Spring showers can linger through May in the Pacific Northwest, but it is a great time to plant and tend to your garden. The soil and temperatures are warming up and the colorful blooms are ready to show off. So, what should you be doing this month in your garden? May is the best month to begin planting summer annuals like geraniums. Zonal and Ivy geraniums come in many gorgeous colors and are perfect for containers, hanging baskets, or garden beds. May is also the time to put out hanging baskets bursting with color. Keep your hanging baskets blooming by watering them daily and fertilizing weekly with a water---soluble fertilizer such as Al’s 17-5-17.
Remember to fertilize your rhododendrons and azaleas with an acid-loving fertilizer after they have finished blooming. Clean the dead blooms from the bushes. At the end of May, adult root weevils may emerge on your rhododendrons and azaleas. Utilize a dual-protection insect and disease control concentrate on your bushes, including camellias. Occasionally camellias get cottony camellia scale. It can be controlled if sprayed with a horticultural oil or drenching with an all-in-one rose and flower care.
Many of your non-blooming evergreen shrubs can be hedged and pruned now, including laurels, conifers, and photinia. Pruning will allow the shrubs keep new foliage coming back and prevent straggly growth. To limit conifer growth, remove the new growth before it has an opportunity to develop. Prune large branches to improve the shape.
Plant those tender vegetables you love like peppers, tomatoes, and many other favorites. Fertilize perennial edibles like blueberries and grapevines. This month is also a good time to thin the fruit on peach and plum trees after their natural spring drop. Estimate thinking peaches approximately 4-6 inches between peaches and 3 inches for plums.
Get out in your garden and start planting!