Spring is just about sprung out and the sultry heat of summer is almost “officially” here. With that in mind, we’ve got a batch of things you’ll want to get done before the dog days are here. Flowers and veggies, cacti, trees and shrubs need a little attention and it’s not too late to plant some of your favorites, either.

Getting Down & Dirty

It’s not too late to plant seeds and seedlings for warm-season annual flowers and veggies, providing you give them time to beat the summer heat. Seedlings tend not to fare well in too much heat. If you live in a hot desert area, that ship may have sailed; February is the cut-off for safe planting in the desert. Call us if you’re unsure about the timing in your area.

What should you be planting, you might ask? Perfect question; here are the answers:

  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Melon
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Any other heat-loving plants that suit your taste.

More Moisture, Please

It’s definitely no time to skimp on watering! Plants of all types need the right amount of moisture to stay healthy. You should still water drought-resistant varieties like cacti once per month and their cousins, agave and yuccas, every three weeks.

Mulch is another great way to help keep your plants’ moisture levels up. Put a layer of mulch in your flower beds and around shrubs and trees. Be careful to keep the mulch around two to three inches from the base of your plants to prevent problems. Not only will the mulch help with moisture, it cuts down on weed growth and helps prevent disease.

 

Just a Little off the Top

Winter- and spring-flowering trees and shrubs, as well as fading flowers, need a little pruning and deadheading attention. This quick clip helps your garden look better and bloom longer!

Some things to keep in mind when pruning in May:

  • Prune these trees and shrubs when they’re no longer blooming
  • Desert legume trees, like palo verde and mesquite, only need a little pruning. Take off only dead or very small limbs. While heavy pruning encourages new growth, the coming summer heat will stress the plants too much. Save this level of pruning for later in the summer.

May Maintenance

As you continue preparations for summer, you’ll also want to keep some basic maintenance in mind:

  • Harvest veggies while they’re young and tender. This makes for better eating!
  • Fertilize roses, fuchsias, citrus & avocado trees, and flowers & veggies.
  • Keep your lawn fertilized, as well as mowed regularly. This keeps your grass healthy and lush as well as controls weeds.
  • Clean up any fruit dropped by your citrus and other fruit trees.
  • Watch out for chlorosis. Pale or yellow leaves with green ribs are a sure sign. If you see it, apply some chelated iron, following package instructions.

Finally, just get out in nature and enjoy! May is a beautiful month in SoCal; sunny and warm, but not too hot. Spending time outdoors is a great way to relax, while getting some good gardening done.