Coastal and Tropical South

May, 2006
Regional Report

Give New Lawns a Boost

If you are replacing or starting a new lawn, don't push the new growth too much by overfertilizing. Wait until after the first mowing, then give it a boost. Use solubles mixed in water, or a granular formula, but use it at half the recommended rate. Put on a winterizing formula in August.

Eradicate Poison Ivy

Is that plant poison ivy, or Virginia creeper, or something else? "Leaves of three, let it be" is the old adage. Make sure you identify it correctly, and then you'll know how to treat it: leave it alone or get rid of it.

Tie Up Merliton

Merliton (or alligator pear or chayote if you prefer) sends up plenty of runners, but they can be quite brittle. As soon as a stem gets started, tie it up with a piece of jute string. Enjoy the harvest in late summer, and store some for next year.

Avoid Soggy Soil

Brown leaf tips, soggy spots on leaves or stems, or wilting despite watering are clues that your potting soil is staying too moist. Reduce frequency of watering, don't let water stand in saucers, and if pots are standing on solid surfaces, raise them on blocks or "pot feet" for drainage.

Keep Elephant Ears Moist

Whether you grow the classic face-front hearts, the upright types, solid green, or nearly black, elephant ears need consistent water but not all can sit in soggy soil. If yours aren't thriving, add a blanket of compost and water with fish emulsion monthly. Cut the old leaves down and compost them.

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