MAY GARDENING THOUGHTS!

May means Spring has indeed, "Sprung" and by the middle of the month you can go wild and plant your annuals and finalize your garden plantings.

SHRUBS AND TREES

If you haven't already done so make sure that you take any winter wraps away from your trees so that it opens the tree from insect of fungus possibilities. This is a great time to fertilize trees and shrubs. Use a good fertilizer made for this purpose, not your lawn fertilizer. For evergreens, rhododendron and azaleas use an acid formulated fertilizer Go ahead and cut out sucker branches and any damage caused by winter or high winds. If you are interested in planting perennials, annuals or ground covers under shade trees there are a number of plants that will work.

Some shade tolerant species are:

Shrubs: Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens).

Evergreens: Drooping Fetterbush (Leucothoe fontanesiana), Yew (Taxus x media).

Groundcovers and Vines: Bethlehem Sage (Pulmonaria saccharata), English Ivy (Hedera helix), Hosta (any species), Lily-Of-The-Valley (Convallaria majalis), Lilyturf (Liriope spicata), Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense).

Flowers: Bergenia, Pigsqueak (Bergenia cordifolia), Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia pensylvanica).

Annual Flowers: Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana), Wax Begonia (Begonia semperflorens).

Check out our "Link Of Interest" on the front page to the OSU Extension Service for detailed information about dormant spraying and other Shrub and Tree needs for this time of the year.

Forsythia, privet and spirea can be pruned after they are finished blooming.

PERENNIALS, ANNUALS AND BULBS

Winter heaving can be problematic with your flower beds so be sure to push the soil back around the plants if heaving has occurred. Bulb fertilization is important at this time of year. Use something such as a 10-10-10 at a rate of 1 lbs. per 50 square feet. When you first see the foliage starting to appear is the time to apply the fertilizer.

Remove mulch to prevent mold and disease. Donít remove all the mulch at once. You want to acclimatize your plant as you remove the mulch so do so a little bit at a time. This way the plant can harden off from the winter winds as you remove the mulch. Itís easy to rush to get back into the garden so pay close attention to the weather some activities may better be done later than earlier. Once plants are doing well in latter May or June replace mulch.

The last killing frost of record for Central Ohio is May 15th so don't rush to plant your annuals. You can plant bulbs, tubers and rhizomes around May 1st since they won't show above ground until a couple of weeks later, after the danger or frost has "passed". I plant my Dahlia's and Canna's, for example, in containers and keep them indoors so that by May 15th they are about a foot tall and can be planted directly in the garden.

After the date of the last killing frost go ahead and plant your annuals, plant your bedding plants for a faster show of color.

Your ornamental grasses should already be cut all the way to the ground, if not do so right away. Cut dead flower stalks back to the ground on daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring flowering bulbs as the flowers fade. Do not cut the foliage until it dies naturally. The leaves are necessary to produce strong bulbs capable of re-flowering.

You can dig up and divide chrysanthemums once they start to show new growth. Remove woody stems and replant.

Most perennials may be pruned, divided and moved up until they begin to show new growth.

I always try to plant a few vegetable seeds a little early just to see if they can beat the frost and produce a few weeks early. If they don't make it know big loss. Of course many of the cool season vegetables should have already been planted. My peas for example are about 8 inches tall.

GENERAL STUFF

Donít forget the birds. Clean out the bird houses and feeders. keep plenty of food and water available. Spring is hear I hear the birds singing!

Make sure your lawn mower blade is sharp. A dull blade is one of the major reason for an unhealthy lawn. A dull blade tears the grass and opens it up for disease.

If you have put off ordering seeds and bulbs all I can say is, "Sorry Charley".

Your pond should be warm enough to be feeding your fish. You can dip out leaves that have accumulated, but donít stir-up the bottom sediments and debris anymore than necessary.

For more tips and information go to the Buckeye Yard and Garden Newletter at:

Buckeye Yard and Garden Newletter



Good Luck and Good Gardening To You!

Stu Lewis, Web Master
Hilliard Area Garden Club