CROWN POINT | May garden tips from Wayne Gruber owner of Gardens on the Prairie in Lowell
* Continue spring clean-up.
* Deadhead early flowering bulbs—leave foliage until it yellows. Plant new additions and replacement plants after the danger of frost has passed (generally after May 15).
* Continue dividing and transplanting your summer and fall flowering perennials. Spring flowering perennials can be divided after they flower.
* Save the tags and be sure to record the locations of new plantings in your garden journal.
* Keep weeding!
* Move or remove unwanted perennial seedlings. Don’t be deceived, they can take over your garden! Hate weeding? Apply a pre-emergent herbicide such as Preen or corn gluten to prevent weeds throughout the year. These products work as a barrier to prevent germination. If you break the barrier by turning the soil or planting in the area, you must re-apply the pre-emergent. Read and follow all label instructions.
* A 2-3” layer of organic mulch is a great timesaver in ornamental beds. It prevents weeds, retains moisture and regulates soil temperatures throughout the year. Make sure you keep the mulch 1- 2” away from the base of your plants.
* Be patient with late-emerging perennials like Plumbago and Hibiscus.
* If slugs have been a problem in your garden, May is the time to begin watching for them. Slugs can turn a perfect hosta into swiss cheese over night. They leave trails of slime for every other slug to follow. Early control is important as each slug can produce 2-3 dozen offspring several times a year. Each one of these slug babies can begin reproducing within six weeks. Keeping the garden clean of debris is important. Slugs hide out and overwinter in garden debris. If you see a slug, don’t let him get away. Crushed eggshells placed around plants can cut and kill slugs. You can place small bowls of stale beer in the soil. Slugs are attracted to the beer and they drown. There are also many types of effective slug control on the market these days, both organic and chemical. Each form requires different handling methods. Always read and follow the product’s instructions to the letter! Consider Annuals. (Plants that complete their life cycle in one growing season.)
* They add wonderful color and variety to our gardens! Plant annuals after the danger of frost has passed. Usually after May 15.
* Annuals prefer a fertile, well-drained, light crumbly soil. Amend beds with compost if possible and fertilize with slow release fertilizer.
* Consider adding some beautiful, annual filled containers to your landscape! Containers should be filled with a light soilless mix and must have drainage holes. Once again, we recommend using a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote when planting.