East Tennessee's Mountain Views

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P.O. Box 209

Vonore, TN 37885


May in the Garden

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022 | Uncategorized | No Comments

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more erratic spring than the one we’ve had. Those ups and downs made it hard on some of our plants and on us! Let’s cross our fingers that the craziness is past.

May is one of a gardener’s busiest months, so let’s get started on your to-do list:

• It’s critical that you do a good checkup on your yard this month. You need to know how much damage was done by the cold. Tender plants and plants with new growth took quite a hit, so you may need to do some careful pruning. Please remember that they’re not dead if the branches are flexible! If you need guidance, give us a call.

• Remember to look up. Check the trunk and canopies of your trees. Do you see sparse areas, dead or dying branches, woodpecker holes, or mushrooms? Is there sawdust anywhere at the base? Are there holes that seem to be too small for woodpeckers (toothpick size)? Do you have oozing areas? All these are signs that your tree could be struggling. If so, you need an arborist, which is basically a tree doctor. Call us for recommendations.

• Look down. Do you have signs of moles or voles? They can be chased off with a repellant. If something is digging, it is likely possums, squirrels, or skunks looking for grubs. You can apply a grub killer. Do you have brown patches or dead areas in your lawn? Come in and talk to Steve the lawn guy. He is here every Saturday morning!

• Look all around. Check for signs of disease and insects on your plants. So far we’re seeing a lot of fungal infections, azaleas with lace bugs, crepe myrtles with bark scale (another reason to NOT commit crepe murder, as it makes them more susceptible), and laurels with phytophthora root rot. It’s easier to treat an outbreak before it becomes an infestation!

• If you’re planting this year, try to get larger trees and shrubs in by the end of June so they can establish root systems before they start battling the heat. It will also behoove you to not postpone planting this year, as we are encountering even more plant shortages. 

• Smaller shrubs and ornamentals can be planted throughout the spring and summer but may require a little more attention to help them get established. They are trying to put down roots and grow at the same time. Don’t overcrowd them, and give them a gentle boost with an organic fertilizer regularly.

• Let’s talk about water, because over or under-watering is the number one plant killer. Remember that sprinkler systems are great for grass and flowers, but they are often inadequate for trees and shrubs. You need to get 1” of water to the roots of larger plants every week. If it gets dry, I drag the hose out to my trees/large shrubs and turn it on just a trickle. I let it run for 20 minutes or so, then move it to the next plant. I strongly suggest you set a timer, as I have turned my yard into a bog a couple of times by leaving the hose going overnight! It’s important to water deeply and less frequently to encourage plants to develop deep roots instead of shallow roots. It’s also best to water in the morning. Water at soil level instead of overhead. Watering the foliage encourages fungal growth.

• Did you mulch this spring? If not, apply a fresh layer or top-dressing or at least go out and rake old mulch to “fluff” it, because it becomes very compacted during the winter. Mulch adds a neat look and keeps soil temperature and moisture levels stable. It also breaks down and adds nutrients to the soil. 

• You can prune spring bloomers once the blooms have faded. Please do some research or give us a call if you need help. Remember that you are doing plant surgery, so don’t go out and start whacking!

• Wait until the foliage has died down before cutting back spring bulbs. They are storing energy for next year’s blooms. A little BulbTone will give them a boost.

• Some of your perennials may need a little assistance as they emerge. Tall plants may need to be staked or caged, and it’s easier to do that while the plants are small. You can also pinch plants back to encourage them to be shorter and bushier. 

• Be a friend to the birds and they will be a friend to you! Keep feeders and baths full and clean. Birds will remove lots of pesky insects, so attract them to your yard with plants, houses, feeders, and water sources.

We are getting several trucks in every week, so stop by often to see what’s new. Happy gardening!

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East Tennessee's Mountain Views

P.O. Box 209

Vonore, TN 37885

Email: inquiry@etmv.com

865-657-3077 Local

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