Gardening This Weekend: May 5, 2016

There are so many things a gardener can do this time of the year. But you only have limited time. Let’s make a list of the first and foremost among them.



• New grass. This is the primest of times for seeding, sodding, planting plugs or hydromulching. Soil preparation is the same for each: rototill with a rear-tine tiller, then rake the planting bed smooth.
• New trees and shrubs. Selections are still excellent. Plan on hand-watering them their first year in your gardens. Sprinkler irrigation won’t be adequate.
• New groundcover plantings to take advantage of the burst of growth the rest of this spring.
• Summer annuals and perennials.



• Spring-blooming shrubs and vines to re-establish good and natural form. Avoid formal shearing.
• Remove dead or damaged branches after the storms of the past few weeks. If you’re hiring the work done, call on a certified arborist.
• Pinch out growing tips of coleus, fall asters, mums and other plants that tend to grow lanky. That will force them to send out side shoots and stay more compact.



• Turfgrass, groundcovers, trees, shrub beds and even flowers and vegetables with an all-nitrogen or high-nitrogen food. Half or more of that nitrogen should be in encapsulated or slow-release form.
• Iron and sulfur in tandem to correct iron chlorosis. Keep off masonry and painted surfaces that could be stained.



• Cabbage loopers eating holes in cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower leaves. Apply “B.t.” biological worm control.
• Powdery mildew with labeled fungicide. Keep foliage dry whenever possible.
• Snails, slugs, pillbugs devouring foliage of hostas, begonias, other succulent new growth. Use Sevin dust or shallow pans filled with beer or fermenting dry dog food soaking in water.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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