Coastal and Tropical South

November, 2007
Regional Report

Propagate Angel's Trumpet

Take cuttings as the fall flower show winds down. Cut 2-foot-long sections, strip off all but the top two sets of leaves, and put in a vase or pitcher of water about 4 inches deep. Change the water daily if possible and watch for rooting in a few weeks.

Keep Weeding Woody Plants

Weeds shade the soil below and prevent sunlight and its warmth from reaching it. That can stress fruit trees, roses, shrubs, and perennials by subjecting them to colder temperatures than is necessary. Keep the area clear and limit mulch to 1 inch deep around plants that may suffer cold damage.

Evaluate Compacted Lawn Areas

If you have an area of lawn that looks browned and dried out even if the grass isn't going dormant, compaction may be to blame. Before you decide whether or not to aerate, take a hard look at how the area is used. If it hosts constant foot traffic or frequent heavy weight, such as a car, turning that grassy area into a gravel area might be more practical.

Watch for Chilli Thrips

Gardeners in Houston should know about the chilli thrip, an insect found in Florida two years ago and recently detected in retail stores in south Texas. Its damage includes twisted new growth and aborted buds in roses. It's another good reason to use an oil spray on shrubs this winter.

Plant Sweet Peas

Along the southern coasts, Thanksgiving is traditionally sweet pea planting day. Cool weather gets them growing, and though a rare frigid spell can kill them, it's worth giving them a chance. Nasturtiums, another large seed to start now, combine well with petunias in baskets or beds. Soak both types of seed for a few hours before sowing.

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