Lower South

August, 2011
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

African Marigold
Okay, marigolds (Tagetes erecta) certainly aren't new. However, while they are often planted in spring, they are actually outstanding fall plants. When the days shorten and the weather cools in fall, the marigold's main nemesis, spider mites, virtually disappear. These flowers are at their best during the fall, glowing with yellow and orange color. The African types are the marigolds with the large pom-pom or mum-like blooms. They will provide luminous color all the way to the first frost. Plant them in late August, watering the new plants in with a dilute fertilizer solution to give them a kick start. Then fertilize every few weeks to keep them growing strong and blooming profusely.

Clever Gardening Technique

The Sun as an Herbicide
The hot summer sun is a great way to kill bermudagrass and other pernicious perennial weeds. Rototill or spade the soil and allow the sun to bake it dry, killing many of the rhizomes of bermudagrass. Then water to encourage any surviving sprigs to sprout and rototill it again for another drying cycle. After a few cycles of this desiccating exposure, the vast majority of bermudagrass will have expended its stored reserves and be killed by the hot, drying sun. After this make sure and remove any such weeds that show up promptly before they have a chance to become well established.

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