To Do in May


  • Fertilize summer flowering plants like crape myrtle and rose- of-Sharon this month.
  • Do not forget to sidedress or fertilize your vegetable six to eight weeks after germination.


  • Plant gladioli bulbs (corms) this month.
  • Plant summer annuals like begonia, geranium, marigold, petunia and zinnia this month.
  • The following vegetable plants can be set out this month: eggplant, pepper, tomato and sweet potato.
  • The following vegetables can be planted this month: beans, lima beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, okra, southern peas, pumpkin, squash and watermelon.
  • Plant warm season herbs such as basil.  Divide and transplant mature herb plantings.


  • Prune your hybrid rhododendrons after they finish flowering.
  • Prune any hedges that have outgrown their desired shape.
  • Begin pinching your chrysanthemums and continue through early July.
  • Pick off azalea leaf galls as they form.
  • Do NOT cut back spring bulb foliage until it turns yellow and brown.


  • Spray the following landscape shrubs for the following insect pests: arborvitae-bag worm, azalea-lace bug, boxwood-leaf miner, euonymus-scale, hemlock and juniper-spruce mites, pyracantha-lace bug and hybrid rhododendron borer if needed.
  • Spray iris beds for iris borers if needed.
  • Spray the following vegetables if insects are observed: cucumber (cucumber beetle), squash (squash borer and aphids, tomato and eggplant (flea beetle), broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower (worms).
  • Weekly sprays on red-tip photinia if leaf spot is observed.
  • Continue with rose spray program.
  • Keep spraying your tree fruits and bunch grapes with a fungicide program.
  • Use pesticides sparingly. Spray only when needed and follow all instructions on the label.

Lawn Care

  • Fertilize zoysia this month after it has greened up. Do NOT fertilize tall fescue now.
  • Start warm season lawns like zoysia in May.
  • Mowing heights for your lawn are important. Cut tall fescue and bluegrass at three inches, zoysia at one inch.


  • Take softwood cuttings of plants like azalea, rhododendron, forsythia, clematis, chrysanthemum and geranium in late May if you have a misting system.

Specific Chores

  • Purchase locally grown strawberries.
  • Move houseplants outside if desired.
  • If weather has been dry, give favorite plants a good soaking once a week.