May Garden To Do List

May 1, 2021

May is a busy month! Now that the weather is warming up, it’s a great time to get your plants in the ground and start giving your garden the attention it really needs.


General garden care

  • Install raised beds if not done earlier.
  • Fertilize roses and fruit trees.
  • Deadhead spent flowers and stalks from bulbs but leave foliage to mature and yellow before removing. Do not tie them up with rubber bands. Fertilize again at this time.
  • Plant your container gardens. Add Soil Moist to planting mix to hold water during hot summer days.
  • Plant summer blooming bulbs outside.
  • Test the pH of your soil, if not done earlier and add lime or sulfur if necessary.
  • Prune new growth on needled evergreens and fertilize as needed.
  • Apply slug control to shady, moist locations.
  • Complete spring clean up and mulch landscape beds.
  • Harden off transplants outside in a sheltered area for a few hours each day for a week before planting in the garden.
  • Check for late frost forecasts so young plants can be covered.
  • Check shrubs for lace bugs, leaf miners and sawfly larvae and spray as required.
  • Water transplants and seeds daily as required.



  • Prune Forsythia after the flowers fall, along with other early flowering shrubs and fertilize.
  • Fertilize emerging perennials.
  • Continue your rose care program of deadheading, spraying and watering.
  • Pinch back Chrysanthemums, Asters, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, perennial sunflowers and other bush-forming perennials to promote healthy, thick plants that are self-supporting.
  • Plant moonflower (Ipomoea alba), caladium, coleus, zinnia and other heat-tolerant flowers.
  • Mulch roses with at least a 1″ layer of compost.



  • Thin seedlings of early-planted crops, such as carrots, lettuce, spinach and beets.
  • Protect cabbages from cabbageworms and leafy vegetables from leafminers by covering with fabric.
  • When soil temperature reaches 60 degrees, sow warm and cool season vegetable, flower and herb seeds such as sunflowers, cucumber, squash, melons, corn and beans.
  • Continue spraying fruit trees every two weeks.
  • Remove blossoms from newly set strawberry plants to allow better root growth and establishment.
  • Plant bush beans and pole beans. Bush bean seed can be planted every two weeks for extended harvests.
  • Make sure all vegetable and vine supports are in place.
  • Add salt hay or chopped and shredded hay and straw around small fruits and vegetables to keep a more even temperature, hold down weeds and conserve moisture.
  • Spray zucchini, squash, cucumber and cantaloupe seedlings to control squash vine borers before eggs are laid.
  • Plant sweet potato slips in black plastic.
  • Thin peaches, plums, pears and apples to about six inches apart.
  • Plant a few more runs of leafy greens.


Lawn care

  • If you are not seeding your lawn this spring, apply spring fertilizer with weed control.
  • Control dandelion, henbit, plantain and many other broadleaf weeds with a lawn weed killer.
  • Add barley straw or other products to your pond to prevent algae growth. Also, treat your pond with the appropriate products to jumpstart the bacteria and enzymes in your filtering system.
  • Apply grub control with Merit to lawns and gardens.
  • Raise mower height to 3-1/2″ so grass is not cut too short.