April Gardening in Ohio

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April is when our Ohio weather normally turns itself around.  We finally can spend some time outside and there is a lot of work to be done this month in our lawns and landscaping.

• Clean up hanging containers, garden ornaments and flower pots,
• Clean, repair and refurbish birdhouses and feeders,
• Pick up sticks and other debris from flower beds,
• Reset and secure stones in walls, terraces and walks that may have been moved by the freeze-and-thaw cycles over the winter,
• When the soil dries out a little, clean up your flower beds. Pull out the weeds, dead plants and pick up winter debris,
• Divide overgrown clumps of plants,
• Spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch over bare soil under and around shrubs,
• Prune spring-blooming shrubs soon after they flower to shape or renew them,
• Prune Butterfly Bushes back to within 4-6 inches of soil level,
• When the soil is dry enough to be easily worked, prepare your flower beds; dig and turn the soil.

The best thing that you can do for your lawn this month is to have your mower blade sharpened! For thin, bare areas of your lawn, seed as early as the weather will allow this month. Cutting height for your grass should be 2½-3 inches. Always mow with a sharp blade and only when the grass is dry. The # 1 mistake that homeowners and lawn companies make is overfeeding the lawn in April. Feed your lawn with a fertilizer that puts no more than ½ lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. Too much nitrogen causes fast growing blades but weak roots.

Weeds are now responding to spring weather. Watch for young sprouts and pull them as soon as they are large enough to grasp. They will come up easily if the soil is moist. A pre-emergent, like Preen, can be applied to garden beds to prevent new weed growth for up to 3 months.

Ohio celebrates Arbor Day in April; observe this occasion by planting a tree! This is a good time to prune vertical suckers and water sprouts from the branches of fruit trees, Magnolias, Crabapples and other trees that produce them.

Roses need your attention this month. A good rule of thumb is: “Prune when the Daffodils bloom.” Remove winter protection from roots and add fresh mulch…but do not allow it to touch the plant. Sprinkle a granular, slow-acting rose fertilizer on the surrounding soil.

Cut off faded Tulip and Daffodil flowers as soon as they are finished blooming and their petals drop. Cut back the stems (only) to where the leaves begin, leaving as much foliage as possible. Daffodils can be divided while “green”. Rather than waiting until the fall when you may forget or cannot find them, do the job as soon as they are done blooming.

Now that you have worked hard and have gotten your lawn and beds in great shape, do yourself a favor and plant some Pansies among your Daffodils, Tulips and other bulbs. Don’t forget to add them to containers and in your window boxes. They will brighten up your landscape and help bring color to those remaining gray days we will have yet this month in Ohio!

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. Sheri is a wife and mother who loves to work in her flower gardens.        http://www.anotheryouerrands.com     937-416-2207

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March Gardening in Ohio

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This is the month to start thinking seriously about beginning outdoor work in the yard and flower gardens.  Get outside and rejoice that the color has returned to our landscapes!

 Pansies, Johnny-Jump-Ups and Violas can handle the March chill so plant them in containers or window boxes.  Tulips and Daffodils will begin their show this month.  As you enjoy their blooms, think about planting more bulbs in the fall.  Make sure to take pictures of your flower beds now so you will know where to plant later in the year. 

 The best thing you can do for your lawn in March is to service your mower and get the blade sharpened. 

  1. Remove and throw away the spark-plug,
  2. Uncover the engine and clean off any gunk and grass clippings from all parts,
  3. If you did not empty the gas tank before winter, empty it now.  Leave it empty to tip it over to get to the blade.
  4. Remove blade to get it sharpened or install a new one,
  5. Replace the fuel filter and clean or replace the air filter,
  6. Drain the oil and refill it with fresh,
  7. Fill the gas tank with fresh gasoline (and oil if it is a 2-cycle engine), and
  8. Install a new spark-plug.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

You can plant Roses this month wherever the soil has thawed and it is not to wet to be worked.  Remember to “Prune when the Daffodils Bloom”.  Cut out all the dead and diseased canes.  Cut canes that show winter-kill back to live wood; cut as low as you need to.

 March is the month that you cut back all your ornamental grasses.  The easiest way to do this is to tie the grass tightly about a foot from the ground and cut it straight across with hedge shearers.  If you notice a hole in the middle of your grasses, this signals they that need to be divided; do this after cutting them back.

 It is time to get serious about new shrubs for the yard.  You can plant after the soil thaws.  This is also a good time for cosmetic pruning of spring-flowering shrubs but be sure to only remove dead or injured twigs.  If you have older shrubs that need to be rejuvenated do so this month.  Cut back the oldest, thickest, woodiest stems to 4-6 inches above the soil level.  Cut out about 1/3 of the total branches.  Cut back another 1/3 next year and the remaining 1/3 the year after. 

 “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. ~Margaret Atwood

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207