May Garden Chores

By following this checklist, you can ensure that your garden is healthy, thriving, and producing an abundance of beautiful and tasty plants throughout the growing season.

Flower Beds, Trees and Shrubs

  • Fertilize your annual and perennial flower beds.
  • Remove any dead flowers from your plants to encourage new growth.
  • May is a great time to plant annuals such as marigolds, petunias, and impatiens. Make sure to choose varieties that are suitable for your area and that will thrive in the amount of sunlight your garden receives.
  • Plant bulbs for a summer of color, including early- to late-blooming varieties of daylilies.
  • Newly-planted shrubs require special attention. Be sure to keep them well watered and mulch around them if you have not already done so.
  • Finish pruning spring-flowering trees and shrubs after they bloom. Lightly prune azaleas.
  • Get ready for hurricane season. Check your trees for damaged or weak branches and prune as needed. Consult a professional.

Kitchen Garden

  • Make sure that crops have plenty of mulch during dry spells.
  • Remove suckers from your tomato plants. Be sure that the plants are tied up on stakes or trellises and vines are not on the ground. Watch out for insects devouring your plants, especially tomatoes.
  • Start seeds indoors. If you want to grow plants such as cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins, start the seeds indoors in May so that they will be ready to transplant into the garden in a few weeks.
  • Plant herbs. Many herbs thrive in the warm temperatures of May. Consider planting basil, thyme, oregano, and cilantro.  Continue to plant heat-loving herbs, including sage, Mexican tarragon, and rosemary.
  • Make another planting of warm-weather vegetables such as beans, corn, squash, eggplant, tomato, and peppers. Southern favorites include okra, southern peas, and sweet potatoes.


  • Aerate your lawn. If your lawn is looking a bit compacted, consider renting an aerator to loosen the soil and promote better drainage. This can help your lawn grow stronger and healthier throughout the summer.
  • May is a great time to seed any bare or thin spots in your lawn. Choose a high-quality grass seed that is suitable for your area and follow the instructions on the package for best results.
  • A slow-release fertilizer can help give your lawn the nutrients it needs to grow strong and healthy throughout the summer. Look for a fertilizer that is formulated for your specific grass type and apply it according to the instructions on the package.
  • Mow your lawn regularly. As the weather warms up, your lawn will start to grow more quickly. Be sure to mow it regularly to keep it looking neat and tidy. Aim to cut no more than 1/3 of the grass height at each mowing to avoid stressing the grass.
  • Water your lawn deeply. During the month of May, it’s important to water your lawn deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Aim to give your lawn about 1 inch of water per week, either through rainfall or irrigation.


  • Mulch your garden beds. Adding a layer of mulch to your garden beds can help suppress weed growth by blocking out sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating. Apply a layer of mulch that is 2-3 inches deep around your plants, taking care not to cover the base of the plants themselves.
  • If you do see weeds starting to grow in your garden, it’s important to pull them out by hand as soon as possible. Try to remove the entire weed, including the roots, to prevent it from growing back.
  • A hoe or cultivator can be an effective tool for removing weeds from garden beds without damaging your plants. Use a hoe to scrape the surface of the soil and cut off weed seedlings at the surface.
  • Avoid disturbing the soil. Disturbing the soil in your garden beds can cause weed seeds to germinate, so it’s important to avoid unnecessary digging or tilling. If you do need to dig or turn over soil, try to do it as gently as possible to avoid disturbing weed seeds.

Other tips

  • Bring your houseplants outdoors to help rejuvenate them. Check them for any diseases or insects.
  • Water regularly. As the temperatures rise, it’s important to water your garden regularly to prevent plants from drying out. Water deeply and consistently to encourage deep root growth.  Water early in the morning and deeply, avoiding leaves.
  • Fertilize plants: As the weather warms up, plants start to grow more quickly and require more nutrients. Consider fertilizing your plants with a slow-release fertilizer to give them the nutrients they need to thrive.