The window to safely divide summer and fall-blooming plants like Daylilies, Grasses, Asters, and Echinacea is beginning to close! As always, be sure to preserve enough of the root ball when digging up your existing plants. Use clean and sharp tools when dividing root balls, such as soil knives, trowels, large shovels, or hand saws. Divide the main plant into sections that have at least one growing point and enough healthy roots to sustain a new plant – only use the healthiest divisions. Water thoroughly after transplanting to ensure healthy root production and growth. At this point, you’ll need to wait until the fall to divide early-spring flowering perennials.
Temperatures are rising and it’s finally feeling like spring (maybe even summer some days)! But keep a close eye on the weather to make sure the nights don’t get too cold for tender annuals and veggies. Memorial Day is referred to as the “safe planting-out date” because at this point in the month the threat of frost and damaging cold temperatures has all but left our area.
As we near Memorial Day (the safe planting-out date), prepare your gardens for tender annuals and warm-season fruits/veggies. Start seeds of Melons, Cucumbers, and Squash inside at the beginning of the month, and by Memorial Day they’ll be ready to plant outside. Towards the end of the month, the time will be right to plant your Dahlias, as well as starts of Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant.
Assemble any supports takes, fencing, trellises, or cages needed you will need in the garden now before the plants that need them are too big. It can be hard to put a fully grown peony loaded with flower buds into a support ring without damaging the blooms or stems–set up the rings now, and allow the peony to naturally grow up into its support. The same thing can be said for tomato cages, cucumber/melon/squash supports, and clematis trellises.
If your tulips and daffodils have finished blooming, don’t remove the foliage just yet! These spring-flowering bulbs need their foliage to photosynthesize and create the food that will be stored in the bulb to produce foliage and flowers next year. Deadheading spent blooms is beneficial, as it helps the plant focus its remaining energy reserves into storing food instead of producing seeds. After the flowers are done blooming, wait about 4-6 weeks before trying to remove the foliage. Give the leaves a slight tug – if they come out of the ground easily, the foliage can be cut back. If you are met with resistance, check again the following week. A general rule of thumb is to wait until the end of June or Fourth of July before removing bulb foliage. Use spring/summer annuals to cover up any unattractive foliage.