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April Gardening Checklist

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April Gardening Checklist

Fellow Gardeners, The information, dates, and techniques in this blog for April garden tasks are as accurate as I can currently offer. During the past three decades, I have cared for, nurtured, and observed tens of thousands of plants. With the help of many gardening friends, I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your gardening for April. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments, or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information.

Table of Contents:




Annuals:

There are plenty of annual flowers to plant in early April so that they’re well established when the real heat arrives. It's just about time to clean up those spring annual plants and replace them with colorful annuals for summer.

● Some of your cool-season garden annuals may still be going strong, especially along the immediate coast. If so, leave them in. Otherwise, it’s time to replant these with warm-season varieties.

● Warm-season annuals should be in abundant supply and in all sizes right now. Choices include petunias, lobelia, verbena, marigold, ageratum, cosmos, impatiens, coleus, torenia, and begonias. If you’ve got lots of beds and planters to fill, you might want to consider buying entire annual flower flats to make sure you have enough annual plants.

● If you are in a warm inland garden, this is the first good month for planting the real hot weather sizzlers like dahlias, zinnias, gomphrena, cleome, portulaca, and lisianthus. Because of their quick growth and heavy flowering potential, annual plant care requires more fertilizing than most other plants in the garden.

● Keep deadheading (removing spent flowers) from annuals to help them continue to bloom abundantly.

Geraniums:

● This includes geranium plant care for Ivy geraniums, Zonal geraniums (also called “common” geraniums), Martha geraniums, and the various scented geraniums, but does not include true geraniums (sometimes called “hardy” geraniums), which are discussed under Perennials.

● Ivy and Zonal types should be blooming well now. Remove spent flowers at the bottom of the stem regularly to encourage more blooms.

● Fertilize all geraniums, except most scented types, regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Geraniums prefer slightly acidic soil, so periodically alternate feedings with an acid fertilizer, such as cottonseed meal. Ivy and Zonal geraniums do not like heavy pruning. To keep the plants shapely and vigorous as long as possible, prune back a few long stems every month or so from now through fall, but never very many at one time.

● Stop pinching Martha types (but keep feeding) and allow them to go into full bloom. Remove spent flower clusters regularly just below the flower to encourage more blooms.

● This is the month that budworms usually begin attacking, so keep up with geranium care so you can stop them before they cause much damage. They primarily feed on the developing buds, but they also feed on new leaves as well. If necessary, spray the geranium plant with BT on a regular basis, beginning now.

● Rust may appear about now, especially on Zonal and Martha varieties. First seen as small brown clustered and raised spots on the undersides of the foliage, this is nearly impossible to control chemically. However, it is generally a short-term springtime issue and can be managed through proper culture. Fresh air circulation, adequate sunlight, and keeping the foliage dry in the evening are suggested.

● This is still a good time to take healthy three-to-four-inch tip cuttings to propagate all varieties so you can start growing new geraniums in pots. For best results, use sterile shears, let the cutting “cure” for a few hours in a dry shady area, and root them in clean potting soil and clean pots. When thoroughly rooted, plant them into the garden to replace old, tired, and woody plants.

Sweet Peas:

● These should still be in full bloom about now. One of your most frequent April garden tasks will be to keep the flowers trimmed regularly to encourage more blooms. This may be as often as twice a week. Sweet peas are among the plants that really benefit from having their flowers trimmed. Feed regularly.

● Assist them with climbing and support if necessary.

For more information, watch & learn: World-Class Sweet Peas with Steve Hampson

Poinsettias:

● Potted holiday poinsettias should be outdoors by now. They may be looking pretty rough during this time.

● If you didn’t last month, cut the tops off to two or three buds near the base (about 3-4 inches high.) Gradually transition outdoors to plant to a full sun location.

● Begin fertilizing the plant with a well-balanced food, and new growth will begin sprouting from the dormant buds at the base of the plant.

Wildflowers:

● Most of these will be over their peak blooming period and beginning to look a little stressed. You may be able to extend their season a bit with some additional waterings.

● If you want some of your wildflowers to re-seed for next year, leave them in place for a while and allow the seed to fall to the soil.

Fruiting Plants

Strawberry and grape plant care in April is mostly about training, fertilizing, and preventing pests.



Strawberries:

● Feed them regularly. Periodically alternate between a fertilizer for fruiting plants and an organic acid fertilizer, like cottonseed meal, to keep the soil pH low, which strawberries prefer.

● Bait, trap, or hand pick snails and slugs regularly to avoid fruit damage.

● Strawberry fruit is less likely to be bothered by sowbugs, earwigs, or rotting if not in contact with the soil. Straw works well for this, as do pine needles or even rings cut out of unprinted corrugated cardboard. All of these can be turned into the soil at the end of the season.

For more information, watch & learn: How to Grow the Best Strawberries with Sarah Smith

Grapes:

● Grapes should be growing vigorously now. Direct the canes as desired.

● The first application of fertilizer should be made when the new growth has gained a couple of inches (probably last month). Assuming the use of a granular organic product, the second application should be six to eight weeks later, the third application another six to eight weeks later, and the final application in another six to eight weeks. Remember, use a well-balanced product that contains trace minerals, which grapes need. Organic products are usually a good choice.

For more information, watch & learn: Growing Blueberries in Southern California

Shrubs & Vines:

● Shrubs and vines love this time of year and are working hard to grow as much as they can in April. There are also lots of shrubs and vines flowering this time of year in California, so make sure to enjoy their beauty. While they’re growing like crazy, your shrub and vine plant care for April may include plenty of pruning to maintain size and shape.

● In general, many shrubs will be growing rather quickly now and they may grow too large for their space. They may even want to grow into small trees! This may be what you want, but if not, they will need regular clipping to restrain them. Pruning these shrubs is best done immediately following their bloom to avoid interrupting their flowering. For many shrubs, this is around the time to now.

● This is about the time to prune winter and spring-flowering vines that have finished blooming. These include pink jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), hardenbergia species (Lilac Vine), jessamine (Gelsemium species), cat’s claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati), flame vine (Pyrostegia venusta), and wisteria (see separate entry below).

For more information, watch & learn: Hardy Flowering Shrubs with Dalia Brunner

Azaleas:

● Many azaleas are blooming now. For these blooming plants, be cautious of getting the flowers wet from overhead watering or late-season rain. The flowers will turn to mush with water on them, especially pure white hybrids.

● Azaleas are nearly dormant while they are in bloom, so this is an excellent time to plant them. Since they are also in their full colorful glory, the selection is excellent as well!

● They don’t really require any pruning, but if you do need to shape your azaleas or reduce their size a bit, the best time to do it is as soon as they’ve finished blooming.

Camellias:

● Some Japanese camellias may still be in full bloom. Be sure to keep the old flowers picked up underneath the plant to eliminate the occurrence of a disease called camellia petal blight (a fungal disease that causes the petals to turn brown and mushy).

● The best time to do any shaping or other pruning is as soon as your camellia has finished blooming. Apply your first of three feedings to your camellia about 4-6 weeks after it finishes blooming. Use an “azalea/camellia” or acid-based fertilizer, like cottonseed meal.

● Apply a light application (camellias are not heavy feeders) evenly around the base of the plant, but do not dig it into the soil. Camellias (and many other plants) have very delicate surface roots within the top inch of soil that are easily damaged by cultivation. Feed again 4-6 weeks later and apply a final feeding another 4-6 weeks after that.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardening 101 Series | How to Plant & Maintain a Camellia

Gardenias:

● Gardenias are growing well now and may even be showing some blooms.

● If you didn’t apply fertilizer last month, be sure to this month. Use a fertilizer with lots of trace minerals, such as most organic types, and alternate with an acidic formula to keep the pH down.

● This is a great month to apply a good dose of an iron supplement to your plants. Iron only works well in warm soil temperatures, so applying it now will have a significant benefit for your gardenias.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardenias for Southern California with Nicholas Stadden

Hydrangeas:

● These are continuing to wake up from the cool winter months and their appearance should be improving a lot. They are growing nicely and a few may even be beginning to bloom. Apply a moderate dose of fertilizer.

● Do not prune hydrangeas at all this time of the year. Hydrangeas bloom on one-year-old stems. Pruning now will eliminate most of the flowers.

● If you want to try to get blue or lavender flowers on your otherwise pink-flowered plant, you need to continue applying aluminum sulfate to the soil. White-flowered varieties will not be affected and not all pinks will be affected the same.

For more information, watch & learn: Re-blooming Hydrangeas with Nicholas Staddon

Roses:

● Roses are making their first big bloom this month. This “first bloom” is the most spectacular of the entire year. The flowers will be huge and color-rich, and will hold well in the cooler temperatures of April. Enjoy the show!

● Continue fertilizing roses—they are heavy feeders! Do not use soil-applied fertilizers that are combined with a systemic insecticide. These products are very disruptive to soil life (beneficial microorganisms, bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, earthworms, et cetera). Many rosarians also believe they reduce the vigor of rose plants.

● Granular, well-balanced organic fertilizers work especially well for roses, and most of these will encourage beneficial soil life.

● Begin deadheading roses as they fade. The rose bush care rule of thumb is to prune to just above a leaf with five leaflets. Floribundas, many English roses, and some others are deadheaded on very short stems until the last of the flowers in the cluster have faded. Then cut down to just above the first leaf with five leaflets.

● Be on the lookout for pests on your rose bush. Aphids can usually be hosed off with a strong jet of water. Flower thrips may require the use of an insecticide. Keep on the lookout for diseases. Powdery mildew and rust are the primary concerns for roses in April. Regular grooming, early removal of infested leaves, good air circulation, and full sun will help considerably.

● If diseases do require a fungicide, use one of the newer, safer, organic products available. These include Rose Defense (a neem oil extract), E-Rase (jojoba oil), or Saf-T-Cide (straight paraffinic oil).

● Potted roses are in good supply and the selection is excellent now at our outdoor plant nursery. It is a good time to add more or upgrade any that you are struggling with.

● Make notes now in your garden journal about which roses are performing well and which are not. Notes on disease tolerance will be useful later if you decide to switch to improved varieties.

● One of the most obvious pests, especially in coastal gardens, is now beginning to show up. Commonly called “rose slug,” it is not a slug at all, but the larval form of a fly relative called a sawfly. These tiny little caterpillar-like pests are hard to spot, and feed by chewing on the undersides of foliage. Eventually, these pests will chew irregular holes through the leaves. Neem oil will work on them as will organic pyrethrin sprays, but the application must be thorough and applied to the undersides of the foliage.

● Irrigations must be more frequent now as the weather continues to warm and the days lengthen. For the biggest flowers, pinch out some of the competing buds while they are very small.

● Weed as needed, but avoid most herbicides around roses.

For more information, watch & learn: How to Prune Your Roses With Laura Weaver, Bare Root Roses with Dalia, & How to Plant and Care for Roses

Trees:

Most trees are growing well right now, and it’s finally warm enough to do some pruning on less-hardy trees. This is also a great time to plant new trees if you’re going to be adding some to your landscape this year. One of your big April garden tasks will be to deal with suckers around all of your trees as they’re probably popping up left, right, and center right about now. There’s a bit of fruit tree maintenance to be done in April, but overall most fruit trees should be in good health this month.

● This is a good month to prune tender sub-tropical trees like ficus, coral tree, avocado, citrus, etc.). These sub-tropical trees should not be pruned during the cool winter months. However, be sure to take care not to disturb nesting birds at this time of the season.

● Many trees may be suckering heavily now. Remove these suckers below ground by pulling them. If you cannot pull them, dig them to the point where they attach to the tree and cut them flush with the root or trunk, leaving no “stub.”

● This is a very good time to plant most tender subtropical trees like coral tree (Erythrina), orchid tree (Bauhinia), trumpet tree (Tabebuia), and others.

Deciduous Fruit Trees:

● Apply the second and final feeding for fruit tree care this month. Apple, apricot, peach, plum, etc. should be given between about ½ pound of actual nitrogen per inch of trunk diameter. For example: 15 pounds of 20% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk; 30 pounds of 10% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk, et cetera.

● Do the first thinning this month—the earlier, the better. Twist off the excess fruit, leaving one per cluster and about one every six inches or so.

Citrus:

● Citrus are growing pretty well this month and many varieties will still be flowering.

● Continue fertilizing this month and every month from now until July. Use a fertilizer rich in trace minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese, copper, and others. These ingredients are usually well-represented in organic fertilizers like Dr. Earth.

● Honeybees are the primary pollinators for citrus. Be sure to encourage these very beneficial insects and avoid any pesticides that might discourage or harm them.

● Continue periodically checking for ants. Control them from climbing up the trunk of the tree or onto the branches. Although not directly harmful to the citrus, they are “farming” pests such as scale, whitefly, and mealybug, which are all common on citrus.

● Lemons and limes may bear some ripe fruit this month. The first ripe kumquats are also appearing now. ‘Kinnow’ tangerines are about done and ‘Kara’ tangerines should be ripe pretty soon.

For more information, watch & learn: Growing Citrus in Southern California with David Rizzo & Growing Citrus in Containers with Kathleen

Avocados:

Apply your second feeding to avocado trees this month. A mature avocado tree should be given between ½ and 1 pound of actual nitrogen per inch of trunk diameter. For example: 15-30 pounds of 20% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk; 30-60 pounds of 10% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk, et cetera.

● Avocados are putting on quite a bit of new growth right now, and the plants should look the healthiest they will all year.

● Don’t be alarmed by a lot of leaf drop on mature plants. Avocados produce a lot of leaf litter nearly year-round. This is a normal condition.

● Irrigate as needed to keep the soil moist, but not wet.

● This is a very good month for planting avocados. Being sub-tropical plants, avocados prefer to be planted at the beginning of the long warm half of the year.

● Be sure to keep a very thick blanket of mulch, compost, or fallen leaves under mature avocados at all times. Avocados need a cool root-run for good health.

● Most varieties will not have fruit ready for harvest this early. However, some varieties, like ‘Gwen’ and ‘Whitsell,’ tend to have fruit at unusual times.

For more information, watch & learn: Edible Gardening: How to Grow Avocados in Southern California with Sarah Smith

Subtropical Fruits:

● Annual pruning, if needed, can often be done now, but consult a fruit tree care guide and pruning reference or expert first. Some varieties only bloom and set fruit on old wood, and pruning now would be incorrect for these.

● Most of these are still just waking from the cool months. Some varieties will be showing signs of new growth on the tips or along the branches.

● Depending upon your location and the species involved, you may be able to begin planting.

● Most varieties can be fertilized now, but wait another month on any that look completely asleep.

● Watering can be more frequent now as the plants are beginning to wake and resume growing again.

Perennials:

Like other plants, April is a great month for perennials. There are many perennials that flower in April, so there is a lot of beautiful color to enjoy. Any existing perennials will benefit from regular feeding this month. If you’re looking to add more perennials to your garden, now is a great time to do it. There are plenty to choose from, and planting perennials in April allows them to establish their roots before summer arrives.

● There are a myriad of new and interesting April-flowering perennials at nurseries this month. A slow walk through the nursery now will stimulate lots of exciting plant possibilities!

● This is a very good planting month for perennials. The selection is great and many will be in bud or bloom.

● Keep fertilizing your perennials! The frequency and amount will depend upon the formulation that you are using. If you have been building up your soil health, your fertilizing duties will be much reduced.

● See separate entries for bearded iris, bulbs/rhizomes/tubers, cannas, fuchsia, and ornamental grasses. Most of your perennial garden chores for April should have already been done and you can now enjoy your perennials in all their colorful glory.

● Subtropical perennials are beginning to perk up now. This is also a good month to plant these. These include begonias, heliotrope, impatiens, lamium, pentas (starflower), and plectranthus.

● By now most of the perennials that completely withdrew below ground for the cool winter months have sprouted from the soil again. Some of the last perennials to sprout that you should still be on the lookout for include caladium, calla (colored types), chocolate cosmos, and some true lilies (lilium).

● Tall, upright, spiking perennials like dahlia (tuberous perennial types), delphinium, foxglove (digitalis), kniphofia (red hot poker), liatris, true lilies (lilium), monkshood (aconitum), oriental poppy, and most thalictrum (meadow rue) should have stakes in place to support the flower stalks and prevent breaking.

● Tie the stalks to the stakes as they grow.

● Removing the myriad of spent or old flowers regularly helps them to produce more new flowers. This is a good time to cut some fresh flowers for a vase as well.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardening 101 Series | How to Use Annuals vs. Perennials with Lynn Hillman & Gardening 101 Series | Pruning Lavender & Perennials with Dalia Brunner

Clematis:

● Clematis are continuing to grow well and their growth is speeding up. Continue feeding them with a balanced organic fertilizer to keep them going.

● Most varieties will be blooming, and those that aren’t should be heavily budded.

● Help them as they grow by guiding their fragile stems or carefully tying to an arch, trellis, or obelisk as they grow.

California Native Plants:

● Some of these will still be blooming and growing well, but many others will already be slowing down and preparing for the long, hot, and dry summer months.

● Be very cautious irrigating most of our native plants during the summer. Most of these are adapted to a winter wet/summer dry moisture cycle. Excessive irrigations now (especially in soils with a clay content) will certainly cause problems.

For more information, watch & learn: California Native Plants for Your Garden with James Maxwell and Success with Native Plants with James Maxwell

Wisterias:

● This is the main month of bloom for wisterias. If you followed proper pruning all year, established plants should be in full, glorious bloom now. Enjoy!

● No pruning now or you may interfere with the blooms.

● Select and plant new wisterias now, while they are in bloom. Grafted plants are preferred, since they will almost always bloom at a much younger age.

● There is still no need to fertilize now, and irrigation is only needed on young, newly-installed plants.

Fuchsias:

● You should have stopped pinching at the end of last month. Now, you want your plants to grow out and begin flowering. If you pinched and fertilized regularly over the past couple of months, your plants will be very full and have set loads of flowers.

● Now that you are getting your plants ready to flower, it’s time to switch fertilizers. Put away the high-nitrogen growth fertilizer that you were using and begin using a fertilizer that is more balanced or even slightly higher in phosphorus to promote blooms.

● Keep the plants well-watered, especially during a warm spell.

● Watch for fuchsia gall mites, which are a serious pest of these plants. Look for any signs of puckered or distorted new growth. If you discover any, pinch it out and dispose of it immediately. A pesticide treatment is usually required.

Groundcovers:

● This and last month are the best times to plant slopes, especially for large-scale plantings. Erosion will be minimized since most of the rains are behind us.

● Cool-season groundcovers are still growing and blooming well; enjoy the show!

● California native groundcover plants, like ceanothus and arctostaphylos (manzanita) are still blooming well now. This is not a good month to plant these. Wait until late this fall.

● Warm-season groundcovers are waking up and growing again, and possibly even setting flower buds. Feed these now with a balanced, organic granular fertilizer.

● If necessary, this is the best time of the year to perform a heavy cutting-back of warm-season varieties. Many groundcovers build up considerable thatch and lose their vigor if not cut back periodically. In general, the faster they grow, the more frequently they need a firm cutting back. Fertilize after the cut-back to ensure a quick recovery.

● Groundcover planting in general is easy to accomplish now. Mulch between the plants after the planting to reduce weed growth, improve soil quality, and reduce the need for any irrigation.

● This is another good time to check irrigation systems on slopes. Adjust heads, check clogged lines, and add to the system as necessary before the warmer weather of summer.

For more information, watch & learn How to Plant & Grow Groundcover with Dalia Brunner

Orchids (Outside Grown):

● Most Cymbidiums are wrapping up their bloom cycle this month. Continue feeding with a high-phosphorus fertilizer through the end of their bloom period.

● As Epidendrum orchid flowers fade, cut the individual stems to two or three buds above the soil. This will keep them blooming almost year-round.

● Keep feeding Epidendrums with a low nitrogen/high phosphorus fertilizer.

For more information, watch & learn Orchids and How to Care for and Maintain Phalaenopsis Orchids with Steve Hampson and How to Repot Your Phalaenopsis Orchids with Steve Hampson

Bulbs, Rhizomes, Tubers, Etc:

● Bulbs that are in bloom in most parts of Orange County now include most alliums (late in the month), anemone, babiana, bletilla (just starting), calla, chasmanthe (finishing up), crocosmia (formerly called montbretia), daffodils, Dutch iris, freesia, hippeastrum, hyacinth, ipheion (finishing up), ixia, narcissus, nectaroscordum, ornithogalum, ranunculus, scilla campanulata, sparaxis, sprekelia, tritonia, tulips, and watsonia (just starting).

● If you didn’t last month, plant or re-plant dahlia tubers now (see dahlias).

● This is the first opportunity to plant caladiums. These need to be started when the soil is warm. Tuberoses need even warmer soil, so wait at least another month to plant them.

● Bedding cyclamen, although not generally referred to as a bulb, are still in full bloom, but are beginning to show signs of heat stress, especially in inland gardens.

● As spring bulbs finish blooming, do not hurry to cut back the foliage or ignore the plant. Keep the leaves in place and continue watering until the leaves naturally turn brown and dry, then you can cut them off. These leaves are sending energy back to the bulb for next season. Of course, for one-year bulbs like most anemone, crocus, hyacinth, muscari, ranunculus, and tulips, after they are done blooming, pull them and toss them. These will not return reliably next year.

For more information view Gardening 101 Series | How Do I Plant Spring Bulbs?

Bearded Iris:

● Most bearded irises are now developing flower buds or even blooming.

● Apply another application of a well-balanced, general-purpose organic fertilizer to them this month and the flower production will be even better. Any fertilizer labeled for roses (but not with insecticides or other added ingredients) will do fine.

● Trim off the faded flower stalks just above the foliage when the last flower fades.

Dahlias (Tuberous Types):

● Finish up planting (or re-planting) any dormant tubers. Choose a full sun location and drop a little bone meal into each hole before planting.

● For tall varieties, put stakes in now to avoid damaging the roots later.

● Keep newly planted tubers moist, but be careful not to overwater until growth shows above the soil.

● When the foliage is a few inches out of the ground, begin fertilizing. Use a liquid or granular organic fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus. Fish bone meal is excellent.

● When the stems are about eight or ten inches tall, pinch off the top set of leaves. This will encourage the plant to branch and produce more blooms.

For more information, watch & learn Lew Whitney's Secrets to Growing and Maintaining Dahlias

Cannas:

● They should be growing well this month, but probably won’t be blooming quite yet. Keep them fertilized with a general, well-balanced organic fertilizer to help them along.

Tuberous Begonias:

● Tubers should be sprouting in the flats that you put them in last month.

● When there is about two to three inches of growth on each tuber, gently scoop them out with a spade and plant with a bit of soil under them. Place them into baskets, pots, or well-drained bedding areas where they will grow and bloom for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

● Begin fertilizing. Tuberous begonias are heavy feeders, especially in containers. Use a well balanced fertilizer and periodically mix in an acid fertilizer, since these prefer a low soil pH.

● Keep them well watered, but not soggy. The soil should be rich and well-drained. The surface of the soil should dry slightly between watering.

Tropical and Subtropical Plants

● Most tropical garden plants are still just waking from the cool months. It is still early for most of these plants. Some varieties will be showing signs of new growth on the tips or along the branches.

● Depending upon your location and the species of hardy tropical garden plants involved, you may be able to begin some plantings.

● Most varieties can be fertilized now, but any that look completely asleep still should wait another month. Don’t be surprised if the real heat lovers, like plumeria, ginger, ixora, heliconia still have no sign of new growth.

● This is a good month to do any serious hibiscus pruning.

● Watering can usually be more frequent now, as the plants have begun to wake up and begin growing again.

Foliage Plants

Your ornamental grasses should be growing well. If you want to add more, April is a good time for planting, whether you're going to plant new or divide existing ornamental grasses. Ferns are starting to wake up again and will benefit from a little maintenance this month.

Ferns:

● Some ferns, including sword ferns, chain ferns, some maidenhairs, et cetera, will begin waking up again this month, although most still need a bit more warmth.

● When signs of new growth are showing, begin fertilizing. Use a mild, organic fertilizer on ferns and alternate periodically with an acid version, especially in high-pH soil. For most common varieties, try using blood meal alternated every third feeding with cottonseed meal.

● As ferns begin growing new foliage, consider removing old, dry, or tired-looking fronds all the way to their base. Some varieties like sword ferns, chain ferns, autumn ferns, rabbit-foot ferns, and other rhizomatous varieties can be revived by cutting all of their fronds nearly to the soil. New growth will quickly reappear.

● Begin irrigating more regularly according to weather and the growth of the individual plants. Continue fertilizing mounted and containerized staghorn ferns with a mild liquid fertilizer. Fish emulsion is excellent.

● This is a good month to divide and/or remount overgrown staghorn ferns.

Ornamental Grasses:

● The ornamental grasses that were cut to the ground sometime during the winter have now put on a lot of new growth.

● This is a very good time to plant nearly any species of ornamental grass.

For more information, watch & learn: Low Water Ornamental Grasses with James Maxwell

Vegetables and Herbs

It's a busy part of the growing season, with plenty of planting and transplanting and the seemingly endless weeding. Late spring vegetable gardening in California is exciting; there's so much to plant, and the anticipation for the delicious treats you’ll harvest later is building! Here’s what to do in the vegetable garden in April.

Vegetables:

● There is still time to plant artichokes from gallon containers and get fruit this year. If your artichoke is re-growing from last year, or was planted earlier this year, remove any suckers on the plant. A single crown will produce larger fruit. The suckers can be given away to friends or re-planted elsewhere in the garden.

● Early this month may be the absolute best time to plant tomatoes from transplants. A crop planted now will produce for several months. Choose varieties carefully; hundreds are available.

● Mound spring potatoes that you planted last month.

● Putting in successive plantings of many vegetables a couple of weeks apart from each other will ensure a constant, uninterrupted supply for the kitchen.

● Early potatoes from those planted last fall may be ready for harvest.

● In a well-established asparagus patch, this is still a good time to harvest asparagus spears. Remember, don’t take any spears during the first two years after planting.

● If you’re looking for veggies to plant in April, you can get away with almost any warm-season vegetable this month. From transplants or seeds, plant beans, celery, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, peppers, salsify, squash, sunflower, and tomatoes. Corn, lima beans, jicama, melons, and pumpkins are best planted from seed.

● Along the immediate coast, most cool-season early spring vegetables like arugula, lettuce, peas, and members of the cabbage family can still be grown. Alternatively, the real heat-loving vegetables, like corn, melons, peppers, and pumpkins, will be challenging. Grow them in front of a hot south-facing wall.

● Plant corn from seed this month. Because corn needs to be cross-pollinated, it must always be grown in clumps or rows. Twelve plants is about the minimum for good pollination and twenty or more is even better. Plant crops successively every three to four weeks for a continuous harvest.

● Beets, carrots, chard, radish, and possibly turnips can be planted just about year-round. All but chard are planted from seed only.

● Since most annual vegetables are shallow-rooted and quick-growing, feed them regularly with a well-balanced organic fertilizer.

● Control weeds before they get out of hand.

For more information, watch & learn: Vegetable Gardening with Suzanne Hetrick & Herbs:Gardening 101: How To Plant and Maintain a Vegepod (Part1)

Herbs:

● Now that the weather is warm and the days are growing longer, April is the best time to plant basil.

● Many perennial herbs can be planted nearly year-round but are particularly well-suited to spring planting since they thrive during the warm summer months. These include marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, catmint, catnip, chamomile, comfrey, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, St. John’s wort, tarragon, and thyme.

● Especially in warm inland gardens, this is your last chance to plant a quick crop of fast-growing, cool-season herbs like anise, arugula, borage, chervil, cilantro, dill, and fennel.

● Annual “summer savory” can now be planted in the warmer weather. The perennial “winter savory” can also be planted now, however the flavor of the perennial version is generally considered inferior.

● This is still a good time to rejuvenate certain old or tired herbs by giving them a hard trim. These include chamomile, chives, lemon balm, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, salad burnet, sorrel, St. John’s wort, thyme, and watercress. All of these can be cut right back, almost to the soil line and, with fertilizing, will recover quickly. Other herbs, like catmint, catnip, feverfew, lemon verbena, rosemary, rue, and sage should be cut a bit higher. Cut lavender only very lightly.

For more information, watch & learn: Unique and Unusual Herb Plants with Sarah Smith

General Gardening Info

This might be the best part of the year for the springtime garden. There’s always plenty of tasks on the spring garden to-do list! The number of April garden tasks can be pretty high, so keep this spring gardening checklist handy as you’re working so you don’t miss anything.

Beneficial Insects and Wildlife:

● Eugenia psyllid (Trioza eugeniae) may likely already be showing signs of their damage on the new growing tips of Syzygium paniculata (formerly Eugenia). Try not to spray. The beneficial bugs for your garden will be along in a few more weeks and usually do a more than adequate job for free.

● Giant whitefly is active again in some gardens, but just starting in others. Predators and parasites may start appearing now also, but remember, they will usually be a month or so behind the whitefly. Check immature whiteflies carefully for indications of parasitization.

● Many beneficial garden insects also feed on pollen. Beneficial insects can be encouraged in your garden by planting a few flowers that they particularly enjoy. These include yarrow (achillea), alyssum, chamomile, white clover, paludosum daisy, cosmos, lantana, Queen Anne’s lace (Ammi majus), and centranthus (sometimes called valerian or Jupiter’s beard).

● Ladybugs and lacewings are beneficial predatory insects that can be released this month. Two or three releases of both ladybugs and lacewings in the spring can reduce many pest populations significantly, very possibly eliminating the need for pesticides. This should be your second or third release of friendly bugs so far this year.

● Remember that the population of natural predators and parasites always follows behind that of the pest. If predators are present in your garden, even in small numbers, they will need some time to catch up with the pest. Be patient.

● Trichogramma wasps are very effective parasites of caterpillars. If these pests are usually a problem in your garden, a couple of releases of these beneficial wasps will be worthwhile. Space the releases 30 to 45 days apart.

● Encourage larger beneficial wildlife in the garden as well. These include frogs, toads, lizards, and many different birds.

Pests & Diseases:

● Trap or hand-pick snails and slugs.

● Release ladybugs to prey on aphids.

● Release more beneficial insects according to the needs of your garden.

● Watch for caterpillars. Spray with BT if necessary.

● Watch for and manage fuchsia gall mites as needed.

● Look for giant whiteflies and control it now.

● Eugenia psyllid is another pest to watch for that can be managed with beneficial insects.

● Add more plants that attract beneficial insects and pollinators.

● Control rose slug with neem oil or pyrethrin spray, ensuring you treat the undersides of your rose’s foliage.

For more information, view: How to Identify & Eliminate Common Garden Pests

Lawns:

● This is a good month to plant new cool-season lawns from seed or sod (fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass).

● Your lawn care checklist should include feeding all lawns this month. Cool-season grasses like fescue, ryegrass, and bluegrass are still at their peak in this springtime weather. Warm-season grasses like bermudagrass, St. Augustine, and zoysia have awakened and are growing well again. Feeding these warm-season grasses now will help them return to their deep green color.

● Lawn seeding should be added to your April garden tasks. This is the last really good month until fall to plant new cool-season lawns (fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass).

● Conversely, it is also the first reliable month to plant warm-season lawns (hybrid bermudagrass, St. Augustine, etc.) from sod. Most warm-season grasses do not grow from seed and are best only installed from sod.

● Remember, cool-season lawns should be mowed about a half an inch lower in the cool months than in the warm months. Keep the mower at this lower height for another month or so.

Planting:

● April is a great month for planting trees, shrubs, perennials, flowers, and vegetables.

● This is another good month to plant warm-season flowers from color packs or small pots. Good choices for putting in the ground now are marigolds, lobelia, petunia, ageratum, alyssum, cosmos, verbena, coleus, begonias, and impatiens. It is still a month or two too early for the super heat-lovers like zinnia, portulaca, vinca, and lisianthus (eustoma).

● Cool-season flowers like primrose, pansies, violas, Iceland poppies, bedding cyclamen, stock, and snapdragons are still going strong. Keep these fertilized and deadheaded.

Records, Catalogs, Books, and Organizations:

● Continue to make lots of entries in your garden journal now about what is blooming, what you like, and what you don’t. Especially important are entries that you will make now that guide you and remind you of what you should do this fall.

● With even more planting to do this month, be sure to make some notes in your journal about the names and varieties of what you planted. Often, much later, the name or variety of a plant is nearly impossible to recall. After the plant is taken out of the pot, save the tag and jot a note into your journal about where and when you planted it.

● Make notes now in your garden journal about which roses are performing well and which are not. Notes on disease tolerance will be useful next winter if you decide to switch to some improved varieties.

● This is the biggest month for home garden tours. If you haven’t participated in one of these before, you have missed one of the most rewarding gardening experiences for April!

Soil Care:

● We have included this section, because as you know, or will discover with more experience, a good garden begins with the soil. Investing in the soil, managing the soil, and protecting the soil are not afterthoughts in a successful garden, but the foundation. Healthy soil is living and breathing, teaming with earthworms, microorganisms, beneficial fungi, bacteria, microbes, and other invisible life. This section, possibly the most important topic of all will, provides some helpful guidance to good soil care.

● A thick layer of organic mulch, averaging about two inches should be maintained on top of the soil just about year-round. This is an excellent month to add additional mulch as needed to maintain this level.

● Applied now, a thick layer of mulch will cool the root systems from the hot temperatures ahead, reduce irrigations by as much as half this summer, reduce weed growth, and improve both soil life and soil quality.

● If you have been considering inoculating your soil with beneficial mycorrhizae, this is a perfect month in which to do it. The soil temperatures are just right for quick establishment. Inoculation can be done quickly and easily in established areas by using mycorrhizae “tablets”. In moist soil, poke a hole near the plant with a ½” or ¾” rod or stick. Drop a tablet into the hole and push it in again with the stick.

● We do not suggest the use of very high-analysis fertilizers in a garden, especially phosphorus. Examples of fertilizers to avoid are synthetic versions with formulations like, 10-55-10, 10-30-10, etc. We don’t even suggest the popular 15-30-15 formula. These formulations will inhibit or even destroy much of the soil life that is so vital to a healthy, sustainable soil.

● We also suggest that you not use soil-applied systemic fertilizer/insecticide combinations (especially popular with roses). These are very damaging to soil life.

● Use insecticides only when necessary and even then use the least-damaging product available. Many of these products move into the soil and interfere with the invisible soil life.

● If you can, begin a compost pile or purchase a compost bin. Leaves, clippings, kitchen produce scraps, and many other ingredients can be composted and returned to the garden. Home compost is one of the very best ingredients you can add to your soil. The benefits are huge in the areas of disease suppression, increasing beneficial microorganisms, improving soil structure and texture, nutrient retention, and nematode suppression.

● This is definitely a planting month. Be sure that, before you plant, you have considered the soil and are doing all you can to improve it and protect its health.

● If your soil pH is too high (alkaline) this is one of the better months of the year to lower it. Two methods are both effective. Using a low pH mulch over the surface is probably the most effective to return to a healthy soil pH, closer to neutral. The other is with the incorporation of soil sulfur, an organic naturally occurring acidifying chemical.

● Try to keep from walking on wet, soggy soil, especially after a rain or thorough irrigation. This compresses the soil and reduces its oxygen content and ability to drain quickly.

For more information, view: Fertilizer Tips 1-2-3 with Suzanne Hetrick and TBD- How to Prepare Your Soil

Water & Irrigation:

● Automatic timers can be turned back on now if the weather warrants.

● Adjust the duration and interval settings of automatic sprinkler systems as the weather dictates.

Places to Visit:

● Gardens that look terrific almost any time of the year include Sherman Library and Gardens (Corona del Mar), The Fullerton Arboretum (Fullerton), Los Angeles Arboretum (Arcadia), Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens (San Marino) and San Diego Botanical Gardens (Encinitas).

● Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Clairemont, is looking incredible at this time of year. Hurry! Niguel Botanical Preserve, Laguna Niguel, is a must-see.

● Pay a visit to Rose Hills Memorial Park.

● During the first half of the month is normally the big Southern California Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza. This event has been cancelled for 2021.

● Don’t miss home garden tours this month, April is when they’re at their best! Visit the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda.

● The “Green Scene” at The Fullerton Arboretum is one of the best garden events in southern California, and it’s right in our own backyard. Usually held the last weekend of April, this outdoor event features well over 100 plant and garden exhibitors, hard-to-find plants, garden seminars and more. This event will be held virtually for 2021.

● This is a good time for a visit to our canyons and chaparral areas to observe our native plants. Good choices might include Black Star Canyon, Trabuco Canyon and the upper San Mateo Creek area.

April Gardening Checklist

Fellow Gardeners, The information, dates, and techniques in this blog for April garden tasks are as accurate as I can currently offer. During the past three decades, I have cared for, nurtured, and observed tens of thousands of plants. With the help of many gardening friends, I have attempted to offer on these pages some useful information to help you with your gardening for April. Gardening is sharing. Any corrections, comments, or suggestions are appreciated and will improve future information.




Table of Contents:




Annuals:

There are plenty of annual flowers to plant in early April so that they’re well established when the real heat arrives. It's just about time to clean up those spring annual plants and replace them with colorful annuals for summer.

● Some of your cool-season garden annuals may still be going strong, especially along the immediate coast. If so, leave them in. Otherwise, it’s time to replant these with warm-season varieties.

● Warm-season annuals should be in abundant supply and in all sizes right now. Choices include petunias, lobelia, verbena, marigold, ageratum, cosmos, impatiens, coleus, torenia, and begonias. If you’ve got lots of beds and planters to fill, you might want to consider buying entire annual flower flats to make sure you have enough annual plants.

● If you are in a warm inland garden, this is the first good month for planting the real hot weather sizzlers like dahlias, zinnias, gomphrena, cleome, portulaca, and lisianthus. Because of their quick growth and heavy flowering potential, annual plant care requires more fertilizing than most other plants in the garden.

● Keep deadheading (removing spent flowers) from annuals to help them continue to bloom abundantly.

Geraniums:

● This includes geranium plant care for Ivy geraniums, Zonal geraniums (also called “common” geraniums), Martha geraniums, and the various scented geraniums, but does not include true geraniums (sometimes called “hardy” geraniums), which are discussed under Perennials.

● Ivy and Zonal types should be blooming well now. Remove spent flowers at the bottom of the stem regularly to encourage more blooms.

● Fertilize all geraniums, except most scented types, regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Geraniums prefer slightly acidic soil, so periodically alternate feedings with an acid fertilizer, such as cottonseed meal. Ivy and Zonal geraniums do not like heavy pruning. To keep the plants shapely and vigorous as long as possible, prune back a few long stems every month or so from now through fall, but never very many at one time.

● Stop pinching Martha types (but keep feeding) and allow them to go into full bloom. Remove spent flower clusters regularly just below the flower to encourage more blooms.

● This is the month that budworms usually begin attacking, so keep up with geranium care so you can stop them before they cause much damage. They primarily feed on the developing buds, but they also feed on new leaves as well. If necessary, spray the geranium plant with BT on a regular basis, beginning now.

● Rust may appear about now, especially on Zonal and Martha varieties. First seen as small brown clustered and raised spots on the undersides of the foliage, this is nearly impossible to control chemically. However, it is generally a short-term springtime issue and can be managed through proper culture. Fresh air circulation, adequate sunlight, and keeping the foliage dry in the evening are suggested.

● This is still a good time to take healthy three-to-four-inch tip cuttings to propagate all varieties so you can start growing new geraniums in pots. For best results, use sterile shears, let the cutting “cure” for a few hours in a dry shady area, and root them in clean potting soil and clean pots. When thoroughly rooted, plant them into the garden to replace old, tired, and woody plants.

Sweet Peas:

● These should still be in full bloom about now. One of your most frequent April garden tasks will be to keep the flowers trimmed regularly to encourage more blooms. This may be as often as twice a week. Sweet peas are among the plants that really benefit from having their flowers trimmed. Feed regularly.

● Assist them with climbing and support if necessary.

For more information, watch & learn: World-Class Sweet Peas with Steve Hampson

Poinsettias:

● Potted holiday poinsettias should be outdoors by now. They may be looking pretty rough during this time.

● If you didn’t last month, cut the tops off to two or three buds near the base (about 3-4 inches high.) Gradually transition outdoors to plant to a full sun location.

● Begin fertilizing the plant with a well-balanced food, and new growth will begin sprouting from the dormant buds at the base of the plant.

Wildflowers:

● Most of these will be over their peak blooming period and beginning to look a little stressed. You may be able to extend their season a bit with some additional waterings.

● If you want some of your wildflowers to re-seed for next year, leave them in place for a while and allow the seed to fall to the soil.

Fruiting Plants

Strawberry and grape plant care in April is mostly about training, fertilizing, and preventing pests.



Strawberries:

● Feed them regularly. Periodically alternate between a fertilizer for fruiting plants and an organic acid fertilizer, like cottonseed meal, to keep the soil pH low, which strawberries prefer.

● Bait, trap, or hand pick snails and slugs regularly to avoid fruit damage.

● Strawberry fruit is less likely to be bothered by sowbugs, earwigs, or rotting if not in contact with the soil. Straw works well for this, as do pine needles or even rings cut out of unprinted corrugated cardboard. All of these can be turned into the soil at the end of the season.

For more information, watch & learn: How to Grow the Best Strawberries with Sarah Smith

Grapes:

● Grapes should be growing vigorously now. Direct the canes as desired.

● The first application of fertilizer should be made when the new growth has gained a couple of inches (probably last month). Assuming the use of a granular organic product, the second application should be six to eight weeks later, the third application another six to eight weeks later, and the final application in another six to eight weeks. Remember, use a well-balanced product that contains trace minerals, which grapes need. Organic products are usually a good choice.

For more information, watch & learn: Growing Blueberries in Southern California

Shrubs & Vines:

● Shrubs and vines love this time of year and are working hard to grow as much as they can in April. There are also lots of shrubs and vines flowering this time of year in California, so make sure to enjoy their beauty. While they’re growing like crazy, your shrub and vine plant care for April may include plenty of pruning to maintain size and shape.

● In general, many shrubs will be growing rather quickly now and they may grow too large for their space. They may even want to grow into small trees! This may be what you want, but if not, they will need regular clipping to restrain them. Pruning these shrubs is best done immediately following their bloom to avoid interrupting their flowering. For many shrubs, this is around the time to now.

● This is about the time to prune winter and spring-flowering vines that have finished blooming. These include pink jasmine (Jasminum polyanthum), hardenbergia species (Lilac Vine), jessamine (Gelsemium species), cat’s claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati), flame vine (Pyrostegia venusta), and wisteria (see separate entry below).

For more information, watch & learn: Hardy Flowering Shrubs with Dalia Brunner

Azaleas:

● Many azaleas are blooming now. For these blooming plants, be cautious of getting the flowers wet from overhead watering or late-season rain. The flowers will turn to mush with water on them, especially pure white hybrids.

● Azaleas are nearly dormant while they are in bloom, so this is an excellent time to plant them. Since they are also in their full colorful glory, the selection is excellent as well!

● They don’t really require any pruning, but if you do need to shape your azaleas or reduce their size a bit, the best time to do it is as soon as they’ve finished blooming.

Camellias:

● Some Japanese camellias may still be in full bloom. Be sure to keep the old flowers picked up underneath the plant to eliminate the occurrence of a disease called camellia petal blight (a fungal disease that causes the petals to turn brown and mushy).

● The best time to do any shaping or other pruning is as soon as your camellia has finished blooming. Apply your first of three feedings to your camellia about 4-6 weeks after it finishes blooming. Use an “azalea/camellia” or acid-based fertilizer, like cottonseed meal.

● Apply a light application (camellias are not heavy feeders) evenly around the base of the plant, but do not dig it into the soil. Camellias (and many other plants) have very delicate surface roots within the top inch of soil that are easily damaged by cultivation. Feed again 4-6 weeks later and apply a final feeding another 4-6 weeks after that.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardening 101 Series | How to Plant & Maintain a Camellia

Gardenias:

● Gardenias are growing well now and may even be showing some blooms.

● If you didn’t apply fertilizer last month, be sure to this month. Use a fertilizer with lots of trace minerals, such as most organic types, and alternate with an acidic formula to keep the pH down.

● This is a great month to apply a good dose of an iron supplement to your plants. Iron only works well in warm soil temperatures, so applying it now will have a significant benefit for your gardenias.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardenias for Southern California with Nicholas Stadden

Hydrangeas:

● These are continuing to wake up from the cool winter months and their appearance should be improving a lot. They are growing nicely and a few may even be beginning to bloom. Apply a moderate dose of fertilizer.

● Do not prune hydrangeas at all this time of the year. Hydrangeas bloom on one-year-old stems. Pruning now will eliminate most of the flowers.

● If you want to try to get blue or lavender flowers on your otherwise pink-flowered plant, you need to continue applying aluminum sulfate to the soil. White-flowered varieties will not be affected and not all pinks will be affected the same.

For more information, watch & learn: Re-blooming Hydrangeas with Nicholas Staddon

Roses:

● Roses are making their first big bloom this month. This “first bloom” is the most spectacular of the entire year. The flowers will be huge and color-rich, and will hold well in the cooler temperatures of April. Enjoy the show!

● Continue fertilizing roses—they are heavy feeders! Do not use soil-applied fertilizers that are combined with a systemic insecticide. These products are very disruptive to soil life (beneficial microorganisms, bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, earthworms, et cetera). Many rosarians also believe they reduce the vigor of rose plants.

● Granular, well-balanced organic fertilizers work especially well for roses, and most of these will encourage beneficial soil life.

● Begin deadheading roses as they fade. The rose bush care rule of thumb is to prune to just above a leaf with five leaflets. Floribundas, many English roses, and some others are deadheaded on very short stems until the last of the flowers in the cluster have faded. Then cut down to just above the first leaf with five leaflets.

● Be on the lookout for pests on your rose bush. Aphids can usually be hosed off with a strong jet of water. Flower thrips may require the use of an insecticide. Keep on the lookout for diseases. Powdery mildew and rust are the primary concerns for roses in April. Regular grooming, early removal of infested leaves, good air circulation, and full sun will help considerably.

● If diseases do require a fungicide, use one of the newer, safer, organic products available. These include Rose Defense (a neem oil extract), E-Rase (jojoba oil), or Saf-T-Cide (straight paraffinic oil).

● Potted roses are in good supply and the selection is excellent now at our outdoor plant nursery. It is a good time to add more or upgrade any that you are struggling with.

● Make notes now in your garden journal about which roses are performing well and which are not. Notes on disease tolerance will be useful later if you decide to switch to improved varieties.

● One of the most obvious pests, especially in coastal gardens, is now beginning to show up. Commonly called “rose slug,” it is not a slug at all, but the larval form of a fly relative called a sawfly. These tiny little caterpillar-like pests are hard to spot, and feed by chewing on the undersides of foliage. Eventually, these pests will chew irregular holes through the leaves. Neem oil will work on them as will organic pyrethrin sprays, but the application must be thorough and applied to the undersides of the foliage.

● Irrigations must be more frequent now as the weather continues to warm and the days lengthen. For the biggest flowers, pinch out some of the competing buds while they are very small.

● Weed as needed, but avoid most herbicides around roses.

For more information, watch & learn: How to Prune Your Roses With Laura Weaver, Bare Root Roses with Dalia, & How to Plant and Care for Roses

Trees:

Most trees are growing well right now, and it’s finally warm enough to do some pruning on less-hardy trees. This is also a great time to plant new trees if you’re going to be adding some to your landscape this year. One of your big April garden tasks will be to deal with suckers around all of your trees as they’re probably popping up left, right, and center right about now. There’s a bit of fruit tree maintenance to be done in April, but overall most fruit trees should be in good health this month.

● This is a good month to prune tender sub-tropical trees like ficus, coral tree, avocado, citrus, etc.). These sub-tropical trees should not be pruned during the cool winter months. However, be sure to take care not to disturb nesting birds at this time of the season.

● Many trees may be suckering heavily now. Remove these suckers below ground by pulling them. If you cannot pull them, dig them to the point where they attach to the tree and cut them flush with the root or trunk, leaving no “stub.”

● This is a very good time to plant most tender subtropical trees like coral tree (Erythrina), orchid tree (Bauhinia), trumpet tree (Tabebuia), and others.

Deciduous Fruit Trees:

● Apply the second and final feeding for fruit tree care this month. Apple, apricot, peach, plum, etc. should be given between about ½ pound of actual nitrogen per inch of trunk diameter. For example: 15 pounds of 20% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk; 30 pounds of 10% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk, et cetera.

● Do the first thinning this month—the earlier, the better. Twist off the excess fruit, leaving one per cluster and about one every six inches or so.

Citrus:

● Citrus are growing pretty well this month and many varieties will still be flowering.

● Continue fertilizing this month and every month from now until July. Use a fertilizer rich in trace minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese, copper, and others. These ingredients are usually well-represented in organic fertilizers like Dr. Earth.

● Honeybees are the primary pollinators for citrus. Be sure to encourage these very beneficial insects and avoid any pesticides that might discourage or harm them.

● Continue periodically checking for ants. Control them from climbing up the trunk of the tree or onto the branches. Although not directly harmful to the citrus, they are “farming” pests such as scale, whitefly, and mealybug, which are all common on citrus.

● Lemons and limes may bear some ripe fruit this month. The first ripe kumquats are also appearing now. ‘Kinnow’ tangerines are about done and ‘Kara’ tangerines should be ripe pretty soon.

For more information, watch & learn: Growing Citrus in Southern California with David Rizzo & Growing Citrus in Containers with Kathleen

Avocados:

Apply your second feeding to avocado trees this month. A mature avocado tree should be given between ½ and 1 pound of actual nitrogen per inch of trunk diameter. For example: 15-30 pounds of 20% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk; 30-60 pounds of 10% nitrogen if a six-inch trunk, et cetera.

● Avocados are putting on quite a bit of new growth right now, and the plants should look the healthiest they will all year.

● Don’t be alarmed by a lot of leaf drop on mature plants. Avocados produce a lot of leaf litter nearly year-round. This is a normal condition.

● Irrigate as needed to keep the soil moist, but not wet.

● This is a very good month for planting avocados. Being sub-tropical plants, avocados prefer to be planted at the beginning of the long warm half of the year.

● Be sure to keep a very thick blanket of mulch, compost, or fallen leaves under mature avocados at all times. Avocados need a cool root-run for good health.

● Most varieties will not have fruit ready for harvest this early. However, some varieties, like ‘Gwen’ and ‘Whitsell,’ tend to have fruit at unusual times.

For more information, watch & learn: Edible Gardening: How to Grow Avocados in Southern California with Sarah Smith

Subtropical Fruits:

● Annual pruning, if needed, can often be done now, but consult a fruit tree care guide and pruning reference or expert first. Some varieties only bloom and set fruit on old wood, and pruning now would be incorrect for these.

● Most of these are still just waking from the cool months. Some varieties will be showing signs of new growth on the tips or along the branches.

● Depending upon your location and the species involved, you may be able to begin planting.

● Most varieties can be fertilized now, but wait another month on any that look completely asleep.

● Watering can be more frequent now as the plants are beginning to wake and resume growing again.

Perennials:

Like other plants, April is a great month for perennials. There are many perennials that flower in April, so there is a lot of beautiful color to enjoy. Any existing perennials will benefit from regular feeding this month. If you’re looking to add more perennials to your garden, now is a great time to do it. There are plenty to choose from, and planting perennials in April allows them to establish their roots before summer arrives.

● There are a myriad of new and interesting April-flowering perennials at nurseries this month. A slow walk through the nursery now will stimulate lots of exciting plant possibilities!

● This is a very good planting month for perennials. The selection is great and many will be in bud or bloom.

● Keep fertilizing your perennials! The frequency and amount will depend upon the formulation that you are using. If you have been building up your soil health, your fertilizing duties will be much reduced.

● See separate entries for bearded iris, bulbs/rhizomes/tubers, cannas, fuchsia, and ornamental grasses. Most of your perennial garden chores for April should have already been done and you can now enjoy your perennials in all their colorful glory.

● Subtropical perennials are beginning to perk up now. This is also a good month to plant these. These include begonias, heliotrope, impatiens, lamium, pentas (starflower), and plectranthus.

● By now most of the perennials that completely withdrew below ground for the cool winter months have sprouted from the soil again. Some of the last perennials to sprout that you should still be on the lookout for include caladium, calla (colored types), chocolate cosmos, and some true lilies (lilium).

● Tall, upright, spiking perennials like dahlia (tuberous perennial types), delphinium, foxglove (digitalis), kniphofia (red hot poker), liatris, true lilies (lilium), monkshood (aconitum), oriental poppy, and most thalictrum (meadow rue) should have stakes in place to support the flower stalks and prevent breaking.

● Tie the stalks to the stakes as they grow.

● Removing the myriad of spent or old flowers regularly helps them to produce more new flowers. This is a good time to cut some fresh flowers for a vase as well.

For more information, watch & learn: Gardening 101 Series | How to Use Annuals vs. Perennials with Lynn Hillman & Gardening 101 Series | Pruning Lavender & Perennials with Dalia Brunner

Clematis:

● Clematis are continuing to grow well and their growth is speeding up. Continue feeding them with a balanced organic fertilizer to keep them going.

● Most varieties will be blooming, and those that aren’t should be heavily budded.

● Help them as they grow by guiding their fragile stems or carefully tying to an arch, trellis, or obelisk as they grow.

California Native Plants:

● Some of these will still be blooming and growing well, but many others will already be slowing down and preparing for the long, hot, and dry summer months.

● Be very cautious irrigating most of our native plants during the summer. Most of these are adapted to a winter wet/summer dry moisture cycle. Excessive irrigations now (especially in soils with a clay content) will certainly cause problems.

For more information, watch & learn: California Native Plants for Your Garden with James Maxwell and Success with Native Plants with James Maxwell

Wisterias:

● This is the main month of bloom for wisterias. If you followed proper pruning all year, established plants should be in full, glorious bloom now. Enjoy!

● No pruning now or you may interfere with the blooms.

● Select and plant new wisterias now, while they are in bloom. Grafted plants are preferred, since they will almost always bloom at a much younger age.

● There is still no need to fertilize now, and irrigation is only needed on young, newly-installed plants.

Fuchsias:

● You should have stopped pinching at the end of last month. Now, you want your plants to grow out and begin flowering. If you pinched and fertilized regularly over the past couple of months, your plants will be very full and have set loads of flowers.

● Now that you are getting your plants ready to flower, it’s time to switch fertilizers. Put away the high-nitrogen growth fertilizer that you were using and begin using a fertilizer that is more balanced or even slightly higher in phosphorus to promote blooms.

● Keep the plants well-watered, especially during a warm spell.

● Watch for fuchsia gall mites, which are a serious pest of these plants. Look for any signs of puckered or distorted new growth. If you discover any, pinch it out and dispose of it immediately. A pesticide treatment is usually required.

Groundcovers:

● This and last month are the best times to plant slopes, especially for large-scale plantings. Erosion will be minimized since most of the rains are behind us.

● Cool-season groundcovers are still growing and blooming well; enjoy the show!

● California native groundcover plants, like ceanothus and arctostaphylos (manzanita) are still blooming well now. This is not a good month to plant these. Wait until late this fall.

● Warm-season groundcovers are waking up and growing again, and possibly even setting flower buds. Feed these now with a balanced, organic granular fertilizer.

● If necessary, this is the best time of the year to perform a heavy cutting-back of warm-season varieties. Many groundcovers build up considerable thatch and lose their vigor if not cut back periodically. In general, the faster they grow, the more frequently they need a firm cutting back. Fertilize after the cut-back to ensure a quick recovery.

● Groundcover planting in general is easy to accomplish now. Mulch between the plants after the planting to reduce weed growth, improve soil quality, and reduce the need for any irrigation.

● This is another good time to check irrigation systems on slopes. Adjust heads, check clogged lines, and add to the system as necessary before the warmer weather of summer.

For more information, watch & learn How to Plant & Grow Groundcover with Dalia Brunner

Orchids (Outside Grown):

● Most Cymbidiums are wrapping up their bloom cycle this month. Continue feeding with a high-phosphorus fertilizer through the end of their bloom period.

● As Epidendrum orchid flowers fade, cut the individual stems to two or three buds above the soil. This will keep them blooming almost year-round.

● Keep feeding Epidendrums with a low nitrogen/high phosphorus fertilizer.

For more information, watch & learn Orchids and How to Care for and Maintain Phalaenopsis Orchids with Steve Hampson and How to Repot Your Phalaenopsis Orchids with Steve Hampson

Bulbs, Rhizomes, Tubers, Etc:

● Bulbs that are in bloom in most parts of Orange County now include most alliums (late in the month), anemone, babiana, bletilla (just starting), calla, chasmanthe (finishing up), crocosmia (formerly called montbretia), daffodils, Dutch iris, freesia, hippeastrum, hyacinth, ipheion (finishing up), ixia, narcissus, nectaroscordum, ornithogalum, ranunculus, scilla campanulata, sparaxis, sprekelia, tritonia, tulips, and watsonia (just starting).

● If you didn’t last month, plant or re-plant dahlia tubers now (see dahlias).

● This is the first opportunity to plant caladiums. These need to be started when the soil is warm. Tuberoses need even warmer soil, so wait at least another month to plant them.

● Bedding cyclamen, although not generally referred to as a bulb, are still in full bloom, but are beginning to show signs of heat stress, especially in inland gardens.

● As spring bulbs finish blooming, do not hurry to cut back the foliage or ignore the plant. Keep the leaves in place and continue watering until the leaves naturally turn brown and dry, then you can cut them off. These leaves are sending energy back to the bulb for next season. Of course, for one-year bulbs like most anemone, crocus, hyacinth, muscari, ranunculus, and tulips, after they are done blooming, pull them and toss them. These will not return reliably next year.

For more information view Gardening 101 Series | How Do I Plant Spring Bulbs?

Bearded Iris:

● Most bearded irises are now developing flower buds or even blooming.

● Apply another application of a well-balanced, general-purpose organic fertilizer to them this month and the flower production will be even better. Any fertilizer labeled for roses (but not with insecticides or other added ingredients) will do fine.

● Trim off the faded flower stalks just above the foliage when the last flower fades.

Dahlias (Tuberous Types):

● Finish up planting (or re-planting) any dormant tubers. Choose a full sun location and drop a little bone meal into each hole before planting.

● For tall varieties, put stakes in now to avoid damaging the roots later.

● Keep newly planted tubers moist, but be careful not to overwater until growth shows above the soil.

● When the foliage is a few inches out of the ground, begin fertilizing. Use a liquid or granular organic fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus. Fish bone meal is excellent.

● When the stems are about eight or ten inches tall, pinch off the top set of leaves. This will encourage the plant to branch and produce more blooms.

For more information, watch & learn Lew Whitney's Secrets to Growing and Maintaining Dahlias

Cannas:

● They should be growing well this month, but probably won’t be blooming quite yet. Keep them fertilized with a general, well-balanced organic fertilizer to help them along.

Tuberous Begonias:

● Tubers should be sprouting in the flats that you put them in last month.

● When there is about two to three inches of growth on each tuber, gently scoop them out with a spade and plant with a bit of soil under them. Place them into baskets, pots, or well-drained bedding areas where they will grow and bloom for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

● Begin fertilizing. Tuberous begonias are heavy feeders, especially in containers. Use a well balanced fertilizer and periodically mix in an acid fertilizer, since these prefer a low soil pH.

● Keep them well watered, but not soggy. The soil should be rich and well-drained. The surface of the soil should dry slightly between watering.

Tropical and Subtropical Plants

● Most tropical garden plants are still just waking from the cool months. It is still early for most of these plants. Some varieties will be showing signs of new growth on the tips or along the branches.

● Depending upon your location and the species of hardy tropical garden plants involved, you may be able to begin some plantings.

● Most varieties can be fertilized now, but any that look completely asleep still should wait another month. Don’t be surprised if the real heat lovers, like plumeria, ginger, ixora, heliconia still have no sign of new growth.

● This is a good month to do any serious hibiscus pruning.

● Watering can usually be more frequent now, as the plants have begun to wake up and begin growing again.

Foliage Plants

Your ornamental grasses should be growing well. If you want to add more, April is a good time for planting, whether you're going to plant new or divide existing ornamental grasses. Ferns are starting to wake up again and will benefit from a little maintenance this month.

Ferns:

● Some ferns, including sword ferns, chain ferns, some maidenhairs, et cetera, will begin waking up again this month, although most still need a bit more warmth.

● When signs of new growth are showing, begin fertilizing. Use a mild, organic fertilizer on ferns and alternate periodically with an acid version, especially in high-pH soil. For most common varieties, try using blood meal alternated every third feeding with cottonseed meal.

● As ferns begin growing new foliage, consider removing old, dry, or tired-looking fronds all the way to their base. Some varieties like sword ferns, chain ferns, autumn ferns, rabbit-foot ferns, and other rhizomatous varieties can be revived by cutting all of their fronds nearly to the soil. New growth will quickly reappear.

● Begin irrigating more regularly according to weather and the growth of the individual plants. Continue fertilizing mounted and containerized staghorn ferns with a mild liquid fertilizer. Fish emulsion is excellent.

● This is a good month to divide and/or remount overgrown staghorn ferns.

Ornamental Grasses:

● The ornamental grasses that were cut to the ground sometime during the winter have now put on a lot of new growth.

● This is a very good time to plant nearly any species of ornamental grass.

For more information, watch & learn: Low Water Ornamental Grasses with James Maxwell

Vegetables and Herbs

It's a busy part of the growing season, with plenty of planting and transplanting and the seemingly endless weeding. Late spring vegetable gardening in California is exciting; there's so much to plant, and the anticipation for the delicious treats you’ll harvest later is building! Here’s what to do in the vegetable garden in April.

Vegetables:

● There is still time to plant artichokes from gallon containers and get fruit this year. If your artichoke is re-growing from last year, or was planted earlier this year, remove any suckers on the plant. A single crown will produce larger fruit. The suckers can be given away to friends or re-planted elsewhere in the garden.

● Early this month may be the absolute best time to plant tomatoes from transplants. A crop planted now will produce for several months. Choose varieties carefully; hundreds are available.

● Mound spring potatoes that you planted last month.

● Putting in successive plantings of many vegetables a couple of weeks apart from each other will ensure a constant, uninterrupted supply for the kitchen.

● Early potatoes from those planted last fall may be ready for harvest.

● In a well-established asparagus patch, this is still a good time to harvest asparagus spears. Remember, don’t take any spears during the first two years after planting.

● If you’re looking for veggies to plant in April, you can get away with almost any warm-season vegetable this month. From transplants or seeds, plant beans, celery, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, peppers, salsify, squash, sunflower, and tomatoes. Corn, lima beans, jicama, melons, and pumpkins are best planted from seed.

● Along the immediate coast, most cool-season early spring vegetables like arugula, lettuce, peas, and members of the cabbage family can still be grown. Alternatively, the real heat-loving vegetables, like corn, melons, peppers, and pumpkins, will be challenging. Grow them in front of a hot south-facing wall.

● Plant corn from seed this month. Because corn needs to be cross-pollinated, it must always be grown in clumps or rows. Twelve plants is about the minimum for good pollination and twenty or more is even better. Plant crops successively every three to four weeks for a continuous harvest.

● Beets, carrots, chard, radish, and possibly turnips can be planted just about year-round. All but chard are planted from seed only.

● Since most annual vegetables are shallow-rooted and quick-growing, feed them regularly with a well-balanced organic fertilizer.

● Control weeds before they get out of hand.

For more information, watch & learn: Vegetable Gardening with Suzanne Hetrick & Herbs:Gardening 101: How To Plant and Maintain a Vegepod (Part1)

Herbs:

● Now that the weather is warm and the days are growing longer, April is the best time to plant basil.

● Many perennial herbs can be planted nearly year-round but are particularly well-suited to spring planting since they thrive during the warm summer months. These include marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, catmint, catnip, chamomile, comfrey, feverfew, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, St. John’s wort, tarragon, and thyme.

● Especially in warm inland gardens, this is your last chance to plant a quick crop of fast-growing, cool-season herbs like anise, arugula, borage, chervil, cilantro, dill, and fennel.

● Annual “summer savory” can now be planted in the warmer weather. The perennial “winter savory” can also be planted now, however the flavor of the perennial version is generally considered inferior.

● This is still a good time to rejuvenate certain old or tired herbs by giving them a hard trim. These include chamomile, chives, lemon balm, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, salad burnet, sorrel, St. John’s wort, thyme, and watercress. All of these can be cut right back, almost to the soil line and, with fertilizing, will recover quickly. Other herbs, like catmint, catnip, feverfew, lemon verbena, rosemary, rue, and sage should be cut a bit higher. Cut lavender only very lightly.

For more information, watch & learn: Unique and Unusual Herb Plants with Sarah Smith

General Gardening Info

This might be the best part of the year for the springtime garden. There’s always plenty of tasks on the spring garden to-do list! The number of April garden tasks can be pretty high, so keep this spring gardening checklist handy as you’re working so you don’t miss anything.

Beneficial Insects and Wildlife:

● Eugenia psyllid (Trioza eugeniae) may likely already be showing signs of their damage on the new growing tips of Syzygium paniculata (formerly Eugenia). Try not to spray. The beneficial bugs for your garden will be along in a few more weeks and usually do a more than adequate job for free.

● Giant whitefly is active again in some gardens, but just starting in others. Predators and parasites may start appearing now also, but remember, they will usually be a month or so behind the whitefly. Check immature whiteflies carefully for indications of parasitization.

● Many beneficial garden insects also feed on pollen. Beneficial insects can be encouraged in your garden by planting a few flowers that they particularly enjoy. These include yarrow (achillea), alyssum, chamomile, white clover, paludosum daisy, cosmos, lantana, Queen Anne’s lace (Ammi majus), and centranthus (sometimes called valerian or Jupiter’s beard).

● Ladybugs and lacewings are beneficial predatory insects that can be released this month. Two or three releases of both ladybugs and lacewings in the spring can reduce many pest populations significantly, very possibly eliminating the need for pesticides. This should be your second or third release of friendly bugs so far this year.

● Remember that the population of natural predators and parasites always follows behind that of the pest. If predators are present in your garden, even in small numbers, they will need some time to catch up with the pest. Be patient.

● Trichogramma wasps are very effective parasites of caterpillars. If these pests are usually a problem in your garden, a couple of releases of these beneficial wasps will be worthwhile. Space the releases 30 to 45 days apart.

● Encourage larger beneficial wildlife in the garden as well. These include frogs, toads, lizards, and many different birds.

Pests & Diseases:

● Trap or hand-pick snails and slugs.

● Release ladybugs to prey on aphids.

● Release more beneficial insects according to the needs of your garden.

● Watch for caterpillars. Spray with BT if necessary.

● Watch for and manage fuchsia gall mites as needed.

● Look for giant whiteflies and control it now.

● Eugenia psyllid is another pest to watch for that can be managed with beneficial insects.

● Add more plants that attract beneficial insects and pollinators.

● Control rose slug with neem oil or pyrethrin spray, ensuring you treat the undersides of your rose’s foliage.

For more information, view: How to Identify & Eliminate Common Garden Pests

Lawns:

● This is a good month to plant new cool-season lawns from seed or sod (fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass).

● Your lawn care checklist should include feeding all lawns this month. Cool-season grasses like fescue, ryegrass, and bluegrass are still at their peak in this springtime weather. Warm-season grasses like bermudagrass, St. Augustine, and zoysia have awakened and are growing well again. Feeding these warm-season grasses now will help them return to their deep green color.

● Lawn seeding should be added to your April garden tasks. This is the last really good month until fall to plant new cool-season lawns (fescue, ryegrass, bluegrass).

● Conversely, it is also the first reliable month to plant warm-season lawns (hybrid bermudagrass, St. Augustine, etc.) from sod. Most warm-season grasses do not grow from seed and are best only installed from sod.

● Remember, cool-season lawns should be mowed about a half an inch lower in the cool months than in the warm months. Keep the mower at this lower height for another month or so.

Planting:

● April is a great month for planting trees, shrubs, perennials, flowers, and vegetables.

● This is another good month to plant warm-season flowers from color packs or small pots. Good choices for putting in the ground now are marigolds, lobelia, petunia, ageratum, alyssum, cosmos, verbena, coleus, begonias, and impatiens. It is still a month or two too early for the super heat-lovers like zinnia, portulaca, vinca, and lisianthus (eustoma).

● Cool-season flowers like primrose, pansies, violas, Iceland poppies, bedding cyclamen, stock, and snapdragons are still going strong. Keep these fertilized and deadheaded.

Records, Catalogs, Books, and Organizations:

● Continue to make lots of entries in your garden journal now about what is blooming, what you like, and what you don’t. Especially important are entries that you will make now that guide you and remind you of what you should do this fall.

● With even more planting to do this month, be sure to make some notes in your journal about the names and varieties of what you planted. Often, much later, the name or variety of a plant is nearly impossible to recall. After the plant is taken out of the pot, save the tag and jot a note into your journal about where and when you planted it.

● Make notes now in your garden journal about which roses are performing well and which are not. Notes on disease tolerance will be useful next winter if you decide to switch to some improved varieties.

● This is the biggest month for home garden tours. If you haven’t participated in one of these before, you have missed one of the most rewarding gardening experiences for April!

Soil Care:

● We have included this section, because as you know, or will discover with more experience, a good garden begins with the soil. Investing in the soil, managing the soil, and protecting the soil are not afterthoughts in a successful garden, but the foundation. Healthy soil is living and breathing, teaming with earthworms, microorganisms, beneficial fungi, bacteria, microbes, and other invisible life. This section, possibly the most important topic of all will, provides some helpful guidance to good soil care.

● A thick layer of organic mulch, averaging about two inches should be maintained on top of the soil just about year-round. This is an excellent month to add additional mulch as needed to maintain this level.

● Applied now, a thick layer of mulch will cool the root systems from the hot temperatures ahead, reduce irrigations by as much as half this summer, reduce weed growth, and improve both soil life and soil quality.

● If you have been considering inoculating your soil with beneficial mycorrhizae, this is a perfect month in which to do it. The soil temperatures are just right for quick establishment. Inoculation can be done quickly and easily in established areas by using mycorrhizae “tablets”. In moist soil, poke a hole near the plant with a ½” or ¾” rod or stick. Drop a tablet into the hole and push it in again with the stick.

● We do not suggest the use of very high-analysis fertilizers in a garden, especially phosphorus. Examples of fertilizers to avoid are synthetic versions with formulations like, 10-55-10, 10-30-10, etc. We don’t even suggest the popular 15-30-15 formula. These formulations will inhibit or even destroy much of the soil life that is so vital to a healthy, sustainable soil.

● We also suggest that you not use soil-applied systemic fertilizer/insecticide combinations (especially popular with roses). These are very damaging to soil life.

● Use insecticides only when necessary and even then use the least-damaging product available. Many of these products move into the soil and interfere with the invisible soil life.

● If you can, begin a compost pile or purchase a compost bin. Leaves, clippings, kitchen produce scraps, and many other ingredients can be composted and returned to the garden. Home compost is one of the very best ingredients you can add to your soil. The benefits are huge in the areas of disease suppression, increasing beneficial microorganisms, improving soil structure and texture, nutrient retention, and nematode suppression.

● This is definitely a planting month. Be sure that, before you plant, you have considered the soil and are doing all you can to improve it and protect its health.

● If your soil pH is too high (alkaline) this is one of the better months of the year to lower it. Two methods are both effective. Using a low pH mulch over the surface is probably the most effective to return to a healthy soil pH, closer to neutral. The other is with the incorporation of soil sulfur, an organic naturally occurring acidifying chemical.

● Try to keep from walking on wet, soggy soil, especially after a rain or thorough irrigation. This compresses the soil and reduces its oxygen content and ability to drain quickly.

For more information, view: Fertilizer Tips 1-2-3 with Suzanne Hetrick and TBD- How to Prepare Your Soil

Water & Irrigation:

● Automatic timers can be turned back on now if the weather warrants.

● Adjust the duration and interval settings of automatic sprinkler systems as the weather dictates.

Places to Visit:

● Gardens that look terrific almost any time of the year include Sherman Library and Gardens (Corona del Mar), The Fullerton Arboretum (Fullerton), Los Angeles Arboretum (Arcadia), Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens (San Marino) and San Diego Botanical Gardens (Encinitas).

● Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Clairemont, is looking incredible at this time of year. Hurry! Niguel Botanical Preserve, Laguna Niguel, is a must-see.

● Pay a visit to Rose Hills Memorial Park.

● During the first half of the month is normally the big Southern California Spring Garden Show at South Coast Plaza. This event has been cancelled for 2021.

● Don’t miss home garden tours this month, April is when they’re at their best! Visit the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace in Yorba Linda.

● The “Green Scene” at The Fullerton Arboretum is one of the best garden events in southern California, and it’s right in our own backyard. Usually held the last weekend of April, this outdoor event features well over 100 plant and garden exhibitors, hard-to-find plants, garden seminars and more. This event will be held virtually for 2021.

● This is a good time for a visit to our canyons and chaparral areas to observe our native plants. Good choices might include Black Star Canyon, Trabuco Canyon and the upper San Mateo Creek area.