Lower South

May, 2005
Regional Report

Give 'em a Pinch

Pinch back the terminal growth on newly planted annual and perennial plants. This will result in shorter, more compact, better-branched plants with more flowers. Fall-blooming perennials can be pinched once or twice in spring and early summer, but stop by midsummer to allow the plant time to grow and set flower buds.

Add Color to Shade

Put some color in shady areas of the landscape this summer. Now is a good time to plant caladiums, impatiens, begonias, pentas, and torenias in well-prepared shady areas. Mix a couple of inches of compost into the soil, and water the new plants in with a dilute fertilizer solution.

Plant Heat-Tolerant Flowers

We can have great landscape color even in scorching summer sun. Some superior choices include: lantana, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, esperanza (Tecoma stans), scaevola, firebush (Hamelia), hibiscus, cannas, Blackfoot daisies, and zinnias.

Rejuvenate Roses

Remove the spent blooms on roses to tidy up the bush and encourage more blooms. Cut the bloom stalk back to the first compound leaf with 5 leaflets. Then sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of a complete fertilizer around each plant and water it in well.

Thin Fruit Crops

Thin peaches, plums, pears, and apples to allow room for the crop to grow and develop optimum size and quality. Space peaches at 6 inches apart and plums at 4 inches apart. Thin pears and apples to one per cluster. Figs and persimmons don't require thinning.

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