Our April showers have certainly brought May flowers and a much welcomed spring. Gardens are bursting with new green life. The following are some tips to make your May gardens and lawn shine:
Bulbs: The blooms of daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and other spring blooming bulbs have faded leaving behind their foliage. Don’t be tempted to cut the foliage back– this foliage is photosynthesizing to rejuvenate the bulbs for next year’s bloom. Do fertilize with bone meal, or other flowering plant food like Plant Tone or Osmocote.
Perennials: Summer blooming perennials like sedum, rudbeckia, Joe Pye Weed, and chrysanthemums should be cut back once the foliage reaches 10-12 inches in height. This will encourage a bushy rather than lanky growth and will keep these plants from “falling over” when the reach maximum growth in the summer. Cut back in half from 5-6 inches.
Roses: Prune one-time bloomers when they finish blooming this month. Deadhead (remove spent blooms) hybrid tea roses and grandiflora roses regularly to encourage re-bloom and bushy plant growth. Feed roses every six weeks during the blooming season with a product like Rose Tone or compost.
Shrubs: If azaleas need pruning do so within 6 weeks after they bloom. New blooms will be forming after that and you will lose next year’s bloom. This does not apply to the new repeat blooming varieties. Prune old branches of forsythia to the ground
Hanging baskets: Outdoor hanging baskets will benefit from regular watering and fertilizing. B-weekly fertilizing with a water soluble fertilizer will keep them blooming. Pinch off any spent blooms that have died.
Houseplants/tender plants: Give your houseplants like hibiscus, jasmine, mandevilla, begonias, coleus a vacation outdoors once the danger of frost has gone. The last frost date in our area is April 27th. Be sure to introduce them slowly to increased sunlight and colder temps–move plants slowly from the shelter of the house to their summer spot.
Lawns: Seed or oversow lawns this month. Aerate and de-thatch your lawn this month to allow healthy root growth. Mow often in the spring so that you never have to mow more than a third of the height of the grass each time. Fertilize now if you did the first fertilization in February.