Lower South

June, 2004
Regional Report

Water Pecan Trees

Those giant, beautiful, pecan trees are busy growing this fall's crop of nuts. For a good harvest, it is important to maintain healthy foliage and keep the soil adequately moist. During summer droughts, give the trees a slow soaking throughout the entire area beneath the branches once every 7 to 10 days. Trees that are stressed before the end of July tend to produce smaller pecans, while those stressed from August on will produce poorly filled pecans.

Making More Mums for Fall

This is an excellent time to propagate your favorite chrysanthemums from cuttings. Take 4-inch cuttings and remove the leaves on the lower half of the stem. Dip in a rooting hormone and place in a 50:50 perlite and peat mixture. Cover with a clear lid and place in a bright area out of direct light. Keep moist but not soggy. As soon as the cuttings are rooted move them to small pots to grow for another few weeks before planting out into the garden.

Be Alert to Stink Bugs

If you love tomatoes you aren't alone! Stink bugs and their cousins, leaf-footed bugs, are arriving en masse to poke their nasty little mouthparts into our fruit. An easy approach is to vacuum the pests off your plants early in the morning when they are still a bit sluggish. Wait too long and they'll have done their damage, leaving fruit deformed or with hard yellow spots.

Don't Spare the Shears

Annual and perennial flowers can start to get floppy or leggy about this time of the season. Wait until they have completed a flush of blooms. Then use shears to cut them back by about a third. This will encourage side shoots, resulting in bushier plants and more flower buds. Repeat this process throughout the summer to keep them beautiful and to bring on more cycles of bloom. Fertilize lightly after each shearing.

Putting Spring Bulbs to Bed for Fall

Spring bulbs have just about completed their period of replenishing their food reserves to get ready for next year. Allow the foliage to turn yellow before removing it to tidy up the planting bed. If you want to rework the beds and need to remove the bulbs, you can do so when the foliage dies back. Dig up the bulbs and allow them a week or so to dry in a shady location. Then cut away any roots or foliage and store them in a cool, dry place for fall planting.

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