Bring May Flowers
May is the month to change your SEASONAL COLOR (or annuals). Though the pansies, snapdragons and other winter annuals still look great, they will not make it as we head into summer. Now is the time to make that switch. Here are a few helpful pointers:
Remove last seasons annuals and shake the excess soil back into the bed; this provides excellent free nutrients. Then till the bed to loosen the soil and to provide air to the new root systems. Top dress the bed with 1/2″ of cow manure and a 50/50 mixture of a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 and a slow-release fertilizer (ex. Osmocote). DO NOT TILL THIS INTO THE BED. You want all of the nutrients near the surface where the new annuals will be planted, not 6-8 inches below. For ease in mulching, place your mulch down first and plant in it versus having to carefully place the mulch around the tender new flowers.
This is the easiest and most fun part of the process. If you prepared the bed correctly, planting is a breeze. Simply take a hand trowel, slightly loosen the soil and pop the flower in. DONE. Get creative with colors and design.
Look at the possibilities…..
Pentas, impatiens, begonias, petunias, purple heart jew, caladiums, potato vine, angelonia, daisy and much much more.
If you prepared the bed correctly, this should also be easy after the initial watering in has occurred. It is crucial to water daily until the flowers have rooted in. The quick and easy finger test should work for the remainder of the season. Simply stick your finger 3-5 inches in the bed and see if it is moist and then water accordingly. The fertilizer that you prepared the bed with originally should suffice for the season. If not, water in some 10-10-10 and watch the flowers take off again. You may need to “dead head” your flowers several times throughout the season depending on how aggressive they are. If you follow these simple tips, your flowers will show all the way through to October. ENJOY.
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One inch of water a week is sufficient this time of year. Be careful to only water in the early morning. NEVER water in the evenings unless you want to invite fungus onto your lawn. In order to prevent the dreaded BROWN PATCH, apply a fungicide every 21 days starting around the 3rd week of May. As always follow the instructions on the label. Avoid applying too much nitrogen this late in the Spring and Summer. For “green up” use Iron.
Remember to keep those mover blades sharp and keep the height at a minimum of 3 1/2 inches. You’ll want to increase that to 4 inches this summer to protect the root systems from the brutal heat.