Plant California Natives: Drought-tolerant plants will save water, but drought-tolerant California native plants will do even more-they attract beneficial insects and birds that lead to a healthier garden. Here are some flowering natives to consider: California yarrow, California mountain lilac, Channel Island bush poppy, lupine, purple sage and manzanita.
Aerate and Dethatch Lawns: Aerate and dethatch lawns so water has an easier path to penetrate to the roots. Aeration also helps reduce water runoff. Thatch is made of organic materials such as dead grass and grass roots. If not removed, it inhibits healthy grass growth. Once the lawn is aerated and dethatched, apply a light layer of lawn top dressing to keep in moisture.
Thin Out Fruit Trees: During May, fruit trees are often loaded with an abundance of small fruit. Some of the immature fruit will fall off naturally. If there still appears to be too much, remove smaller or discolored fruit by hand. By doing so, stronger fruit will grow larger and tastier.
Keep Fungus From Forming on Plants: A powdery mildew fungus, which stunts plant growth, can form on plants when plants remain wet for long periods. To prevent fungus, water only the soil around the plants, not the plants themselves. If the leaves must get wet, water in the morning so the leaves have a chance to dry during the day. Prune undergrowth so airflow can circulate around the plant.
Think Exotic: This is the time to plant subtropical fruits such as bananas, cherimoyas, guavas, persimmons and papayas. These trees do best when temperatures stay above freezing and extreme swings in temperatures are avoided. To keep a balanced temperature, place the trees close to walls and cover when temperatures drop. Trees take several years to bear fruit.
Support Tomatoes: Use tomato trusses or cages to keep tomato stems from breaking under the weight of ripening fruit, especially the larger sized "beef steak" tomatoes. Pull the stems through the cage wire so they are supported.
May is Ideal for Planting Almost Any Flower: Plant your warm season annuals in May for a full summer of color. These include begonia, chrysanthemum, geranium, marigold, petunia and verbena. While annuals come and go, perennials will bring backyard enjoyment for years to come. Perennials to plant now include African daisy, delphinium, fuchsia and lavender.
Plant Melons and Squash: It's time to plant eggplant, melons, squash, cucumbers, peppers and corn in the garden. If container gardening, this is the last month to plant peppers, eggplants and tomatoes and expect hearty returns.
Bill Camarillo is CEO of Agromin, an Oxnard, California-based manufacturer of soil products and the composter for cities throughout Southern California. Each month, Agromin receives more than 30,000 tons of organic material and then uses a safe, natural and sustainable process to transform the material into premium soil products. The results are more vigorous and healthier plants and gardens, and on the conservation side, the opportunity to close the recycling loop, allow more room in landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. http://www.agromin.com, https://www.facebook.com/agromin/
Article provided by Bill Camarillo