Green Thumb Tips
Echter’s Plant Doctors are available
during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For
accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.
- Flower Gardens
Watering plants that have been recently planted outdoors is tricky. The rule
is to water them in thoroughly after they are planted. Then watch the area next
to the edge of the original soil ball to see if it is getting dry. You want to
encourage the roots to move out into the surrounding soil to get water without
letting the original soil ball get too dry. Reduce the watering frequency with
time, but water thoroughly each time you water. Don't just wet the surface of
- An easy way to harden plants that are going outdoors is to cover them with
Plant & Seed Guard for a few days after you plant them. You can use wire
supports if necessary to hold the fabric away from the plants. Attach it to the
ground with wire staples. It’s re-usable.
- Pot dahlias now and keep them indoors until later in May.
This will give them a good head start and they will bloom earlier after putting them outside.
- Plant gladioli,
lilies, cannas, callas, ranunculus, crocosmia and other summer blooming
bulbs toward the end of April. Plant pansies between the
bulbs to give you early color.
spring-flowering bulb plants after the blooms have finished with Gro Rich
Rose & Perennial fertilizer. Don't remove the leaves until they have turned brown.
leaves help build strength in the bulbs for next year.
- Place your plant
supports into position early. If you wait until they really need support,
it may be difficult as the plant will be too large. This is especially true for peonies.
- When you hand water, use a nozzle with a shut-off or trigger nozzle that
stops the flow of water when released so you don't waste water.
transplanting, be sure that your plants are not dry.
- Flowering annual starts which can be planted out
in early April after “hardening them
off” are alyssum,
dusty miller, sweet peas, anchusa, larkspur, centaurea,
pansies, dracaena, and snapdragons.
- Pinch back your annuals to promote stronger,
bushier plants and more flower production.
- Perennials & Roses & Vines
Spring is the best
time to divide perennials that bloom in mid or late summer such as asters and
chrysanthemums. Wait until September to divide early spring-flowering
perennials like bleeding hearts and peonies.
- Plant wildflower
seeds in April. Improve your soil before planting by raking in either peat moss or compost
combination of the two.
Add some spice to
predictable bulb and perennial beds by broadcasting seeds of annuals like
larkspur, cosmos, poppies, bachelor buttons or other annuals among your
- Trees & Shrubs
- April is the best
time to plant new trees and shrubs. Improve the soil
first with compost and/or peat moss. Then apply MYKE Tree &
Shrub Transplanter and water in with Root
Stimulator, both of which reduce transplant shock and stimulate root growth.
- When planting large trees,
stake them for the first year. Use
2” wide staking straps around the tree. Do
not use wire, twine or rope on
the tree itself. Place the stakes 2-3 feet away from the tree, tie the strap
to the stake and leave a little slack. Let the tree sway slightly to develop
roots and caliper.
- Start your fertilizing program for roses, trees and shrubs when the leaves
appear on the branches.
Protect your ash trees from Emerald Ash Borers. Use Ferti-lome Tree and Shrub Systemic Insect Drench
for easy-to-use systemic protection from insects all year long. Follow the
label directions and just mix it with water in a watering can or bucket and
pour the solution around the base of trees or shrubs.
If you don't have room for two different fruit trees for cross pollination,
try one of our 4-in-1 apple, pear
or sweet cherry trees for a great crop of
fruit. There are four different grafts on one tree.
Are you tired of raking up crabapples in the summer? Spray crabapple trees
with Monterey Floral Growth Regulator at mid to full bloom. This will prevent the fruit from forming.
waterers get water under the lawn which is useful for trees, shrubs and roses.
Some of these tools
also have a container for dissolving fertilizer pellets to feed your
plants right at the roots.
- Before transplanting,
always make sure trees and shrubs are not dry to help
avoid transplant stress.
- Keep an N-sulate cover handy for unexpected frosts after your garden is
planted. It will keep the frost off new seedlings as they emerge from the soil.
- Mid-April is the time to set out broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi,
Swiss chard, radicchio, and Brussels sprouts plants. Be sure to “harden
them off” first.
- Enjoy an earlier growing season by four weeks by setting out Season
Starter plant protectors in April. You can set tomatoes
and pepper plants inside them ten days after initial setup of your Season
Starter. The setup period allows the soil beneath the solar shelters to warm to a
temperature suitable for plant growth.
- If you are having trouble growing plants in your gardens, have your soil
tested. We can test your soil for nutrient deficiencies for a nominal fee. We
can let you know what to do to improve your soil for more flowers and
- Vegetable gardens
benefit from watering at ground level, instead of watering overhead.
Watering with soaker hoses helps to prevent many diseases and insects.
- Floating row covers help eliminate cabbage loopers on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and
your cover handy in case there is a cold snap
for any newly planted vegetables and flowers.
- April is a good time to seed or overseed lawns. Use a good grass seed and
Lawn Starter fertilizer after the seed is sown. Keep the area moist even after
germination. Do not apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control before or after seeding, as this will
prevent grass seed germination. Sod is an easy alternative to seeding.
Keep your mower blade sharp. Dull blades can invite lawn diseases to
enter grass blades. Bring your rotary mower blades into Echter’s for
sharpening. You can bring them in on or off the mower.
- Use a rain gauge to measure the amount of water you are putting on your
lawn. Apply 3/4” to 1” slowly enough to evenly soak the lawn without
running off the area.
- It's spring cleaning
season even for birds. If you haven't cleaned your bird houses this
year, clean them
out and then spray them with a bird feeder cleaner before the new birds arrive.
- Continue feeding the birds at your feeders. Seed-producing plants are just
beginning to grow and there
are now more birds competing for the depleted
wild seed supply. Give them a supply of water also.