Lower South

April, 2006
Regional Report

Move Houseplants Outdoors

Begin to acclimate houseplants that live outdoors during the summer to their new environment. Begin by moving them outdoors to a very shady location for a few hours a day. Remember, the shadiest outdoor location is probably much brighter that the brightest indoor location.

Don't Treat Leaf Blights On Ash And Oak Trees

Cool, rainy spring weather during leaf emergence often results in leaf blights on ash and oak trees. Anthracnose causes brown to blackened areas on ash leaves followed by partial leaf drop. Oak leaf blister causes bumps and depressions that will later turn brown. There is no cause for concern as the tree will soon send out new leaves to replace those lost to the fungus. Leaves emerging later will most likely be unaffected.

Spray Bt on Caterpillars

Caterpillars are especially prevalent this spring, including cankerworms dangling from trees on silken strands and various other species munching on rose buds and garden veggies. A few can be tolerated, but large numbers can defoliate plants and warrant spraying. Products containing Bacillus thuringiensis are among the least-toxic options. Just remember not to apply these to larval food source plants in the butterfly garden!

Fertilize New Transplants

When planting new transplants into the garden, give them a boost with a dilute fertilizer solution. Seaweed and fish emulsion work great as do the many soluble plant food products. This will provide a little extra nutrition as the plants start to establish strong root systems.

Stockpile Leaves

Keep stockpiling leaves from your neighbors as they do their spring cleanup. Summers are very long in the south and we can never seem to get enough leaves to last us through the season of mulching and composting. Leaves decompose into some of the best soil-building compost you can get!

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