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April 2014 gardening in Tulsa

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Although spring had officially arrived, the weather has tended to disagree with the calendar. But now we are on the downhill slide toward warm weather every day, not just occasionally.

After the danger of frost has passed, which is usually April 15 in this zone, set out tomato plants. Select transplants with roots that fill the containers but have not outgrown them. Look for plants without flowers or fruit. Plant them deep with the first set of leaves touching the soil and in a location that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day. Water well. If you have never tried grape or cherry tomatoes, try at least one plant this year. They seem to fruit when the larger tomatoes do not and will give you something to harvest throughout the season.

Now is the time to feed both warm- and cool-season lawns as they begin to grow. Water deeply and infrequently instead of shallowly and often. This helps the grass to develop a larger root system which carries the grass through droughts.

Trim spring blooming shrubs such as azaleas, forsythias, spireas and quinces after they have finished flowering. If you wait too late to cut them back, you will remove next year's buds.

If you purchases annuals with flowers, pinch off the blooms when planting them. This way the plants can put their energies into root and new shoot growth.

Seeds of annual flowers and vines can be sown directly into prepared soil. Pick a sunny location and work the soil at least six inches deep, adding organic matter such as compost you have been making in your compost pile. Very lightly rake the soil and scatter your seeds, watering gently to avoid washing the seeds away.

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