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It’s May… What Needs To Be Done?


  • Plant heat-loving annuals including copper plant, firebrush, gomphrena, lantana, pentas, purple fountain grass and ornamental sweet potato in sunny areas. Buy “hardened” plants that are acclimated to sun.
  • In shady spots, plant caladium and elephant ear bulbs, begonias, coleus, impatiens (mildew-resistant types).
  • Seeds of celosia, cosmos, marigold, morning glory, portulaca and zinnia can be sown directly in the beds. Keep seeded area moist until seeds germinate. Achimenes, cannas, dahlias and other summer flowering bulbs can also be plants in May.
  • Establish new lawns before summer heat sets in. Sow seeded varieties of Bermuda grass early in the month; or sod Bermuda or St. Augustine grass. Water daily for first few weeks to develop a good root system.


  • Manually thin the fruit on peaches, pears, plums and apples to 5-6 inches apart early in the
  • Fertilize tomatoes and most other vegetables every other week for productive and vigorous plants.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines soon after flowering. Keep the natural shape of the plant in mind as you prune and avoid excessive cutting except where necessary to control size. Deadhead roses and other re-blooming plants.
  • Feed fruit trees, perennials, annuals, ground covers and vines with a lawn fertilizer (3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio).
  • Allow foliage of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs to mature and yellow before removing.


  • Allow bluebonnets and other reseeding annual wildflowers to die and the seeds to dry before mowing the stubble. Delay mowing until end of growing season if other wildflowers are growing in the area.
  • Maintain a 2-3 inch layer of shredded hardwood or other wood mulch in beds and around all plants to conserve moisture and reduce weeds.
  • 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).
  • Look for squash bugs in early morning. Destroy eggs found on underside of leaves by hand. Vegetable 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.
  • Make initial application of nutsedge control in established warm-season lawns.


Click here to read the complete May 2017 E-Garden Newsletter


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

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