Middle South

May, 2004
Regional Report

Pamper Roses

I can't wait to gather the first roses to bring indoors, and as long as I have pruning shears in hand, I snip off leaves that show signs of blackspot, and top back canes that block too much sun from their neighbors. Young plants get a deep drench of water-soluble plant food, too.

Eradicate Invasives

Before invasive plants, such as Japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose, can use your house as a base of operations, nip them back with pruning loppers. When invasives are cut back repeatedly, eventually they run out of steam.

Weed Fast Veggies

Beans, squash, and other fast-growing vegetables will soon be able to shade out weeds, but weeding is your job while the plants are small. As long as you're pulling weeds, thin crowded seedlings so each remaining plant has ample room to grow.

Replace Pansies

If your plants are exhausted, or you're tired of looking at them, pull up pansies and replace them with warm-natured bloomers. Pop in bedding plants of pentas or begonias, or sow seeds of zinnias, celosia, or dwarf French marigolds.

Support Tomatoes

Don't wait too long to give your tomatoes the support they deserve. Stake or trellis plants before they begin to bloom, because stems and leaves often get mangled as they are moved.

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