Lower South

March, 2007
Regional Report

Soil Tests Provide Info Needed for Wise Fertilizing

Have your soil tested every three or four years, especially when gardening in a new spot. The results will guide you on the nutrients your soil needs most -- and least. There's no "ideal" fertilizer for any plant. It all depends on what is in your soil to begin with. So garden smarter and start with a soil test!

Divide Fall-Blooming Perennials

Late winter is the time to divide perennial plants that bloom in fall. Chrysanthemums, autumn asters, Mexican marigold-mint, obedient plant (Physostegia), and late-summer bulbs can be dug, divided, and reset now. This will give them a long spring and summer season to become established and ready to bloom again.

Plant Warm-Season Bedding Plants

Now is a good time to set out transplants of warm-season bedding plants for early color in the landscape. Some great choices include ageratum, cockscomb, coreopsis, cosmos, cleome, marigolds, nasturtiums, petunias, phlox, portulaca, salvia, sweet alyssum, sunflowers, and zinnias.

Hold the Mulch on Summer Veggies

Summer veggies like tomatoes and peppers don't like cold soil and will just sit there waiting for it to warm up. Mulch slows the soil warm-up and delays young garden plants. Wait a few weeks to start mulching these veggies. You can even smother the young weed seeds at that time with a few sheets of newspaper covered with leaves.

Use Caution With Weed Killers

Many trees and shrubs are damaged each year by the careless application of weed killers, including those found in "weed and feed" products. Choose a low-toxicity product and always read and follow label directions very carefully. Keep these products away from flowers and shrubs. Don't overdose and don't apply just prior to a rain or the product may wash down and cause problems for tree and shrub roots growing beneath the lawn.

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