May in the Garden
Please come visit us at The Natural Gardener for the most comprehensive advice, plants, and organic gardening supplies appropriate to our area and the current season.
Spray the landscape with seaweed
Continue spraying entire landscape with seaweed solution to strengthen plants and help them deal with the heat of the summer. Regularity is important; spray at least once a month, but no more than once a week. Spray on and under the leaves, early morning or late evening (never in the middle of the day).
Last chance to topdress
To replenish nutrients in the soil, spread compost no more than a half inch over the lawn, and a half inch to one inch in flower beds and around shrubs and trees. Besides providing nutrients, this also helps soil to retain moisture. Water afterwards to settle in the compost and prevent potential burning in the heat, especially on the lawn. Do not topdress when temperatures are above 85-90 degrees.
Apply a soil activator
If you find that water runs off the soil and doesn’t soak in easily, apply a soil activator to help improve soil permeability. Doing this now can cut down on watering costs during the hotter months.
Learn to water properly
The same variety of plant can potentially have very different water needs depending on the culture. The age and type of the plant, quality of the soil medium, wind speed, temperature, and whether the plant is in the ground or in a container are all factors that affect how much water a plant will need. See our comprehensive guide on How to Water.
Cover bare soil with mulch or cover crops
Use three inches of mulch on bare soil to get the benefits of weed suppression, moisture retention, and cooler soil. Plant summer cover crops in unused veggie beds.
Watch for chinch bugs
If your St. Augustine lawn has developed dead patches in full sun areas, check the lawn for chinch bugs by examining the green areas next to the patches. Chinch bugs are only about 1/6” long, mostly black, (young ones can be reddish-tan) with a white marking across their back. They do not fly or jump up when you walk across. Be sure to get a positive ID before treatment, and see our guide on Pest & Disease to learn to control them.