Monthly Tips for April

galls on Virginia cedar

Outdoor Garden and Yard Tips

  • Cedar-apple rust disease forms its galls on Virginia cedar (Juniperus virginiana) in April. The odd-looking galls are at first bright orange gelatinous balls with long “horns” or projections; they later turn brown and become hard. They are the alternate host structure for a disease that does very little harm to the junipers but can be quite destructive to apple trees, hawthorns, and quince.
  • Continue planting and transplanting trees and shrubs.  Choose quality trees: shade trees should have a single, straight trunk. Planting and transplanting should be completed before the end of June.

    Eastern Box Turtle

    Eastern Box Turtle

  • Viburnum leaf beetle is a serious pest of native arrowhead viburnum, cranberry bush, and many others. Look for feeding damage on viburnum and yellow larvae. Control them promptly since they can defoliate plants. Repeated defoliation can result in the death of native viburnums.
  • Eastern box turtles and various species of snakes are coming out of hibernation and may visit your yard. Box turtles are becoming scarce through much of Maryland because of road mortality and habitat destruction. Observe it but leave it in the wild.

Adult fungus gnat

Adult fungus gnat

Indoor Plant and Insect Tips

  • Fungus gnats are small, harmless black flies that hover around, breed in and feed on moist growing media. Be careful not to over-water houseplants. Growing media should be allowed to dry out before watering again.
  • Groom houseplants by removing dead and diseased foliage or spent flowers; this reduces insect and disease problems and improves their appearance. Gently dust the leaves with a soft rag. If possible, periodically place your plants in the shower to remove dust and to give them a good drink of water. This can revive a tired houseplant and helps to leach soluble salts (from fertilizers) from the soil.

More tips from the Home & Garden Information Center

The Home & Garden Information Center’s horticulturists are available year-round to answer your plant and pest questions. In addition to gardening questions, we cover houseplants, indoor pests, and more. Send your questions and photos to Ask an Expert!

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