Gardening To Do List – Southwest Garden Guide For April
By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
April garden maintenance in the Southwest varies widelydepending on elevation, microclimates,and other factors. Gardeners in lower elevations are enjoying warm, sunny, and drydays but frosty mornings (and possibly even snow) are still likely at higherelevations.
Either way, taking care of April gardening tasks will makeyour life easier as summer progresses and temperatures rise. Take a look at ourSouthwest garden guide for April, then check tasks off your gardening to dolist.
April Gardening Tasks in The Southwest
- Prune trees and shrubs to remove broken or damaged limbs. Also, remove limbs crossing or rubbing other limbs. At low elevations it’s safe to plant tender annuals. Wait two to four weeks in higher elevations, or until all danger of frost has passed.
- Gardeners in lower elevations can also plant vegetables such as squash, beans, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, carrots, and cucumbers. In higher elevations, wait until the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees F. (15 C.).
- Apply a 3-inch (8 cm.) layer of fresh mulch such as compost or shredded bark. Replenish mulch that has blown away.
- Feed perennials and roses at two week intervals. April gardening tasks should include fertilization of trees and shrubs. Spring is also a good time to plant new roses.
- As temperatures rise, increase irrigation accordingly. Deep watering is nearly always better than shallow, frequent watering. Potted plants may need water every day (or even twice) during hot weather.
- Thin apples, plums, and other deciduous fruits after fruit set to a spacing of about 6 inches (15 cm.). April gardening tasks like this will pay off with larger fruit at harvest time.
- Check plants for aphids, spider mites, and other sap sucking pests. You may be able to knock them off with a strong blast of water. Otherwise, get rid of pests with insecticidal soap spray. If you’re spraying fruits, vegetables, or herbs use a commercial product formulated for edibles. Be careful not to spray plants with insecticidal soap during the heat of the day or when the sun is directly on the plants, as the spray may cause leaf burn.
Don’t forget to add Arbor Day, the last Friday of April, toyour gardening to-do list. For instance, plant a tree, go on a nature hike, orvolunteer to help clean up a public park or highway.
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Gardening Tasks and Projects for April
At long last, spring has arrived! (or has it?) As you look out upon your garden,
does the nagging question of "where do I even begin" sound familiar?
There is so much to do in every corner of the yard this month that it is difficult to know where to start.
In my opinion, the first and foremost thing to do is to stand back for a moment,
and simply enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature has given us.
Listen to the birds as they sing you a spring melody. dream a little.
and then put on the gardening gloves and head out to make your dream garden a reality!
Easy Desert Landscape Plants
If you've been to Phoenix, you know that Phoenix isn't all brown sand and tumbleweeds. In fact, many people are surprised at the variety of plants in the desert. They are especially pleased when they discover that many desert plants stay green all year long, and have lovely flowers.
You don't have to be a horticulture expert to have pleasant, colorful shrubs and bushes in your desert landscaped garden. You also don't have to be rich. Several desert plants are perennial (you need to plant them only once), hardy, low care, relatively drought tolerant, easy to find, pretty cheap to buy, and provide lovely color many times during the year. These desert plants aren't rare after a while, you'll notice that they are everywhere -- even on the highways and in public parks. Why? For the very reasons I just mentioned. These desert plants are great choices for people who don't want to spend lots of time working in the yard but want a nice, colorful look in their desert garden.
Keep in mind that all of these plants will thrive in the Phoenix area, but not in other parts of Arizona, where we have everything from low desert to high desert and even subalpine conditions. With a little water and maintenance, they will do well in the Phoenix plant zone. Follow the monthly garden guidelines and tips for increasing watering schedules, pruning when necessary, shrub frost protection in winter and more.
While the focus here is on bushes and shrubs, there are, of course, desert flowers that grow in the lower Arizona desert. You might also want to experiment with planting wildfowers.
OK, let's go. Here are my picks for easy desert shrubs, bushed and plants for your desert yard or garden.