What to do in the garden during May

What to do in the garden during May

Summer is on its way as temperatures increase and days get longer, herbaceous plants start to emerge, and the grass is getting longer, there's plenty to be doing in the garden this month, check out our latest hints and tips for May put together by chairman and horticulturist, John Richardson.

1)Thoroughly water newly planted trees and shrubs, a really good occasional soak is better than frequent small doses of water. A generally balanced feed in mid-May will help new plantings. A subsequent mulch of crushed bark or compost will help to retain moisture.

2)Tie in new growth of clematis, roses, climbing hydrangeas, honeysuckle and other fast-growing climbers.

3)Complete the planting of bare-root and root-balled hedging this month, and ensure that previously planted hedges have not been displaced by wind. Water in again if conditions remain dry.

4)Give a final clip to established privet, Ivy and Lonicera nitida varieties, and give topiary a quick trim if it is beginning to appear unkempt. Check for nest-building birds before clipping.

5)Slugs will be on the attack this month, control by picking off by hand or using a biological control such as ‘Nemaslug’ or chemicals based on ferric phosphate.

6)Plant up hanging baskets this month, but don’t place outside until the prospect of frost is over. Add a water-retaining gel and long release fertilizer for a good show!

7)Trim lawn edges frequently when dry to develop a firm edge to the lawn, which will not sink when walked upon.

8)If you did not apply a weed killer to the lawn this spring, use the grass mowings to mulch trees and hedge plants.

9)Pick off the flower-heads of Rhododendrons and Azaleas as they die back. The flower head will break off easily if bent over just below the old flower head. This encourages the new growth to develop and will be helped with a much of leaf-mould.

10)Plants should be staked before they become too big and start to flop. Methods to use include pea sticks, bending the tops across to form a canopy or use upright canes around each clump with twine tied around the canes, or wire netting supported by canes in a cylinder around tall plants or extra tall plants tied to canes of the ultimate plant size.

11)When the danger of overnight frost has passed, purchase your bedding plant requirements. It is a good idea to check when the local parks plant out their summer bedding as a guide

12)As the weather warms up, ensure that glass areas are shaded and open during the day. To maintain humidity, damp down the paths and other surfaces with a hosepipe.

13)Dahlias may begin to sprout in mild conditions under glass, don’t plant out until the possibility of frost is past. Consider taking cuttings of the first shoots.

Posted 30th Apr 3:02pm

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