Upper South

July, 2005
Regional Report

Tend to Fall Flowers

Fertilize chrysanthemums with a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks for the next six weeks. Pinch out the tips of new growth for the first two weeks of July so the plants have bushy growth and lots of flowers. Mulch around them to conserve moisture and keep weeds down. Asters can also receive the same care. If you're not already growing asters, consider buying and planting some container-grown ones as they are easy to grow and provide a long period of bloom. Japanese anemone is a another great fall-blooming perennial; consider adding it to your garden as well. Order colchicum bulbs for additional fall blooms.

Harvest Onions

Onions can be harvested for immediate use at any stage of their development. Sweet onions are particularly good when the tops are still green and the bulbs have enlarged. For storage, harvest when the growth has stopped and the tops have fallen over. Cure them by letting them lay in the garden (if the weather is dry) or placing them in a dry place for 24 to 48 hours. Next, tie the onions in bundles of 10 to 15 and hang in a dry, sheltered area. When they are thoroughly dry, remove the tops and store in net bags in a dry place.

Plant, But With Caution

Bare-root or balled-and-burlapped trees and shrubs should not be planted at this time of year. Container-grown plants may still be planted, but they will need frequent watering. Whenever watering newly established plants, allow water to penetrate deeply into the soil rather than just sprinkling lightly. If mulch hasn't already been applied around trees and shrubs, do so now. This help conserve soil moisture and control weeds. Remove watersprouts and suckers from around the roots of trees.

Watch Houseplants Closely

Houseplants that are summering outdoors usually dry out more quickly than when they were indoors. Check plants daily, and water as needed. Apply fertilizer according to manufacturer's directions. If sunburn develops on leaves, move plants to a lightly shaded area. Trim off any browned or unsightly leaves. Repot, if necessary. This is also a good time to propagate houseplants. Remember, too, to check and treat for insects and diseases.

Reduce Tomato Problems

If lower leaves on tomato plants turn yellow and drop off, the problem is likely early blight. To control, spray or dust with a fungicide for tomatoes. Blossom-end rot appears on the bottoms of the fruit as they ripen. Mulching to provide even soil moisture is the easiest cure to this problem. When large amounts of tomato foliage disappears quickly, look for the large green tomato hornworm. If the worm has white "dots" attached to its back, leave the worm alone, as these are a parasite that will reduce the hornworm population.

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