Lower South

April, 2005
Regional Report

Give Annuals a Spring Boost

Remove spent flowers, trim back excessive growth, and apply fertilizer to annual flowers. They expend lots of energy producing all those blooms. This trimming and feeding will do wonders to rejuvenate their vigor and extend the useful life of the planting.

Patrol for Aphids

Check new tender growth for aphids. A few can be tolerated, but large numbers warrant control. Light infestations can be set back with a strong blast of water to dislodge them. For more serious infestations, insecticidal soap or pyrethrins are low-toxicity options. Always follow label instructions carefully.

Prepare Houseplants for the Move Outdoors

Start acclimating houseplants that live outdoors during the summer to their new environment. Begin by moving them outdoors to a very shady location for a few hours a day. Remember, the shadiest outdoor location is probably much brighter that the brightest indoor location.

Prevent Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium at the growing tip of tomatoes and watermelon fruit. A lack of calcium in the soil, or moistures levels that fluctuate from dry to wet, can lead to blossom end rot. Keep soil evenly moist, especially early in the season when the first fruits are developing. Plants growing in sandy soil are especially prone to this problem.

Purchase Quality Soil

Beware bargain soil or landscaping mixes. Poor-quality soils may contain weed seeds and tubers, including that bane of southern gardens, nutsedge. Go with reputable suppliers, and ask gardening friends what they recommend.

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