New England

April, 2004
Regional Report

Celebrate Arbor Day

Plan to plant a tree in celebration of Arbor Day, April 30. Consider wildlife-friendly trees and shrubs. Fruiting plants, such as crabapple, serviceberry, mountain ash, and viburnum, will attract birds; honeysuckle will draw hummingbirds.

Plant Cole Crops

It's time to start planting cole crops, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. These crops should be planted about two weeks before your last frost date, in soil amended with compost. Don't be concerned if the leaves turn red or purple. It's often a sign of phosphorus deficiency due to cool soils and will go away once the soil warms.

Divide Perennials

Now is a good time to dig and divide late-blooming perennials, such as asters and daylilies. If left undivided, the plants become unproductive and overcrowded. Dig up the clump, and use a sharp spade to create pie-shaped wedges. Replant these divisions in a full-sun location in well-drained soil, and water often to keep soil moderately moist.

Sharpen Mower Blades

Lawns are starting to grow, so be sure lawn mower blades are sharp so they cut grass cleanly without leaving ragged edges in the lawn to attract disease. Remove only one third of the height of the grass at any one time, and leave the grass clippings to supply nutrients and organic matter to the lawn.

Prune Roses

By now you can see which canes have been winter-killed so you can remove them down to the green portion of the canes. Also remove any broken, crossing, or spindly canes. Gently rake away and dispose of old mulch and replace with fresh wood chips.

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