Lower South

May, 2004
Regional Report

Mix Containers for Added Interest

Group different types of containers to add interest to your landscape. In large containers try mixing plants. Place a taller plant in the center and include some trailing or pendant plants spilling over the edge. Include a plant or two with burgundy or silver/gray foliage to contrast with the green foliage of other plants.

Plant Heat-Loving Veggies

Okra, malabar, southern peas, sweet potatoes, and vegetable amaranth thrive in the heat of summer. Now is a great time to get a crop started. Keep the soil moist to help seedlings and new transplants get off to a good start. Then mulch well to keep weeds from taking over.

Raise the Mower Blade

Set your mower to leave plenty of height to the turf. Mowing at a low height is more stressful to grass plants. It results in shallow rooting (less drought resilience) and encourages weed problems. The lower you set the mower, the more often you have to mow to keep the lawn looking good.

Control Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is running rampant on crape myrtles, roses, and other susceptible plants. Choose resistant varieties to avoid the problem. Spray susceptible plants with a fungicide labeled for powdery mildew control on a regular basis to help keep this disease in check. There are several low-toxicity options, including products containing neem oil or potassium bicarbonate.

Watch for Fruit Rot on Squash

Rainy weather and overhead sprinkling brings on attacks from a fruit-rot fungus that begins at the "belly button" where the bloom was attached and progresses through the fruit. Fungicides can help prevent it but are usually not needed unless the weather stays rainy for extended periods. Pick and discard affected fruit promptly as a sanitary practice to discourage its spread.

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