Middle South

August, 2007
Regional Report

Add Late-Summer Bloomers

If your perennial garden is waning, consider adding some late-blooming perennials, such as aster, rudbeckia, sedum, joe-pye weed, Russian sage, and helenium. Blue mist spirea (Caryopteris) is a beautiful, fall-blooming shrub that can be cut back each year to keep it compact.

Mow Higher

Allow lawn grass to grow higher to reduce heat stress. Set mower height to 2-1/2 to 3 inches. This also will reduce germination of weed seeds because they will be shaded by grass blades. And be sure to leave clippings so the nutrients they contain will be returned to the soil.

Practice Good Garden Sanitation

Removing diseased plant matter from the garden regularly will go a long way toward reducing problems next year. Dispose of diseased material rather than composting it, unless you're sure your compost pile heats up thoroughly, and you are diligent about turning it regularly to incorporate any partially decomposed material.

Check Soil pH of Acid Lovers

If the foliage on azaleas, gardenias, and other acid-loving shrubs looks pale or yellowish, consider having the soil in the planting bed tested. Your cooperative extension office can provide you with soil test kits. Use sulfur to lower soil pH (make soil more acid).

Conserve Water

To conserve water, don't use the hose to "sweep" driveways and sidewalks. Use a rake or broom instead -- it's good exercise, too. Fix leaky faucets, adjust irrigation to minimize water use, and take any other steps you can think of to conserve this very precious resource.

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