Lower South

June, 2007
Regional Report

Raise the Mower Blade

Set your mower to as high as is aesthetically acceptable. Mowing at a low height is more stressful to most turf species. It results in shallow rooting (less drought resilience) and encourages weed problems. Tall turf is stronger, deeper rooted, and looks denser, too. It is also better able to take foot traffic, and it does better in shady spots.

Fertilize Flowers for Repeat Performances

Fertilize annual flowers on a regular basis to keep them vigorous and productive. If you use a liquid fertilizer, apply it weekly. For dry granular products, work in a light application once every four weeks. Slow-release products can be placed in the soil before or just after planting to feed the plants throughout the season.

Make Vacation Plans for Plants

Don't forget to make arrangements for plant care when planning a vacation. In a pinch, a plastic wading pool makes a good week-long waterer. Place plants in the pool without saucers, then add an inch or two of water to the pool. But, don't stay gone too long or mosquitoes will start having pool parties at you place!

Plant for Summer Color

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

Control Crape Myrtle Aphids Early

Aphids can be a significant problem on crape myrtles. They secrete honeydew, which falls on lower leaves and is soon covered with a sooty, black mold. Early control prevents the problem from becoming an eyesore. Insecticidal soap, lightweight summer oils, and pyrethrins are among the many products available for aphid control.

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