Lower South

May, 2006
Regional Report

Wean Spring Transplants Off the Water Hose

Begin to wean those spring transplants off the frequent watering schedule used to help them get started. Over a few weeks, transition them to a less frequent watering schedule. Deep, infrequent soakings will help them develop an extensive root system and be more resilient in the summer heat. This is also true of newly established sod.

Keep That Mower Blade Sharp

Check your lawn mower blade. Nicks and dents may indicate a need for a new blade. Sharpen your mower blades regularly. Dull blades can cause a brownish discoloration of the cut ends of stems and leaves shortly after mowing. Multiply these tiny tan to brown tips times a million and your lawn takes on a less attractive color and appearance.

Give Blooming Plants a Boost

Many of our new flowering plants will bloom themselves into a weakened state if we don't continue to feed them. Fertilize them weekly with a liquid product or about every six weeks with a dry granular fertilizer. Slow-release products last even longer. This extra feeding will keep them vigorous and blooming up a storm.

Watch For Fruit Rots On Squash

Rainy weather and overhead sprinkling brings on attacks from Choanophora fungus. Decay begins at the "belly button" where the bloom was attached and progresses through the fruit. Fungicides can help prevent it but are usually not needed unless weather stays rainy for extended periods. Pick and discard affected fruit as a sanitary practice to discourage its spread.

Putting Spring Bulbs to Bed for Summer

Spring bulbs have just about completed their period of replenishing their food reserves to get ready for next year. Allow the foliage to turn yellow before removing it to tidy up the planting bed. If you want to rework the beds and need to remove the bulbs, you can do so when the foliage dies back. Dig up the bulbs and allow them a week or so to dry in a shady location. Then cut away any roots or foliage and store them in a cool, dry place for fall planting.

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