blood lily, caladiums, cannas, crinum, dahlia, gladiolus, gloriosa lily and zephyranthes.

Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, caraway, cardamom, chervil, chives, coriander, culantro, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, horehound, lemon balm, lavender, marjoram, Mexican tarragon, mint, nasturtium, parsley, oregano, rosemary, sage, sesame, and thyme can be planted now. Roses: Begin watching roses for black spot fungus disease, small black spots on the leaves can quickly worsen. Continue spray program. Water as needed but only at the root – no overhead irrigation. April 15, apply granular rose fertilizer. Cut and remove spent blooms. Check for spider mites (wash underside of leaves with strong water pressure). Add mulch, 2-3 inches deep (oak leaves, cedar pine straw).

Lawns: Water during early morning when the leaves of grass curl and turn gray-green. Reduce fertilizers and pesticides during seasons of drought. Select a fertilizer with the configuration of 15-0-15 or 16-0-8 which represents nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) respectively to lawns on April 15. Follow the directions on the label. No “weed and feed products”, winterizers, turfbuilders, etc. They generally contain too much nitrogen compared to potassium. Keep mower height at the highest setting for grass type. Apply no more than 1 inch of sand to uneven areas for leveling. Allow grass clippings to stay on the lawn as long as grass is healthy..

Trees: Most older trees and palms are fine and can exist with the seasonal rains. Look for aphid, borer, and scale infestations. Caterpillars may be extra heavy this month.

Vegetables: This month you can plant snap beans, pole beans, lima beans, cantaloupe, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, kohlrabi, okra, Southern peas, pumpkin, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, and yams.

Selected from Florida Vegetable Guide by JM Stephens, RA Dunn, G Kidder, D Short, & GW Simone, University of Florida and Month-by-Month Gardening in Florida by Tom MacCubbin