May welcomes the approach of summer — a change of season. Busy days of gardening in store for the May gardener in completing spring chores and in preparing for summer. The following gardening guides may be helpful for May gardening days.
1. Mulch Plants. Plants should be mulched with pine straw, straw, leaves, etc. to conserve summer watering. A 4″-6″ mulch will help control weeds and keep the soil cooler.
2. Establish a Compost Pile or Bin for Gardening Soil. Organic materials such as leaves and lawn clippings, will decompose when mixed with soil to form a good organic garden soil. Water from time to time adding commercial fertilizer to aid in decomposition.
3. Water Hydrangeas. Keep hydrangeas well watered for summer blooms.
4. Leaf Droppage of Evergreens. Many gardeners take the description “evergreen” too literally and often are concerned when evergreens such as magnolias, euonymus, live oak, gardenia and some of the hollies, lose some of their old leaves during late spring and early summer. The flush of new growth on many evergreens will cause a yellowing of old leaves and leaf droppage. Nothing to be concerned about, just Mother. Nature putting a new spring coat of green and discarding the old.
5. Select and Plant Mums for Fall Blooms. Mums demand a sunny, well-drained location. Choose the variety (color, growth habit and size) so as to best fit the placement of effect you have in mind. Make cuttings of existing mums. Pinch back terminal growth on existing mums to induce branching.
6. Tree and Shrub Fertilization. Complete major tree and shrub fertilization if you haven’t done so.
7. Prune Climbing Roses. Prune climbing roses if needed after their major peak of bloom.
8. Caladium and Coleus. Remove flowers on caladium and coleus to encourage healthy, showy foliage.
9. Continue to Plant Groundcovers and Vines.
10. Give Rose Plants Monthly Feeding. Feed rose plants monthly with prepared rose food or 1/4 to 1/2 cup per plant for a complete and balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8, 1010-10,or 12-12-12.
11. Fertilize Crepe Myrtles. Fertilize crepe myrtles to get that abundant summer bloom. Apply approximately 1/2 cup per square yard of soil of a complete and balanced fertilizer such as 8-8-8.
12. Pinch Back Young Flowering Annuals by removing the terminal which, in turn, will produce more branches and blooms.
13. Water newly established plants during the dry periods.
14. Continue to Establish New Lawngrasses. Provide a well prepared soil and frequent waterings.
15. Cultivate Annual and Perennial Beds to eliminate soil compaction, to allow for later absorption and to control weeds. Lightly scratch the upper soil so as not to disturb shallow roots.
16. Make Hanging Baskets for Summer Accents. Use cascading plants such as terns, jews, petunias, portulaca, purslane, English ivy, Swedish ivy, etc.
17. Feed Houseplants Often to keep them on the grow.
18. Plant Summer Annual Plants that take the heat such as periwinkles, marigold, cosmos, gallarida, portulaca, etc. Annuals for shade may include: impatiens, coleus, caladium, bedding begonias and fern.
19. Perennial. Select summer perennial: shasta daisy, dusty miller, hosta, daylilies, summer phlox, coreopsis, ferns, etc.