If the old saying “April showers bring May flowers” is true, we should have an abundance of flowers this summer. Here are some tips for gardening.

The first one is for the gardener: The best time to work in the garden is before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. If this is not possible, protect your skin with long sleeved shirts and hats that shade your face and neck — advice from dermatologists.

May is a good time to:

• Repair your lawn. Fill in bare spots by slightly loosening surface of the soil and sow a good quality lawn seed evenly over the area. Tamp the seed in gently and water. Keep moist by covering with light mulch of lawn clippings. It’s also time to start mowing and to fertilize warm-season lawns — zoysia and Bermuda. Frequent mowing results in a healthier lawn with fewer weeds.

• Mulch soil to save water, smother weeds and keep soil cooler. Spread 1-3 inches of bark chips, compost, wood shavings or other material around shrubs, trees, annuals and vegetables.

• Set out annual bedding plants for summer color, including in your selection those that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Remember to pinch back annuals when 4 to 6 inches high to promote bushy growth. Also plant summer bulbs such as cannas, dahlias, elephant ear, caladiums and gladiolus.

• Prune spring flowering shrubs, especially azaleas, as soon as flowers fade. If you prune later, you will remove next season’s flower buds. Also feed azaleas and check for lacebugs. Look for yellowed and stippled infestations on top of leaves and black deposits on the underside.

• Break off wilting tulip or daffodil heads but continue to feed and care for the plants until the foliage dies back naturally (six to eight weeks). Resist cutting off the foliage too early.

• Plant warm season vegetables — tomatoes, pepper, squash, okra and corn. Extend the harvesting season with a second planting in three to four weeks.

• Plant new roses and fertilize old ones.

• Move houseplants outside if you haven’t already done so. Expose plants to sunlight gradually. It’s also a good time to repot those that have outgrown their containers.

• Keep an eye out for insects and signs of diseases and take appropriate measures immediately.

• And finally, although we had a wet April, remember that plants need moisture to thrive in Arkansas.

Lance Kirkpatrick is the Sebastian County Cooperative Extension agent. Have questions about lawn, garden or other horticulture related issues? The Sebastian County Extension Service can help with offices in Barling and Greenwood. Call (479) 484-7737 for answers to horticulture questions.