The month of April remains a busy time for Los Angeles gardening, with plenty to do in order to keep all the new growth in check. If there were any plants that hesitated in blooming last month, you’ll see them soon – because April is when spring steps forth in all her vibrant beauty. It’s little wonder that April was chosen as the month to celebrate the Earth.
Special Note – as you are likely well aware, on April 1st Governor Jerry Brown issued the first ever statewide mandatory water restrictions. Along those lines I encourage you to read two other posts I’ve written: 5 tips to conserve water in your garden and landscaping and my neighbor is going grassless.
Now onto the April Los Angeles gardening tips:
> Check for Iron Deficiency: If leaves have started to yellow at the outside edges yet the veins remain green, your plant may be suffering from chlorosis. Treat with an application of chelated iron (following package directions).
> Control Weeds: Like all other plants, weeds are initiating new growth this month. Continue to remain vigilant with their removal as soon as they appear. Hand-pull or use a hoe to cut them down just below the soil surface. The extra diligence now will pay off with less labor later in the season.
> Divide Cymbidiums: While these plants bloom best when crowded, they can reach critical mass. If the number of flowering stalks was less this year than last, it could be a sign it’s time to divide. Water plants well first then knock the root mass out of the pot and separate as many clumps as you can. Keep at least three healthy bulbs (with foliage) in each division.
Repot in an approximately 4 – 6 “ wider diameter pot than the root ball. Fill container with a mix of 2 parts redwood bark, 2 parts ground nitrolized wood shavings and 1 part potting soil. The roots should be completely covered but the pseudobulb should remain above soil line or it will rot. Water well.
> Fertilize: This will be month four of the six-month fertilizing program for citrus, applying fertilizer as outlined in January’s Los Angeles gardening tips post. Almost all other plants (with the exception of natives) will benefit from a light application of a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer this month.
> Choose Summer Annuals Wisely: Most flowering annuals require plenty of water, a resource that is becoming increasingly precious. Plant sparingly and consider planting in pots or hanging planters to control water consumption. Better yet, consider switching to a drought-tolerant landscape and take advantage of the native and green garden tours happening this month.
> Trim and Thin: Hedges and screens and start to prune and train espaliers as they begin to grow. Save some branches to use for staking vegetables and flowers. Continue to carefully thin out fruit on deciduous fruit trees.
> Tend to Your Vegetable Patch: Break off suckers from artichokes and tomatoes. Stake tomato vines. Thin vegetable crops planted last month. Keep veggies well watered.
And last but not least, take a garden tour. There’s a lot going on this month, so take advantage of touring private gardens on these organized tours and get ideas for your own landscape. Remember to take a notebook and camera:
• 68th annual Riverside Flower Show and Garden Tour – Hosted on April 25-26: Six private gardens are open to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The flower show is open 1 to 6 p.m. April 25 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26.
• Mar Vista 7th Annual Green Showcase Tour: Hosted on April 25th, this is a free, self –guided tour of numerous private gardens in and around the Mar Vista area that feature ideas for sustainable and food landscapes. Check out the gardens online to design your day, and then on the day of the event, stop by Showcase Central at 3635 Grandview to pick up a map.
• South Pasadena Beautiful – This is also on April 26; hosts a tour of four sustainable gardens in South Pasadena. Additionally, Debby Figoni presents lectures on turf removal rebates and water-wise gardening. Between lectures, Figoni and landscape architect June Scott advises on creating water-wise front yards.
How are these Los Angeles gardening tips helping you out in your garden? What other information would you like to know? Feel free to drop me a line in the comment section below — or share this post with a friend!