Our Top Ten Things to Do for Your Garden in May
By Jill Johnson, Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener
# 1. Hold off on putting in tender perennials until just past Mother’s Day, because Loudoun’s last frost date is May 15.
# 2. Don’t plant invasive English ivy. If English ivy is already climbing your trees, our Master Garden Tree Stewards strongly recommend removing it before it kills your tree. For detailed information about ivy and its removal see: http://loudouncountymastergardeners. org/programs/tree-stewards/english-ivy/
# 3. Let the foliage remain on your spring flowering bulbs no matter how unsightly. Remove it only when the leaves have turned brown and are easily pulled off. The foliage is manufacturing food for the bulb and which is vital for next year’s flowers!
# 4. Add more native plants to your garden. Check out plantnovanatives.org to learn why we should plant natives and which ones are best for our area.
# 5. Request a visit from the Master Gardeners Healthy Virginia Lawns team. They will take a soil sample of your lawn and determine just how much fertilizer and lime you really need to use (There is a $20 fee for this service). Download a request form at: http://loudouncountymastergardeners.org/programs/healthy-virginia-lawns/
#6. Learn how to properly prune your shrubs and trees and don’t allow branches to be hacked or “topped”. Trees are often topped in our neighborhood landscapes, which eventually kills the tree. Virginia Tech has a “Guide to Successful Pruning: Stop Topping Trees!” at http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-458/430-458.html.
#7. Start your summer vegetable garden. Join Master Gardeners at the Demonstration Garden at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg for “Saturdays in the Garden”. On May 2 the free presentation will be “Transitioning from a Spring to Summer Vegetable Garden.” As a bonus, you’ll see the Demonstration Garden in all its May glory.
#8. Don’t make mulch volcanos. Apply mulch only 2-3 inches high and keep it 4-6 inches away from the trucks of trees and shrubs. Try leaf mulch instead of shredded bark mulch. It’s a beneficial soil conditioner and adds humus, nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil.
#9. Find out how to create an environmentally friendly landscape that will attract birds, butterflies, frogs and other wildlife. Attend the free lecture given by Audubon Society of Northern Virginia past president Terrence Liercke, May 7, 7pm at the Loudoun Extension Office, 32 Catoctin Circle, Wells Fargo Bank Building in Leesburg.
#10. Sit back and enjoy your garden on Mother’s Day and Memorial Day weekend!