Coastal and Tropical South

March, 2008
Regional Report

Watch for Coral Wasps

Larvae of the coral tree gall wasp are destructive to the beautiful tropical coral trees. The wasp has spread rapidly since it was first found at the Miami Metro Zoo in 2006. If you have a coral tree with twisted, malformed new growth, prune and destroy the debris.

Water and Fertilize Corn

Once corn is up, it grows rapidly. Water when rainfall is less than an inch weekly to insure kernel development. Fertilize when corn reaches 18 inches tall, and again when it reaches 24 inches, by putting granular vegetable garden food in a band alongside the corn. Do not remove suckers.

Spray Fertilizer on Foliage

Large leaves can absorb fertilizer very quickly when you spray it on, and leaves will actually green up and look healthier. Try spraying fertilizer on canna, fatsia, fatshedera, Japanese plum, and other big leaves. Spray to the point where the fertilizer just begins to drip off.

Beware Cutworms

Tender seedlings can be vulnerable to cutworms, those caterpillars that emerge from the soil to slice through tiny stems. Plants look sawed off and may be chewed or not. Wrap cardboard collars around each plant stem, apply parasitic nematodes to the soil at planting time, or use Bt as soon as you see any cutworms.

Set Up Watering Systems

Whether or not our region endures a drought this summer, plants will need watering, at least occasionally. Get ready now: check in-ground irrigation systems to be sure zones are timed properly, and replace broken heads. Run soaker hoses under shrubs and cover with mulch. Set up drip irrigation for containers.

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