May Gardening Tips

Hello Friends, Neighbors, Fellow Gardeners,

This May there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with this warmer weather!  Here are some garden tips, educational opportunities, and events for May. Events include a Family Archeology Day, Raptor Festival, Brookside Garden’s Wings of Fancy, Silver Spring Garden Club’s Annual Garden Mart Fundraiser, Master Gardener and Master Naturalist 19th Annual Training Conference, and more!


Flowers and Groundcovers:

  • Remove and discard dead annuals and old growth on perennials.
  • Pinch out growing tips of leggy plants.pansies (2)
  • Pinch back mums, salvias, and other late-season bloomers to encourage bushy, not leggy growth.
  • After the last frost date, plant warm-season annuals and tender bulbs (calla lilies, dahlias, gladiolus) in the ground and in containers.
  • After spring bulbs bloom, let leaves turn yellow and die before trimming.
  • Transplant spring flowering bulbs after flowering.
  • Fertilize transplants.
  • Water transplants deeply when dry.
  • Provide supports for fast-growing perennials such as delphiniums, peonies, and lilies.
  • Start seeds for: Cosmos, Celosia, Impatiens, Petunias, Tall Marigolds, Tall Zinnias
  • Pests to watch for: aphids, spidermites, slugs, snails, whiteflies
  • Diseases to watch for:  Blackspot on roses; powdery mildew, rust, bacterial diseases.
  • See UMD’s HGIC’s May Flower tips for more details.

Trees and Shrubs:

  • Directly after blooming, prune flowering shrubs and vines.
  • Plant and transplant shrubs that have finished blooming.
  • Check often and water newly planted and transplanted trees if they don’t pass the “finger test” (stick your finger deep into the soil – dry? Water!)
  • Prune crepe myrtle when you can see what is still alive.
  • Prune long shoots on shrubs to keep plant neat looking.
  • Prune back forsythia, spirea, and other early-spring blooming shrubs.
  • If you must mulch: Remove old mulch and then add 2″ to 3″ shredded pine or pine needles, keeping 3″ away from trunk.
  • Soil test established trees that have not been performing well.
  • Keep mowers and trimmers away from trunks!
  • Pests to watch for:  adelgids, aphids, azalea lacebug, borers, caterpillars, gypsy moths, leafminers, scale, sawfly, and spidermites.
  • Diseases to watch for: Apple scab, Cedar-apple; hawthorn or quince rust, Verticullum wilt, Oak leaf blister
  • See HGIC’s May Trees and Shrubs Tips for more details.

Herbs, Veggies, and Fruit:

  • After the last frost date, plant warm-season vegetables (squash, peppers, tomatoes, corn, beans).
  • Do not set out seedlings or tender annuals until after Mother’s Day (traditional last frost-free date for our entire area).
  • Plant tender transplants: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, sweet potato.vegetable_box
  • Sow seeds of: beans, cucumbers, melons, and squash.
  • New fruit plants – keep watered their first spring, summer, and fall.
  • Pests to watch for: asparagus beetle, aphids, cabbage worms, cutworms, rabbits, deer, woodchucks, and birds.
  • Diseases to watch for: Apple scab, Cedar-apple rust
  • Here are some more fruit and vegetable gardening tips for May from UMD’s HGIC.


  • Fertilize Turf ONLY if week: apply 1 lb N/1000 sq ft
  • Calibrate your spreader before fertilizing.
  • Dethatch if necessary and plug aerate BEFORE applying weed control.
  • Mow high to reduce weeds and stress and leave clippings on the lawn: Fescue and Bluegrass: 3″ – 3 1/2″
  • Mow zoysia grass at 2″
  • Apply pre-emergent weed control such as corn gluten.
  • Turn your compost pile weekly and don’t let it dry out. Work compost into your planting beds.
  • Diseases to watch for: brown patch, and red thread
  • Pests to watch for: Grubs
  • See HGIC’s May Lawn Tips for more details.


  • Remove old leaves, damaged stems.flower_pot
  • Begin hardening off prior to putting outside in the shade for summer.
  • Repot larger plants that are going outside for the summer.
  • Repot root-bound houseplants and start fertilizing them.
  • Pests to watch for: aphids, spidermites, mealybug, scale.
  • See HGIC’s May Houseplants Tips for more tips.

Indoor/Outdoor Insect and Wildlife Tips:

  • Feed birds and provide nesting material (try dryer lint) as well as houses for the start of their family season.bluebird
  • Keep bird feeders clean and filled and provide a source of water.
  • Check indoors for termites and winter ants.
  • Set out traps for mice, moles, and voles.
  • Be vigilant for mosquito breeding spots—any standing water from a bottle cap to blocked gutters and clean them up immediately.
  • Put out slug traps around your vulnerable edibles and hostas.
  • See HGIC’s May Insect Tips for more details.
  • Watch for: carpenter ants, flies, stink bugs, termites, rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, deer, moles, snakes, squirrels, and voles.
  • For more information on wildlife management and attracting wildlife see HGIC’s May Wildlife tips.

Source: University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) and the Washington Gardener.

Please Support the Mill Creek Towne Garden Club

Hello Friends, Neighbors,

Please support the Mill Creek Towne Garden Club! Your donations will help us continue to provide garden-related programs to the community and pay for maintaining and landscaping the Mill Creek Towne main entrances. donate-today-button

We accept donations throughout the year. Thanks to all of you that have recently donated as well as those of you who have supported us in the past years! Thanks for your continued support of the Mill Creek Towne Garden Club and our community programs!

Mill Creek Towne Garden Club – Derwood, Maryland | | Like us on Facebook


See below for upcoming local events in May.


Montgomery Parks Special Events & Festivals

More events are being added regularly. Please check back often!

Save the dates for these upcoming Spring events!   Events include a Family Archeology Day, Raptor Festival, Brookside Garden’s Wings of Fancy, Silver Spring Garden Club’s Annual Garden Mart Fundraiser, Master Gardener and Master Naturalist 19th Annual Training Conference, and more!

Family Archaeology Dayfamily_archeology_day2

Saturday, May 6 | Noon – 4 pm
Needwood Mansion, Rock Creek Regional Park
$10 per person or $20 per person

Bring a bag lunch and stay for the day! Montgomery Parks staff will be on hand for tours of  Needwood Mansion, simulated archaeology dig for children, and storytelling. Old-time games and crafts will also round out a family-fun filled day!

More Info

Wings of Fancy

Wednesday, April 26 to Sunday, September 17 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily
Brookside Gardens South Conservatory, Wheaton
$8 ages 13+; $5 ages 3-12; Free ages 0-2blue_butterfly

The seasonal display features hundreds of live butterflies from all over the world. Families, students, nature lovers, and everyone in between can get an up close experience of these brilliant butterflies from North America, Costa Rica, Africa and Asia as they soar among colorful flowers. Visitors can learn about their amazing metamorphosis, the important role butterflies play in having healthy ecosystems, and how to ensure these beautiful insects thrive in our own gardens.

More Info

Master Gardener and Master Naturalist 19th Annual Training Conference



Date: Thursday, May 25, 2017
Time: 8:30am to 6:00pm
Where: Adele H. Stamp Student Union
University of Maryland College Park
3972 Campus Drive
College Park, MD 20742
Event Type:  Conference


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