Southern Coasts

June, 2004
Regional Report

Pruning Evergreens

Keep pruning evergreens that you'd like to be thicker and bushier. Use hedge shears if you have a lot of hedge to trim, but smaller jobs call for anvil pruners or even grass shears. Start at the top, cut off 2 to 3 inches, then trim the rest to match.

Keep Plants Off the Ground

Wet weather and overhead irrigation make stakes absolutely essential for vining vegetables and flowers. Keeping flowers and fruit clean increases the number and quality of fruit, and prevents rot in the parts that touch the ground. Cucumbers and tomatoes and other crops like eggplant that often fall over should be staked right away.

Help Containers Drain

Big planters often have only one hole for drainage. Patios and decks have little or no provisions for drainage. Add heavy summer rain and the result can be planters that hold water. Use four "pot feet" to elevate the containers, or prop them up on bricks.

Keep Mowers Clean

Morning showers and afternoon temperatures above 80 degrees allow fungi in the lawn to multiply rapidly. Humidity makes it even worse. Rinse the deck and blades of your mower after each use to prevent the spread of brown patch.

Fertilize Gardenias

Once the blooming starts, gardenia (or cape jasmine) reaches for the fertilizer on an almost constant basis. If your soil isn't fertile, gardenia's lower leaves turn yellow, sacrificing themselves to the top growth and flowers. Scratch some compost into the soil around the base, and use a soluble, flower formula every two weeks.

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