Northern & Central Midwest
Stake Your Perennials
Perennials are coming up quickly, so remember to stake tall plants before they reach 6 inches. Putting staking systems in place early will help prevent later damage. Use wire perennial cages, stakes, string, or dead branches, and try to make the staking disappear under the perennial foliage so the plant looks as natural as possible.
Don't Remove Bulb Foliage Too Early
Let spring bulb foliage turn yellow and wither before removing it. The leaves manufacture food that is stored in the bulb for next year's growth. If it is offensive in the overall look of the garden, plant ground covers or perennials to cover the foliage as it yellows.
Provide Water for Migrating Birds
Migrating birds are coming through in droves. The May migrants, such as warblers, tanagers, orioles, and buntings, are all attracted to shallow pools and the pinging sound of dripping water. Providing a gentle water drip and plenty of food will provide sustenance to help these birds on their way.
Prune Spring-Flowering Plants After Blossoms Fade
Prune spring-flowering shrubs and trees as soon as they have finished blooming. Prune with the overall plant form in mind, and on plants that send up shoots from the crown, prune out up to one third of the older canes at this time. This will increase blooming and improve the look of forsythia, viburnums, lilacs, and dogwoods.
Watch for Aphids
Watch the succulent new growth of shrubs, small trees, and perennials because this growth is particularly susceptible to aphid attack. You may see the pests themselves or simply curled, distorted growth. The easiest way to control aphids is to spray the foliage with a strong spray of water to wash off the pests.