Coastal and Tropical South

September, 2004
Regional Report

Cleaning Up

In the wake of serious environmental damage inflicted on our region lately, here are three tips for dealing with damaged plants. Replant what you can or pot up what's left of smaller specimens. Prune off damaged branches or leaves, but leave those that lean or sprawl. Sometimes they recover on their own.

Rejuvenate Containers

Permanent containers are a huge part of gardening these days, partly because their appeal can span the seasons. Neaten up now by cutting back overgrown annuals or replacing them. Slip in a few cloves of garlic and a lettuce plant or two, even among flowers. Plants aren't prejudiced!

Pruning Ever-Bloomers

When a plant is in bloom much of the year, take two strategies: as the flowering slows down after its biggest burst, prune by as much as one third to rejuvenate, or clip a little bit throughout the season to keep it in shape. Both techniques work on coral honeysuckle, Arabian jasmine, and such.

Mulching

Whatever material you use, mulch eventually rots and must be replaced. Nicely rotten mulch like old leaves and ground barks can be easily worked into the bed. Shredded barks, pine straw, and bark nuggets may not. Rake out aged, discolored mulch, then chop it up and compost it.

Plumping Up Pumpkins

It's the home stretch now for pumpkins and gourds of every sort. Mother Nature may provide plenty of water, but adding fertilizer is crucial. If you have a reservoir next to the vine and rain is plentiful, add soluble fertilizer to it weekly for best development.

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