I’ll go by category, so if some of these don’t apply to you, just skim them.
Lawns: It’s still a bit early to fertilize Centipedegrass, but keep it mowed to about 1 1/2 inches as long foliage strains newly emerging roots.
Houseplants: It’s time to move them outside so they can enjoy the great outdoors for the summer, but keep them out of afternoon direct sunlight so as not to scorch their leaves.
Fruits: If you have strawberries growing in your yard like I do, you are probably having a bumper crop this year. If not, the fruit stands have some awesome berries now. Don’t miss out before strawberry season ends. My blueberry bush is loaded with berries not yet ripened, but the birds are quite aware of these little fruits and will pounce down to steal them just as they are ready to be picked. I keep mine covered with netting at this point to discourage any scavengers. Don’t do this when they’re flowering because the bees need to get to them to pollinate.
Vegetables and herbs: You can set starts or push in seeds for just about any vegetables now as the soil temperature should be warm enough. My sugar snap peas (that I planted in February) are producing lots of sweet fruit now. You are probably already using any herbs you had planted from last year and it won’t be long before you’ll be able to harvest some from this year’s plantings. Don’t let basil or dill flower or it will go to seed.
Flowers: You can plant your perennials now and the local garden centers have some beauties. I’d like to stress “local” garden centers as that’s where you will find the most knowledgeable staff to assist you with the selections best for your yard! OK, here’s the hard one — just as your pansies and snapdragons are blooming their lovely little heads off, you will now have to rip them out and replace them with the summer annuals you’ve chosen. But look at it this way, they will wither and die pretty soon when the weather gets hot. Plus you want your summer annuals to get established before we are seeing 90-degree temps every day. For my non-gardening friends (who are probably not reading this anyway) and think that we’re getting lots of rain, it was actually 10 days between the last two rainfalls; so, you will need to keep a lookout for moisture in your soil, especially plantings in containers.
Trees and shrubs: Immediate fertilizers are hard on plants’ metabolism. It’s usually better to use a slow release variety or a soil conditioner like cottonseed meal. A rush to fertilize (besides, you may not need any if your soil test results show otherwise) in early spring generally is not effective. Slow release fertilizers applied between now and July Fourth will serve your landscape better. Avoid cutting tree branches larger than a half inch if possible. Wounds at this time of year are susceptible to disease and insect problems. Crepe Myrtles can be detailed (not chopped off at the top) through mid-month, then be sure to allow new growth to establish and produce blooms.
Well, this should give you some general ideas where to spend your garden time this month. Please let me know if you have questions regarding specific garden problems.
Judi Lloyd lives in River Bend and can be contacted at email@example.com.