Coastal and Tropical South

October, 2005
Regional Report

Inspect Camellias

Before this fall's buds begin to show color, take a good look at camellias and sasanquas. Pale color, webs on the lower surface, or "bumps" on the leaves are signs of insect invasions, particularly scale insects. Use a Neem product to control them, and follow up with oil spray after flowering.

Help Wildflowers Reseed

Beds of black-eyed Susans, coneflowers, zinnias, Mexican hat, and other reseeding perennials and annuals have hundreds of seeds to drop, so let them go. Pull the mulch back and spread a thin layer of compost under them to insure safe landing. Or clip the seedheads before they explode and store them.

Repair Lawns

Cleaning up debris often creates a need to repair the lawn once heavy equipment is gone. Rake or till the areas to restore slope and to make the surface level with the existing lawn. Lay new sod, or cut plugs from squares of sod. Overseed damaged areas with perennial ryegrass to prevent erosion this winter.

Collect Plant Debris

Plant debris of all sorts will age gracefully if you leave it alone. Don't use fresh materials for mulch or to work into beds because they will take available nutrients away from plants. Let them rot naturally, or speed up decomposition by mixing in green matter and turning the pile frequently.

Build Raised Beds

Building new raised beds means taking a close look at your site and providing a reliable water source nearby. If sunlight is limited, be sure it falls on the shorter plants. Or slope the bed to take best advantage of sunlight, and put a soaker hose at the top for easy irrigation.

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