Garden and Landscape Tasks for May
* Early flowering deciduous shrubs such as Forsythias, Weigela, and Spiraea should be pruned back when they have finished blooming. Cut back a third of the oldest canes to ground level, then cut back one third of the remaining branches by one third of their height.
* Lilacs should be pruned lightly after they finish blooming, removing sucker growths and dead blooms.. Feed lilacs in May with a good all purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer after they have finished blooming. If your soil has an acidic pH, work a little lime into the soil as well.
* Work lime in the soil around your Hydrangeas to produce pink flowers or Aluminum Sulphate for blue.
* It should be safe to plant almost all vegetables now. The warm weather crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumber, pumpkins and peppers can wait until mid to late May. Carrots, lettuce, potatoes, corn, beans, peas and most of the rest of the popular vegetables can be seeded or planted anytime now.
* Stake clematis, peonies, delphiniums or any other heavy or dangly plant.
* May is a good month to repair your lawn. Fill in the bare spots by slightly loosening surface of the soil and sow a good quality lawn seed over the area evenly. Tamp the seed in gently and water. Keep the patch moist by covering with light mulch of lawn clippings. This is the time to eliminate lawn weeds by hand pulling, or the application of a 'weed and feed' fertilizer.... before they go to seed!. Setting your mower for a higher cut during the spring months will help the grass to grow in fuller and help choke out the weeds.
* Dahlias, Gladiolas, tuberous Begonias, Lilies and Cannas and other summer flowering bulbs can be planted this month. Gladiolas bulbs may be planted at 2 week increments until the first of July to provide you with cut flowers until the first frost.
* Delphiniums, Phlox, Daylilies, Carnations, Aubrietia, Candytuft, Basket of Gold, Primroses, Coral Bells and Saxifraga and other summer flowering perennials may all be set into the garden any time in May.
* Keep a vigilante eye on the roses. Keep them sprayed for aphids and other pests and diseases such as black spot.
* The compost pile should be getting a lot of use these days, both in utilizing this prime garden resource, and adding fresh garden refuse to it. The compost pile should be kept damp. Frequent turning will turn your garden waste into flower food much faster.