To Do This Month
- Clean and repair tools and equipment. Get that mower ready to roar.
- The Ohio Cooperative Extension Service can test your soil to make sure you are applying the proper nutrients. (Fee involved).
- For those who desire a pristine lawn, apply pre-emergent crabgrass control (We recommend Gro Fine Crabgrass Preventer) This will prevent crabgrass from sprouting and feed your lawn at the same time.
- Spray dormant oil to smother overwintering insects on fruit trees and ornamental shrubs and trees.
- Remove mulch from perennials and roses gradually as plants show signs of new growth. Trim off dead parts.
- Remove those overwintering weeds such as chickweed and henbit growing in your planting beds; rake and fluff mulch after soil is dry.
- In March, after the ground has warmed some, it is safe to plant onions, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, grapevines, small bush fruits, fruit and shade trees, evergreens, shrubs, and roses.
- Prune fruit and shade trees, grapevines, and shrubs which bloom in summer and fall. Wait until spring bloomers such as lilac and forsythia are finished blooming before pruning them, though, or you may trim off the flower buds.
- Trim ornamental grasses to 4-6" above the ground so that the fresh new growth can grow up through them. Clean up any other debris from perennials.
- Fertilize fruit and shade trees, evergreens, shrubs, and lawns. Ask us, and we'll help you select the proper plant foods.
- Plan the right spot for herbs in the garden. Many of them will come up year after year.
- Start fertilizing houseplants now for proper growth. There are some great organic choices now. Any that are root-bound should be repotted to a larger size. Also, check for any critters that have overwintered.
- If you have started a compost pile, it would be good to turn the compost pile and add manure to activate it.
- As tulip, narcissus, and other large bulbs begin to emerge, set pansy plants between them for added color.
- Late in the month, divide and transplant summer and fall blooming perennials (such as astilbe, aster, bleeding heart, coral bells, daylilies, phlox, and Shasta daisies). Perennials grow best in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter (such as Bumper Crop).
- Prepare your vegetable garden for planting once the soil is workable adding compost (such as Bumper Crop).
- Depending on weather conditions, plant hardy vegetables such as onion sets, peas, and cole crops (cabbage and broccoli).
- Start growing healthy greens in containers. We have a great selection this year.
- Complete any March tasks delayed due to weather.
- Prune evergreens and roses after new growth has emerged. Do not prune to the bare wood part of the plant.
- Plant perennial veggies such as asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, etc. Root crops such as potatoes and onions can be planted.
- Continue planting cole crops, spinach, and peas—plant at 2 week intervals for a succession of harvests.
- Apply pre-emergent crabgrass control if not applied in March.
- Fertilize fruit and shade trees, evergreens, shrubs, roses, and lawns.
- Keep turning the compost pile.
- Dethatch and overseed the lawn.
- If over-seeding your lawn, wait several weeks to apply weed controls, or the grass won't come up properly.
- Dead-head (remove flowers) of spring-blooming bulbs but leave on the green foliage. These leaves provide the bulb with food for beautiful flowers next year. Remove foliage once it has browned out.
- This is the time to start resurrecting the water lily pool. Bring marginal plants back up to ledges, get pumps working, and do any necessary cleaning.
- Buy some new perennials for your flower border. Spring is a good time to renew and add variety to your landscape.
- Celebrate Arbor Day-Plant a Tree!! Trees add so much to our environment and is a legacy for anyone planting them.
- Full steam ahead for planting! Plant trees, shrubs, vines, ground covers, perennials, and fruit plants of all types.
- Mid to Late May: Plant warm-weather vegetables (e.g., tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, melons, and pumpkins). Seeds such as carrots, lettuce, corn, beans, etc. can be sown this month. Annual flowers, herbs & tender bulbs are ready to be planted now. Paint your world with beautiful flower colors.
- Prune spring-flowering plants and shrubs as they are done flowering. Remove spent blooms or developed seed pods from tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, etc. Please don't remove or tie up the green leaves because they replenish the bulb for next year's blooms.
- Fertilize as needed. Get your soil tested, so you know exactly what amendments you need. The Ohio Cooperative Extension Service will test your soil sample for a fee.
- Continue Fruit Tree, Rose, & Vegetable Spray/Dust Programs if you want insect-free plants. Monitor the vegetable garden for developing insect or disease problems. We have organic solutions to most problems if you prefer.
- Mow grass to a height of 2.5 to 3 inches to maintain good vigor and health. Healthy grass will have fewer weed and insect problems. Apply a "Weed and Feed" fertilizer/herbicide (We recommend Gro Fine Weed & Feed) to eliminate broadleaf weeds such as dandelions if you have not already done so.
- You can start harvesting leaf lettuce, rhubarb, asparagus, and green onions for the early birds planted in previous months. There is nothing like fresh veggies from the garden.
- The generally accepted frost-free date in Central Ohio is May 15. It should be OK to plant tender flowers by this date but keep an eye on the weather forecast. For the more adventuresome gardeners, be sure to cover early planted tender flowers and vegetables. Sheets and frost covers work best; plastic sheets are not so good.
- Side dress perennials with an all-purpose fertilizer such as Master Nursery Bumper Crop Starter Fertilizer.
- Watch for slug damage-control them now before they reproduce. We recommend Garden Safe Slug & Snail Bait (which is safe for pets).
- Remove any sucker growth from fruit and ornamental trees as soon as they appear. We have a product called “Bonide Sucker Punch RTU,” which prevents this growth if you get tired of doing it manually.
- Newly planted plants will need supplemental watering if we don’t receive at least 1 inch of rain per week. Soak well and soak deep (weekly is usually enough, daily is too much)
- Keep compost pile damp; add fresh garden debris to it and keep turning the pile (Are you tired yet?).
- There is still plenty of time to plant. Just about everything can be planted now and will take right off and grow because it is warm.
- Mulch everything; mulches help maintain a more uniform soil temperature, retain moisture, and helps eliminate weeds. It looks great, too.
- Cabbage, green onions, leaf lettuce, rhubarb, asparagus, broccoli and strawberries can be harvested this month. Yum!
- Monitor rainfall and water as needed (Weekly--Not daily, except for baskets and planters). For baskets and planters, get smart and install drip irrigation on timers and relax.
- Fertilize as needed. That means keep feeding. The best looking gardens are the ones that are fed regularly!
- Continue Fruit Tree, Rose, and Vegetable Spray/Dust Programs--organic or otherwise. Watch vegetable garden for developing insect or disease problems. Personally, I don't sweat a few bugs.
- Keep mowing. Apply Gro Fine Lawn Food
- Protect developing fruit from birds by using vinyl netting.
- Still have your Poinsettia from Christmas? Why? If you like, you can re-pot it now. Fertilize according to directions and continue to water when soil is dry to the touch. Move outside if temperatures do not fall below 50 degrees. Place in light shade. Or throw it away and buy another beautiful one at Christmas.
- Houseplants can be moved outside to a shady protected area and that will often rejuvenate their growth.
- Deadhead and fertilize annual flowers to encourage more flowers to come. Our Garden Elements Bud & Bloom will encourage lots of beautiful flowers all summer.
- Divide spring-blooming perennials now.
- Spring-blooming shrubs should be pruned by the first part of June so that they will branch and set a bunch of new flowers for next Spring.
- Deadhead spent flowers from Rhododendrons and Azaleas to improve next year’s blooms. Fertilize them with Jack's Classic Acid Special immediately after they have bloomed.
- Keep hedges maintained by removing the new ‘gangly’ growth for a tidy appearance.
- Pinch mum tips back to encourage branching to get those full bushel basket size plants full of flowers in fall.
- Plant gladiolus bulbs and put in a final planting of bush snap peas.
- In late July plant cabbage, Chinese cabbage, endive, kohlrabi,
lettuce and radishes for a fall garden!
- Make final pinch on mums by mid-July. Come by and we'll show you how.
- Remove (deadhead) spent flowers from geraniums and other
annuals to encourage bloom.
- Prune sucker growths and water sprouts from apple and
- Cut off any remaining yellowed tops of hardy flowering bulbs.
- Except for new hybrid climbers, prune climbing roses after they are done blooming & remove dead and aging canes.
- Remove small, green potato seed balls from the potato plants.
- Remove any seed stalks from vegetable plants such as rhubarb, or pull these plants and replace with others.
- Renovate June-bearing strawberries by mowing off plant tops above the crown, then fertilizing (do not prune ever-bearing strawberries now).
- Mulch everything if you haven't done so yet; mulches help maintain a more uniform soil temperature, retain moisture, and help eliminate weeds.
Remember when mulching to keep the mulch away from the crowns of the plants. Only mulch 2 inches deep. Deep mulch will cause water to accumulate and you may smother plant roots from the oxygen they need to thrive.
- Continue Fruit Tree, Rose, and Vegetable Spray/Dust Programs. To stay completely safe, follow the instructions on the labels. Watch vegetable garden for developing insect or disease problems.
- Keep mowing. Apply Gro Fine Lawn Food if you have not already done so.
- Protect developing fruit from birds by using vinyl bird netting.
- Keep fertilizing for that gorgeous garden that is the envy of the neighbors. Potted plants especially use lots of fertilizer as you water them so frequently.
- Continue to monitor plants for any insect or disease damage. Bring samples by and we'll help.
- Supplemental watering is extremely important if less than 1 inch of rain falls per week, especially for newly planted or transplanted items. A slow, deep watering once a week is much more beneficial than several light sprinklings
- Hanging baskets and potted items will need watered daily. That drip irrigation system sounds pretty good now.
- Fertilize regularly with Garden Elements Bud & Bloom to encourage more flowers.
- Supplemental watering is extremely important if less than 1 inch of rain falls per week, especially for newly planted or transplanted items. A slow, deep watering once a week is much more beneficial than several light sprinklings.
- The best time to water is early morning, but if this is not possible try to water so the foliage dries before nightfall. This helps to prevent many leaf disease problems.
- Mulch Everything! Mulches maintain a more uniform soil temperature, retain moisture, and help eliminate weeds. Saves water, too.
- Prune/pinch/remove spent blooms on annual and perennial flowers; remove any seed stalks on vegetable plants; pull weeds before they go to seed.
- Make a last fertilizer application to roses, trees, shrubs, and perennials this month. Also, fertilize asparagus.
- Continue fruit tree spray schedule; roses; vegetables IF NEEDED. Watch for developing problems. Apply chemicals ONLY as directed. If close to harvest time, check the label for required days between application and harvest.
- Harvest most garden vegetables; blueberries all month; apples, peaches, muskmelons; late August - watermelons, everbearing strawberries, plums, pears. Dry onion harvest until Oct 15. Enjoy the fruits and flowers of your labor.
- Start fall and winter veggies of green onions, carrots, spinach, and lettuce. Sow or plant starts early in the month.
- If you are wanting your Poinsettia to re-flower for the upcoming holiday season bring it inside in late August and cut the stems back, leaving 3-4 leaves per shoot. Place in a sunny window and water/fertilize as needed. (See the September To Do list for the next steps in re-blooming your Poinsettia)
- Start acclimating houseplants to be moved back inside for the fall and winter. Keep moving them to shadier spots outside before moving them in. Keep your eyes peeled for any critters wanting to move in with them. A thorough bath will help remove any unwanted pests.
- Sow grass seed in late August.
- Remove dead or underperforming annuals. If they are not thriving now, cutting your losses is best. Give your pots and planters a makeover by tucking in fresh, ready-to-bloom cool-season annual flowers such as mums or pansies that will keep the color show going through the fall.
- Remove vegetables that have stopped producing to eliminate a shelter for insects and disease organisms.
- Keep inspecting for pests, particularly bean beetles, which can make a second strong showing this time of year. Remove and treat as needed.
- Stop fertilizing roses, trees, shrubs, and perennial flowers now. Feeding your plants in the late summer and fall encourages new growth that probably won't survive the winter. Allow plants to finish the summer growth cycle in a normal manner. Never encourage growth with heavy applications of fertilizer or excessive pruning. Plants will delay their dormancy process that has already begun in anticipation of winter in the months ahead. An early freeze can injure new growth.
- Avoid pruning trees and shrubs since doing so this late in the season can stimulate new growth that will not harden off in time for the cold winter weather ahead. Delay pruning until the end of the dormant season early next spring.
- Harvest onions and garlic as the tops dry and fall over. Braid garlic tops and hang in a cool, dry place. Cut onion tops back to 1" and dry thoroughly before storing. Use any damaged produce immediately.
- Harvest pumpkins, summer squashes, and gourds before the first frost. Pumpkins that have begun showing color will continue to ripen after harvest. Use great care not to nick the rind during harvest, which will lead to more rapid deterioration. Pick summer squash and zucchini every day or two to keep the plants producing.
- Keep harvesting second plantings of the cool season vegetables, including radishes, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, chard, spinach, broccoli, and the other cole crops. Some, such as parsnips, peas, Brussels sprouts, and kale, have enhanced flavor after a frost.
- Now is an excellent time to buy spring flowering bulbs for next year's early flower display—plan for different flowering times to extend the season.
- You can still plant leaf lettuce, Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Radishes for a fall harvest.
- After the last raspberry harvest, prepare for next year while avoiding diseases by pruning out old flowering canes, leaving only 3-4 young canes per foot of row. Wait until spring to prune back shoot tips.
- Continue deadheading flowers; this allows plants to use energy reserves for a final flower display.
- Some perennial flowers and bulbs will start to go dormant this month. Marking their location with a painted popsicle stick or drawing out a map of your bed is helpful, so you don't forget where things are.
- Check the moisture of hanging baskets and container plantings daily.
- Every weed that produces seed means more trouble next year—control weeds before they go to seed.
- Late summer is a perfect time to plant perennials and flowering shrubs. Just be sure you keep your new plants well-watered if the weather is hot and dry.
- Keep evergreen trees and shrubs hydrated. Because plants such as yew and arborvitae never go completely dormant, their roots should be slightly moist to help the plant survive drying winter winds. Newly planted evergreens are particularly susceptible to dry soil, so ensure they get at least an inch of water a week.
- Houseplants "vacationing" in the backyard should be moved closer to the house in a shadier area before being brought into the house. Give them a good blast of water before bringing them in to help remove freeloading insects. Insects in the soil are probably not damaging but more of a nuisance when brought indoors. For the first couple of weeks after the move, inspect your plants daily for any emergent insects and treat them as needed.
- Give your lawn some attention this month. Dethatch, aerate and fertilize it. You can also seed or sod new lawns at this time or fix bare spots in older lawns.
- Every 3-5 years, transplant fibrous-rooted perennials. Divide Spring blooming perennials in the Fall and Fall blooming perennials in the spring. Cut back tops to 4 -6" to reduce transplant stress. Thoroughly prepare the new planting site.
- Fall is a good time for improving your garden soil by adding manure, compost, and leaves to increase the organic matter content. Wood ashes contain phosphorous, potassium, and calcium. Place on vegetable gardens and flower beds as a top dressing that will feed into the soil all winter.
- Plant winter rye as a cover crop to help build soil. It smothers cool-season weeds and helps prevent soil erosion over winter and loss of nutrients from exposed soil.
- Houseplants should be brought back inside at the beginning of this month.
- Plant trees, shrubs, spring flowering bulbs, perennials and rye seed for a garden cover crop. Cover crops will control weeds this winter and plowing them in next Spring will provide good organic matter.
- Harvest late varieties of apples, grapes, winter squash, pumpkins, gourds, dry onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
- Dig and store tender bulbs in a cool dry place till next spring. Dig up after first frost.
- Remove dead mum blooms, pull annual flowers, rake leaves and pull all garden plants that are done bearing to prevent over wintering pest/diseases.
- Cut back any diseased or insect infested perennials to the ground as they decline. Leave foliage on most perennials to protect crowns through the winter.
- Compost all plant materials as long as they are not diseased.
- Divide/transplant daylilies and iris early this month.
- Continue with the strict light/dark schedule that you started in September to make your Poinsettia flower and color-up for the holidays. Keep your plant in light from 8am to 5pm -- then place it in the dark (absolutely no light--a closet or under a bucket) from 5pm to 8am. The keys to success is to follow this strict light/dark routine very carefully, every day, through December 1st. Continue to water regularly during this time.
- Keep mowing grass as it grows.
- Clean up tools, sharpen blades, oil moving parts. Apply a light coat of oil to prevent rusting.
November / December
During the shorter days of winter, the growth rate of most houseplants slows. Reduce fertilization and water until late April or May when new growth resumes. Most plants should not be watered until the soil feels dry. Water thoroughly, let the water soak in, then water again until water drains into the saucer. Empty the saucer within 1 hour, otherwise the sitting water can cause root rot. If you cannot lift your plant to get the saucer, try using a baster to remove the excess. Soil pulled away from the pot rim means inadequate watering and can result in root problems. It would be difficult to add sufficient water overhead to re-wet the soil, so soak the pot in a sink or bathtub, then drain thoroughly.
- Pesticide Storage:
Store pesticides in a frost-free location away from food and out of reach of children & pets. If the pesticide is in a paper (cardboard) container, put the whole package in a plastic container and seal it (this keeps moisture from penetrating the contents). Be sure all bottles and cans are tightly sealed and well labeled. Store liquid pesticides where temperatures will not fall below 40 degrees F. Too low a temperature may result in a breakdown of the chemical. If the liquid should freeze, there is danger the container will break, scattering chemical in the storage area.
If fall rains are scarce, water landscape evergreens thoroughly once every week until the ground freezes. Sending them into winter well watered reduces the potential for damaged foliage. Broadleaf and tender evergreens need to be shaded on the south and southwest sides to reduce moisture loss and foliage damage. Apply Wilt-Pruf or Wilt Stop to broadleaf evergreens before the air temperature drops to a constant 32 degrees; this helps keep moisture loss to a minimum during the winter months.
- Amaryllis Bulbs:
Amaryllis bulbs may not bloom if they are in too large of a pot. There should be no more than one inch of space on each side of the bulb. At least 1/3 of the bulb should be above the soil line.
- Shade Trees:
Newly planted shade trees, especially those with smooth bark, are often injured by temperature fluctuations and strong winter sunshine. Prevent sunscald by wrapping the tree with tree wrap.
Clean up rose beds. Be sure all diseased leaves are raked up and destroyed. Spring (before the plants start active growth) is the preferred season for pruning.
- Live Christmas Trees:
If you are planning on a live, balled & burlapped Christmas tree, dig a planting hole now before the ground freezes. Fill the hole with straw to keep it from freezing. Store the soil in a garage or shed so you will have workable soil when you need it for planting the tree after Christmas.
Continue with the strict light/dark schedule that you started in September to make your Poinsettia flower and color-up for the holidays. Keep your plant in light from 8am to 5pm - then place it in the dark (absolutely no light-a closet or under a bucket) from 5pm to 8am. The keys to success is to follow this strict light/dark routine very carefully, every day, through December 1st. Continue to water regularly during this time.
- Apply mulch after the ground has frozen to maintain consistent soil temperature.
- Take care of our feathered friends by providing food, shelter, and water.
- Drain hoses and put away.