Lower South

July, 2005
Regional Report

Watch for Aphids on Crape Myrtles

Aphids secrete honeydew, which falls on lower leaves and is soon covered with a sooty, black mold. Insecticidal soap, lightweight summer oils, and rotenone are among the many products available for aphid control. On small crapes a strong blast of spray from a hose nozzle directed upward from beneath the foliage will dislodge many of these pests and can help keep their populations in check.

Plant Fall Tomatoes

Most of our tomatoes have pretty much quit setting fruit due to the hot days and nights. In fall we get another "window" of time where temperatures are right for fruit set. Now is the time to plant tomato transplants for the fall garden. If we wait until next month there won't be time to set a good crop before the first frost ends the season.

Container Plants Need Regular Watering

Those container plants need plenty of water in this summer heat, especially with their restricted root systems. When water is limited flowering will be reduced significantly. Containers in full sun may need water once or twice a day, depending on container size and type, and plant size. Terra cotta dries out especially fast.

Fire Ants Control in Summer

Fire ants can really spoil the show by infesting compost piles, recreational turf areas, and even our beloved okra pods! Low toxicity synthetic and organic products are available for controlling these pests. Apply baits late in the day when the ants are out foraging (yes, even fire ants tend to stay in during the heat of the day). A good way to tell if they are active is to toss a paper chip or tuna can lid on the ground and check back in 15 minutes. If they are feeding on it, go ahead and broadcast the baits.

Renovate Gardens for Fall

Areas of the garden that have declined can be renovated now for fall. Rototill in a few inches of compost to get the area ready for planting cool-season veggies or flowers in September, October, or November. Take every opportunity when you transition from one crop to another to build the soil by adding compost or aged manure. It really pays off in future harvests.

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