Conduct Timely Gardening Practices

Rene Schmit  |  3/26/2013 11:42:37 PM

Like an alarm clock, the month of April signals a wake-up call to begin timely gardening practices specific to the arrival of spring. In southeast Louisiana, April is the recommended time of year to conduct spring lawn fertilization, replace or rejuvenate mulch in the landscape beds and plant the backyard vegetable garden.

When conducting lawn fertilization, always apply fertilizer when the grass is dry and preferably after the lawn has been freshly mowed. Equally important is applying the correct amount so as to not over or under apply. Lawn fertilizer, including Weed and Feed products, should be broadcast at the recommended rate as directed on the bag’s label. For example, if the bag’s label denotes that the contents will cover a 5000 square foot area of lawn, and the lawn is 5000 square feet, then one bag is all that is needed. If the square feet of lawn area is 2500 square feet then only ½ the bag would be applied.

Controlling weeds and maintaining good moisture for landscape plantings can be accomplished with proper mulching of landscape beds. Now is the time to evaluate the quality of last year's mulch lining landscape beds. Old, stale mulch should be removed and replaced with a 3 inch layer of fresh mulch. If the current bedding material is to remain in place it should be fluffed-up as this will aid in helping the mulch resist mold and compaction.

As soils are beginning to warm up, now is the time to plant those favorite vegetables in the backyard garden. Whether planting in-ground, in containers or in raised beds, there is a wide variety of vegetables to choose from for planting. Most garden nurseries currently have a good supply of transplants available that include tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, zucchini, snap beans, cucumbers and even herbs.

Spring into action during April and take advantage of the opportunity to conduct recommended practices that lead to a healthy start-up for the home lawn, landscape beds and production of fresh home-grown vegetables.

Rene' Schmit is the St. Charles Parish County Agent of the LSU AgCenter and can be reached at 985-785-4473.

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