Lower South

September, 2004
Regional Report

Trim Herbs for Fall

Shear herb plants that are ragged looking from the effects of summer. Fertilize them lightly, and mulch the soil surface. They will respond with new growth in the coming months, providing wonderful flavor for cooking and for herbal oils and vinegars.

Protect Fall Vegetable Transplants

Cool-season transplants will benefit from a temporary shade cover to help them make the adjustment over the next few weeks. Create some shade by pruning small branches from shrubs or bamboo and sticking them in the soil on the southwest side of the transplants. Strips of shade cloth or row cover fabric folded doubled and suspended over the plant row also work well.

Keep Scale Insects in Check

Watch for scale insects on camellias, beautyberry, golden euonymus, fruit trees, and other susceptible plants. Timely sprays of a summer or horticultural oil directed at scale colonies on the plant's branches can help keep them from getting out of hand. Thoroughly spray the infested areas for effective control.

Prepare Tender Plants for Winter

Stop fertilizing semi-tender plants like fig trees to help them prepare for winter. Extra nitrogen and luxuriant watering can promote late flushes of growth, which are more prone to cold injury. Marginally hardy plants need to have plenty of time to slow growth and prepare for winter.

Maintain That Mulch!

The benefits of mulching planting beds are numerous. Mulch reduces surface crusting and moderates soil temperatures to keep surface roots cooler. Best of all, it shades out weed seeds, preventing them from invading and competing with our garden plants. Cool-season weeds will soon be germinating so don't delay!

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