Middle South

May, 2005
Regional Report

Reseed Lawns

Add a thin layer of topsoil and/or compost to bare spots in your lawn, then reseed. Rake the seeds lightly into the soil, then scatter a thin layer of hay or straw over the top to help hold in moisture and discourage birds from plucking out the seeds and seedlings.

Remove Flowers

If you've purchased 6- or 4-packs of annuals, remove any flowers before planting to encourage good root development. As painful as it might be to remove lovely blossoms, you'll help divert the plants' energy into roots and leaves, helping set the stage for a productive summer of flowering.

Transplant on Cloudy Days

Ideally, you should set out transplants on a cloudy, even drizzly, windless day. Of course, that isn't always possible. The next best thing is to plant in the evening and water the soil well. If the area is exposed to strong winds, set a shingle vertically in the soil upwind to protect the plants.

Mulch Trees

Mulch around newly planted trees and shrubs. This practice not only reduces competition from weeds, it also keeps zealous landscapers from damaging trunks with mowers and string trimmers. Apply a 3- to 4-inch layer, keeping the mulch a few inches from the trunk.

Sharpen Mower Blades

Sharpen your lawn mower blade monthly. Dull blades can pull grass seedlings from the soil instead of cutting them, and when they do cut they leave ragged edges on the leaf blades that invite disease.

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