Lower South

February, 2005
Regional Report

Plant Gladiolus Bulbs

Begin planting gladiolus bulbs, spacing planting dates at two-week intervals to extend the flower season. This way, you can have blooms for cutting on into the summer. Provide them a bright area in soil that has some compost added. Keep the soil evenly moist for best results.

Trim Liriope and Cast Iron Plant

These evergreen mainstays of the southern landscape will be coming out of winter pretty ragged looking. Cut them back to a few inches high, and soon fresh new growth will fill out the area.

Fertilize Cool-Season Annuals

You can get another boost of bloom out of those cool-season annuals if you apply about a cup of turf fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed and then water it in well. Dried blood meal is also an excellent source of fertilizer for these flowers. Mulch the area after fertilizing and watering to deter weeds.

Check for Bagworms

Check junipers and other narrow-leaf evergreens for bagworm pouches. The insect eggs overwinter in the pouch and start the cycle again by emerging in the spring to begin feeding on the foliage. Hand removal and burning of the pouches are ways of reducing the potential damage next spring.

Weave Climbing Roses

If you have a climbing rose that has not bloomed well in the past and is getting adequate sun, it may benefit from some reorienting on the trellis. When shoots grow upward, they tend flower primarily at the upper end of the stem. If you weave those long, gangly canes back and forth horizontally, they will likely be more productive. Repeat this process in mid to late summer to enhance next year's blooming show.

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