May Delaware Garden Guide

<<April Garden Guide

The following is your gardening calendar for May:

For the First Week of this Fifth Month:

  • Prune your spring flowering shrubs (lilacs, forsythias, spireas, etc.) after they have finished blooming. Actually, you want to thin these out by removing up to one-third of the older branches at or near ground level.
  • Plant vegetables such as snap beans, tomato plants, sweet corn, summer squash, cucumbers and a second crop of radishes
  • Check your trees, especially wild cherry, for tent caterpillars:  remove and destroy tents (they look like a white cotton candy mass on branches).

For the Second Week of May:

  • Continue your fruit tree spray schedule to control disease and pest problems.
  • Keep newly planted trees and shrubs watered (unless it’s a rainy month).  Do not let the soil dry out.
  • Plant gladiolus, dahlias, and other summer bulbs.
  • Moles feed on white grubs and can ruin your lawn by tunneling for them.  They can be eliminated by killing their food source.  For a fact sheet on moles, call your local extension office.

For the Third Week of May:

  • Stay out of your garden when plant foliage is wet.  Walking through a wet garden spreads disease from one plant to another.
  • If you are having a problem with earwigs and sow bugs, try trapping them with rolled up newspapers which have been moistened with water.  The insects will hide in the paper by day.  Gather up the traps and dispose of them frequently.
  • Spray roses regularly (every ten days using a fungicide and insecticide).  Read and follow all label directions.
  • Closely examine your ornamental plantings for disease and pests.  Check your dogwoods for borers; boxwood, holly and birch for leaf miners; evergreens for spider mites and aphids.

For the Last Week of May:

  • Mulch flowers, established vegetables, and evergreen shrubs.  Grass clippings are great and easier to handle if allowed to dry first.  Remember, never use clippings from a lawn that has been treated with an herbicide (weed killer).
  • Allow leaves on tulips and daffodils to mature; do not cut off until brown.  Fill in spaces in your flower beds with annual flowers.
  • Move your house plants outdoors when night temperatures stay above 50oF.  You can avoid sunburning the foliage by moving the plants gradually from the relative darkness of the house to their bright summer locations.  Begin by putting them in a well-shaded location and progress to increasingly lighted areas.
  • Pinch annuals when four – six inches high to promote bushy growth, for example, zinnias, petunias and salvia.


June Garden Guide>>