April is National Garden Month

(04/07/16) HAMMOND, La. – The National Gardening Association has declared April as National Garden Month.

“It’s a great time to add new plants to you landscape,” said LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings.

“It’s not too late to add trees and shrubs to your landscape,” Owings said. “And roses and flowering perennials can be planted during the spring months with good results.”

Gardeners also can add warm-season bedding plants to the landscape or in containers or planter boxes to enhance patios and outdoor living areas.

A new or renovated lawn can be sodded in the spring, he said. “You can sow seed for a new lawn or a lawn renovation in mid-to-late spring.”

Some of the most popular and best trees for Louisiana landscapes include the Southern live oak, Southern magnolia (the state flower), bald cypress (the state tree), crape myrtles, Southern sugar maple, hollies, vitex, evergreen sweetbay magnolia, pines and deciduous oaks – including nuttall, willow, southern red and shumard.

Shrubs make up the main background plants for most home landscapes. “Many home gardeners plant shrubs during spring because that is when most of us think about gardening, and that is when garden centers have the best availability,” Owings said.

When selecting shrubs recommended for Louisiana, choosing a good-quality plant at your local independent garden center, following proper planting procedures and providing recommended follow-up care will lead to success, he said.

Popular shrubs planted in Louisiana landscapes include azaleas, camellias, sasanquas, hydrangeas, Indian hawthorns, loropetalums, viburnum, cleyera, ligustrums, dwarf yaupons, hollies and gardenias.

“For landscape color, try the Knock Out and Drift series roses,” Owings said. Warm-season flowers include coleus, begonias, vinca, salvia, marigolds, ornamental sweet potatoes, impatiens, aladiums and many more.

Perennial flowers like gaillardia, verbena, coneflowers, Louisiana iris, daylilies and rudbeckia establish well when planted in early to midspring. “Consider LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plants in your landscaping efforts,” he said.

A well-designed landscape most often contains both deciduous and evergreen plants. Seasonal change is accented by using both types.

“You can create or renew a landscape with a variety of plants, employing contrasting plant forms, textures and colors,” Owings said.

Using best management practices to properly place deciduous and evergreen plants in a landscape improves energy conservation during the summer and winter months, he said.

“Landscaping is a great way to give your home a beautiful appearance as well as make outdoor spaces more useful and functional for the family,” Owings said. “The benefits of a well-planned landscape are many, from providing shade, privacy and color, to correcting drainage problems and creating outdoor living areas.”

Beautiful landscaping increases the value of your home by as much as 20 percent, according to some estimates, he said.

The Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry have a new campaign to encourage families to shop for plants together this spring – “buy it, plant it, grow it, love it.”

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4/7/2016 3:04:50 PM
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