Gardening Tips for May

Posted: 15 May 2024

Author: Smith's Garden Centre

Summer Bedding

May is the perfect time to begin planting Summer bedding once the late frosts have passed. Refresh any containers and pots with new compost, and make sure to add a slow release fertiliser like Vitax Q4 to the compost if it isn’t already included. This helps to keep the plants fed for up to 6 weeks and helps them to establish good, healthy growth.

It’s also a good idea to add a moisture retention agent to the compost to stop containers, pots and baskets from drying out during the hotter Summer months.

When watering Summer bedding, aim to do it early morning and/or late evening when the weather is cooler and the sun isn’t at its strongest. This will prevent any leaves and flowers from becoming scorched.

Lawn Care

During May, lawns tend to need cutting once a week. The trick to a healthy lawn is to not let them grow too long. When lawns get too long the lower parts of the lawn closest to the soil will start to die; as the blades of grass can’t get enough sunlight. 

If the weather starts to heat up dramatically don’t worry too much if your lawn turns brown, once the rain returns it should only take a few weeks for it to recover on its own. However, if you have recently laid new turf or sown new seed during the Spring, it is especially important to keep it well watered, as the grass will not yet be fully established underneath the surface and won’t tolerate drying out.

Weeding and feeding lawns is also recommended at this time of year as weeds will be growing and lawns will be competing for nutrients. An all-in-one weed and feed product will work really well to kill the weeds but not the grass. We recommend Miracle-Gro Evergreen Complete 4 in 1 – Lawn Feed & Moss Control.

Planting Perennials

As May comes round, perennials begin to emerge. May and June are the perfect time to plant perennials for Summer long interest and colour. 

When looking at planting perennials it’s good to look at the conditions of your borders to see what will work best. Most perennials will work in sunny spots with free draining soil but a few, like Hostas, Astilbes and Dicentra (Bleeding Hearts) will tolerate more shady conditions.

Once you have purchased your new perennials you can lay them out in your garden on top of the soil to see what looks best. If you’re not happy with the position, or if a perennial is blocking the view of something else you can simply move it before planting.

If you have planted a perennial in a spot that you’re not happy with and it has taken over the space, wait until it enters dormancy to prune it back, then when the first shoots start to appear in March you can dig it up and move it.

Pest Control

Keep an eye out for pests and disease as the weather begins to warm up – especially aphids who enjoy snacking on vegetable plants. Tolerating a small amount of aphids is important to the biodiversity of your garden but we understand that this isn’t always possible when your crop is at stake.

We recommend treating aphids with Bug Clear late in the evening when there aren’t many bees around. Bug Clear kills aphids on contact and will be absorbed into the plant. If you’re using Bug Clear on fruit and vegetables, make sure to leave 2-3 weeks before harvesting, unless you are using the specific Fruit & Veg Bug Clear alternative.

To naturally prevent aphids in your vegetable patches, you can plant Marigolds and Nasturtium in between crops.

Begin to protect targeted crops with netting to help keep pests out and give you the best chance at increasing your crop yield. 

At Smith’s we have a resident Blackbird that enjoys eating all of our strawberries in our kitchen garden. We have been informed that painting pebbles red and leaving them next to your strawberry plants can prevent birds from eating your crop!

If you have any enquiries drop us a message!

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