Gardening Tips from Eliza Fournier

Now that spring-like weather is actually here, what should you do with your tulips, perennials and other flowers? Eliza Fournier from the Chicago Botanic Garden joins Chicago Tonight to offer spring gardening pointers.

Read tips from Chicago Botanic Garden's May gardening checklist.

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General Garden Care 

-Plant warm-season flowering annuals, vines, herbs, and vegetables after the Chicago area’s average last frost date of May 15.
-Be sure newly purchased annuals have been hardened off properly before planting them outside.
-Avoid fertilizing newly planted annuals for two weeks.

Annual and Perennial Care

-Stake tall perennials before they reach 6 inches.
-Begin to regularly pinch back fall-blooming perennials (pinch once a week until the middle of July).
-Continue to direct the growth of perennial vines on their supports. Climbing roses should be encouraged to develop lateral, flower-bearing canes.

Tree and Shrub Care

-Plant trees and shrubs, including balled and burlapped evergreens on a cloudy day, early in the morning, to prevent heat and transplant shock.
-Water thoroughly and gently at planting time and continue for the first year with 1 inch of water a week, spread throughout the root zone. 
-Mulch root zones to conserve moisture.

Rose Care

-Fertilize roses with a liquid 20-20-20 solution when flower buds are set.
-Do not handle rosebushes if foliage is wet and infected. 
-Monitor roses for rose slugs (small white caterpillars with black heads) and their damage (tissuelike patches on the leaves).

Lawn Care

-Mow lawn at 2 to 2½ inches, removing one-third or less of the leaf blade.
-Leave grass clippings on the lawn to return nutrients to the soil, or add them to compost heap.
-Fertilize lawn in mid-May if necessary.

Fruit, Vegetable, and Herb Care

-Plant corn, snap beans, summer squash, and New Zealand spinach in mid-May.
-Thin carrots, beets, and late lettuce.
-Spread several inches of aged compost on vegetable and herb beds, if not done yet.

Read more of Chicago Botanic Garden's tips.

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