What to do Now
May Gardening Tips
Houseplants and Outdoor Tropicals:
When placing foliage plants outdoors for summer - slowly acclimatize them to their new position outside. Keep them shaded from the strongest sun of the day until the foliage hardens off. Indoor plants may need to be relocated if summer sun coming through the windows as well. Begin feeding outdoor tropicals like hibiscus with a combination of Osmocote indoor outdoor formula and water soluble fertilizers. This will ensure that they will look their best all season. Gardenias will appreciate a water soluble fertilizer for acid loving plants and Osmocote. It is also beneficial to leave them in the container they were grown in; this will help them bloom more often. These nursery containers can be planted into larger pots as well. Remember to water often in hot weather.
It is now too late to seed; use sod to fill bare spots or to cover larger areas. Sod will require careful watering in warm weather generally twice a day. It is also too late to control crabgrass with pre emergents like corn gluten. Zoysiagrass plugs are available by mid month. Zoysiagrass is mowed shorter at 1 to 2 inches. Continue to cut your (fescue) lawn at 3 inches this will keep your turf healthy and prevent weeds.
Plant heat loving vegetable transplants like tomatoes, eggplant, okra and peppers around mid month when the soil has warmed. It is best to put in your stakes and cages for tomatoes at the time of planting. Plant basil seeds now at 2 week intervals for a summer long harvest. It is also time to direct seed beans, squash corn, cucumbers and melons these are best sown in mounds of soil. Soak the seeds overnight for best results. You will need a large area for success with corn typically 10 feet by 10 feet for best pollination and full ears. Remember to fertilize with Espoma Plant-tone following label directions. Monitor for insects and apply an organic control if needed.
Fruit Trees and Small Shrubs:
Continue to spray fruit trees with Neem oil or an organic formulated fruit tree spray. Thin heavy fruits sets if you have not already done so. Monitor small fruits and apply an organic insect or disease control if desired.
Continue planting perennials. You can divide early blooming perennials now after blooming. Pinch back summer and fall blooming perennials for more blossoms and to reduce their size. Use Espoma Bio-tone for best results. Tall growing plants will need staking - do this before plants fall over. Monitor for insect pests like flea beetles throughout the season. Apply Sluggo to safely control slugs and snails.
At mid month plant cannas, bananas, elephant ears and dahlias, do not water dahlias much until the foliage appears to prevent rot. Use Espoma Bio-tone if planting in the ground. When selecting hanging baskets carefully consider the location they will be placed in. Hanging baskets are more sensitive the extremes of heat and drought than plants in the ground. Begin feeding with Super Bloom and continue feeding weekly throughout the season. Hanging baskets in full sun will require careful watering for best results – use water holding gels like DriWater (this product can be used on edibles). If you are traveling place them on the ground in a shady area while you are away.
Tree and Shrubs:
Continue planting containerized and balled and burlapped trees and shrubs. Use Espoma Bio-tone for best results. You may prune cherries and magnolias lightly now - they are sensitive to hard pruning. Prune climbing roses this now after the first flush of bloom. Monitor for pest and diseases.
Plant tropical aquatics towards the end of the month when the water temperature is 70 degrees.