May gardening guide

  • Continue to monitor trees, shrubs and perennials planted during the autumn and this spring, watering thoroughly when required to continue plant establishment.

  • Review the tasks outlined in April as many can still be carried forward.

  • Prune spring flowering shrubs and perennials when flowers fade. Examples being forsythia, chaenomeles, pyracantha, ribes and kerria. Now is the time to take cuttings to build up stocks.

  • Keep the blades on mowers higher than 40mm, continue with turfing and reseeding of bare patches and feed established lawns.

  • Trim ornamental hedges, with the exception of those containing nesting birds.

  • Fruit trees and soft fruit need feeding with a high potash fertilizer. Prune plums and cherries now the sap has risen. Put up pheromone traps in apple trees to deter codling moth, and another type specific for plum maggot by the middle of the month.

  • Use the hoe to control weeds and earth up ridges to protect the potato from frost and developing tubers from sunlight.

  • Harden off cutting of dahlias and chrysanthemums for planting out at the end of the month, along with tender bedding plants and cannas.

  • Dead-head spring flowering bulbs and stake taller growing perennials. Continue seeding cottage annuals direct into the ground for flowers this season.

  • Continue sowing a range of vegetables, herbs and salads on a successional basis. French and runner beans can be sown direct into the soil at the end of the month.