May Garden Guide


By Mary Jane Frogge, Extension Associate in Lancaster County

In May, plant marigold, petunia, ageratum and begonia transplants. All are good border plants.

Cabbage loopers and imported cabbage worms are green caterpillars. They eat large holes in the leaves of plants in the cabbage family. For control, caterpillars can be picked off by hand or sprayed with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a natural, non-toxic preparation available by various trade names.

Harvest rhubarb by cutting or by grasping the stalk and pulling up and gently to one side.

To grow annuals in containers on the patio, use a lightweight soil mixture. Keep the plants well watered, because the soil dries out fast. Apply a water-soluble fertilizer according to package directions every two weeks.

Lawns maintained at the correct height are less likely to have disease and weed infestation. Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue should be mowed at approximately 3-inches in height. Mow frequently, removing no more than one-third of the blade at each cutting.

Watering roses with soaker hoses or drip irrigation will reduce the spread of black spot disease.

Plant ground covers under shade trees that do not allow enough sunlight to grow grass. Vinca minor or English ivy are ground cover plants that grow well in shade.

Plan a landscaping project on paper first. Do not over plant. Be sure you know the mature size of each plant and allow for growth.

Grass clippings can be used as a mulch in flower beds and vegetable gardens if allowed to dry well before use. Never use clippings from a lawn that has been treated with a herbicide.

Mulch around newly planted trees and shrubs. This practice reduces weeds, controls fluctuations in soil temperature, retains moisture, prevents damage from lawn mowers and looks attractive.