Lower South

March, 2005
Regional Report

Prepare Azaleas for Next Year

Azaleas will complete their spring blooming season soon. After the blooms fade, any shaping or pruning can be done. Remove long gangly shoots and give the bush a light feeding with a fertilizer for acid-loving plants. They will resume growth and by midsummer be ready to set buds for next year's blooms.

Plant Summer Bulbs

Bulbs and corms of summer-blooming perennials can still go into the landscape. Ginger, alliums, rain lilies, cannas, daylilies, and society garlic can all add beauty to the landscape and will return year after year to prove they are a good investment.

Choose Caladiums Early

Caladiums make great summer color for shady southern areas. They come in many shades of white, pink, red, and green, brightening otherwise drab, shady areas of the landscape. For best selection purchase caladium tubers now for planting in late April and early May when the soil temperature has reached at least 70 degrees F.

Get Ready to Fertilize Turf

Once you have mowed your lawn grass twice (mowing weeds doesn't count) it is actively growing and can use a boost from some fertilizer. This is about early to mid April in most of the lower south. If we fertilize too early, the winter weeds will benefit and nutrients can wash away or otherwise be lost before our sleepy-headed southern turf wakes up enough to really need it.

Use Caution With Weed and Feed Products

Many trees and shrubs are damaged each year by the careless application of weed killers, including those found in "weed and feed" products. Always read and follow label directions very carefully. Keep these products away from flowers and shrubs. Don't apply to St. Augustine turf when temperatures rise above the mid 80s or it can stress the lawn and predispose it to other problems.

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