The Plant Man: Answering your May planting questions

“May, the month of sunshine, blooming flowers and endless possibilities.” –Unknown

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Photos courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

As May continues her embrace of our beautiful coastal enclave, gardeners are greeted with sunshine and warmer temperatures, providing the perfect conditions for a burst of springtime activity. May is the transition month from spring to summer, making it an ideal time to plant warm season annuals, perennials and vegetables.

Let’s get back to the garden with your questions for the Plant Man.

Q: What is the most important garden task this month?

A: As your plants enter their peak growing season, provide them with the required nutrients from a slow-release fertilizer. Select a fertilizer specifically formulated for your plants’ needs, whether it’s a balanced blend for most flowering perennials or a high nitrogen formulation for lawns and vegetables.

Q: Should I be pruning my garden now?

A: May is an excellent time to trim back overgrown shrubs and trees to maintain their shape and promote healthy growth. Be sure to prune spring-flowering plants after they finish blooming to encourage next year’s blossoms and don’t forget to use quality pruners.

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High quality Felco gardening pruners

Q: Do I need to worry about insects this month?

A: With the warmer weather, pests like aphids, whiteflies and snails will become more active in the garden. Keep an eye out for signs of infestation and take proactive measures to deter them, such as introducing beneficial insects or using organic pest control methods.

Q: Should I be mulching my garden?

A: Mulching not only helps conserve moisture and suppress weeds but also adds a decorative touch to your garden beds. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as a planter’s mix or compost, around your plants to improve soil fertility and structure.

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Be inspired by the endless possibilities of gardening by the sea

Q: Should I install drip irrigation before summer?

A: Consider installing a drip irrigation system to efficiently deliver water to your plants’ roots while minimizing water waste.

By tending to horticultural imperatives, gardeners in Laguna and beyond can cultivate a flourishing outdoor oasis that thrives throughout the summer months. Embrace the beauty of the season and savor its flowering rewards as you engage in the endless possibilities of gardening by the sea.

Steve Kawaratani has been a local guy for seven decades and likes to garden and drive the Baja Peninsula with Catharine and Loki. He can be reached at, or 949.494.5141.

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