Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


April, 2004
Regional Report

Divide Perennials

Many perennials, such as bee balm, daylilies, mums, hostas, and yarrow, can be divided and transplanted now when the foliage is just emerging. Replant immediately into prepared soil. Set the transplant at the same depth it grew before, firm the soil gently, and water well.

Check Soil Temperature

Soil temperature can be as important as the ambient temperature for starting seeds and getting strong root growth on transplants. Plants that do well in cool soil include peas, greens, and cole crops. Delay planting those that require warm soil, such as tomatoes, peppers, melons, and okra, until well after the last frost.

Pruning Shrubs

Prune spring-flowering shrubs, such as forsythia, spirea, lilacs, deutzia, mock orange, weigela, azaleas, rhododendrons, and pieris, immediately after they bloom. Pruning thins the plant and encourages vigorous growth.

Choosing Trees and Shrubs

Select a plant that thrives in the growing conditions you have: winter hardiness zone, summer heat zone, soil type, natural soil moisture levels, sun or shade, and wind exposure. Plan ahead to allow for mature height and width, and pick one you like in foliage as well as in flower. Flowering usually lasts just a week or two.

Condition Seedlings/Transplants

Seedlings and small transplants raised indoors need to be conditioned or acclimated for about two weeks prior to planting them in the garden. You can use an unheated cold frame or a sheltered porch to start the process. Gradually expose them to longer periods of direct sun each day, but protect them from frosts, extreme wind, and hail.


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