“April showers bring May flowers”.
May truly is a month
of beautiful flowers. May is also a time to start planning for the
hotter, drier months that are sure to come! The Illinois Certified
Nursery Professional (ICN Pro) at your local garden center can help you
plan a garden that will not only be beautiful in May, but it will also
be beautiful during those long, hot, dog–days of summer.
May is prime
gardening season--keep the following tips in mind when you are out
enjoying the glorious spring days!
Now is the time
to finish up fertilizer & weed spray applications! It is important
that these applications be done before the temperatures start to
Remember to keep
your mowing height up! A taller turf is a healthier turf, and a
healthy turf is more able to withstand drought and compete with
If you are
interested in installing an irrigation system for your lawn, be sure
you contact a professional. For irrigation professionals your area
contact the Illinois Green Industry Association at
Now is the time
to plant your annual flowers! The frost-free date for Central
Illinois is May 15. That means that after May 15 you can feel very
safe in setting your tender annuals outside.
When potting your
annuals, it is a good idea to use a time-release fertilizer in the
container. There are several different time-release fertilizers, and
different garden centers will stock different ones. Ask the ICN Pro
at your local garden center for their professional recommendation.
Now is the time
to plant your vegetable garden. Before planting your garden it is a
good idea to incorporate an organic material into the soil. This
will improve the soil that your plants are growing in, and it will
also reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizers you need. After
planting, you can use mulch to help control weed growth. If you have
questions about maintaining your vegetable garden, visit the ICN Pro
at your local garden center.
in May it is recommended to start feeding your roses. If you have
hybrid tea, grandiflora, or floribunda roses they will benefit from
regular feeding. You can use a rose food that has a systemic
insecticide in it. The systemic insecticide will attack any chewing
insects that decide to feast on your roses. If you have had black
spot or powdery mildew on your roses in the past, you should begin
your spray regime in May. There are two recommended products: 1) a
systemic fungicide, or 2) a systemic fungicide mixed with a systemic
insecticide. Beware that the use of these products is harmful to
birds, butterflies and other desirable creatures, as well as the
less desirable ones. Only spray when necessary!
For weed control
in your landscape beds you can use a pre-emergent herbicide. A
common product name is Preen (treflan). This is a granular
formulation that can be applied with a spreader or a shaker can
directly into the bed. This product helps prevent weed seed from
germinating, it will not kill weeds that are already growing. To
treat your existing weeds spot treat with a broad-spectrum herbicide
like Round- Up or Killz- all.
Your water garden
will continue to come alive in May, after the danger of frost is
past, your tropical plants may be added. Floaters, such as water
hyacinth and water lettuce, can be added. For help with your other
water gardening questions, visit the ICN Pro at your garden center.
If you are
planning to install a native landscape in the future, it is very
important to control the existing vegetation on the site. Before
seeding in June, the area must be free of weeds. A clean site can
be achieved by using a contact herbicide, like Round–up. For more
information on the establishment of native landscapes in your area,
visit the ICN Pro at your local garden center.
Insect & Diseases
Towards the end
of May, you’ll want to spray any young trees that you have for
borers. All young trees are susceptible to borer damage and there is
no cure. In order to prevent borer damage, you should spray your
young trees in late May and again 2 weeks later (in Central
Illinois). In the past, homeowners have been able to treat their
young trees themselves with Dursban. However, Dursban is no longer
available to homeowners. Check with your local ICN Pro for
recommendations for your area. Most garden centers will have a spray
Hang up your
hummingbird feeders, and remember to clean and fill them often!
your song birds! Black Oil Sunflower is perfect to feed your fine,
feathered friends all year long! They will enjoy your generosity and
you’ll enjoy their beauty!
Use chemicals in
your lawn and garden with great caution! Remember that chemicals
are not ‘critter specific’! What kills an undesirable creature, like
an aphid, will also kill a desirable creature, like a butterfly!
Get your garden
growing beautifully, with help from an ICN Pro at your local garden
center! Not sure where to find an ICN Pro in your area? To
locate an ICN Pro in your area, simply log on to
www.illinoisgreen.net and visit the
ICN Pro Directory. There you will
find a complete list of ICN Pro’s around the state!
Boehm-Corrie, ICN Pro of the
Year (2003), Boehm's Garden Center,