Home & Garden Resource Guide April 2007

In honor of April Fools Day
April Fools on You….
If you think bougainvilleas have colorful flowers. The color comes from special leaves (called
bracts) that have color pigments in them.
If you think dwarf means small, dwarf eureka lemon gets 12ft tall.
If you plant marigolds to keep insects out of your garden. It might even work except for the
spider mites and snails they attract that end up eating your plants.
If you believe ‘fruitless’ pears are really fruitless.
If you buy a tree then decide to plant it deeper because it looks too tall for the area.
If you plant a bee attracting fragrant star jasmine near the swimming pool.
If you plant pollen producing pines and your spouse has sinus allergies!
The weathers great, everything’s fresh and the selection of plants is at its peak. Seasonal items
like colorful calla lilies, geraniums and other flowering perennials are in good supply. Planting
trees and shrubs now still gives them time to establish roots before the onset of hot weather.
Still want that veggie garden? April generally has little or no frost so you don’t have to protect
young plantings and it’s the best time to plant from seed.
Spring-summer flowering annuals like begonias and petunias are readily available now and
should be planted while the weathers’ cool. Bronze leaf begonias in particular will tolerate full
sun if planted early and allowed to acclimate to their location You may chose to leave your
pansies and snapdragons for another month but check them for diseases like leaf spot or
snapdragon rust as the spores will remain and infect new plants the following year.

It’s not all fun and games by the time April arrives. Pesky weeds like crabgrass are now up and
growing. Aphids and thrips are out in full force and many beetles have now emerged from their
winter hibernation to feed. Female scale insects can produce up to 300 young a year and April-
May is the hatching period. Powdery mildew on roses can lead to leaf deformities and dieback.
Fruit and nut trees are susceptible to leaf spot fungus and rots to young fruit. Fortunately, all of
these pests and problems are easily prevented or controlled, some by simple cultural practices.
Contact any reputable nursery and ask for a California Certified Nurseryperson (CCN Pro) to
answer your questions or call the Farm Advisors Office here in Fresno.

Blame it on the Food Channel
While watching ‘Iron Chef’ a few years ago one of the chefs used a citrus rind for zest. The
announcer said it was a Yuzu. I had never heard of it but not long after I had a request for one.
Yuzu junos is thought to be a hybrid between a sour orange and citron. Yuzu has a very
aromatic rind and bitter juice with a distinct flavor between a grapefruit and lime. It’s used
mainly in oriental cooking but will add a nice citrus tang to many dishes. Hardy to 10 degrees it
can be planted in any garden.
Another great flavoring citrus is the Calamondin (Citrus mitis) it’s a small round fruit with an
acidic flavor. A traditional favorite of the Philippines, it’s used mainly to flavor drinks and food
or eaten raw (I tried it…don’t!). Hardy to 20 degrees it can be purchased in both dwarf and
standard sizes.
Like Thai cooking? Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) is a main ingredient of Thai cooking, especially
the aromatic leaves. The fruit is of medium size with a rough textured rind and acidic flavor.
Kaffir limes are frost sensitive and need protection (they wouldn’t have made it this past
winter). You can solve this problem by purchasing Kaffir lime on a dwarf rootstock. Plant it in
a pot and move it to a protected location in winter. Thai some today!
Put Some Pizzazz in Your Garden
Perennials are the pizzazz of any garden. They can provide color with their flowers, texture
from their foliage and bring your landscape together when used in mass. Some are evergreen
while others are cut back in winter to encourage new growth. Many tolerate our heat and
require minimal care when established. But perhaps the best thing about perennials is you don’t
have to plant them every year, just enjoy! You can find many varieties in spring. Some new
varieties for 2007 are as follows.
Coreopsis ‘Jethro Tull’. This new variety has golden yellow fluted petals and blooms from
early spring to frost. Upright clumping to 2ft tall it loves Fresno’s hot summers.
Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’. 3 inch wide burgundy red flowers with yellow tips are its claim to
fame. A compact grower 8-10 inches tall, it blooms all summer and tolerates hot, dry climates.
‘Violet Intrigue’ Lavender. A vigorous grower to 24 inches tall with violet flower spikes all
summer long. High oil content and strong fragrance it’s also hardy to -20 degrees.
Wilhem Languth Zonal Geraniums. Old is new again. These unusual varieties are making a
come back with their strikingly variegated leaves. An excellent choice for patio pots.


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