Last average frost is about mid-April for Baxter County. You can get away with planting frost sensitive plants earlier if you are prepared to do some frost protecting when a frost is predicted.
Early treatment can prevent damage by cabbage worms on cole crops such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Cabbage looper, diamondback moth caterpillar, and the imported cabbage worm can cause serious damage pretty quick. Check weekly for eggs and larvae under the leaves. Use Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) spray as soon as they are first noticed.
Onions are rapid growers and heavy feeders. To grow monster size onions, fertilize weekly with a water-soluble fertilizer and mix at half rate.
Plant warm season vegetables from mid month on. Don’t be in a hurry, or you may have to replant.
Hold back on planting okra, peppers, southern peas and sweet potatoes until late this month or the first of May. Warm soil temperatures are critical for these warm season vegetables.
Spray hybrid tea roses with a fungicide to prevent black spot. Spray according to label directions.
Fertilize your bermuda or zoysiagrass lawn after it has fully greened up. This is usually early to mid May.
Prune and fertilize spring blooming trees and shrubs immediately after bloom. Remember to remove the old canes of forsythia, quince, weigela, spirea and other cane producing plants.
Summer bulbs such as cannas, caladiums, dahlias, gladioli and tuberoses can be set out in mid-April. Plant gladioli several times at two-week intervals for blooms throughout the summer.
As pansies play out, replace them with summer annuals.
After Easter lilies fade, plant the bulbs in a sunny part of your perennial garden. Foliage may die back but will green up this fall and take off next spring. Don't expect blooms until late spring to early summer. Easter lilies are pretty reliable perennials if planted in a well-drained spot.
To keep annuals blooming at their best, make regular applications of water soluble fertilizer.
Continue to divide summer and fall blooming perennials.
As flowering bulbs fade, allow 6-8 weeks of green growing time for bulbs to replenish their nutrients. Crocus and daffodils do not have their flower heads removed, but it is beneficial with hyacinths and tulips. Fertilize with complete fertilizer. You can transplant and divide spring flowering bulbs after foliage begins to die down.
Use bird netting to keep birds away from strawberries. Watch for slugs.
Encourage production of runners on newly planted strawberries by removing all flowers the first season. Also fertilize strawberry beds in late August or early September to encourage good bloom set.
Watch for spider mites and bagworms on plants.
To attract butterflies to your garden try planting some host plants that will nourish the young caterpillars after they hatch. Plants to try include, butterfly weed, parsley, dill, fennel, rue, passionflower, and tulip tree.
Plant seeds of annual vines such as hyacinth vine, moon vine and cypress vine from mid to late this month.
Mulching is your best method to prevent weeds, plus it maintains soil temperature and moisture.
Aphids can occur in large numbers in the spring. Aphids dine on the sap of an endless number of garden plants. Their feeding weakens plants and in some cases a total destruction of plants. They are a very prolific insect bearing live young. Fortunately, they are easily controlled by a spraying of malathion or insecticidal soap but beware, reinfestation can occur in days.
For more information on any of the above points, contact the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service at 425-2335.