GETTING OFF TO A GREAT START
This year the weather is cooperating with Utah’s gardening plans. While the weather is good, it’s a great time to go through this garden to do list for May. Do as much as you can before the heat of summer is here.
You may not need to do everything on this list. Choose what applies to your yard and plan out when you will do it throughout the month!
PLAN and PLANTING
Plot and Plan – If you didn’t get your plot planned or your own yard to-do list in April, do it now. Sometimes there are so many things to do in the yard, if you write down a list or draw a map, your tasks will seem more manageable as you’ll more clearly see what should be done first.
Plant Trees & Shrubs – In the last 2 weeks, Western Gardens has received all the prime plant material they ordered for you. Selection is the best now before certain items sell out. May is a wonderful time to plant. Be sure to ask your Western Garden’s expert or observe store signage if the new plant needs to be hardened off for cooler temperatures.
TURF CARE (LAWN)
Turf Training – Now is the time to really resist the temptation to flip the automatic sprinklers on your lawn. Fine for pots and flower beds, but you can train your grass roots to grow deep for a healthier lawn that uses less water. Read the article.
Turf Weed Protection – Broadleaf weed control (liquid application) for dandelions, violets, spurge, etc. We recommend Fertilome Weed Free Zone concentrate. It is a newer formula that works really well temperatures above 40 degrees. If our temperatures are going to be in the 70’s, the Fertilome product “Weed Out” will work too. Spot treat or apply to big areas of lawn where needed. ALWAYS follow manufacturer’s application instructions.
Turf Aeration – May is still a good time to aerate. Remember you do not need to aerate new lawns for a couple of years.
Turf Fertilizing – If you didn’t get to it in April, apply that first round of weed and feed fertilizer.
Turf seeding or over seeding – You are not too late if you need to over seed or seed a new lawn. You won’t want to wait much longer as our Utah summer heat isn’t good for starting new lawn. If you can’t do it this month, you’ll want to wait until fall. Here is our good article about over seeding bare patches of your lawn. Visit Western Garden professionals to learn the best way to seed a new lawn and with what drought tolerant seed. It is much cheaper than sod and will give you a better product, but you will need to tend it in the beginning.
Lawn Mowing – Time to get that lawnmower out and going, if you didn’t already! Be sure to set lawnmower height to 2½-3 inches. This allows the lawn to “shade” its soil, making for a healthier lawn.
TREE & SHRUB CARE
Deep soak ALL trees & shrubs – If you didn’t get your trees and shrubs deeply watered, do it now. Your trees will love you, and you’ll love your trees!
Fruit & Shade Trees – If you haven’t already, fertilizing your trees and shrubs is good to do this month. Tree stakes work well, or you can even use a water soluble fertilizer mixed with your hose water.
Soil Amendments – Perfect time to mix your soil with our gardener’s favorite “Bumper Crop.” Discover for yourself why this is one of our most popular products. You will love the results!
Perennials – May is still not too hot to divide and transplant any of those summer and fall blooming perennials. Share with your family and friends. Do not divide or transplant those that bloom in spring. They won’t like being divided or moved until they are finished blooming.
Annuals & Bedding Plants – After Mother’s Day is the safe time to plant your Petunias, Marigolds, Impatiens, Lobelia, Alyssum, and your summer bulbs such as Calla Lily, Canna Lily, Dahlia, and others.
Bulbs – As your tulips and other spring blooming bulbs finish their display, only deadhead the flower. Leave the green leaves. During the next couple of weeks, the greenery is taking nourishment down to the bulb so you will have color again next spring! Bone meal can also be applied during this time. Do not trim back the greenery/leaves until they are faded and brown. Kids in the Garden Idea: Cutting off the flower stems can be a great job for children who can safely use regular or child scissors. Pay them a penny for each stem they plop into their bucket. They’ll have fun counting their long stems as well. You don’t have to do hardly anything!
Gardener’s Tip: After the stiff stems are cut, fold over the leaves of the plant and wrap with a rubber band or other long leaf. The leaves are still attached to the bulb in the ground, but your spring garden will look more tidy and kept. When the clumps turn brown, the clump will easily pull out from the ground, leaving the bulb to sleep until next spring.
Containers/Planters – Sift out old roots from the year before. Amend your soil with Bumper Crop (one of our client’s and our favorite products).
Planting Outside Schedule – You can begin planting your vegetables. At our garden centers, we put out a sign for those tender plants that need protection from the cold. You can always ask one of our experts too.
Here is a schedule of a few favorites:
Until May 15th: onions & peas
After last frost until June 1st: dry beans, snap beans, eggplant, peppers
After last frost until June 10th: watermelon & winter squash
Until July 1st: cauliflower, parsley, swiss chard
Until July 15th: beets & broccoli
After last frost until July 20th: cucumbers and summer squash
Until Sept 1st: radishes
and so much more…. Come in and see us!
Seedlings – When your seeds have sprouted and are up a few inches, thin them to allow vegetables to develop into larger produce. You are giving the strongest starts the room to grow. This is most important for those root veggies like carrots and radishes. However, even zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers, etc. need to be thinned out so that the healthiest plant can have room to spread out as it grows.
Raised Beds / Grow Boxes – Pull out any dead debris you missed in the fall. Amend your soil with some good “Bumper Crop” if you didn’t get to it in April. Your bed is ready for planting.
Vertical Gardening – Be adventurous and try some “vertical” gardening.
Garden Tools – Add one new quality tool to your arsenal of garden tools. Our gardeners can give you some worthwhile advice.
Snails and Slugs – Continue the war against your snails and slugs. They can devour several newly planted marigolds in one night. Read this article of some ways to control snails and slugs. If you are persistent this month, you will have less plant damage during the season.
Grasshoppers – Best controlled when they first hatch. May is the time to watch for them! Once they are bigger, it’s almost impossible to rid them from your crops, except with a shoe smashing when you can catch them. On the first sighting of these little ones, we recommend sprinkling Nolo Bait (a biological Insecticide) strictly as directed on the package. It takes time to take affect on the grasshopper, so apply it early on the first sight of those seemingly cute little beasts. A little of Nolo Bait goes a long way.
Insecticides – Closely follow directions on labels when using insecticides as not to harm bees.
Remove or spray for weeds – especially Bind Weed (aka Morning Glory) and Puncture Weed (Goat’s Head) – Be on the lookout for when they are just beginning to grow. These two are the most difficult to rid from your garden and yard. Be vigilante and use “KillzAll” on their leaves to kill their roots. It may take several applications if you let them begin to spread. Do NOT use KillzAll on your lawn. It kills any greenery it touches. Use “Weed Free Zone” for the lawn broadleaf weeds.
Gardener’s Tip: Mix up a regular squirt bottle of KillzAll. When you go on “weed patrol”, you’ll have it with you so you won’t be tempted to “pull” the weed, because it will just grow back. Plus you won’t have to remember later where you saw it. Carefully follow the instructions for mixing, divide the amount of product to water for the size of squirt bottle you have. DO NOT MIX ANY OTHER PRODUCT in that squirt bottle and clearly label it for safety. You can do the same squirt bottle method for Kill Free zone for the lawn. Label bottle clearly and do not mix anything else in the bottle, even the KillzAll. Keep the products separate in their own squirt bottles, or even larger pump sprayers.
HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING
Mother’s Day – Mother’s day is just about here. Western Gardens has beautiful planters already for you to surprise her with. Or maybe getting her own hand pruners would make her day. Put her name on them! We have expert experienced gardeners to help you know what tools are worth your time and money.
Father’s Day – Keep dad in mind of what he would enjoy in the garden.
SUPPORT REPUTABLE INDEPENDENT GARDEN SHOPS – Why? Because they give you the best service and knowledge. Plus they take care of their product, rather than letting them die in the cold. Sometimes plants perk up after a cold or even snowy night, but they are very stressed and less likely to give you success. Your local independent shops own the product and take care of them so you can have the best chance at success. Also, your dollars spent will stay within the local economy, rather than off to a distant corporate office.
MAY’s MOST IMPORTANT TASK – Work hard on this garden to do list for May, but along the way, enjoy the satisfaction of beautifying your little spot on earth.