Lower South

August, 2004
Regional Report

Mow Lawns High

Keep mowing lawns high (3 inches for St. Augustine, 2 inches for zoysia, and 1 inch for Bermuda grass). Taller mowing heights allow the turf to develop deeper roots and to perform better in shady spots. Mowing low during the hot, stressful, summer months can contribute to a decline in turf quality and a need for more water to fend off drought damage.

Protect Transplants

Tender seedlings and transplants sown now for fall are prime targets for hungry grasshoppers, caterpillars, and beetles. Protect tender plants by laying lightweight row covers over them until they're large enough to make it on their own. These covers also help retain soil moisture and reduce desiccation from the wind and sun.

Reduce Mosquitoes

To reduce the number of mosquitoes having you for supper, eliminate their breeding grounds around your house. Check rain gutters for proper drainage, remove or turn over upturned pots, and empty the catch basins beneath container plants frequently to eliminate these potential mosquito nurseries.

Prevent Scale Insects

Watch for scale insect infestations on fruit trees, camellia, beautyberry, and golden euonymous. Timely sprays of a summer or horticultural oil directed at scale colonies on the plant\'s branches will keep them from getting out of hand. Note which plants are infested so you can treat them with dormant oil in late winter to reduce next year\'s population.

Control Webworms

Webworms are attacking many trees in the landscape such as pecan, mulberry, and black cherry. Left unchecked, they can result in an early defoliation. To control them, break up their webs with a long pole to allow wasps and other predators to attract them. Spray Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) on the leaves and colonies if severe.

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