Friday, June 12, 2009

May Northern Landscape Garden Checklist

By Keith Markensen

Thinning Seedlings

Seedling need to be thinned if you do not want weak spindly plants that bear poorly. Beets, carrots, onions, leaf lettuce and all flowering annuals should be thinned to 2 or 3 inches at least between plants. Large annuals and such vegetables as beans, parsnips, turnips and head lettuce should be at least 4 to 8 inches apart. Do the thinning after a rain or after thorough sprinkling. Its easier then.

Cultivating should start as soon as the seedlings show through the ground. Soil that is cultivated regularly every 10 days never gets hard, weeds are kept under control and the ground is aerated.

Lawn Weeds

Weeds in the lawn present a big problem but during May... you can get the jump on them while they are still small. If you have only a few pull them by hand. Treat dandelion, plantain with a weed killer and a couple of weeks later the weeds will be gone.

For heavier infestations call in a professional, they will apply an application over the entire lawn. If you do any spraying with a weed killer dont use the sprayer or for anything else unless you wash it thoroughly after each session with the weed killer. The best action is to purchase a sprayer for weed killers on;y and another for pesticides applied to plants.

Beetle Grubs

Japanese Beetle grubs can be controlled in the lawn with chemical sprays this month. It will also help control the chinch bug that kills grasses by sucking the juices. One application is effective for the whole season against the chinch bug and grub proofs the lawn usually for several years. Check with your county agent or law professional for control. Also feed the lawn this month with fertilizer to give it new vigor and overcome the damage.

Tender Plants

Set out tender plants late in May. This includes zinnias, marigolds and other tender annuals raised in coldframes or greenhouse and the tender vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.

Chrysanthemum cuttings that are well-rooted should be potted now. Theres still time to start more cuttings and make it an indoor potted plant but keep them growing without interruption if you want a good crop of flowers. A check in growth produces a tough woody stem that reduces flowering.

Amaryllis that have finished blooming should be kept growing until fall or until the leaves yellow and the plant goes into a rest of its own accord. Then lay the pots on their sides under a bench or in the basement to dry off and rest for several months.

Carnation cuttings it does not pay to let them stay in pots and become potbound. Set the plants high and pack the soil firmly around them. Water thoroughly.

Heliotropes, Geraniums, Lantanas or other plants grown as standards should be pinched shortly before planting out so the heads will be stocky and able to withstand unfavorable weather. Strong stakes are also essential and should be put into place at the same time as the plants are set out.

The garden and landscape is beginning to show the rewards of regular attention. Bring on the blooms.

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