Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2006
Regional Report

Fertilize Roses

Once shrub roses have bloomed a flush or two, it's time to fertilize them. Established vigorous roses like 'Mermaid' or 'Old Blush' may not need much, but stronger stems and leaves mean more flowers next year. Use a formula such as 5-10-10, with less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium.

Patch Lawns

Lawns in our region sometimes suffer salt water intrusion and look awful. They usually recover, but too often the rebound doesn't last and dead spots appear, seemingly at random. If the turf comes up in your hand, the roots are dead. Test other areas to be sure they are well-rooted before patching the damage.

Check for Canna Leaf Rollers

When cannas can't unfurl their leaves or open their flowers, the culprit is usually the canna leaf roller. Mother moth lays eggs in the debris at the base of the plant, then the larvae hatch and spin themselves into the leaves. Cut down the damaged stalks and destroy them, don't compost them.

Seed Zinnias

For colorful cut flowers in just a few weeks, plant zinnias from seed anytime this month. Work up the soil lightly by turning it over with a shovel, then raking it smooth with a stiff-tined garden rake. Press seed into the soil 1/4 inch deep, and keep watered until they sprout.

Protect Tomatoes From Animals

All your hard work can be for naught if squirrels and birds get the tomatoes first. Fake owls, plastic snakes, and metal or glass hanging diversions may work at first, but the crop lasts longer than their effects. Pick fruit as soon as the "shoulders" are bright pink, and ripen them inside.

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