May flowers have arrived in the Willamette Valley and the first feeling of summer is in the air! It is time to bring all of those winter gardening dreams to life!
A few things to keep in mind when planting this month:
- Location: Make sure to put the right plant in the right location! Ensure that the plant will get the sunlight that it requires and has enough space to thrive (no overcrowding).
- Soil: Identify your soil conditions. What does your soil need to be able to grow the plants you crave? Lime, Sand, organic fertilizer?
- Water: Create a watering method and schedule that is ideal for your situation. Consider irrigating in the morning hours so that the foliage has time to dry off before nightfall. By doing this you will reduce the spread of disease. Using an automated system makes this easy – for example, our raised bed irrigation waters at 4:30 AM.
Local garden centers are in full swing right now! It is usually safe to plant annual flowers (i.e. petunias, marigolds), dahlias and tuberous begonias in May. Watch the weather and protect if frost is predicted.
To have a rose garden that is easier to care for, select roses that are labeled disease resistant. Some of these include: ‘Pope John Paul II’ (Hybrid Tea Rose), ‘Yellow Simplicity” (Hedge Rose), ‘Black Cherry’ (Floribunda Rose), and ‘Blaze of Glory’ (Climbing Rose).
Consider using drought tolerant plants in your landscape this year. There are many plants to choose from in this category. Try planting perennials like Russian Sage and Black-Eyed Susan’s for color. Herbs like Sage, Rosemary, and Lavender are tough enough to handle dry conditions. Mix in some ornamental grasses or New Zealand Flax for added texture. Regardless of how hot the summer will be, water conservation is always a good idea.
To continue a lush and colorful landscape well into the fall, establish a fertilizing routine. This can be accomplished with either a time release fertilizer mixed into the soil or a water-soluble solution (i.e. fish emulsion as directed) to your watering cycle.
Not sure how to transform your space? Get inspired at Lane Forest’s Prairie Rd. location – our Courtyard Gardens feature multiple vignettes with outdoor kitchens, living walls and patterns for patios. Our experts are here to help.
If you have not done so get those cool season starts, such as potatoes and onions, planted the first of the month. This is your last chance before it gets too warm!
Mid to Late-May is a good garden month to plant warm season vegetables, such as tomatoes, squash, and peppers.
Cabbage worms in cabbage and cauliflower can become an issue this month. There are many control options, including hand removal, placing barrier screen over newly planted rows, or spraying. Select the method that works best for your situation.
Beware of a Flea Beetle attack on your tomato plants! These shiny, black beetles create tiny holes in the foliage. One control option is a treatment of Neem oil. Neem oil is natural oil pressed from the seeds of the Neem tree. Neem can also aid in the treatment of many fungal diseases (i.e. powdery mildew). Find more tips for dealing with garden pests here.
Do you often find maggots in your apple or pears? These little guys are likely the caterpillars of the Codling Moth. A control method this time year is to place pheromone traps in the tree(s). These are open ended boxes draw the male Codling Moth inside where he becomes trapped.
Indoor Plants & Herbs
Wipe off the foliage of indoor plants. While you are cleaning your plants check for any pest or disease issues.
Feed plants as needed.
It’s a good time of year to set your indoor plants outside in the shade for some fresh air. They enjoy it as much as we do!
This is a perfect time to aerate your lawn. This process creates holes in your lawn that allow oxygen, water and fertilizer to penetrate into the root zone more easily. Lawn aeration can be much more effective than thatching, which often does more harm than good.
Various Jobs Around Your Oregon Garden
Azaleas and rhododendrons need attention. Fertilize with an acid fertilizer, prune azaleas if leggy or sparse after bloom, prune rhododendrons if necessary as blooms fade. Otherwise, gently pluck spent blooms.
With summer just around the corner make sure that your irrigation system is in good working order.
Remove weeds while they are small. This can be done by hand, a little light cultivation, or a bit of spraying. Whatever the method, getting the weeds when they are small will require less work and/or product.
Aphids and slugs are two of the biggest garden pests this time of year. Continued vigilance will pay off in abundance.
Moles and gophers may start popping up in your garden this month. Stay on top of them by placing traps in their new mounds.
Spittle bugs are back on the garden scene this month. Although they can leave an unsightly froth on your plants, they don’t do any real damage to the foliage. They can simply be hosed off or removed by hand. There is not usually a need to spray.
Trees and shrubs are actively growing. Make sure to fertilize them as needed. Roses especially are heavy feeders and will need plenty of energy to produce quality blooms.
We have an abundance of rhododendrons and azaleas in our landscapes. These beauties are susceptible to root weevils. The adult root weevils eat the leaves of the plants giving them a notched appearance. There are a variety of treatment options that include sticky traps and beneficial nematodes.
Clean and prepare water features for summer enjoyment. Check pumps and filters to make sure they are in good working order.
Trim hedges to maintain their shape.
Prune spring flowering evergreen shrubs (i.e. rhododendrons) when they finish blooming. Doing so now will not impact next year’s flowers.