May Gardening Tip

may1_lgRose maintenance:

As new growth fully emerges on your roses, there are a few things to look for. Be sure any new growth coming out below the graft is pruned off. This foliage should look different from the main plant because these shoots are growing from the root stock. Remove all leaf and plant debris, and discard them in the trash, as they might harbor insect eggs and fungi. All roses are heavy feeders so this is a good time to fertilize with a slow release granular fertilizer scratched into the mulch area around the root surface. Most roses would also benefit from an application of a fast acting foliar spray fertilizer throughout the summer. Leggy stem growth and very few flower buds are usually a sign that the plant is lacking sunlight. Try pruning overhead trees and shrubs to increase sunlight or maybe the plant needs to be moved to a sunnier area. Watering is also very important to roses; the spring rains are usually adequate to support lush new growth. But as summer brings more sunny hot weather, it is very important to add moisture to these plants, thoroughly soaking this plant at least once a week with a hand wand. Be sure to apply water to root area and not to foliage; water lying on foliage will cause fungi. If overhead watering is necessary, be sure to water early in the morning so foliage has a chance to dry out. Also keeping a thick layer of mulch on them will help to hold more moisture.

Planting annuals:

With the last frost in this area around May 15, early May is usually a safe time to plant annuals. Eventhough annuals can sometimes be a lot of maintenance and need to be planted every year, there are no other plants that give you so much color all summer long. All annuals are very heavy feeders so preparing the bed is very important. Start by turning over the soil and mixing either peat moss or any other organic material into the soil at about a 50/50 rate. Add a slow release fertilizer by scratching into the top layer right before planting. The best time to plant these small transplants is on a cloudy day or late in the day so new transplants will not be stressed from the sun. It is also very important to water these small transplants in at planting and also follow up for the first week to get them well established. By turning up the soil you will lose all pre-emergent that was put down earlier in the year, so you might need to hand weed these areas until the plants are established. Then you can reapply pre-emergent; check label to confirm the use around tender annuals. Also lightly mulch them at this time. [Read more…]