May Gardening and Landscape Tips
May Gardening and Landscape Tips
Designed by Brenda Hyde
All Rights Reserved
For those in cold climates, May is a magic month with bright splashes of color from daffodils, tulips, pansies, violets, snapdragons and lilacs.
It's also a time of preparing, planting and nurturing. Below are some tips to give your landscape flowers, trees, shrubs and plants the help they need for a productive and beautiful summer.
-LAVENDER: Lavender is loved as both an herb and a flower with its lovely fragrance and drought tolerant nature. An established plant benefits from a little bit of lime lightly dug into the soil around, but not directly against the stems.
If your lavender plant is older and looking rather bedraggled mix in a small amount of blood or bone meal too. Established plants should only be watered during very dry periods, not on a regular basis. Don't mulch lavender unless it's with small gravel.
-ROSES: Spring is the time to plant roses, and this is the time to give them a good start by amending the soil as you plant. There are many good organic fertilizers specifically made for roses, and each has a different set of instructions. You can also create a simple organic mixture to use when planting. Combine 1 part soil, 1 part peat and 2-3 handfuls of bone meal and add to the hole before planting. Water your rose plant before gently removing it from the pot it came in.
If it is a bare root, soak the entire plant in water for 24 hours before planting. Spread the roots out in the hole, so they touch the mixture you put in the bottom. Fill the hole gently with good garden soil. Roses will benefit from a 50/50 mixture of soil and compost, After filling, pat the ground to remove air pockets, but don't crush the soil, and water gently afterwards.
-SPENT BULB BLOOMS: Only remove the foliage from spring bulbs when it has died back naturally; after it has turned yellow and looks as if it's drying out. Once the foliage dies, you can cut it down to just above the soil, and plant annual flowers in front of the bulbs. Be sure to plant gently so you don't damage the bulbs. This also applies to your iris foliage after bloom. Its fine to cut the flower stalks off, but leave the foliage until it dies back.
-CLEAN UP: Remember, if you had a vegetable last season that ended up with wilt, or some other disease, don't use that same space to grow the same plants. Some of these diseases can lay dormant in the soil and you will have the same problem this year. Cut back any perennials that still have old foliage, stalks, etc. IF there was no disease it can be composted, otherwise burn or discard the cuttings. Don't rip off old stalks or leaves, cut them with sharp gardening scissors or pruning shears.
-TREE AND SHRUB CARE: If you have any small bushes, trees or perennials, remove weeds directly around the base of the plants. These will use up nutrients and moisture. If the mulch is old and looks moldy or odd remove it, and replace with compost, composted manure, and straw or grass clippings, then top with mulch.
-PEONY CARE: Carefully remove any weeds, leaves or debris around the plants as soon as possible. Be cautious of the new growth, which is quite fragile. Compost or a low nitrogen fertilizer can be dug in lightly around each plant, but it should be 8-12 inches away from the new growth.
Once the plants begin to bloom, only cut a few from each plant to bring indoors, and always leave as much foliage as possible on the plant until fall, at which time the plants should be cut back. After the blooms have wilted, deadhead the plants by snipping off just the bloom, but none of the foliage.
-LILAC CARE: Lilacs are very low maintenance, mainly needing any damaged or dead wood pruned with sharp, clean pruning shears. Compost is always welcome in the spring or after blooming, but lilacs don’t need fertilizer. New lilacs benefit from mulch, and watering when there is a lack of rain. Established bushes are drought tolerant.