2 min read
Red flower

Learn—month by month—the necessary gardening activities for lawns and shrubs, annuals and perennials, fruit and nut trees, and bulbs, roots, and tubers. Included is a timeline for activities such as soil testing, planting, pruning, fertilizing, pruning, mulching, indoor plantings—from cauliflower to okra, from camellias to dahlias to heirloom roses.

Fruits and Nuts

  • Continue spray program.
  • Keep grass from around trees and strawberries.
  • Peaches and apples can still be budded.


  • Newly planted shrubs need extra care now and in coming weeks.
  • Do not spray with horticultural oils when the temperature is above 85 degrees F.


  • Start new lawns from seed.
  • Call the Master Gardener Helpline at (877) 252-4769 to learn more about seasonal fertilizer use and proper mowing. Overfertilizing and overwatering lead to lawn problems.
  • Wait until warm-season lawns are fully green before applying any fertilizers.
  • Mow often (5 to 10 days) to remove just 1/3 the grass height at each mowing
  • Apply 1 pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet to all warm-season lawn types: bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass (or wait until after dethatching).
  • Dethatch warm-season lawns if needed. Check thatch layer, as in April. Water and fertilize after dethatching (1 pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet).


  • Spray or dust for insects and diseases.
  • Fertilize monthly according to a soil test.
  • Plant container-grown plants in flower.
  • Prune climbing roses after the first big flush of flowering.

Annuals and Perennials

  • Late plantings of bedding plants still have time to produce.
  • Watch for insects on day lilies. Bulbs
  • Summer bulbs started in containers may still be planted.
  • Do not remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs.
  • Do not let seedheads form on tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.


  • Mulch new shrub plantings if not already done.
  • Monitor new landscape plantings of shrubs, trees, and turf. To establish healthy root systems, prevent them from drying out and water deeply.

Vegetable Seeds

  • Whole state: Continue plantings of all April seeds across the state.
  • Central and North: Add okra and southern peas to your garden.

Vegetable Transplants

  • Whole state: Continue plantings of April transplant crops.
  • Central and North: Plant certified sweet potato slips.


Call the Master Gardener Helpline at (877) 252-4769. A Master Gardener Extension volunteer is waiting to answer your call.


Download a PDF of Alabama Gardener’s Calendar – May, ANR-2617.

View the full Alabama Gardener’s Calendar.

Peer Review

Download this article as a PDF

Did you find this helpful?