Master Gardener Tips for May

Planting and Sowing

  • Now is the time to plant hot-weather, summer blooming plants such as Mexican firebush, blue daze, succulents, purple fountain grass, Duranta, copper canyon daises, and angel’s trumpet, which needs some afternoon shade.
  • Plant caladiums, coleus, pentas, impatiens, and begonias in shady spots.
  • Mulch flowerbeds and vegetable gardens to reduce weeds and minimize watering and evaporation.
  • Plant hot weather vegetables, including southern peas, okra, and melons.
  • Spring blooming bulbs can be dug, divided and replanted.  Make sure the tops have dried up before moving.

Fertilizing and Pruning

  • Prune spring flowering shrubs and vines soon after flowering to restore good shape.
  • Prune errant growth from evergreen shrubs to maintain good share, but avoid heavy shearing.
  • Prune climbing roses after major spring bloom.
  • Manually thin peaches, apples, pears, and plums about 5 to 6 inches apart.
  • Fertilize tomatoes and most other vegetables every other week for productive and vigorous plants.
  • Mow lawn grass to the proper height every five to seven days.
  • Feed fruit trees, perennials, annuals, ground covers and vines with a lawn fertilizer.

Garden Watch

  • Look for insects and diseases on tomatoes and other crops.  Early detection is imperative.  Keep the soil adequately moist to prevent blossom end rot on tomatoes.  Spray for early blight with a labeled insecticide as soon as it’s detected.
  • Horn works on tomatoes are common and can devastate a crop.  They can usually be removed by hand.  Other vegetable pests can often be controlled by using cultural, physical and botanical means rather than chemical products.

Other Gardening Tips

  • Maintain a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around all plants and bed areas.
  • Keep it several inches away from trunks or stems of plants
  • Shredded hardwood is one of the best but any type will work, except grass clippings. They tend to mat which prevents the penetration of rain water into the soil.  Instead use them in the compost pile or on garden paths.

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