Lower South

September, 2004
Regional Report

Start Cuttings to Overwinter Tender Plants

Now is a great time to start cuttings from cold-tender landscape plants that will soon be killed by the first hard freeze. Select shoots that are in between succulent and woody. Take cuttings about 4 inches long, remove leaves from the lower half of the cutting, dip in a rooting compound. and place in a moist chamber in a bright area out of direct sunlight. Most species will root in a couple of months. They can then be transplanted into containers and overwintered in a greenhouse, sunroom, or other bright indoor location.

Time to Test the Soil

Now is a good time to have your soil tested. Some amendments, such as sulfur and lime, can take months or longer to have their full effect. By testing now and making the appropriate additions, you can have a garden bed ready for spring planting. Your county extension office can assist you with where and how to have your soil tested.

Plant Container-Grown, Woody Ornamentals

Our southern winters are very mild so the roots of fall-planted, woody ornamentals will continue to grow, giving those plants a head start on spring. Wait until late winter for bare-root plants but fall is ideal for container-grown shrubs, trees, and woody vines.

Caring for Roses

Continue to protect your roses from pests and diseases as we enter the fall season. This will insure good carbohydrate production, which promotes good bloom and good plant health going into the winter season. Keep them in good vigor with a moderate application of a complete plant food in early fall to send them into winter dormancy in prime condition.

Save Seed for Next Year

Collect seeds from non-hybrid annuals and perennials that have gone to seed. Spread seeds on a newspaper for a week to allow them to dry thoroughly and then store them in a sealed jar. For maximum storage life, put the jar in the refrigerator, or better yet, the freezer.

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