Garden Calendar April 2017











Fairy Duster

 

Red Bird of Paradise

 

Gaillardia

 

Passion Vine

April

As the weather warms, we Tucsonans get busy in our gardens.

PLANTING
Plant color annuals such as pansies, petunias, larkspur and primrose.
Plant warm-season flowering bulbs such as canna, dahlia, daylily and gladiolus.
Set out warm-season annuals such as cosmos, four o’clock, globe amaranth, gloriosa daisy, lisianthus, marigold, portulaca, vinca, zinnia, celosia, salvia, sunflower, gaillardia, beans, okra, cucumber, peanut, pumpkin, melon and squash.
Plant seedlings of pepper, tomatoes, squash, eggplant and green onion.
Sow seeds for warm-season flowers such as hollyhock, salvia, sunflowers, tithonia and zinnia in garden beds.

PRUNING
Look for new growth on native and desert-adapted plants.
Prune winter-damaged plant parts.
Allow flower stalks on spring bulbs to brown and die back naturally. When spent, clip off at the base.

FERTILIZING
Watch for iron deficiency on citrus, pyracantha, gardenia, nandina and bottlebrush. Look for yellow leaves with green veins, which signal gardeners to apply chelated iron according to package directions.
Always water before and after applying any fertilizer.
Feed Bermuda grass with high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Feed roses every two weeks or use a slow-release fertilizer for longer season intervals during spring’s peak bloom. 

TRANSPLANTING
Transplant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and globe artichokes.
Propagate from existing succulent cuttings.
Divide and plant agave, yucca and aloe offshoots.
Set out strawberries, which grow best
in raised beds to help prevent salt
accumulation.
Transplant basil, chamomile, chives, epazote, feverfew, lavender, oregano, lemon grass, rosemary, sage and santolina.

WATERING
As temperatures warm adjust drip-irrigation systems to accommodate new plants.
Water citrus every 10-14 days.
Watch container plantings for drying out in March winds.

PRUNING
Deadhead the last of the winter
annuals.
Prune off frost-damaged foliage from bougainvillea, dalea, hibiscus, lantana, oleander and other tender shrubs.
Prune perennial herbs by one-third after mid-March.
Prune Texas Ranger, red bird of paradise, mountain marigold and chuparosa to encourage new growth.
Cut back ornamental grasses to the ground.
Remove side-buds on hybrid roses and center buds on floribundas to promote larger flowers.

TIP OF THE MONTH
When your herb garden is at its best this spring, create an herbal wreath for a centerpiece or hang it in the kitchen for culinary use. You will need a sturdy wire or grapevine wreath (12 inches in diameter). Begin with a base layer of an herb such as rosemary, which dries well and has a nice aroma. Trim stems to make small bunches. Cut a 9- to 12-inch length of wire and wrap stems four or five times until snug. Trim the ends. Layer the small bunches onto paddle wire, securing them by wrapping wire near the base until the entire circle is covered.  Repeat the process using small bunches of other herbs such as lavender, sage, oregano and thyme. (Note: soft-stemmed herbs like mint or parsley will wilt quickly.) For color and texture try adding lamb’s ear, yarrow or small red peppers. Assemble as many bunches as will go around the wreath. Cover all of the stem ends. HG