May in Your Garden
- Water in the Garden – Begin increasing your watering schedule as the weather warms. Water seedlings and young plants frequently for short periods; water trees and shrubs deeply and less often. All kinds of plants will benefit from an application of a micronutrient foliar spray.
- Planting and Transplanting – For summer fragrance, consider planting citrus, gardenias, jasmine, mock orange or roses.
- Fire-resistant Plantings – Low-growing African Daisy, Algerian Ivy, Carmel Creeper, trailing Gazania, Prostrate Myoporum, Rockrose, Dwarf Rosemary and some ice plants, watered properly, make great fire-resistant shrubs or ground covers.
- Bedding Plants –Plant summer flowers weekly for successive bloom including: Ageratum, Aster, Begonia, Celosia, Coleus, Dianthus, Dusty Miller, Gazania, Impatiens, Lobelia, Marigold, Petunia, Portulaca, Salvia, Vinca, Verbena and Zinnia. Before planting, scatter and work into the soil an all-purpose fertilizer such as Gro-Power; scatter again in two to four weeks. Choose from a large selection of ivy geraniums, which are in full bloom. Stake flowering plants that tend to droop.
- Vegetables and Herbs – Harvest early vegetables and strawberries. Continue to sow beans, carrots, lettuce, radishes and squash seeds in groups to extend harvest. Consider planting a marigold border interspersed with garlic or onion around the vegetable garden to discourage pests. In your herb garden sow basil and dill and garlic. Herbs require a sunny location with light, well-drained soil. Compact herbs like parsley and thyme make ideal border plants.
- Fruiting Trees – Avocado, banana, citrus, and stone fruits all can be planted now before the weather gets too warm. Whitewash thin-barked trees such as citrus, macadamia and avocado to prevent sunburn.
- Lawns – Cut cool season grasses long (1 ½”) to encourage a deep root system and to discourage weeds. Although you can plant sod lawns of any type all summer, this is the best time to plant Bermuda grass.
- Roses – Plant container grown roses. Remove old buds. Use fungicide every 4-6 weeks and an insecticide for mites as needed through September. Water once or twice a week as needed. Fertilize every 6 weeks through July. Remove dead flowers right after petals fall to discourage bacterial growth. Remove any unwanted suckers.
- Houseplants – Be careful that plants you put outside to enjoy the nice weather don’t get sunburned. Keep them in a protected area or bring them back inside.
- Some Specific Plants – Lightly prune to shape old wood on hibiscus plants. Pinch new growth tips to increase flower production. Start azaleas and camellias on a regular feeding program using an acidic fertilizer such as Miracid to encourage stronger growth and heavy flower set later in the season.
- Pest Control – Geranium budworm can bother geraniums and petunias at this time of year. Spray Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) as soon as you see signs of damage. Use the same spray to control cabbage worms and cabbage loopers. Continue to blast spider mites and aphids with soapy water or, if necessary, insecticidal soap such as Safer Products. Hoe, pull or spray weeds while they’re still small and before they set seeds. Slow weed growth by mulching.
Finish Major Garden Projects Before the Weather Gets Too Warm
- May is a great month to plant, clip, sow, and renovate your entire landscape. Create a garden with fragrance as well as color by planting flowering vines such as jasmine or honeysuckle.
- Check and adjust your watering system. The best time to water is early morning, when evaporation and wind are minimal. Make sure you have proper coverage to avoid wet or dry spots. Trim grass around sprinkler heads.