Perennials: Weed, weed, weed. Eliminate pests like garlic mustard before they flower and spread their seeds. Cut back clematis vines. Make sure their roots are shaded, have good drainage and also provide something for them to climb. Looking for your wild columbine (aquilegia)? It may have disappeared, spreading seeds nearby.
Aquilegias are short lived but prolific. Peter Carr photo.
Flowers: If the weather is mild, hardy annual seedlings may be moved to a cold frame to harden off. Make sure to close the cover on cold nights, and open it on warm days.
Vegetables and fruits: Continue planting onions, carrots, beets, broccoli and lettuce in the garden. Plant potatoes as soon as the soil is warmed and somewhat dried out. Set out strawberry plants and mulch. Give new seedlings plenty of light, and fertilize with a weak solution.
Trees and shrubs: Prune late blooming hydrangeas. Blue and pink hydrangea are dependent on soil pH. Alkaline soil produces pink flowers; acidic soil blue flowers. White hydrangeas are not affected by soil pH. Fertilize and lime fruit trees if a soil test indicates. Finish pruning before bud break.
Lawns: Continue cleanup and seeding. The best way to get rid of dandelions is hand digging — a few at a time. It’s good exercise or a chore for the children.
Houseplants: Repot oversize plants. Discard any that are tired or will not survive the summer.
General: Earth Day is this week. Think about earth friendly practices for your garden and lawn: reduce chemical treatments; conserve water; plant native plants for the birds. Seek out and destroy invasive plants.
— Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester