Get our monthly gardening Tips:

landscape photo

May Gardening Tips

<< April Tips | June Tips >>

Landscaping Tips

  • Morning and evening light offers long days of gardening. After Mother’s Day, you are quite safe in planting your summer annuals. By mid-month or so, set out fuchsias, plant porch and deck containers with your summer flowers. Water newly set plants. Clip back rockery plants like candytuft after bloom. Plant dahlias and other summer-blooming bulbs. Stake tall perennials. You can still plant fall-blooming perennials such as asters and chrysanthemums. Prune forsythia, rhododendron, azalea and other spring-flowering shrubs immediately after bloom.
  • If your rhodies are getting too leggy you can prune about a third of the long stems back down into the bush as far as you want. These will resprout in a few months but will not bloom next year. Rhodies set their buds for next year during the current growing season. If you continue to remove one third of the leggy branches every year you will soon have a shorter, fuller and more attractive rhody. As an alternative you can do a radical cut back so only several stubs are left. They will be unattractive for a while but most will re-sprout and you will have a new much smaller shrub. You won’t get any flowers next year but sometimes it’s worth it if the plant is overgrown.
  • Fertilize and repot houseplants and move them out doors as month's end.
  • Check your sprinkler systems but you won't need to turn it on for awhile. Set up a simple rain gauge. Lawns optimally require 1 inch of water weekly, as either rain or irrigation-not both! Mow every five to seven days.
  • Tolerate some weeds; dig out dandelions to prevent seeding. Be careful with the “Weed and Feed” fertilizers because they often destroy other landscape plants and trees. The herbicides in these fertilizers are designed to kill broad leaf plants! Make sure it gets only on the grass.

Vegetable Garden

Mid month plant heat-loving vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, beans, peppers, corn, cukes, zucchini and other squash. Cover these tender plants with plastic, coldframes, or floating row cover until warmer weather. Nibble small lettuce and spinach leaves.

Child's Garden

Plant small pots of geraniums in celebration for Mother's Day. Gather May Day bouquets to leave on neighboring doorsteps. Help plant container gardens of flowers and vegetables. Set up an outdoor picnic area with a row of sunflowers to make a hedge.

If you have gardening questions visit the eastside Master Gardener Clinics every Saturday at Redmond or Pickering Barn Farmer’s Markets or Squawk Mt. Nursery