Garden Update – May

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May is the month when air temperatures finally begin to rise in the mountains. By the middle of the month the likelihood of frosts are past and soil temperature rise. May is a time of vegetable planting, lawn care, and summer blooms!


Plants in Flower

Southern Magnolia, Golden Chain Tree, Kousa Dogwood, Hybrid Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, Azalea, Scotch Broom, Deutzia, Beauty Bush, Weigela, Roses, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Dianthus, Sweet William, Candytuft, Bearded Iris, Peony, Coreopsis, Poppy, and Summer Annuals

What to Fertilize

Fertilize summer flowering plants like crape myrtle this month.

Do not forget to fertilize your vegetable six to eight weeks after germination. and every 4 weeks after.

What to Plant

Plant gladioli and other bulbs this month. Plant summer annuals like begonia, geranium, marigold, petunia, and zinnia this month.

The following vegetable plants can be set out this month: eggplant, pepper, tomato, and sweet potato.

The following vegetables can be planted from seeds this month: beans, lima beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, okra, southern peas, pumpkin, squash, and watermelon.

What to Prune

Prune your hybrid rhododendron after they finish flowering. Prune any hedges that have outgrown their desired shape. Pick off azalea leaf galls if they form. Do not cut back spring bulb foliage until it turns yellow and brown.

Pest Outlook

Monitor the following landscape shrubs for the following insect pests: arborvitae-bag worm, azalea-lace bug, boxwood-leaf miner, euonymus-scale, hemlock and juniper-spruce mites, pyracantha-lace bug and hybrid rhododendron borer.

Monitor your vegetables for the following pests: cucumber (cucumber beetle), squash (squash borer and aphids, tomato and eggplant (flea beetle), broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower (worms).

Keep spraying your tree fruits such as peaches and bunch grapes with a fungicide program.

Use pesticides sparingly. Spray only when needed.

Lawn Care

Cut tall fescue and bluegrass at three inches, zoysia at one inch.


Take softwood cuttings of plants like azalea, rhododendron, forsythia, clematis, chrysanthemum and geranium in late May if you have a misting system. Or, try layering azalea, forsythia, and other shrubs by pulling a branch down to contact soil and hold in place with a rock. Roots will grow from the stem into the ground by the end of the summer. You can then cut away the new plant from the mother plant.

Specific Chores

Repot houseplants if desired. Buy new plants and plant them but be sure to monitor the weather and if it has been dry, give the plants a good soaking once a week.

echinacea and pollinator