Lower South

July, 2007
Regional Report

Give Blooming Shrubs a Boost

Yellow bells (Esperanza), buddleia, roses, and other blooming shrubs and perennials will benefit from a summer boost now. Shear the plants back lightly or at least prune out any old blooms. Sprinkle a cup of lawn fertilizer per 25 square feet and then water it in well. This will rejuvenate them and promote fresh new growth and another bloom cycle.

Avoid Broadleaf Weed Killers in Warm Weather

When temperatures rise above 85 degrees, even low-toxicity post-emergence broadleaf weed control products can weaken and damage St. Augustine and certain other turfgrasses. Now that temperatures are rising into the upper 80s and above, these products should be avoided or used only as a spot treatment if the label allows.

Empty Those Mosquito Motels

Mosquitoes raise new generations wherever they can find the smallest amount of standing water. Consider rain gutters that don't drain completely, catch basins under containers, old tires, and anything else that holds rainwater to be a mosquito motel. If you leave it that way, they will come! Empty these items every few days and say no to more mosquitoes.

Protect Your Skin

Sun is great for plants but can damage our skin. The effects of sun exposure are cumulative. We gardeners often get careless with the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply a good sunscreen lotion to any exposed areas. A little sun sense now will go a long way in avoiding major problems later in life.

Tip-Layer Tomatoes

If you have old tomato vines, try "tip layering" a few to start new plants. Scoop out a shovelful of soil near a plant and bury a section of vine about a foot from the end. Keep the spot moist, and after a few weeks it will be well rooted. Cut the connection to the mother plant and remove the old mother plant along with its diseased leaves and spider mites. The new plant will soon be well on its way to a fall crop.

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