Southern Coasts

April, 2004
Regional Report

Use Cover-Ups on Squash

Take it on faith if you must, but get a floating row cover for your squash and eggplant. The white, woven cloth lets in light and water but shields the young plants from pests. Flea beatles -- the nemesis of both the squash vine borer and eggplant -- will be daunted if not stopped entirely.

Plant Limas

The soils have warmed now so you can plant the summer crops: okra, crowder peas, and lima beans. Put poles in place first; use a teepee arrangement to increase climbing space and keep the beans clean. Don't fertilize any kind of beans since they'll fix their own nitrogen.

Divide Iris

Flag iris and early beardeds grow rapidly and benefit from dividing every third year. Space small flag iris at 8 to 10 inches apart, but the huge, yellow flags need a minimum of 1 foot between each clump. At that, they'll still need dividing in three years to keep them flowering abundantly.

Caring for Roses

As the first roses finish blooming, assess their needs. One-time bloomers (like 'Lady Banksia') can be pruned now to control their rampant growth. Remontants (rebloomers like 'The Fairy' and many garden roses) can be fertilized and trimmed lightly to remove old flowers and encourage new ones.

Prune Trees and Shrubs

Lichen-laden branches, those that haven't leafed out, and any hazardous limbs can be cut out now. Evergreen hedges in need of bushier new growth can be trimmed, and tall, leggy shrubs can be limbed up. Prune flowering shrubs right after they bloom to shape them and control height.

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