- Yard Tools
MONTHLY GARDENING TIPS
“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
Private shade garden, Garden Tour, July, 2018
Field Trip to Blithewold Mansion Gardens, August 2018
Private garden tour, Garden Tour, July 2018
GARDENING TIPS BULLETIN: MAY 2019 (From UCONN)
ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS
- Remove spent blooms on tulips, daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs. The plant will focus its energy on growing new bulbs rather than producing seeds.
- Fertilize bulbs as soon as you see the foliage in the spring as they take in more nutrients when actively growing than when dying. Cut off the flower stalks but leave the foliage intact until it dies.
- Plant dahlias, gladioli, cannas and other summer flowering bulbs.
- Insert stakes or hoops now to prevent plants like peonies, asters and Baptisia from flopping over.
- Divide and relocate daffodils if needed but keep the foliage intact until it has all died back.
- Continue to cultivate planting beds and carefully remove young weeds.
- Lift, divide and replant late summer and fall-blooming perennials such as asters, mums, and sedum.
- Plant caladium and tuberous begonias in shady spots.
- Bring container plantings inside on cold nights. · Now is a good time to lay soaker hoses in flower and shrub gardens.
- Clematis vines like cool roots so apply mulch or plant a low-growing ground cover to shade the ground.
- Use fresh potting soil in your containers as old soil has fewer nutrients and may contain harmful bacteria and fungi. · Disinfect all pots and containers before refilling them for the season.
- As night temperatures moderate into the 60's, move houseplants outdoors (avoid full sun and windy locations).
- Check to see if your houseplants are root bound. Water them thoroughly and carefully remove them from their pots. If the roots are encircling the bottom of the pot, it is time to repot.
- Potted houseplants can be buried up to the rim in planting beds to add color and texture. In the Vegetable Garden
IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN
- Herbs can hold their own in early spring containers. Snip leaves to season dishes and create salad dressings.
- Harden off tomato, eggplant and pepper transplants before planting out at end of month.
- Plant tomatoes, peppers, corn, cucurbits, and melons after all danger of frost is gone and the soil is warm. This is usually the last week in May. (Plant tomatoes in a different spot each year to reduce fungal disease problems.)
- Have frost protection fabric or cloches, such as those you can buy at garden stores, ready for your transplants.
- Continue to cultivate planting beds and carefully remove young weeds. Plant a second crop of lettuce, arugula, spinach, and radishes for healthy, homegrown salads. Insects
Garden Pests (For all flowering plants and vegetables):
Lily leaf beetles often show up first in spring on leaves of the crown imperial (Fritillaria). Check both sides of the leaves and down inside the center whorl of leaves. Also check the undersides of leaves for tiny orange eggs. The larvae have orange, brown, or greenish yellow bodies that are sometimes hidden under their excrement. Hand-picking the adults and the egg masses into soapy water is the easiest control method, but you can also put Neem in a spray bottle and spray both sides of the leaves and stems after each rainfall.
Scout for black vine weevil adults feeding on the foliage of Rhododendron sp., Taxus sp., Euonymus sp. and Ilex crenata and use a foliar insecticide.
Lace bugs and aphids will appear soon. Spray with water or use a low-toxicity insecticide to control them. (Asian lady beetles are a beneficial insect that feed on aphids.)
Check family members and pets for ticks after being outside, especially when in tall grass or wooded areas. If necessary send ticks to the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory for testing.
- Put nets over ripening strawberries to protect them from birds and other wildlife.
- Place seedlings in cold frames around April 25 or later to harden off.
- Apply sprays as needed to control insect pests and diseases on apple , peaches and nectarines, pear, and plum trees if the temperature is over 40°F.
- Check fruit trees for Eastern tent caterpillars, they emerge around the same time as leaves sprout. Blast nests with a strong spray of water to destroy them.
- A new generation of gypsy moth caterpillars will hatch in late April and begin feeding on the leaves of many tree species. Remove and destroy any egg masses you find on your trees.
- Despite good cultural practices, pests and diseases at times may appear. Chemical control should be used only after all other methods have failed.
For pesticide information please call UConn Home and Garden Education Center weekdays, in Connecticut call toll free 877-486-6271.
- Spring pruning of fruit trees is best done early. If you’re going to spray trees with a horticultural oil— now’s the time– use one that has negligible toxicity and degrades quickly in the environment.
LANDSCAPE & LAWNS
- Clear grass and weeds from root zone areas around fruit tree trunks and remove any suckers growing from the base of the trees such as apples and crabapples.
- Spread compost around fruit trees and top with 3 to 4” of bark mulch. Keep mulch an inch or two away from the trunks.
- Remove any tree wraps or guards you placed on young trunks for winter protection.
- Thin or compacted turf will benefit from core aeration and over-seeding.
- Mow your lawn any time the grass is 1½ times the normal height, for example, if you mow at a 3-inch height, don’t let the grass get longer than 4 to 5”.
- Ground covers such as vinca, ajuga, pachysandra, creeping foamflowers, and ivy can be divided and transplanted now to create new beds or enlarge existing ones. On a cloudy, cool day, use a sharp shovel or trowel to separate offshoots from mother plants and transplant them into a shady new location. Keep them well watered.
TREES AND SHRUBS
- May is an excellent time to plant a shade tree or flowering tree in your yard.
- Wait to prune evergreens, hedges and other shrubs until late spring into early summer.
- Vegin deadheading roses. Fertilize roses and monitor them for insects and fungal diseases.
- Twist off the wilting seed heads from rhododendrons and azaleas, so that the plants energy can go to foliage growth and next year’s flowers, rather than seeds.
- Pines and other conifers can be kept to a compact size by pinching off one-half of the new growth 'candles'.
- Prune lilacs after they finish flowering.
- Now is a good time to lay soaker hoses in flower and shrub gardens.
- Many summer-blooming tropical plants such as hibiscus and mandevilla bloom on new growth. Fertilize and prune carefully to encourage growth and flowers.
- Hummingbirds and orioles return to northern states by mid-May. Clean and refill feeders to attract these colorful birds to your backyard or fill hanging baskets with flowers that will attract them such as petunias, salvia, and fuchsia. Some perennials that attract hummingbirds are trumpet vine, honeysuckle, foxglove, and columbine.
- Apply deer repellents if needed.
- · Aerate and moisten the compost pile to speed decomposition.
- Add water lilies to your pond when the water temperature reaches 70° F.
- Clean and store birdfeeders.
- Disinfect bird baths with a 10 to 1 solution of water and bleach.
3 Elements for Making Perfect Compost
1. Start with a container
Compost bins are of two types, stationary and rotating. Both types must have their contents turned periodically to provide oxygen and combine the decaying materials.
Stationary bins can be as simple as well-ventilated cage made from wire fence sections or wooden crates assembled from a kit. A well-designed bin will retain heat and moisture, allowing for quicker results. Locate the pile in a sunny location so that it has as much heat as possible. If it’s in the shade all day, decomposition will still happen, but it will be much slower, especially when freezing temps arrive in the fall. Compost tumblers can also take heat advantage of being placed in direct sunlight. Skip meat, fish and dairy for outdoor bins because they tend to attract pests like mice, raccoons and dogs. Begin by placing chunky material like small branches or woody stems on the bottom for good airflow. Every time you add green material, add some brown as well to keep a good moisture balance and create air pockets.
Compost tumblers are easy-to-turn bins that speed up the process — compost in weeks, not months or years — by frequent oxygen infusions and heat retention. Select one based on how much plant matter (grass, leaves, weeds, stalks and stems from last year’s garden) you have at your disposal, how large your yard is, and how quickly you need to use the finished product.
2. Get the ingredient mix right
A low-maintenance pile has a combination of brown and green plant matter, plus some moisture to keep the good bacteria humming. Shredded newspaper, wood chips and dry leaves are ideal for the brown elements; kitchen waste and grass clippings are perfect for the green add-ins. It’s a good idea to give your new pile a jump-start to get the process started. There are several great activators that are ready to go right out of the box. No need to mix it in well. Fold in a couple shovelfuls of garden soil rich in organic matter and let the natural process begin.
3. Remember a few simple chores.
Taking care of a compost pile is extremely basic, but a wee bit of care makes a huge difference. Add material regularly to give the happy bacteria some fresh food to consume and enough insulation to keep the process warm.
Turn the pile with a pitchfork or compost aerator every week or two to make sure that all of the materials are blended in and working together. After you’ve mixed things up, grab a handful to see if it’s slightly damp. Too little moisture will slow the decomposition process and too much will leave you with a slimy mess. In a few months, your finished product should be a dark, crumbly soil that smells like fresh earth.
©2016 Quiet Corner Garden Club. All rights reserved.
Website design by Chimalis LLC