May Gardnening Checklist


  • Select flowering perennials with a progression of bloom from spring to fall.
  • Transplant groundcovers including English Ivy, Myrtle, Pachysandra & Ajuga.
  • Stake elongating stalks of Peonies to prevent “flopping” – use special peony rings. Leave in place until the stalks are cut to the ground in late September.
  • Remove spent blossoms from tulips, daffodils & other bulbs, but let foliage wither & turn yellow before you remove it to replenish the bulb’s food supply for next year.
  • Apply Rose fertilizer (Rosetone) now – rich in organics, to promote vigorous growth & beautiful blooms.


  • Make successive plantings of carrots, beets, radishes, chard & leaf lettuce.
  • Since phosporous moves very slowly in the soil, fertilizers with this nutrient are best scratched into the root zone.
  • Wash insect-infested herb plants with a mild soap solution, then rinse with clear water.
  • Select early, midseason & late cultivars of Blueberries for a long picking season.
  • Remember Mom with a flowering plant OR LEAVE HER ALONE ALL DAY SO SHE CAN GARDEN!
  • Make first planting of sweet corn & green beans.
  • Plant Dahlias in sunny, well-drained, fertile soil after the ground is warm.
  • Set aside a small plot near the back door as a “snack” garden. Enjoy herbs, berries & veggies.


  • Hedges of boxwood, privet, barberry & yew can be sheared or trimmed as often as needed through the summer to keep their shape. Keep the base wider than the top.
  • Finger-prune the “candles” of mugho pine, pinching them back most of the way to force internal growth rather than leggy growth beyond the plant’s present height & width.
  • Tent caterpillars have exited their egg clusters & constructed silken tents in the crotches of trees. They won’t venture far beyond the tent for the next few weeks, but by late May they will start devouring foliage day & night.
  • If possible, poke a hole in the tent & direct a stream of water into the tent to break it apart & knock it to the ground.T
  • Then sprinkle limestone over the wiggling caterpillars to immobilize them, causing them to die in a matter of hours.
  • Protect honeybees! Never apply insecticides to fruit trees in bloom.
  • Want privacy? Plant a hedge of Arborvitae, Hemlock, White Pine, upright Junipers…


  • Grubs have entered a month-long resting phase after which the emerge as flying Japanese beetles.
  • Spot treat broadleaf weeds with an appropriate herbicide if weeds are not widespread throughout your lawn.