Lower South

July, 2003
Regional Report

Plant Fall Tomatoes

Plant tomatoes now for the fall garden. They take a couple of months or more to grow and set fruit. If you wait too late to plant, they won't have time to ripen that fruit and an early fall frost will break your heart!

Prune Fall-Blooming Perennials

Trim back chrysanthemums, Mexican bush sage, Mexican mint marigold, and other fall-blooming perennials now to help form a bushier plant in time for their fall bloom show. Fertilize lightly and water them well to encourage vigorous regrowth.

Don't Allow Containers To Dry Out

Container plants tend to dry out rapidly in hot weather. They may need daily watering depending on plant species, type of growing mix, exposure (sun or shade), type of container (soil in a terra cotta pot dries out faster), and plant size in relation to container size. Make sure they drain properly and then keep the soil moist.

Clean Weeds From Base of Fruit Trees

Keep grass away from the base of fruit trees, vines, and bushes. It is a major competitor for water and nutrients. Controlling grass and weeds also keeps public enemies #1 and #2 of trees -- the lawn mower and weed eater -- away from their trunks.

Soggy Soil is a Killer

Dry soil is a killer, but not any more deadly than soggy, wet soil in the brutal heat of summer. In a clay soil the planting hole can become an "underground bathtub" that collects water and leaves roots drowning for lack of air. If in doubt, dig down a few inches next to the plant and feel the soil to see if it needs watering or not.

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