Yay, it’s May! Let’s hope the old adage “April showers bring May flowers” holds true. There is nothing more beautiful than a green lawn and a garden in full bloom. Stay on track to a successful gardening season ahead with this basic guide.
- * Right now, lawns and gardens should receive about an inch of water per week.
- * Mulch under your plants to keep the soil cool and the roots happy throughout the summer months.
TREES AND SHRUBS
- * All spring-flowering shrubs and trees should be pruned within 3 to 4 weeks after they bloom. Branches and stems with no new growth should be considered dead and pruned back.
- * Azaleas, rhododendrons, and camellias should be fertilized after they bloom with fertilizer made for acid-loving plants.
- * Prune back any damage from the winter months.
- * Prune evergreens but be careful not to cut back to bare branches.
- * Mulch all shrubs with shallow roots.
- * Winter moth is something to pay close attention to and a product like Bonide All Seasons Oil can help. Application of a product like this will also control mites and Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (closely related to an aphid).
PERENNIALS AND BULBS
- * Allow spring bulbs to die naturally on their own. Cutting them down can risk next year’s blooms.
- * After the last frost, plant tender bulbs like dahlias and ranunculus. Tender bulbs are any bulbs which cannot tolerate cold temperatures.
- * Keep on top of your deadheading chores throughout the blooming season.
- * Fertilize your bulbs after they bloom.
- * Make sure to install any stakes or supports that your perennials may need. For instance, if you have peonies, they tend to require some support which can be place in the ground around the emerging stalks in the spring.
- * Check all your vines and make sure they have found a place to grab on a trellis or other climbing structure.
- * Apply some form of grub control sooner than later.
- * Water deeply versus often.
- * Fertilize and apply post-emergent weed control products to broadleaf weeds. Post-emergent means that the weeds are actively growing and the product will either work on contact (killing only what they touch) or systemic (will be absorbed and kill the entire plant).
- * It’s time to mow! Mower blades should be set to 2″-3″ or higher for cool-season grasses (warm season grasses can be lower).
- * Would free fertilizer be helpful? Leave grass clippings behind after mowing your lawn. Clippings contain about 6% nitrogen which lawns love and by spreading them across your lawn you could reduce fertilization rates by 50%.
CONTAINERS AND ANNUALS
- * Refresh your containers with new potting soil. The old has been depleted of essential nutrients and potentially contains harmful bacteria and fungi.
- * If the last frost has passed, annuals like marigold or zinnia can be planted.
- * Stay on top of your deadheading chores throughout the season to encourage new blooms.
- * Add Soil Moist to containers to help with water conservation.
VEGETABLES AND HERBS
- * Warm-season vegetables can be planted after the last frost (tomatoes and peppers).
- * Weed control is critical to reduce competition for water and nutrients.
- * Check your plants frequently for insect and disease issues and address immediately.
- * Harvest vegetables when they’re ready to encourage plants to keep producing.
- * Do not apply sprays to any plants that are blooming or fruiting.