Pacific Northwest

April, 2007
Regional Report

Choose Easy-Care Annuals

If you don't have much time to devote to gardening, choose easy-to-maintain plants. Flowers that don't need deadheading include salvia, coleus, impatiens, vinca, lobelia, alyssum, ageratum, and the new 'Wave' petunias.

Renovate Lawns

April is a good month to work on your lawn. Rake to remove dead grass, top-dress bare areas with a mix of topsoil and peat, then reseed. Use a quality grass seed mix containing Kentucky bluegrass, red fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Water seeded areas, keeping them moist as the grass starts to grow.

Give Colored Mulches a Try With Veggies

Research shows that many plants respond favorably to specific wavelengths of reflected sunlight. Colored mulches reflect different wavelengths of light, producing noticeably higher yields. Tomato harvests increase in both size and quality when plants are grown over red plastic. Potatoes and green peppers produce best when the plastic is white.

Discourage Aphids

When you see ants crawling on garden plants, look for aphids as well. Some ant species protect aphids, moving them from plant to plant and even taking them underground into the anthill for overnight safety. The ants do this to ensure a supply of honeydew, a sugary substance secreted by aphids, on which the ants feed. Discourage aphids by hosing them off your plants with a strong stream of water.

Move Houseplants Outdoors

Move your houseplants outdoors when the night temperatures stay above 50 degrees F. Avoid burning the foliage in the bright sun by moving plants gradually, starting with a well-shaded location, and progressing to increasingly brighter areas.

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