May Gardening Chores

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Modern lifestyles can be completely independent from the seasons. However, gardening is a great way to reconnect our lifestyles with nature. Knowing what gardening tasks to perform this month will help keep your garden and landscape healthy. But, before we get to the to-do list, I want to share a plant with you for your landscape.

‘Blizzard’ pearlbush is a plant bred by Dr. Tom Ranney at the NC State University – Mountain Crop Improvement Lab, in Mills River.

Blizzard Shrub Picture

‘Blizzard’ Pearlbush is a late-winter flowering shrub released by Dr. Tom Ranney from NC State’s breeding program at the Mountain Crop Improvement Lab in Mills River, NC. (picture courtesy of Tom Ranney)

A pearlbush is a late winter flowering shrub. Pearlbushes bloom at the same time as forsythia. Forsythias are sometimes called golden or yellow bells. However, unlike a forsythia, the Blizzard only gets 3 to 4 feet tall and its flowers are large and white. This is a perfect compact plant to add late winter color to your landscape. To learn more about the ‘Blizzard’ pearlbush visit (

Plants in Flower

●Southern Magnolia, Golden Chain Tree, Kousa Dogwood, Hybrid Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, Satsuki Azalea, Scotch Broom, Deutzia, Beauty Bush, Weigela, Gumpo Azalea, Roses, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Dianthus, Sweet William, Candytuft, Bearded Iris, Peony, Coreopsis, Poppy, Lady Slipper and Summer Annuals


●Fertilize summer flowering plants like 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.


●Prune your hybrid rhododendron 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-leafminer, euonymus-scale, hemlock and juniper-spruce mites, pyracantha-lace bug and hybrid rhododendron borer.
●Spray iris beds for iris borers.
●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.

Lawn Care

●Fertilize zoysia this month after it has greened up. Do NOT fertilize tall fescue.
●Start warm season lawns like zoysia in May.
●Mowing heights for your lawn are important. Cut tall fescue at 3.5 inches and zoysia at 1 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.

For answers to your garden and landscape questions call the Caldwell County Extension Center at 828-757-1290 or visit us online anytime at //