Lower South

July, 2007
Regional Report

Keep Caladiums Attractive

Caladiums require plenty of water during the hot summer months to remain lush until fall. Apply a high-nitrogen product at the rate of l/3 to l/2 pound per 100 square feet of bed area. Then water the fertilizer in thoroughly.

Plant Okra

Okra loves the heat and we can still get in a late-summer to fall crop if we plant now. Soak the seeds overnight in warm water to speed germination. Keep the soil moist to get the seedlings off to a good start. Keep an eye out for hungry pests who think the new seedlings are a salad bar! Spunbound polyester row cover suspended over the planting bed is a good way to block out the pests and get your okra off to a great start. Remove the cover when plants are about a foot tall.

Water Berrying Plants

Ornamental plants carrying a load of green fruit, such as hollies, will start to drop fruit if subjected to drought stress. Help insure an attractive winter season of red berries by providing the bushes adequate soil moisture during extended dry periods.

Shear Fall Bloomers

Now is the time to get in a final shearing of any fall-blooming perennials that are starting to get lanky or floppy in their growth habit. This includes chrysanthemums, Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha), copper canyon daisies (Tagetes lemonii), autumn asters, and cigar plants (Cuphea macropetala). Remove the top 4 to 6 inches to encourage bushier growth. Stop such pruning by the end of this month to allow the plant time to regrow and set bloom buds for late summer and fall.

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch

There is nothing like mulch when it comes to helping your garden through the summer months. A 2- to 4-inch-deep layer of natural mulch will deter weeds, hold in soil moisture, moderate soil temperatures, prevent crusting during rain or sprinkler irrigation, and slowly decompose over time to release nutrients to the plants. Don't go through summer without it or your watering and weeding chores will be dramatically increased!

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