Lower South

June, 2006
Regional Report

Blast Spider Mites

Spider mites love hot weather and a dry, dusty leaf surface. A weekly blast of water directed upward from beneath the plants can dislodge them from the undersides of the leaves. This is often enough to keep them in control. When this is not enough, insecticidal soap and other spray options are available to help control these summer pests.

Keep Planting Heat-Tolerant Flowers

There is still time to plant some of the colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals. Zinnias, portulaca, purslane, periwinkle, salvia, impatiens, and hyacinth bean are a few of the many options. Heat-tolerant perennials for the south include canna, esparanza (Tecoma stans), firebush (Hamelia patens), various gingers, and the salvias: Salvia 'Indigo Spires', S. gauranitica, S. leucantha, and S. greggii.

Raise Mower Blade

Set the lawn mower a little higher for summer mowing. The turfgrass will develop deeper roots and be more resilient if you don't mow the turf too short. St. Augustine can be mowed at a 2-1/2- to 3-inch height, while zoysia and standard types of Bermuda grass will do fine at 1-1/2 to 2 inches tall.

Don't Let Fruit Trees Get Overgrown

Most fruit trees are growing rapidly this time of year if they are getting plenty of water. Vigorous upright shoots in the center of the tree need to be trimmed back to allow light to reach the leaves in the tree's interior. Otherwise those young shoots will be shaded and die back, or at least become much less productive.

Rejuvenate Roses

Rose bushes have completed their spring bloom but most are repeat bloomers and are far from done for the summer. Remove spent flower stems, fertilize, and keep the soil adequately moist to keep them vigorous and encourage more blooms.

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