It’s April, with Spring Gardening in full bloom. This week, we are answering your April Plant Questions:
“Wait, My daffodils and tulips are finished blooming. Now what?”
If you didn’t feed them earlier, do it now. Espoma’s BulbTone, GardenTone, Milorganite, etc, will work fine. Leave the foliage alone for at least 6 weeks after flowering. After 6-8 weeks, or when the foliage begins to yellow, cut it off and you’re done for the season. If you would like to dig and divide them, that’s a good time to do that. Please, don’t braid them or twist the foliage together and bend it over with a rubber band. Not recommended any more.
“Are there figs that are hardy in Cincinnati?”
Both! Actually, any of the figs can be grown here, in containers; outside for the summer, and in a cool but protected area (staying dormant) for the winter. ‘Chicago Hardy’, which is listed for Zone 6, has done fairly well outside in the ground over the winters. But I do suggest adding protection if growing in the ground. BUT, recent fig growing research (done by Byron Martin in Connecticut) has shown that it is possible to over-winter any fig, growing in the ground, with proper winter protection! Here are the Figs currently growing on the nursery.
“When is the best time to cut back my Junipers, Japanese yews, and Boxwood?”
Do your pruning before they leaf out in the spring. After they put out the first flush of new growth, and that ‘hardens off’, then feel free to come back with a light second pruning by hand to even-up and longer branches if needed.
“How do I prune them an Endless Summer Hydrangea that is leafing out?”
Fortunately, the Endless Summer series of hydrangeas flower on old and new growth, but we want to save as much of the old-growth as we can. To remove old flower heads, dead branches or dead and weakened branch tips, clipping them off just above a bud. Feel free to feed them with a general garden food or Holly Tone, and let them grow and flower.
“How do I know if I’ll get berries on a holly shrub?”
Remember, most hollies have male and female plants, and it’s the females that produce the berries. But you need a male to pollinate with the female. The only way to know which is which, is to look at the flowers. The male flowers have 4 yellow stamens sticking up. The female holly flowers actually have the immature berry at the base of the flower and very visible. If the female flower gets pollinated by the male, the berry begins to grow. If not, they simply fall off. And yes, it’s up to the bees to take care of that for you!
“How do I prevent apple scab on my crabapple?”
The weather over the past 2 seasons has been perfect for apple scab and leaf defoliation. About 10-14 days apart, Repeated applications of a garden fungicide labeled for scab. Begin now and continue into early summer should help the problem. Of course, if the weather would stay warmer, sunnier, and less conducive for the production of apple scab, you wouldn’t need to spray at all! By the way, for future planning, there are many scab resistant varieties of flowering crabapples available for you to plant, and then you won’t have to worry about spraying!
Have a spring plant question? Ask Cincinnati’s plant experts!