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.