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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Ohio Flower Gardening in June

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You can really beautify your yard this month with annuals (plants that only last 1 season). When it gets hot, those Pansies that you planted early in the season may start to look a little worn. Replace them with some showy annuals. The Poppies, Bleeding Heart and Virginia Bluebells will die all the way back and leave bare spaces. Fill those, and any other areas where you need color, with containers of long-lasting annuals. Your annuals have shallow roots, so they will need watered more regularly than your perennials (those plants that come back each year). In the hot, Ohio summer, your pots and containers made need daily watering. Just check the soil by poking your finger in it.  If it comes out clean-time to water! Make sure to deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms.

Grass should need less mowing in June due to the warmer temperatures. Make sure your lawn gets 1 inch of water per week. Move your mower blade to 2.5-3 inches so the grass will not brown out in the summer sun. Alternate your mowing pattern (vertical, horizontal, diagonal) each time you mow to minimize wear. So that beetle larvae will not feed on your lawn later in the summer, June is a good time to apply an environmentally friendly pesticide such as Merit or Mach ll.

If you fill your flower beds with perennials, you will save yourself time and money next season. Plant your perennials soon after purchase and be sure to read the plant markers. Pay attention to how much sun they need and any other care that may be necessary. If you did not divide your existing perennials last month you can do so early in June; just make sure they are well-watered for a couple of days after division. Mulching around your flowers will help with weeds and water retention. Established perennials need about 1 inch of water per week. Pinch back the stems of your Mums by 1/2 to encourage a more bushy plant with lots of blooms in the fall. Do this on a regular basis until mid-July so that your Mums do not bloom too early and you will have beautiful, fall color in October. To control other late summer or fall blooming plants such as Aster, Beebalm and Goldenrod, cut back the new stems about half way once they grow to 10-12 inches tall.

To prolong the life of cut Roses cut them in the early morning or at dusk. Cut only the flowers that are in the late bud stage. Use sharp pruners (and gloves!) and cut at a 45 degree angle. Immediately immerse the stems in fresh, tepid water and set them in a cool place for a few hours. Re-cut the ends and arrange them in a vase with water and preservative (I hear vodka works well).

Happy June Gardening!

About 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

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