May Gardening Guide
May is finally here, which is a sure, unspoken sign that planting season is upon us. By this time in the season, annuals and perennials are a-okay to be in the ground. For your annuals, pinch back early blossoms to force more blooms and fuller plants. Fertilize your hungry annuals and perennials with Osmocote, 8-8-8, or Miracle Gro to help promote vigorous growth and blooms. While you’re at it, go ahead and feed your hollies, laurel, pines, boxwood, and other acid-loving shrubs with an acidic fertilizer such as Holly-Tone to give them a boost.
As for your lawn, it’s time to lay down Scotts Step 2 or another type of broadleaf weed control to keep your lawn lush, green, and weed-free. Lay down Preen in the garden at this time to keep weeds from coming up later on in the summer. Don’t forget to apply Bayer 24-Hour or Grub Ex to take care of grubs before they get out of control. Water in after applying to effectively treat grubs.
Speaking of pests, the arrival of spring and green leaves brings with them the notorious winter moth caterpillar. These pesky green inchworms (we know you’ve seen them all over your car) are hatched from eggs laid in the branches of trees by the parent winter moth. In the winter, the moths will climb the trunks of trees to lay their eggs. Then, once the trees begin to leaf out, the eggs hatch, and the caterpillars begin feeding on the new leaves. While it isn’t harmful yet, repeated defoliation of the trees may result in the loss of the tree. It is recommended to take care of these pests early before you even see signs of eaten leaves. You can be sure that almost as soon as the leaves begin to fill out that the caterpillars won’t be far behind. Apply Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew to the branches and the tops and undersides of the leaves for even coverage. Be sure to douse the tree thoroughly to ensure you’ve reached as many of the caterpillars as possible. If you have a tree that’s too tall for your sprayer, we recommend calling a tree service and having them come out to spray the tree. Repeat the process as needed until you no longer see signs of the caterpillars.
Other garden pests will be making their appearances as well. Not sure what you’ve got? Bring a small branch and/or a leaf in to us and we’ll take a look and diagnose your problem. Keep an eye out as well for tent caterpillars on cherries, crabapples, and plums. Liquid Sevin and BT do a terrific job in clearing out these pests. While they’re much larger than caterpillars, deer are also considered garden pests and they are notorious for eating foliage off your ornamentals. To stave them off, we recommend using Deer Off or milorganite. Rabbits and other small rodents can be controlled with dried blood or Liquid Fence.
Now for the fun part! The ground should be soft enough for planting. Adding Coast of Maine compost and peat to any planting or transplanting job will help to give your new and established plants extra nutrients. At this time, you can plant your strawberries and blueberries if you haven’t yet! Forsythia, spirea, witch hazel, deutzia, and weigelas are all early bloomers, so prune them right after they bloom to help promote next year’s growth.