Skip to main content

Logo for N.C. Cooperative Extension N.C. Cooperative Extension Homepage

Polk County Lawn & Garden Checklist for May

en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

Lawn and Garden Checklist - May

For more info, help, and advice on these or other lawn and garden topics, contact your Polk County Extension Director, Scott Welborn

√  Hummingbirds

It’s time to hang up hummingbird feeders. Any feeder can attract hummingbirds, so the most important design feature to look for is ease of disassembly and cleaning. Hummingbirds get the energy they need to maintain their astonishing metabolism primarily from flower nectar and the sugar water they find at feeders. For protein and other nutrients, they also eat soft-bodied insects and spiders. The sugar water we use to fill hummingbird feeders is only a supplement to the birds’ natural diet. It’s not necessary, but a commercial “nectar” mix that includes additional vitamins, protein, or other substances can be helpful. Remember: do not put honey, Jell-O, brown sugar, fruit, or red food coloring in your feeder! If you are trying to attract hummingbirds to your garden, these plants can be particularly inviting to them.

√ Weed Control

Control weeds prior to planting vegetables and flowers. Glyphosate is a common post- emergent weed killer which allows you to plant very soon after spraying. It is also possible to use certain pre-emergent herbicides in the garden as well. Treflan, which contains the active ingredient Trifluralin is labeled for both ornamental and some vegetables. In ornamental plantings you can utilize Snapshot or Surflan as well as others in ornamental beds to prevent weeds. Grass killers such as Poast–which contains the active ingredient Sethoxydim–can be sprayed directly on most broadleaf crops, and will only kill the grass and not your crop. One can also keep ahead of weeds during the growing season by simply hoeing frequently in the top inch of soil to prevent new seeds from germinating. Organic alternatives include spreading corn gluten to prevent weeds from sprouting or utilizing landscape fabric to physically prevent weeds.

√ Transplants

Frost-sensitive bedding plants and vegetables can be safely planted in May. Make sure to tease out the roots of the plants to prevent circling roots.

√ Wet Soil
If your clay soil is wet from excess rain, be sure to allow it to dry thoroughly prior to tilling or digging it. Working a soil too soon after a rain can cause “clods” of soil that will ruin the soil structure for years to come. On the contrary if your soil dries out be prepared to water to get the best out of your lawn and garden. 7-10 days without rain can lead to serious drought issues for your lawn and garden during the hot summer.
√ Crape Myrtles

Watch plants carefully for evidence of aphids and spray as needed. (Insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or chemicals are available). These aphids are responsible for the black sooty mold often seen on Crape myrtles later in the season. If powdery mildew occurs, apply sulfur based fungicides or Immunox fungicide which provides good control. You will also want to keep an eye out for the ambrosia beetle which bores into the tree and leaves straws of sawdust sticking out of the trunk. These beetles infect the trees with the ambrosia fungus which can kill the tree. Protective sprays of bifenthrin can prevent infestation. Once the trees are infected, however, there is no cure.

√ Poison Ivy

Ivy can be eliminated with multiple sprays of Glyphosate or a product containing 2-4d or triclopyr, which are broad leaf weed killers. Do not apply herbicides on a windy day to prevent injury to desirable plants. Goats are a good natural way to eliminate this troublesome weed.

√ Blackberry Orange Rust

If you see an orange substance on the backs of your blackberry leaves it is Orange Rust. This disease can kill leaves and cause a reduced crop. It will persist from year to year, so if you have an infection it is best to destroy the infected plants. It’s also important to remove all wild blackberries that may be harboring the fungus. There are no effective chemical controls at this time. The varieties Cherokee, Cheyenne, Comanche, Choctaw, Arapaho, Ouachita, and Shawnee are considered resistant.

√ Spring Bulbs

Do NOT cut back spring bulb foliage until it turns yellow and brown. This foliage makes the food for the bulb to bloom next year.

√ Rhododendron

You can prune your rhododendron/azaleas after they finish flowering. Be sure to spray your azaleas with soapy water or horticultural oils to kill lace bugs which will turn the leaves a grey color. You will need to coat the undersides of the leaves to get control of these pesky insects. Imidacloprid is a chemical systemic control that can be utilized after blooming as well.

√ Aphids

Aphids vary in color from green, black, brown, red, pink, etc. They are soft-bodied insects and they suck sap from their needle-like mouthparts from buds, leaves, twigs and developing fruit. The results include leaves that may be stunted and distorted and fruit that becomes misshapen. Aphids can be found along stems or on the underside of a leaf. Did you know that aphids have a natural predator: ladybugs! Non-chemical removal of these pests includes washing them off the plant with a steady stream of water or spraying soapy water on the leaves. Repeat again in 3-4 days to catch any survivors. Chemical control of aphids includes spraying Pyrethrin or Malathion.

NOTE: The use of brand names in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service of the products or services named nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.