Author photo

By Peyton Ellas
UCCE Master Gardener 

Garden Tips for May and June


Last updated 5/6/2022 at 3:43pm | View PDF

Pineapple sage

While May can bring a mix of warm and cool weather, June typically means hot and dry, with occasional drops in temperature. Without adequate snowpack and rainfall this winter and spring, we are in another drought year, but we know how to keep our gardens healthy and growing with water-efficient practices and low-water-use plants. Our gardens will get through this drought cycle too. We may even be surprised, as in the last drought, how well some of our established garden plants grew and thrived.


If you must plant ornamentals as the weather gets into the really hot days, choose water-tolerant plants. In low-water-use gardens, this can be the many sages (salvia), among them California native sage, sage hybrids and cultivars like "Hot Lips," and "Flame," plus other plants like California fuschia (epilobium), Yarrow (achillea), butterfly bush (buddlea), crape myrtle (lagerstroemia), bougainvillea, rosemary, hesperaloe, quail bush (lentiformis) and apricot mallow (sphaeralcea.). Be prepared to baby any plantings if the heat arrives before they've had a chance to develop a healthy root system.

In the edible garden, you can still plant melon, winter squash and pumpkin, basil, corn, and okra. Edible gardening is a high-maintenance project and is not low-water. But it is a wise use of water and time, as long as we don't waste or overuse water, and we maximize our harvest by controlling pests and diseases.


Lawns should be watered deeply and infrequently. Keep your grass at least three inches tall to help the crowns stay cool and not dry out between watering. Consider reducing the lawn size and/or switching from a high-water-use species to a low-water-use lawn.

Monitor your garden, both edible and ornamental, for pest insects like scale, aphid, whitefly, stink bug, spider mite, and earwigs.

In a well-managed garden, you will find a large number of beneficial insects like lacewings, lady bugs, pirate bugs and spiders of all colors and sizes.

Monitor populations of pest insects and see if the beneficials, including birds, can keep the numbers manageable. If some help is needed, follow the "least toxic first" method of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practice before you reach for the kills-everything insecticide.

Other tasks this month include:

• Deep-water ground covers, lawns, shrubs, and trees, including fruit trees.

• Divide bearded iris once they finish blooming. First carefully dig up plants and discard old rhizomes and any diseased or rotted sections. Replant the healthy rhizomes, making sure to plant shallowly. Just barely cover the rhizome with soil before watering.

• Prune azalea, camelia and hydrangea after bloom.

• After harvest, clean up berry vines. Cut this year's fruiting canes to the ground and tie up the new green canes in their place. Spread compost or fertilizer in the bed, then deep water.

• Prune apricot trees in the summer. You can also do a light summer pruning of other stone fruit trees. Beware of pruning too much, since bark that has previously been in the shade can be extra-sensitive to sunburn.

• Pinch asters, chrysanthemums, and sedum 'Autumn Joy' to encourage branching and more blooms in the fall.

• Lightly cut back any perennials that are becoming too leggy.

• Snip spent flowers from summer blooming annuals and perennials.

• Wisteria can be pruned aggressively now. Cut back to two nodes on the new branches, as this will keep the plant from unrestrained growth, while giving it time to put on a spectacular display of blooms next year.

• Manage mosquitos by limiting standing water and using dunks containing Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI).


Conserving this summer is mostly about water. If you do only one thing, repair leaks! If you can do more, SaveOurWater has easy to follow tips for prioritizing water use and conserving water ( Many of these tips are easy to make into a life-long habit, drought or no drought.

Have a safe, healthy, full-of-garden-wonder month!

The Master Gardeners will be available to answer your questions at a few select locations in the next few months:

Ace Hardware, Visalia - 1st Saturday/every month, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Luis Nursery, Visalia - 2nd Saturday/every month, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Questions? Call us:

Call us: Master Gardeners in Tulare County: (559) 684-3325, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30-11:30 a.m .;

Kings County: (559) 852-2736, Thursday only, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Visit our website to search past articles, find links to UC gardening information, or email your questions to us at:

Visit us on Facebook at:

Instagram at: @mgtularekings


Crape myrtle (lagerstroemia)

The Master Gardeners will be available to answer your questions at a few select locations in the next few months!

Ace Hardware, Visalia - 1st Sat./every month, 10 am-1 pm

Luis Nursery, Visalia - 2nd Sat./every month, 10 am-2 pm

Hanford Farmer's Market - 4th Thurs, May - Sept., 5-8 pm, 7th ST. and Irwin Downtown Hanford

Questions? Call us:

Master Gardeners in Tulare County: (559) 684-3325; Kings County at (559) 852-2736

Visit our website to search past articles, find links to UC gardening information, or to email us with your questions:

Visit us on Facebook at:

Follow us on Instagram at: @mgtularekings


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024