Coastal and Tropical South

August, 2005
Regional Report

Rejuvenate Ferns

Even the hardiest ferns, such as southern shield, can suffer in the thunderstorms and dry spells of midsummer. But they can be rejuvenated for the second half of the season. Snip off shriveled or broken fronds at ground level with scissors or flower snips to bring on new greens for fall.

Plant for Fall

It's time to plant seeds and seedlings to enjoy and harvest this fall. Parsley, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower may need shade for their first weeks in the vegetable garden, but they will soon settle in and grow well. Zinnias, marigolds, and celosia come easily from seed now.

Improve Poorly Draining Soil

Soggy potting soil can bring on root problems. The first thing you notice may be tip burn on leaves. Clip off the damaged parts of the leaves and take steps to improve drainage, such as ditching around the beds. Repot container plants, if necessary, with freely draining potting soil.

Renew Annuals

It's "off with their heads" for tired or leggy annual flowers, followed by a dose fertilizer to get them blooming again. Impatiens, angelonia, and salvia recover rapidly from summer pruning. If caladiums send up flower shoots, they will go dormant. Cut off the spikes and fertilize with fish emulsion or another source of nitrogen.

Prune Hedges

Shear evergreen hedges at midsummer to spur new growth, especially inside the shrub's network of branchs. Boxwood, yaupon, and other little-leaved hollies too easily become nearly naked except for their outer stems. Prune so the base of the shrub is slightly wider than its top to let in sunlight and encourage more growth.

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