Lower South

July, 2004
Regional Report

Keep Container Plants Hydrated and Happy

Summer takes its toll on container plants and really increases their summer watering needs. If you are watering twice a day to keep them alive, try moving the plants to a location with morning sun and afternoon shade. Larger containers are usually a better choice as the increased mass of soil holds water longer than a smaller pot.

Caring for Fruit Trees

Fruit trees set the buds for next year's crop from midsummer to fall. Prune out suckers and watersprout branches to allow light into the lower canopy. Keep the soil adequately moist to avoid stress and insure a good set of fruit buds. Drought stress from now through August can result in deformed fruit and lower yields.

Plant Veggies That Love the Heat

There is still time to plant heat-loving vegetables like southern peas, okra, sweet potatoes, amaranth, and Malabar. Give them adequate water as the heat really increases their water use. New seedlings are prime targets for hungry caterpillars and beetles, so keep a close eye on plants so you can be ready when pest damage warrants control.

Hold the Shears on Spring Bloomers

Spring-blooming shrubs, vines, and trees, including azalea, dogwood, redbud, spirea, forsythia, flowering quince, wisteria, and \"once-blooming\" roses, shouldn\'t be heavily pruned for the remainder of this year. Excessive pruning from midsummer on will reduce next year\'s bloom. It\'s okay to trim a gangly shoot here and there to maintain shape.

Evaluate Which Plants May Need Relocating

Take a stroll through the landscape late in the day. Plants looking wilted or sunburned although well watered may be in too sunny a location or at least be receiving too much late-day sun. Make a few mental notes so woody ornamentals and perennials that prefer more shade can be moved to a better location this November.

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