Lower South

March, 2005
Regional Report

Give Roses a Boost

Roses are already starting to bloom, but the best is yet to come. Keep them in top shape with a moderate application of fertilizer. Apply 1/4 cup of fertilizer throughout a circular area extending 2 feet out from each bush in all directions.

Thin Fruit Trees

If you are fortunate enough to have fruit trees that made it through any spring frosts and have set fruit, now is a good time to start thinning the fruit. Remove all but one apple or pear per bloom cluster. Thin plums to every 4 inches along the branch, and peaches/nectarines to every 6 inches. Don't thin persimmons as they will thin themselves.

Fertilize Camellias

Late-blooming camellias are finishing up their bloom cycle now. Give all types of camellias a boost by fertilizing with a product for acid-loving plants. Organic gardeners will find cottonseed meal to be a good choice. Any pruning that needs to be done should be completed soon so the plants have plenty of time to grow and set buds for next year. Apply a few inches of mulch around the roots to hold moisture and deter weeds.

Plant Warm-Season Vegetables

The average last frost date is passing in most of the lower south, and the warm-season vegetable garden is in full swing. Plant tomatoes, beans, squash, cucumbers, and Swiss chard in these next few weeks. Then follow a couple of weeks later with peppers and eggplant.

Be Patient With Spring Bulbs

Summer snowflake, daffodils, paper whites, and other spring-blooming bulbs are now past their bloom season but are actively taking in sunlight to replenish themselves for next year's show. Put up with the declining foliage for now. When it turns yellow to brown, they are done recharging and you can cut it off.

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