Magazine article Sunset

Mountain Checklist

Magazine article Sunset

Mountain Checklist

Article excerpt

WHAT TO DO IN YOUR GARDEN IN MAY

PLANNING AND PLANTING

ANNUALS. At high elevations, start annuals after May 1 for transplanting after June 1.

FLOWERS. This month, nurseries are filled with annuals and perennials. Shop early to get the best selection. Cover annual seedlings with floating row covers for frost protection on cold nights. Remove covers when danger of frost is past.

ORNAMENTALS. Trees, shrubs, roses, evergreens, vines, and perennials can go into the garden now Use floating row covers for the first two weeks to shade plants imported from coastal nurseries. To help prevent transplant shock, apply liquid fertilizer diluted to half the recommended amount.

SUMMER BULBS. When the soil starts to warm up, plant bulbs of calla lilies, canvas, dahlias, freesias, gladiolus, ixias, and lilies-of the-valley.

MAINTENANCE

CARE FOR LAWNS. Begin watering and mowing lawns as needed. Mow using the highest setting, ideally 2 to 3 inches. Never cut off more than a third of the grass blade at one time or the lawn may scorch. Leave grass clippings on the lawn to provide extra nutrients and organic matter. To keep the clippings short so they don't mat down on the lawn, use a mulching mower or mow more frequently.

CHECK IRRIGATION SYSTEMS. Clean and flush irrigation systems, checking emitters, sprinklers, and filters to make sure everything works.

DIVIDE BULBS. After the leaves turn brown, dig up crowded clumps of tulips and daffodils and gently pull the bulbs apart. Before replanting, till 2 inches of compost and a handful of complete fertilizer into the soil. …

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