May Garden Chores
A number of different kinds of beetles and worms will be feeding on vegetables this month. Many of these pests can be controlled with Sevin. Before purchasing pesticides, check the label information to be sure it is effective for the pests you want to control. Remember to apply the product according to label directions.
Mulch flower beds, shrubs and garden areas before hot weather arrives. This will help prevent moisture loss and will reduce high soil temperatures that limit root growth.
Early May is a good time to seed Bermuda, centipede, and carpet grass, and to start St. Augustine and Zoysia from springs or plugs.
An ideal time to fertilize azaleas is during the growth spurt that occurs once they finish flowering. Use a fertilizer formulated for azaleas. Fertilizer burn is a common cause of death for azaleas so use the proper fertilizer and don’t overdo it.
May through September is a critical time for camellias and azaleas, so be sure you do not let the soil around them dry out.
If your azaleas need pruning in order to reduce their size, wait until after they bloom. Do not shear azaleas, as this will ruin their natural loose, tiered form. Prune the tallest stems at their point of origin.
If you have planted blueberry bushes this spring, remove the flowers from the plants. Although removing the flowers will eliminate your first crop of berries, the plants will have increased vigor in future years. Also, be sure to mulch newly planted blueberry plants to insulate the shallow roots from heat and drought.
Do not remove foliage from bulbs prematurely; otherwise, you will weaken the plants. Allow the foliage to wither naturally. If you are anxious to bring color back to your garden, you can over plant bulb beds with annual flowers. Whether you plant seeds or transplants, do not injure the bulbs while planting.
Ornamental shrubs and small trees will benefit from a light application of fertilizer this month. Use a fertilizer formulated for ornamental woody plants and apply according to package directions. You do not have to remove mulch to apply the fertilizer, but you will need to water the plants immediately after fertilizing.
If you are getting a late start in planting a spring vegetable garden, you can have pole beans, cucumbers and eggplant for harvest this summer if you plant seeds by mid-May.
Pinch out the terminal growth of annuals such as petunias, snapdragons and zinnias. This will make bushier plants and will encourage the formation of additional flower buds to extend the flowering season. Also keep the blooms pinched off of coleus. You are growing coleus for its foliage, not for its insignificant blooms.