Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Gardener's checklist: May

Temperatures are warming and starting to become more consistent depending on where in the state you live. Here’s a list of some of the things Minnesota gardeners can be doing right now in their yards and gardens.

  • Submit soil samples into the UMN Soil Testing Lab. Wait times for the results are about two weeks.
  • Prepare new garden spaces (remove turf, till, mulch, etc.) in preparation for planting soon. Place orders for bulk mulch or soil from a commercial processor since the delivery times may be longer than usual. 
  • Everyone can be planting trees and shrubs as well as hardy herbaceous perennials. Plant lists can be found on the Extension trees and shrubs page.
    • Gardeners across the state can plant fruit trees and dormant bare root fruit plants like raspberries, and strawberries. Look for University of Minnesota variety releases at MN Hardy and on our Fruits page.
    • Be sure to provide enough water for newly planted and established plants.
  • DO NOT prune oak trees! April through mid-July is the period when the spread of oak wilt is a high risk.
  • Seed your lawn, especially areas damaged by the drought last year. Choose a seed mix that is best suited to your growing conditions. Fine fescues are a favorite of our turf researchers because of its adaptability to various light levels and its low nutrient and water requirements.
    • Start planting vegetables!
      • Gardeners in central and southern Minnesota can plant warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers, and annual flowers, and seeds like beans and squash.
      • Northern gardeners still have a couple weeks to go for warm season veggies before the threat of frost has passed. But you can be planting cool season crops like broccoli, kale and other cold crops, spinach, lettuce, and peas.
      • Vegetables A-Z is a good resource for any gardener growing food crops.
    • Visit the MN Landscape Arboretum to see live plants in action! Then shop local garden centers and growers for your garden.
    • Make it a point to add more native and pollinator-friendly plants to your gardens and especially those plants that bloom early and late in the season. 
    • Subscribe to news you can use:
    Page survey

    © 2023 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.