North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Things to do in April


File Photo

FIle Photo Local garden centers have a wide selection for spring.

Considering all the cold and wet weather we have had and evidently will continue to have for at least the first half of April I could easily just refer you to my To Do list for both February and March and you would probably be just fine (you can find those articles on my website at ). For myself I am easily 2-3 weeks behind schedule, especially in my veggie garden where I would have loved to have had my cool season veggies planted by now. I have to keep reminding myself that there is still plenty of time.

Speaking of not being too late, one of the most frequently asked questions I get this time of year is: "Is it too late to prune?" The answer is unequivocally: "No, it is not too late to prune". You can still prune your fruit trees and vines and shrubs and roses or whatever looks like it needs to be whipped into shape. I have pruned roses as late as mid-April and cut off considerable new growth without having a deleterious effect on them. In fact, one of the benefits of pruning roses late is that the aphids go to everyone else's roses first while mine are still leafing out. Here are a few more pointers for the month.

ROSES - Feed them with an organic rose food such as E.B. Stone Rose and Flower Food and if you are feeling generous add a handful of lime, Epsom salt, and alfalfa meal around each rose and scratch it into the soil. There are lots of options for controlling insects and disease and whether you choose natural or synthetic do something now. And don't forget to plant a few new ones too.

LAWNS - April is the month to resurrect an ugly lawn or plant a new one. Make it happen this month. Your local garden center can help you figure it out.

PERENNIALS - You will find a good selection of early blooming perennials in the nurseries this time of year. When planting any plant consider using some Liquinox Start. It contains several nutrients along with yucca extract and is cheap insurance in my book. I have personally used this product for over 60 years and wouldn't garden without it. And of course don't forget the compost and fertilizer.

BULBS - It's time to plant summer blooming bulbs such as dahlias and gladiolas and lilies. Add bone meal to the hole (it contains 15% phosphorus which helps root growth).

WEEDS - Same old story, a Hula Hoe and some mulch almost always does the trick.

LANDSCAPING - Once the soils are dry enough to work it is fine to get going on our landscape projects. Remember that while the fun part might be the plants the most important part of a successful landscape is in the ground work and the drainage. Spend the time and money to install good soil and proper drainage and everything else will naturally fall into place.

ANNUALS - I know it's hard to believe but I am already seeing sweet alyssum and lobelia and million bells on the tables in the nursery. While some of these will take the cold temps don't try and plant geraniums and begonias and marigolds (even if you do see them at Costco). Save your money for when the soils are warmer.

If the sun comes out take a mental health day and stay home and work in the garden, you'll be glad you did.

Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached online at


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