· HOUSE PLANTS are really not “house plants” but outdoor plants which you have brought inside. Study each plant’s growing conditions-light, temperature, moisture, humidity-and try to duplicate them…group your plants accordingly…remember, even sunny windows can be cold at night.
· Watch for spider mites…usually misting both sides of the leaves with 1tsp. mild dish soap in a pint of water will control them if repeated every two weeks. If you see webs when you mist, get rid of the plant. Plants with soft leaves, like African Violets, do not really like to be misted with soap. Little black flies..see March
· Force woody branches inside in a vase of water; dogwood, cherry, apple, quince, mock orange, forsythia, pussywillow, rhododendron, azalea, spirea, etc; Sow Pansy and Geranium seeds indoors at end of Jan…Celery in mid-Feb, Onion at end of Feb. If you store bulbs or roots (glads, Dahlias, etc;) check them for decay (remove) or sprouting (move to cooler place).
· Place straw, or Christmas tree branches, over perennial beds (if no snow cover) to keep them frozen.
· Prune ice and snow damage from trees and shrubs
· Prune fruit trees, raspberries, blueberries, grapevines, and privet hedge in mid-Feb…research the proper method to prune them before you do!
· SALT ON WALKWAYS DAMAGES PLANTS…use alternative
· Tamp snow down around fruit tree trunks to discourage rodents from eating the bark
· Spread wood ashes in your gardens to raise the pH
· WALKING ON A FROZEN LAWN IS NOT GOOD FOR IT
· HOUSEPLANTS…see Jan/Feb..if they start growing faster, they will need more water and some fertilizer
· Sow cole crops, Broccoli, Cauliflower indoors
· Little black flies are either Shoreflies or Fungus gnats coming from little white “worms” in the soil. Let the soil dry between waterings. Most household insecticides will kill the adults..spray every couple days as well as the surface of the soil (Pharm Solutions has a good, safe product) The larvae are hard to kill. Good Luck!
· Prune fruit trees by the end of the first week(see Jan./Feb.) If they have “blackknot”, prune it out 6-8 inches below the knot
· DO NOT prune flowering plants until after they bloom
· STAY OFF your lawn until it is dry enough to sustain traffic then rake it and test pH…lime if needed (consider using some of the newer products such as Mir-a-cal or liquid lime)
· Check perennial beds, if not muddy, cut dead stalks..ground is “workable” if you grab a handful and squeeze it..if it all sticks together in a muddy clump it is not workable..if it all runs through your fingers, it is too dry to be workable…if it barely falls apart, it is workable
· Prepare your annual and vegetable gardens (if workable) by working in 2-3 inches of organic matter
· Spray trees, especially fruit trees, with dormant oil spray and lime-sulfer..you can add spinosad to the mix..the best time is just before the flower buds open-when they open it is too late
· Look for Scale on azaleas and Rhodys..spray or Bayer Tree and Shrub
· Plant peas, spinach, chard, if ground is workable
· TICKS will be out at end of month…BE CAREFUL!
· FROST ALERT!!! Protect tender plants if 40 degrees or less is predicted
· If soil is too wet. STAY OUT of the garden and off the lawn
· If you did not do it in March, it is not too late in early April to sow tomato and pepper seeds indoors, prune trees and shrubs, rake lawns, cut out dead perennial stems (especially iris) (see March), spray fruit trees ( apply dormant oil/Sulfur when ½ inch of leaf is showing then, again, when flower buds are in a tight cluster)
· Get plastic apples, coat them with Vaseline and hang them on fruit trees, look for insects and spray at first sign of them..BT or Spinosad for caterpillars
· Opening Day at Fenway is a sign to prune rose bushes
· Prune overgrown evergreens, privet, Rose of Sharon..DO NOT prune other flowering shrubs until after they bloom (unless you want to snip a few branches to force inside)
· Check Hemlocks for white, fuzzy clusters (Wooly Alelgid) and spray with dormant oil or use Bayer Tree and Shrub..NEVER use this product on things you may eat
· Check evergreens for tiny clusters of mite eggs on underside of leaves..remove if a few, dormant oil if a lot
· Check Birch trees for miners (larvae of Sawflies, eggs on underside of leaves).. Bayer Tree and Shrub
· Check Mugho Pine, Scotch Pine, Dwf Alberta Spruce for white, oyster-shaped scale..dormant oil
· Sow inside; cukes, squash, melon, at end of April
· Sow outside; peas, carrots, radish, beet, turnip, cole plants, spinach, chard, potato, glads, lima beans, if soil is friable, at end of April..also transplant cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and cole plant seedlings..consider using a cloche to protect them at night
· Wait until lawn is 3 inches high to mow
· Lime if you haven’t..consider using Mir-a-Cal (one bag=10 bags of lime
· Jonathan Green Step One (pre-emergent crabgrass + Green-up) before the Forsythia stop blooming..if you are re-seeding, there is a special product for preventing crabgrass
· PLANT A TREE FOR ARBOR DAY or EARTH DAY
· Plant Pansies Feed spring bulbs with water-soluble fertilizer (it is still too cold for organics to work because they need micro-organisms to break them down
· NEW PRODUCT..Messenger..a Halpin protein that gets into the plant and enhances the immune system’s ability to ward off diseases..can be safely used on fruits and vegetables
· Transplant trees and shrubs
· Cold frames can be used to get an earlier start
· Divide perennials
· FROST ALERT..protect delicate plants if temp is going below 40..planting before the end of May when night temps are below 50 can actually stunt the plant’s growth (especially vegetables) and they might not recover. Many times plants planted at the end of May will out perform ones planted earlier.
· DO NOT try working in the garden if the soil is very wet
· Plant lettuce and other cold weather crops in early May..when planting, it is always a good idea to plant things in a different part of the garden than last year
· Weed Beater will keep weed seeds from germinating in your garden, pull out those that are already growing
· Plant Daylilies and Hosta with a good amount of compost..fish/seaweed is excellent
· Plant strawberries..more than one variety..allow each to have only 2-3 runners..mulch with pine needles or straw to keep berries off the ground..use Sluggo
· Plant a second crop of leafy greens in a partially shaded part of the garden
· Sow corn
· Plant summer flowering bulbs
· THOSE DARN CATERPILLARS..spray BT or Spinosad..DO NOT spray blooming fruit trees
· Divide hardy mums and give them a pinch..pinch again by the 4th of July
· Cover onions, radishes, cabbage to protect from root maggots..Cheesecloth works but do not let it touch the plants..the maggots come from a fly that looks like a small house fly that lays small white eggs at the base of the plant
· Lilacs, Lavender, carnations, and Clematis like sweet soil..wood ashes work faster than Lime
· Mow lawn to 3 inches high to discourage weeds ..feed your lawn..try spot treating weeds rather than spreading weed killer all over..follow label directions
· Kill Poison Ivy when young..avoid windy days because you do not want the herbicide to hit desirable plants..Round-Up works well as does the Bonide products
· Lily Beatles are out..Bayer and Bonide both have products to control them
· Look for Aphid in undersides of your leafy greens..Insecticidal soap works well
· Grubs start near the end of May..products containing Merit (Imidacloprid) should NOT be used near fruits or veggies because it is systemic
· Last weekend of May..PLANT VEGGIES AND ANNUALS!!!!!
· Leave the foliage on spring bulbs and feed them
· Fertilize and prune flowering shrubs after they flower..most benefit from a “1/3” pruning
· Set up rain barrels to catch water for your gardens..Google other ways to save water..there are many Green websites full of ideas to better your gardens and the environment.
~CHECK BACK SOON FOR MORE TIPS~