Welcome to Ellis County Master Gardeners Homepage

It’s May… What Needs To Be Done?

Planting

  • It is time to plant sweet potatoes. And it is not too late to plant okra and southern peas.
  • Sow directly into the soil seeds of sunflower, zinnia, morning glory, portulaca, marigold, cosmos, periwinkles and gourds. Achimenes, cannas, dahlias and other summer flowering bulbs can also be planted in May.
  • Plant heat-loving annuals including lantana, gomphrena, copper plants, firebush, purple fountain grass, sweet potato vine and pentas in sunny areas.
  • In shady spots, plant caladium and elephant ear bulbs, begonias, impatiens, nicotiana and torenias.
  • Establish new lawns before summer heat sets in. Sow seeded varieties of Bermudagrass from seed early in the month; or sod Bermuda or St. Augustine. Water daily for first few weeks to develop a good root system.

Pruning and Fertilizing

  • Manually thin the fruit on peaches, pears, plums and apples to 5-6 inches apart early in the month
  • Fertilize tomatoes and most other vegetables every other week for productive and vigorous plants.
  • Prune spring-blooming shrubs and vines. Deadhead roses and other re-blooming plants.
  •  Feed fruit trees, perennials, annuals, ground covers and vines with a lawn fertilizer.
  • Allow foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to mature and yellow before removing.

Garden Watch

  • Allow bluebonnets and other reseeding annual wildflowers to die and the seeds to dry before mowing the stubble. Mow at least 4 inches high so as not to damage perennials. But delay mowing until end of growing season if other wildflowers are growing in the area.
  • Maintain a two to three inch layer of mulch around all plants and beds. Use shredded hardwood or another wood mulch.
  • Make initial application of Image and Sledgehammer to control Nutsedge.
  • Check tomatoes for signs of early blight (yellow blotches on lower leaves). Apply a labeled fungicide if needed. Keep soil adequately moist to prevent blossom-end rot (browned tissue on bloom end of fruit).
  • Squash bugs tend to be a problem. Destroy the eggs found on the underside of the leaves by hand or a stream of water. Many vegetable pests can often be controlled by mechanical, biological or organic means rather than chemical pesticides.
  • Keep an eye out for bagworms on cedars, junipers, cypress and other conifers. Apply Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) or general insecticide at first sign of larvae feeding. Remember that once the bag has formed, your only option is to manually pull them off.It is time to plant sweet potatoes. And it is not too late to plant okra and southern peas.
  • Sow directly into the soil seeds of sunflower, zinnia, morning glory, portulaca, marigold, cosmos, periwinkles and gourds. Achimenes, cannas, dahlias and other summer flowering bulbs can also be planted in May.
  • Plant heat-loving annuals including lantana, gomphrena, copper plants, firebush, purple fountain grass, sweet potato vine and pentas in sunny areas.
  • In shady spots, plant caladium and elephant ear bulbs, begonias, impatiens, nicotiana and torenias.
  • Establish new lawns before summer heat sets in. Sow seeded varieties of Bermudagrass from seed early in the month; or sod Bermuda or St. Augustine. Water daily for first few weeks to develop a good root system.

Click here to read the complete May 2016 E-Garden Newsletter

Firewise!

Check out our Firewise information under the Resources tab above and learn how to be prepared before wildfire strikes.