Perennials: Do not prune roses until the buds break.
Flowers: Geranium seeds may germinate irregularly so take care when transplanting from the seed tray and wait until germination is complete. Do not pinch back seedling geranium plants. Pinching for shaping purposes can create a plant that looks good but won’t flower until very late in the season. To ensure bushy plants, provide the bright light that geraniums love.
Vegetables and fruits: Beginners are often too eager this time of year and start seeds too early. Seedlings that are started too early grow too fast and by the time the planting season arrives in mid to late May, the plants are floppy and suffer severely when transplanted. Tomato seed needs only six to eight weeks from the time it is planted indoors until plants are sturdy enough to be set outdoors. Peppers and eggplant are a little slower and need two months. Make a schedule indicating the last frost date, usually May 15 in our area, when tender plants can be set out. Working backwards on the calendar will indicate the correct date to plant those seeds.
Trees and shrubs: Re–spray shrubs with deer repellent and antidessicant when the temperature rises above 40 degrees and is expected to remain there for 30 minutes after spraying. The antidessicant acts as a spreader sticker as well as keeping the plants from losing much needed moisture in winter.
Lawns: Recent studies have shown that white grubs are attracted to areas of turf that have been irrigated. Higher mown turf may also discourage female beetles from entering the soil to lay eggs.
Houseplants: Try dividing an African violet. The younger crowns can be pulled apart from the “mother” crown with root attached, and a new plant is born. Repot all plants and watch them grow. A bright east or west window is the best spot for an African violet now that the sun is stronger.
General: Observ areas where snow melts first. These are microclimates and may be just the spot for vegetable or flower beds for less hardy plants.
— Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester