Dry spring weather has made it
tough to grow plants in containers. They dry out so quickly. If a plant
dries out too fast, it may be an indication it has too small a pot.
Stepping it up a pot size or two may help with the watering and makes for
better plant growth too.
One way to help with the watering is keep a saucer under the plant at this
time of the year. It holds the extra water that drains through the
containers and keeps it ready for use. This may supply up to a day of
Here are some more tips we use to conserve water at this time of the year.
Catch the water from the air conditioner for watering container plants. We
can capture 4 to 8 gallons of water per day. Also, save the water from
dinner glasses. This too is used for plants indoors and outside too. We
also catch the first cold water before showers. This is used for the
roses. And also don’t forget to put a cistern under the down spouts. When
it does rain here is a reserve for the dry times.
Tomatoes are a major concern for many gardeners. Here are some secrets.
Keep the plants moist but not wet. Use a mulch to stretch the time between
waterings. Trellis the taller plants. Feed the plantings every 3 to 4
weeks. And lastly keep control of aphids and caterpillars. Plenty of
natural controls are available for these pests. One more thing – if you
grow tomatoes in containers, make sure it is a big one. Plants in too
small a pot end up with cultural problems like blossom-end rot.
Now there is a lot to do this month so I have a list of Gotta Do’s.
for May, 2012
May is the last month to fertilize
lawns before fall in many areas - check local ordinances
An iron only application or a minor
nutrient spray can often regreen yellow lawns
Chinch bugs started early in
St. Augustine causing yellow to brown sections - treat as needed.
May is still a good month to add new
sod and plugs to bare or problem areas in lawns.
Now through summer is a good time to
seed bahia lawns
stretch the time between waterings; wait until spots in the lawn
start to wilt to water
Measure leaf blades to make sure the
lawn it being cut at the proper height
Consider allowing drought tolerant
grasses to go dormant during dry weather.
Dig out or spot kill weeds and
replace with plugs of grass or sod
Aerate compacted and hard to wet
Select shade tolerant grasses or an
ornamental ground cover for difficult shady spots
In the Landscape:
Planting time for cool season flowers
is over; only plant warm weather selections.
Groom plants to regain their natural
shape after spring growth
Avoid shearing where possible;
remove out of bounds shoots with hand pruners
Prune azaleas and camellia before
they start setting new flower buds.
Prune palms by only removing brown
fronds and old flower portions.
Feed palms with an 8-2-12 or similar
slow release palm fertilizer according to labels.
Look for new plants to use in the
landscape like bromeliads, orchids and other foliage plants.
Display orchids in shady landscape
spots and feed every other week with a liquid fertilizer.
Repot orchids and bromeliads
overflowing their containers
Prune poinsettias back 4 inches every
time they produce a foot of new growth.
Add slow release fertilizers to
container plantings to reduce the number of feedings needed.
Feed shrubs, vines and ground covers
as seasonal rains return
Save lots of water by irrigating
trees and shrubs separately from lawns and only when needed.
Maintain a mulch layer over tree and
shrub roots to help conserve moisture.
Save fertilizer; older shade trees
seldom need special feedings
Select plants for pool and patio
areas that do not drop messy flowers or foliage.
Keep new tree and shrub
plantings moist as permitted by water restrictions.
Create shady gardens with low light
requiring flowers, shrubs, bulbs and foliage plants.
Fertilize all flower beds and shrub
plantings as the rainy season returns
Transplant palms when the rainy
Control black spot & mites affecting
Feed water lilies and lotus monthly
Begin rooting cuttings of favorite
shrubs and perennials
Pull or spot kill weeds among shrubs
and flower beds and add a mulch.
Vegetable and Fruit Care:
It’s too late for most tomatoes,
peppers and eggplants; select summer tolerant vegetables
May is the last month for many herbs
that cannot stand the heat and rains
Start sweet potato transplants from a
grocery store purchase
Give citrus, grapes and other fruits
a late spring feeding.
Prune blackberries and blueberries
when fruiting is over.
Trellis vining crops to save space
and prevent diseases
Feed vegetable plantings monthly.
Establish soil solarization
treatments to control nematodes and diseases
Incorporate compost with
planting sites to improve sandy soils.
Purchase seeds now for later
plantings; seeds are often removed from stores during summer
House Plants Chores:
Give weak and thinning foliage plants
a spot outdoors to recover.
Check water needs daily and moisten
when the surface soil feels dry
Repot plants that have outgrown their
Remove yellow leaves and faded
Reshape taller tree form foliage
plants and remove declining limbs
Divide African violets, bromeliads
Wash pests and dust away with soapy
Feed outdoor foliage plants monthly
or use a slow release fertilizer.