May 2012 garden planner

May 2012 garden planner

Time for celebrations—Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, graduation and summer are just a few reasons to rejoice! Plant a perennial shrub or tree to honor or remember your loved ones this month. ‘Knockout’ rose is a beautiful, continuous-blooming, trouble-free shrub-type rose that will be enjoyed year after year. Potted miniature roses, lilies, hydrangeas and azaleas also make extra-long-lasting gifts if you plant them in the garden after they have finished blooming indoors.  

Garden Maintenance

➤    Petunias, salvia and many other annual flowers will bloom beautifully with a few timely pinches: Pinch at planting time and again the first or second week of July—to 3-4 inches above ground. Feed annuals monthly with a 10-10-10 fertilizer. Be sure to deadhead for maximum flowers.
➤    Do you see shiny trails on the petals and leaves of your ornamentals in the morning? If so, slugs are on the prowl at night—capture them by placing grapefruit rind halves among your plants. Position rinds with the peel side up, and slugs will collect underneath.
➤    Pinch chrysanthemums now for bushier plants in the fall.
➤    Roses need weekly spraying for black-spot and mildew problems and biweekly feeding for great blooms and healthy foliage. Or, at the end of each bloom cycle, feed your roses with a granular fertilizer or liquid plant food. Soak twice a month rather than watering weekly and avoid wetting the foliage.
➤    Apply a second application of fertilizer to warm-season grasses (Bermuda, Zoysia and centipede).
➤    Be on the lookout for poison ivy. As new leaves appear, spray with herbicide as soon as possible to keep the plant from spreading. If the plant is small enough to uproot, put on gloves and grasp the plant with a plastic bag (newspaper bags are ideal); then turn the bag inside out so that the poisonous plant is captured inside the bag for easy disposal.
➤    Now is the time to combat summer annual weeds. By applying a post-emergent weed killer when they are small, it will be much easier to control them in your lawn.
➤    Mulch around newly planted trees, shrubs and flowers. Mulching reduces weeds, controls fluctuations in soil temperature, retains moisture, prevents damage from lawn mowers and looks attractive.

What To Plant

➤    The ground will be warm enough by mid-May for caladiums, dahlias, gladiolus and cannas. If you stagger the planting of gladiolus, you’ll enjoy a longer show of flowers.
➤    It’s safe to plant hot-weather vegetables such as beans, sweet corn, melons, squash and sweet potatoes now. Mulch and water after planting.
➤    You can achieve vertical impact in your garden with annual vines such as moonflower, hyacinth bean and scarlet runner bean. Plant seeds near a fence or trellis—moonflower is striking when flowers open after dark!
➤    This is a good month to plant heat-loving herbs like basil and dill. Harvest most herbs before flower buds open for best flavor.
➤    For best results, wait until late May or June to sod warm-season lawns.


Mary Kay Woodworth is executive director of the Georgia Urban Agriculture Council (UAC). She previously ran Practically Gardening, a landscape consulting firm, and was Master Gardener coordinator for the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Service. Mary Kay is a frequent speaker at area schools, garden clubs, civic organizations and trade shows.

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