Coastal and Tropical South

March, 2005
Regional Report

Provide Drinks All Around

Big, thirsty vines like gourds, pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers need a reservoir. Get a coffee can or plastic jug and punch holes in the sides near the bottom. Bury it with an inch above ground when you plant the seeds and keep it filled with water and fertilizer all season.

Don't Mow Too Low

It's tempting to mow the lawn as low as possible, usually to lengthen the time between mowings. Resist this siren of doom: mowing too low, too early, can scalp the lawn's rhizomes, leaving it vulnerable to pests and fertilizer burn. Set the blade at the recommended level for now.

Treating Fire Ants

Mounds of fire ants appear overnight, but their spheres of influence extend further. Before treating mounds, spread a baited control across the yard. Mow the grass low (this is one time when it's necessary) before applying the bait, and don't forget to treat the flower beds. Read the label closely before using any insecticide in food gardens.

Pruning Azaleas

Don't put it off! Get out the clippers and shears as soon as azaleas finish blooming. Prune a few inches off healthy shrubs and shape them now. Cut overgrown shrubs back by one third their height and width to control their growth. Rejuvenate sad shrubs by removing their largest canes entirely.

Moving Bulbs

Whether it's spider lilies or naked ladies (Lycoris), daffodils or narcissus, sometimes bulbs must be moved. When crowded or sunken, they stop blooming. Often a clump just calls to us and waiting until it's completely died back may be impossible. Let the leaves die down by half, if possible.

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