The works of April
April is the month in which spring really begins to explode. The big pruning and cleaning jobs should already have been done, but there are several activities that should not be overlooked in order to get the most out of our green spaces. Usually the temperatures begin to rise and consequently the first attacks from pests and cryptogams will occur: by intervening immediately we can stem these problems and minimize their impact, without damaging pollinating insects. Rains are very frequent: we must therefore take care to avoid rot for the most sensitive plants. Also remember to protect the herbaceous plants from attacks by snails and slugs.
What to do for flowerbeds and borders?
With the gradual increase in minimum temperatures the time has come to remove the protections or take the more delicate plants outside, trying, if possible, to expose them gradually to sunlight.
We continue to keep the soil clean by resorting to frequent hoeing. If we have not done it before we distribute some granular for flowering plants and eventually the blood of dry ox to the debilitated specimens or that need a stimulus to the development.
Some herbaceous and bulbous have already withered corollas: let's eliminate them immediately to avoid that they go unnecessarily to seed. For the geophytes the distribution of a fertilizer rich in phosphorus and potassium is of great help: it will help the accumulation of substances in the underground part guaranteeing us a new flowering the following year. We also absolutely avoid cutting the leaves before they dry out completely.
Fight against weeds
The intermittent rain alternating with the sun help the development of shrubs and herbaceous plants, but also weeds. It is important to intervene immediately, not only for an aesthetic factor. They are usually much more vigorous than vegetables and in a short time, by stealing light and nutrients, can cause them to deteriorate. In flowerbeds it is good to intervene manually. In avenues and courtyards we can instead use desiccants or herbicides. We recommend spraying them on a non-windy day and, for quick results, when rain is expected (which favors the transfer of the substance to the root). It is also excellent to prevent with anti-germination products and, in any case, to rotate the active ingredients so as not to favor resistance.
In the meadow it is instead of great help to resort to transplanting (to have a very compact mantle), to frequent scythe and possibly to selective herbicides.
Sowing and planting
It is time to devote yourself also to sowing the annuals for use in borders or pots. Before proceeding, let us know about the minimum temperatures required for germination, especially if we decide to proceed directly to the dwelling. For the most resistant plants it is better to work in the special alveolar trays, always maintaining excellent lighting and humidity, but airing often.
On the other hand, sowing is ideal for annuals that do not tolerate transplants or which will have the function of a ground cover (for example the lobularia marittima, the lardo or lobelia).
Later we can carry out the topping. In this period also good successes are obtained with the herbaceous or semi-sandy cuttings.
We can then dedicate ourselves to planting bulbous plants with summer and autumn flowering: the most appreciated are lilium, hemerocallis, crocosmie, dahlias, gladioli, and indica indica cane.
April works: Shrubs and hedges
It starts with the pruning of early flowering shrubs, forsythia and Chaenomeles japonica. The cornus (alba, sanguinea, stolonifera), very low, will also be cut: we will stimulate the production of new shoots, the most appreciated for their lively colors. To favor a fast vegetative growth we fertilize with an organic soil conditioner and a granular product with slow release nitrogen.
It is also the time to adjust formal hedges.
After flowering we can plant many flowering shrubs such as rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. For acidophilic plants (eg hydrangeas) let's remember to spread iron sulfate and, if chlorosis was to occur, a chelating product.
For rose bushes and plants attacked by aphids and mealybugs it is the best time for a single annual application of systemic insecticide, far from the blooms. Important contact fungicides: sulfur and copper, to be atomized every 15 days and in any case after the rains.