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April Gardening

Do a soil test to determine what amendments your planting beds need.  Soil Test Kits by LusterLeaf provide 10 tests for pH, and Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash.
http://www.lusterleaf.com/nav/soil_test.html  Our expert staff can analyze your results and will assist you in selecting the proper organic or traditional fertilizer to apply

Add 1 to 2 inches of good quality compost to your planting beds this spring. We recommend Back to Nature products. Cotton Burr Compost, Flower & Rose Bed Conditioner, and Back to Nature Compost Blend will help break up heavy clay soils as well as adding fertility to new or existing beds.
www.backtonaturecompost.com

Cut ornamental grasses, Lavender, Russian Sage down to 6”. Fertilize with 1/4 cup Dr. Earth Flower Garden Fertilizer. Scratch the fertilizer around the base of all your perennials, then water it well.   www.drearth.net

Pot stored cannas, begonias, caladium, and dahlias at this time. Set them near a furnace vent, water regularly, this will give them a jump start before transplanting outside. Summer bulbs from Netherland Bulb are available now while supplies last.
www.netherlandbulb.com

Bring out potted perennials from winter storage. Water well; place away from wind or direct sun as days and nights warm up. Watch for new growth.

Add a layer of fresh mulch while plants are small. When mulching around trees do not push mulch against the base of the tree or shrub, leave a gap of 4 inches. Mulch can cause the tree bark to soften and rot.

Set peony rings when stems are 12” tall. Remove side buds for larger main blooms.

Increase flowering on Rhododendrons by pinching back the tips of new leaf growth.  Fertilize with Dr. Earth’s Acid Lovers Organic Fertilizer or Espoma’s Holly Tone per instructions.

When reusing containers wash with one part bleach solution to 8 parts hot water; allow them to dry in the sun.

Apply Bonide’s Slug Magic to hostas, and other shade perennials. This product is safe to use if you have pets!
www.bonide.com

Remove debris from around plants to freshen look of the planting bed. Cut a new edge for definition of borders. Level the edge with fresh mulch to create a firm “mow row” for lawn care.