1. Protect your young fruit trees from hungry mice, who can chew the bark off at the soil line, weakening and possibly killing the trees Keep mulch several inches from trunks to keep the mice from hiding under it. Also, consider putting wire-screen mouse guards around the trunks of the trees.
2. Bring pruning tools inside and clean them for the upcoming season. Disassemble hand pruners, and loppers. Sharpen the blades, oil the levers, and remove any rust.
3. If your houseplants are growing tall and leggy, they probably need supplemental light. Move to a brighter location or consider investing in fluorescent lights.
4. Clean bird feeders regularly to avoid the spread of avian diseases. Disinfect the feeder monthly with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Clean droppings off and make sure the bird food isn’t moldy.
5. Spider mites may be a problem for your houseplants because of the dry indoor air. Look for the symptoms they cause- stippling on leaves and fine webbing on new growth. Spray them with insecticidal soap 2 to 3 times a week to kill the mites or small plants can be put over the sink and blasted with water.
6. Send for plant catalogs. Order early because some plants may be in limited supply.
7. Plan this year’s vegetable garden.
8. Prune limbs cracked by heavy snow or ice to prevent further ripping of bark.
9. Keep houseplant leaves away from cold windowpanes.
1. Lightly cultivate soil after a heavy rain to avoid compaction. A layer of mulch reduces the soil crusting and compaction caused by raindrops.
2. Check container plants daily during hot weather, they will need water often.
3. Check for small holes that signal flea beetle damage on tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.
4. There is still time to sow seeds of beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers, and summer squash.
5. Overgrown, multi-stemmed shrubs, like spirea, lilac, and forsythia, can be renovated by removing 1/3 of stems down to ground level each year for 3 years, allowing some new young growth to replace these older stems.
6. When deadheading rhododendrons, avoid breaking off leaf buds which are just below flowers.
7. Keep mower blades sharp and set your mower height at 2-3 inches.
8. Cut back early-flowering perennials to tidy up and encourage more blooms.
9. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. To discourage them, change the water in pet dishes and bird baths every few days.
10. For the sweetest pea harvest, pick regularly before pods become over-mature and peas become starchy.
Ten Tips for the April Gardener:
1. Prune back bedraggled looking ground covers and fertilize lightly after April 15.
2. Check fruit trees for tent caterpillars, they emerge around the same time leaves sprout. Blast nests with a strong spray of water to destroy them.
3. Fertilize all fruits mid-month except for strawberries- these are fertilized later in the season.
4. Keep Easter lilies in a moist and brightly lit location. They can be planted in the garden after the danger of frost. Read about Easter lilies – http://uconnladybug.wordpress.com/
5. Set out rain barrels for extra water this summer.
6. If you have dead spots in the lawn, patch them before the summer heat.
7. Remove any remaining leaves from last summer on roses and spread a thin layer of new mulch underneath them. This will help prevent the spread of any diseases that may have over-wintered.
8. Divide overcrowded summer or fall blooming perennials.
9. To speed up the warming of soil, cover beds with black plastic for a few weeks.
10. Hardy water lilies may be planted in pools in spring but wait until the water reaches 70° for tropical water lilies.