May Garden Checklist


You may get surprise afternoon storms toward the end of May. This may mean toppled tall flowers. Spend some time staking these flowers and pruning off broken portions. Now is a great time of year to be a vigilant scout for pests.Annuals to plant this month are celosia,coleus, coreopsis, crossandras, gaillardias, gazanias, hollyhocks, impatiens, kalanchoe, marigolds, nicotianas, ornamental peppers, pentas, portulaca, salvia, thunbergia alata, torenia, verbenas, periwinkles, and zinnias.


If the weather is windy, the taller plants such as African lily, amaryllis, and gladiolus are often affected. Keep some stakes and tape handy to give these plants a little support when needed.


Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, caraway, cardamom,chervil, chives, coriander, culantro,dill, ginger, horehound, lemon balm, lavender, marjoram, mexican tarragon, mint, parsley, oregano, rosemary, sesame, and thyme can be planted now.


Check St. Augustine for chinch bugs. The damage usually occurs in sunny locations near the streets, sidewalk, or driveway. The grass dies in patches and turns straw brown. damaged areas do not recover and must be plugged or sodded. Treat damaged areas with an approved insecticide or ask a pest control company to treat them. It is the beginning of mole cricket season for bahia, Bermuda, and zoysia lawns. The mole crickets have been busy laying eggs that can start hatching this month. They are the number one lawn pest problem in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. Water the lawn before applying an insecticide. Use Bifentrin, Cyfluthrin, Fipronil, Imadacloprid Lambda-cyhalothrin or Permethrin. Another options is to introduce a nematode (steinernema scapterisci) that will not harm plants. Fertilize with 15-0-15 or 16-4-8 this month, water as needed (every 5-10 days).Using a coring-type aerator, aerate the lawn to allow better drainage, improve grass root growth and reduce thatch build-up. Allow the cores to dry, and then mow them to scatter the soil back over the grass. Caution: Aeration may allow more weeds to grow in the lawn.


Perennials may die back to a small rosette then grow back during the spring season. Make sure each plant has room to grow or make plans to move them later in the year. This is a good time to give all perennials a label so they won’t be forgotten during the dormant season.


Some magnolias may drop their leaves during the spring months. This is normal, as they replenish the foliage. Some magnolias will even drop most of their leaves before putting on new growth.Fertilize palms. Peaches, nectarines, and plums begin ripening in late May. Harvest them as soon as they mature - before squirrels and birds get them.


Scout for insects and hand remove if possible. Check the underside of leaves for eggs and aphids. Remember some of the insects are predators. These predators are an important part of keeping the pests from totally vegetables.Keep ripening vegetables harvested to lengthen the time the plants produce. Vegetables to plant this month are lima beans, eggplant, okra, Southern peas, and sweet potatoes.




Rebecca Jordi
Horticulture Agent IV
County Extension Director
Contributing Editor