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Landscaping tips for April

By Dawn Matlock, Turf and Ornamental Coordinator 3/22/2019

Spring is here! Now is the time to prepare your yard for warm temperatures and new growth. Here are some tips to help create a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy all summer.


Spring is the best time to divide flowering perennials including daylilies, hosta, monarda, balloon flower, and many others. Use a spading fork to lift the whole clump and a heavy knife or sharp spade to cut the healthy, outer parts into four or five divisions, each containing some good roots and several shoots that will grow quickly when replanted in rich garden soil at the same depth as the original plant.

When the threat of frost has passed, you are clear to plant all warm season annuals and vegetables. Make sure plants are in the correct spot to absorb the appropriate amount of sunlight.

Buying plants in bloom may not always be the best choice. For example, petunias that bloom in the pack are often rootbound or overgrown and after planting will cease to bloom for about a month. Plants without blossoms will actually bloom sooner and grow better.

Plant early-, middle-, and late-season selections each week until the middle of June to extend the blooming period of gladiolus. Choose a sunny location, and plant 4 to 6 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart.


Now’s the time to clean those flower beds. After removing the weeds, apply Treflan 5G (#48044) or TI Granules (generic Snapshot) (#791641) before mulching to prevent weeds from emerging.

Measure rainfall with a rain gauge posted near the flower garden so you can tell when to water. The garden needs about one inch of rain per week from April to September.

Clean up gardens by cutting back dead tops of perennials, raking out leaves, removing winter mulch, and pulling any volunteer trees or shrubs you may have missed last year. Prepare gardens for planting by mixing in compost or sphagnum peat moss and slow-release fertilizer.

Scatter annual poppy seeds in flower borders. The fine seeds need no covering, and the plants grow rapidly and provide colorful flowers in early summer.


April is a good time to rent a core aerator to reduce soil compaction. Go over high traffic areas two or three times in different directions for best results. If your lawn has a lot of dead grass, consider raking or using a dethatcher, which can also be rented, to remove the excess thatch.

Make lawn mowing easier and provide better growing conditions for your trees, shrubs, and flowers by incorporating landscape plants together in beds with flowing curved edges. Remove grass between plants, install edging, and add bark, woodchips or other mulch materials to a depth of four inches. The mulch will reduce weed problems and hold moisture in the soil during dry periods.

Now is the time to apply a post-emergent weed killer to your lawn. Your local Co-op can help you to determine which product will work best for weed infestation. Also, don’t forget to apply some type of insecticide to control lawn pests.


Consider adding trees and shrubs to your landscape this month. They will benefit from April showers and have time to grow new roots before the hot and dry conditions that are sure to come later in the growing season.

When planting trees, don’t add organic matter to the soil. It does not help establishment and may create conditions that encourage the roots to stay inside the planting hole instead of spreading to surrounding soil. Instead, dig a large planting hole and fill it with the original soil removed from it.

Prune blooming shrubs such as forsythia and spirea after they have completed flowering. Cut them to the ground. These plants bloom on new wood and will quickly grow back and bloom in mid-summer.

Apply a slow-release ornamental fertilizer to feed shrubs and plants for an extended time. Co-op TENN LAWN 14-7-7 (#98457) is a good option to keep plants healthy.

Mark your calendar: National Arbor Day is Friday, April 26. Celebrate by planting a tree or donating to an organization that does.

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