April Lawn, Garden, and Landscaping Tips 2023
April is one of our favorite North Florida lawn, garden, and landscaping months as its Spring and oak leaves and catkins have all dropped, the skies are clear with warm temperatures, and the rainy season is still a couple of months away. It’s time to turn all those thoughts of growing a garden and improving your landscape into action. Get out in the sunshine (with sunblock) and start planting and tending to your lawn, garden, and landscape with the necessary fertilization, pruning, and pest control needs of your existing plants and replacing those that need it with new ones.
“2020 gardening research by Scotts Miracle-Gro and Wakefield Research found that over half of the country (55% of American households) engage in gardening activities and another 20% are planning to do so in the near future,” according to Gardenpals.com.
Planning before engaging in gardening and landscaping activities will dramatically improve your success and satisfaction. Whether your plan is in jotted-down notes or a professional landscape design, the aim is to save you time and money and improve your success and happiness.
Regardless of lawn, garden, or landscaping type, here are a few helpful tips.
-Prepare the ground before planting by raking out old leaf litter and pulling weeds.
-If considering an herbicide treatment, remember that the recommended application period for pre-emergents is February and early March before average temperatures rise above 65-70F. Most weed and feed products include fertilizer and a post-emergent herbicide to kill existing weeds. At the same time, many also have a pre-emergent to prevent the germination of new seasonal varieties. Always read the product label and know that Weed and Feed fertilizer products are developed for specific grasses that may harm them if applied to other grasses.
-Have your soil pH and nutrient levels tested at no charge by submitting a sample to your local University of Florida County Agricultural Extension office. Take several separate samples from different areas of your landscape to submit for testing. Soil testing is essential, considering the macronutrients in fertilizers become less bioavailable below a pH of 6, which starves plants of necessary nutrition, causes water pollution, and wastes your time and money. Learn more on our blog about soil testing.
-Amend the soil according to the recommendations of a soil test or with your knowledge with the appropriate blend of nutrients such as composts and fertilizers to jump-start the growth of your choice of plantings. Add perlite or vermiculite to tweak the soil’s water retention capacity by increasing or decreasing soil porosity. If you are considering using high-nitrogen fertilizer, apply before the rainy season that begins in June. Although Duval County doesn’t prohibit using nitrogen fertilizers during the rainy season, many counties restrict its use between June and September to protect against water pollution, algae blooms, and fish kills. You can help the environment and avoid wasting money on fertilizer by doing the same.
-Consider aeration and top dressing the lawn to reduce compaction and improve percolation and nutrient uptake by the turf.
-Be sure to position plants appropriately in the landscape to provide adequate light and protection from wind and low temperatures in Winter. Don’t plant sun-loving shrubs and trees under the canopy of other trees that will stress them, making them more susceptible to pests and disease. Try to position cold-sensitive plants away from the threat of cold air from Northern exposure.
-Make salt-tolerant plant choices for coastal-facing properties.
-Stay aware of your plants watering needs while abiding by your municipal water restrictions, which in Duval County allows for twice-per-week irrigation during Spring and Summer with additional watering for new landscapes and unlimited hand watering. Xeriscaping with native plants and those with low watering requirements conserves water and saves you time and money.
-Plant your favorite perennials and include Spring annuals for seasonal color. Consider our monthly container gardening recipes for planting ideas. The moderate morning low temperatures and afternoon highs provide the ideal conditions to safely plant palms, trees, shrubs, vines, flowering plants, fruits, herbs, and vegetables.
Always remember Earth Works staff is here to help with all your lawn care, landscape design and installation and gardening needs.
Happy April Gardening!
Written by John Hawley, Earth Works Content Manager.
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