Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


May, 2001
Regional Report

Spring Chrysanthemum Care

Now is the time to trim back old stems of chrysanthemums to give room for new growth around the perimeter of the crown. Divide and replant mums in rich, evenly moist, but well drained soil in full sun. Begin pinching (nip off the growing tips) when they're a few inches tall, and continue pinching every other week until mid-July to encourage branching and increased fall flowering.

Protect Seedlings and Transplants

Protect emerging seedlings and transplants from damage by deer, woodchucks, rabbits, crows, and other assorted critters. Cover plants with cages made of wire mesh or screening, or floating row covers secured around the edges. A tall fence, with the bottom edge buried, may be the best long term solution to pesky four-legged pests.

Plant A Bee Garden

Many vegetables are pollinated by insects such as bees. For better yields, encourage bees to visit your garden by planting some of their favorite herbs, such as basil, borage, calendula, catnip, hyssop, lemon balm, mint, summer savory, and thyme. Butterflies enjoy these plants as well.

Mulch Shrubs

Mulching around shrubs reduces weed growth, helps preserve soil moisture, and protects the stems from mower and trimmer damage. However, too much mulch prevents both water and air from reaching the roots, so don't apply it too thickly. Rake or fluff the mulch periodically and top it as needed to maintain only about a 3-inch-thick layer.

Water Transplants

New flower and vegetable transplants may need daily watering, but to encourage deeper rooting and healthier root systems in the long run, water deeply and increase the intervals between waterings. The goal is to eventually avoid the daily sprinkling routine and opt instead for a slow, penetrating deep soaking every five to seven days.


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