April Garden Tips

The list of annuals and vegetables you can plant gets shorter as summer approaches. Annuals include marigolds, amaranthus, asters, marigolds, vincas, zinnias, torenias, portulacas and coleus. Vegetables include sweet potatoes, summer spinach, snap beans, lima beans and southern peas. Warm weather herbs include catnip, sesame, dill, basil, marjoram and lemon verbena. Plant any potted tree, palm, citrus or shrub now as long as water is available. 
Pests: Spider mites, scales, mealybugs, white flies, and aphids are showing up on new growth. Grasshoppers are also becoming active. You'll also see caterpillars on some plants. Spray with beneficial nematodes now to control lawn grubs, which hatch into maybeetles and attack plant foliage. 

As long as rain continues we will not have to water too much. If it stops, resume regular watering until the June wet season begins. April and May which are normally hot, windy and dry, are the most critical watering months of the year.. 

Green Thoughts: Special design problems can cause you to take another look at plants that you might normally ignore. For example, picture a 1-foot planting strip next to a fence that surrounds a pool. No privacy. No room to plant anything. No space for litter or invasive roots. The solution: corn plants (Dracena). This old war-horse houseplant will grow to 15 feet outside. It's a narrow grower, has small roots and is relatively neat. An even less expensive option is the aralia hedge, which can be started from cuttings stuck in the ground. 

Silver Trumpet (Tabebuia caraiba)

Silver Trumpet (Tabebuia caraiba)

This time of year everyone wants to know the name of the pretty tree with the bright yellow blossoms. The silver trumpet, also known as the yellow tabebuia, is always a traffic stopper when it blooms. The rest of the year the tree, with its twisted gray trunk, might as well be invisible. The yellow tab's beauty is short-lived it lasts only a few weeks in late March and early April. It can blossom a bit earlier if we have warmer winter weather. A relatively small tree, it reaches about 30 feet in height. The distinctive rough, gray bark provides a good environment for naturalizing orchids and bromeliads. Although it has great beauty, it also has weak wood and is subject to being blown down in storms because of a poor root system. The propensity to blow down, combined with its irregular growth habit makes it a poor choice for a street tree. Locate the tree in a sheltered spot away from winds. A western exposure is best. Try to shelter it by a building or windbreak to the east. It is best used as a lawn tree because flowers drop and cause a mess. The yellow tab is a popular tree that is readily available at most nurseries that sell small trees, or it can be ordered. The Federated Garden Club was instrumental in saving one of Broward County's oldest tabebuias and relocating it to a park where it is blossoming along with twelve other flowering trees representing the various circles that comprise the club. Each tree is identified with its common and botanical name. The park, at the corner of Andrews Avenue and Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, is a good place to visit and see what the flowering tree you select for your property will look like after it has been planted. 

  • Origin Paraguay and Argentina 
  • Foliage Distinctive silvery green 
  • Nutritional requirements Medium 
  • Salt tolerance Medium 
  • Drought tolerance High 
  • Light requirements High 
  • Growth rate Medium 
  • Propagation Seeds, grafting 
  • Major problems None 
  • Environmental problems None 


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