April is the beginning of gardening season in the South-Central region (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas). The expected last frost date is fast approaching and gardeners are itching to get outside and warm up with April gardening tasks.
From lawn care to flower planting to fungicide spraying, there are plenty of chores ready and waiting. Learn more about South Central garden maintenance for April.
April Gardening in the South-Central Region
April gardening begins with lawn care. After a winter with low moisture and cold winds, it’s time for some TLC. As weather warms, more spring annuals can be planted. In Texas and Louisiana, they are moving toward summer annuals.
Here’s a general garden to-do list this month:
- Warm-season lawns such as Bermuda and St. Augustine can be fertilized three to five times during the season, beginning in April. Apply one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. in each application. Only apply two applications on zoysia from midspring to midsummer. Apply only one application on bahia grass. Begin mowing at recommended heights for your region.
- Prune summer-blooming shrubs like crape myrtles, rose of Sharon, spirea, butterfly bush, if you haven’t already. Do not prune spring-blooming shrubs until after they bloom, such as azalea, lilac, forsythia, quince, etc. Evergreen shrubs, such as boxwood and holly, can be pruned from now through summer.
- If you missed cutting back the ornamental grasses, do so now but avoid cutting the new foliage coming up by pruning from that point. Winter-damaged branches and plants that have not begun to grow by the end of the month can be removed.
- Apply fungicides for leaf-spot diseases. Control powdery mildew with early detection and treatment. Cedar-apple rust can be controlled now. Treat apple and crabapple trees with a fungicide when the orange galls are visible on junipers.
- Annual bedding plants and annual seeds can be planted after the danger of frost has passed. Watch the weather in your area for unexpected freezes. Summer bulbs can be planted now.
- If winter annuals are performing well, fertilize them and keep them going a bit longer. If they have seen better days, go ahead and start replacing with warm season annuals that can take a light frost like petunias and snapdragons.
- Cool season vegetable gardening is in full swing. Broccoli, lettuce, greens, and onions can still be planted. Wait till the soil and air have warmed before planting warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, except in Texas and Louisiana where transplants can be planted now.
- Also, in Texas and Louisiana, there is still time to plant bush and pole beans, cucumber, cantaloupe, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, summer and winter squash, and watermelons from seed.
- April gardening tasks include vigilance for insect pests too, such as aphids. Do not spray if beneficial insects, like ladybugs, are nearby. Unless the plant is overrun, there is no need for control.
Note: Any recommendations pertaining to the use of chemicals are for informational purposes only. Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and more environmentally friendly.