May in the Garden - Article in the Tribune April 25
Busy Month of May
Tami Reece Master Gardener
May is a month for planting, fertilizing and controlling pests. But don’t be fooled by a late frost!
Plant dahlias and gladiolus for summer color. For annuals you can plant dianthus and pansies. As the nights become warmer you can hang baskets of fuchsias and geraniums. For perennials, shop for summer and fall color with asters, coreopsis, and cornflowers.
Now is the time to check the needs of your lawn. Aerate, feed and overseed to get rid of bald patches. Around midmonth, feed your lawn with an even coat of high-nitrogen fertilizer, watering thoroughly after application.
If you have started your vegetables, now is the time to plant your cucumber, eggplant, melon, pepper and tomato plants. Sow beans, corn, winter and summer squash directly in the ground.
You may want to add some trees and shrubs to your landscape. But remember, it’s important to select the right plant for the right place. A good resource in selecting the perfect tree is http://selectree.calpoly.edu. Give your roses, perennials, deciduous and annual trees and shrubs a good start for the growing season, use either a slow-release fertilizer or compost and mulch the surface area. California natives rarely require fertilizer. After applying fertilizer, always give your plant a thorough watering. When irrigating, make sure water is not running off your property onto driveways and gutters. Excessive fertilizing with poor irrigation systems could result in polluting creeks and streams.
Also in May, finish any spring pruning on shrubs and trees. Watch for horn worms on your tomato plants and aphids on your roses. Slugs and snails will be prevalent in your garden. To help identify what is eating your plants, visit the University of California Integrated Pest Management Site on the internet or call one of the Master Gardener helplines. Finally, if a late frost does sneak in, make sure to cover any tender plants to ensure your vegetables make it to your table and your flowers bloom through the summer. May is a busy month, but all your hard work will be rewarded.