Laughlin: May gardening task list
As late spring approaches there are a lot of lawn, garden and landscape tasks to be aware of. Many of them are timely since it won’t be long until we are having summer weather conditions.
Hopefully you are getting your annual bedding plants, perennials, herbs and vegetable gardens planted. It is not too late to plant flowers and warm season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra, green beans and cucumbers.
If you still want to plant tomato, pepper or eggplant transplants, plan on getting those in the next week or so to allow them to get a good start before the worst heat of summer hits. For more information on growing tomatoes and other vegetables, go to osufacts.okstate.edu and look for the OSU Fact Sheet #6004 “Oklahoma Garden Planting Guide” and #6012 “Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden.”
Herbs are fun to grow and also will do well containers. If you are planting a mixed flower container, consider adding a basil, parsley or thyme plant to harvest from and cook with this summer. The pretty greenery will complement your flowers, as well. I have been growing thyme in a container outside my kitchen door for years. It is such a hardy perennial that it stays green all winter, overwinters in the container and is beautiful in the summer. Containers are really the best place to grow the different mints, since they can take over your garden.
Now is the best time to plant summer bulbs such as caladiums, cannas, dahlias, elephant ear and gladiolus.
This also would be great time to plant perennials and landscape trees and shrubs. Proper planting techniques and care will result in beautiful and healthy landscape plants that should last for many years. The OSU Extension Fact Sheet #6414 “Planting Trees and Shrubs” is very helpful, and for information on selecting deciduous trees, including a list of suggested plants, see Fact Sheet #6456 “Selecting Deciduous Trees for Oklahoma”.
Be sure to deeply soak newly planted transplants and newly planted trees and shrubs unless rainfall is abundant. High temperatures and wind can cause them to desiccate quickly.
Warm-season grass lawns can be fertilized in May. Cool-season lawns can be fertilized again, as well, so if you did not fertilize in March and April, do so now. One of our most popular fact sheets, HLA-6420 “Lawn Management in Oklahoma” provides all the tips and information you need to keep your lawn looking beautiful.
Seeding of warm-season grasses such as bermudagrass, buffalograss and zoysiagrass is best performed in mid-May through the end of June. Soil temperatures are warm enough for germination, and an adequate growing season is present to promote winter hardiness. Vegetative establishment (plugs, sprigs or sod) of warm-season grasses can continue. Fact Sheet #6419, “Establishing a Lawn in Oklahoma” has helpful information.
Check for bagworms on juniper and arborvitae, and remove any that you find since they may contain eggs that will be hatching soon. For information on bagworms and control of other insects in the landscape, the Fact Sheet #7306, “Ornamental and Lawn Pest Control” has useful information to help you be one step ahead of pests.
We are still taking gardening, lawn and landscape questions at 405-713-1125. You also can email the Master Gardeners on-call at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email Julia Laughlin, Oklahoma County Extension horticulture educator, at email@example.com.