Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2007
Regional Report

Diagnosing Magnolia Problems

Mature magnolias that develop yellow leaves all over the tree can be suffering from an extreme. Very wet or very dry soils can damage the root system, with yellow leaves a symptom of drought stress or root rot. The former can be cured; the latter may respond to fungicide drenches.

Erradicate Poison Ivy Now

Deal with poison ivy now, before flowers and seeds come on. Cut vines near their base or use glyphosate carefully on new growth. Careful: wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and solid shoes. If you are sensitive or cautious, wash afterwards with a product like Tech Nu to dissolve the oils.

Tending Berries

Removing old canes from blackberry thickets once the berries are off will let new canes emerge for next year's fruit. Canes that have to compete with unproductive, older canes won't get the nutrition or water they need. Prune blueberries to shape the bushes and stimulate new growth; fertilize both now.

Dethatch

Last call for dethatching lawns in the southern coasts region unless your area is in drought. A healthy half inch or so of thatch helps insulate the turf from drought and heat, but over an inch is too much. Some mowers have special blades to dethatch, or rent a power dethatcher. In tropical areas, dethatch in fall.

Capture the Water

We all need to make better use of this important resource. Rainbarrels and cisterns will capture some of the 300+ gallons of water in 1 inch of rain on a 500 square-foot roof. But shallow ditches around beds will hold more, for longer.

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