Gardening To-Do List: Regional Gardening Tips For May

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May is a prime gardening month throughout the United States. Whether your region is well into the growing season or just beginning, you may be wondering what to do in the garden in May.

What to Do in the Garden in May

Here are some suggestions and gardening tips for May specifically for your region of the country.


Maple syrup season has ended throughout throughout the northeastern states and it’s now time to focus on those monthly garden chores for May.

  • Harden off frost-tender annuals
  • Plant summer-blooming bulbs

Central Ohio Valley

Expect changing weather patterns throughout the month across the Ohio Valley. Use the beautiful spring days to get a jump on your May to-do list.

  • Sow annual flower seeds outdoors

Upper Midwest

Spring bulbs have commenced blooming and perennials are emerging from the ground in the Upper Midwest states. Consider these gardening tips for May.

  • Start squash and pumpkins indoors
  • Trim dead branches from trees

Northern Rockies and Central Plains

The start of gardening season varies throughout the Rockies and Plains region, with some areas experiencing snow well into spring. Gardeners are advised to amend their May to-do list according to the last frost date for their area.

  • Harden off frost tender annuals
  • Weed and mulch flower beds
  • Sow cool season crops in higher elevations
  • Try container gardening to extend the growing season


Gardeners in the Pacific Northwest can expect sunny days and mild weather this month, making May the perfect time to tackle that gardening to-do list.

  • Transplant frost-tender vegetables
  • Deadhead early-blooming roses
  • Weed, edge and mulch flowerbeds


With temperatures rising throughout the month, now is an excellent time to finish up that May to-do list before the heat of summer makes working outdoors in the Southeastern region uncomfortable.

  • Fertilize summer-blooming flowers
  • Mark the location of spring bulbs for fall division
  • Inspect plants for signs of fungal disease

South Central

The growing season throughout the South-Central states is well underway in this area of the country. Expect humidity to increase throughout the month and the threat of tornadoes to occasionally put your monthly garden chores on hold for the day. 

  • Begin trimming back spring bulbs once foliage turns brown
  • Fertilize fruit trees

Desert Southwest

As temperatures rise and rainfall decreases throughout the month, it’s essential to get that gardening to-do list done early in the Southwest region. Try these gardening tips for May.

  • Create elegant succulent planters to highlight the front entrance
  • Mulch to insulate the soil and prevent moisture evaporation


Moderate temperatures and a reduction in rainfall gives gardeners in the Western region plenty of days to complete their monthly garden chores for May.

  • Test lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems
  • Fertilize fruit trees and thin fruit to 3 to 4 per cluster 
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