Looks like it’s time to get out in the yard again! After an exceptionally cool and rainy May, it seems like the weather is going to turn nicer as we head into June. Here’s what I’d recommend for this month:
Make sure you mow regularly for the next few weeks.
There’s often a 3-4 week period when the weather is ideal for Kentucky bluegrass to grow incredibly quickly because the weather conditions are optimal for its growth. My hunch is that period is just starting. That means you’ll want to mow at least once, but preferable twice per week.
If you let the grass get too long before you mow, it shocks the root system for a few days. You can read more about the best mowing practices here that will ensure your lawn’s roots stay healthy and strong. Also, I wrote a post that talks about the benefits of mowing frequently in spring.
Where there has been water, there will be weeds.
Any time we get a lot of rain, the weeds are in heaven. Because of the extra moisture, many of the weed seeds close to the soil surface will germinate and grow rapidly before conditions dry out. They remind me of flocks of teenagers swarming to the coolest party.
The key to managing the oncoming flush of weeds is to address them early before they become a major problem. That means hand pulling, string trimming and spot spraying existing weeds. In rock or gravel areas where you think weeds could grow but haven’t started yet, it still may be worthwhile to put down a weed preventer as well.
Get planting once the soil dries out.
Since it was too wet to plant in May, many people were not able to get any plants in the ground. In many locations, the soil is still too soggy. If you plant when the soil is too wet, you risk compacting the soil. New plants have a hard time growing a new root system in compacted soil.
In addition, if you put a plant in a hole with standing water, the roots cannot get enough oxygen to support the plant. They often turn yellow and languish. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the soil is moist but not drenched before you plant.
If you need to wait a while to let the soil drain, keep in mind it’s still a good time to plant in pots and containers since the potting soil is engineered to drain quickly. By the time your containers are done, it’s likely your garden soil will be dry enough to plant.
On the other hand, if your soil is drained at this point, it’s a great time to plant. Here a description of the planting method I use.
Let hail damaged plants recover before deciding if they’re dead.
I’ve experienced six hail storms at my house this spring. Unbelievable. It knocked many of the leaves off my trees and shrubs. Some plants were hit by a hard freeze just as their new leaves were emerging. Here’s an article I wrote on dealing with hail damage in the landscape.
In addition, the cool weather has delayed many plants’ growth and delayed their recovery. Because the hail, frost and cold weather delayed growth, it’s still worth waiting a few weeks to see if your plants will recover. I’m often pleasantly surprised by the resilience of vines, trees and shrubs. Just when you think they’re about to kick the bucket a few green leaves appear.
Enjoy the transition to summer. It will be here before you know it. Also, the mom in me can’t resist ending on a final reminder to not wait too long to address any weeds that pop up. Don’t put this one off!