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April calendar of garden chores

By JESSICA DAMIANO Newsday (TNS) Published: April 21, 2017 4:00 AM

As in life, in which hard times often beget rewards, April showers typically do bring May flowers. There's no telling exactly what weather we'll see this month, but the flowers will eventually come. Help them along by adhering to these tips and chores.

No need to water your established lawn until next month.

Pinch tips off leggy seedlings growing indoors to coax them into stockiness.

It's time to prune rose of Sharon.

Plant strawberries in the garden, in a spot where tomatoes, peppers and potatoes have not been planted for at least three years.

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Prune roses -- and plant new bareroots.

Divide fall-bloomers like Joe Pye weed and asters.

It doesn't matter how well you raked last fall -- there's more cleanup to be done now.

Plant blackberries and raspberries.

Start parsley seeds indoors; horseradish cuttings can go right into the garden.

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Treat rose bushes to a half-cup of Epsom salts, scratched into the soil beneath them. Plants will grow full and produce more blooms.

If bog plants are crowded, divide them now.

Remove yellow anthers from gift lilies and they'll last longer (and won't make a mess)!

Plant seeds for annuals directly into the garden.

Allow foliage to remain on bulb plants until it's withered and brown.

Start a compost pile to put kitchen food waste to good use. Your tomatoes (and flowers and trees) will thank you.

When forsythia blooms on your side of the street, it's time to start applying pre-emergent crabgrass control. You can do so until lilacs fade.

Work compost into garden soil. It will improve drainage and add nutrients for healthier plants all season long.

Go on the hunt for tent caterpillars in trees. If you find webs between branches, treat them naturally with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

When gift lilies fade, plant them in the garden. They won't bloom until next year, but they'll remain green and even grow a bit.

Fertilize perennials with a slow-release product.

Start mowing the lawn when grass is 3 inches tall.

Pour off standing water and don't allow rain to collect in play sets, pot saucers, tires, trash can lids, etc. Mosquitoes can breed very quickly in very little water.


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