Lower South

April, 2008
Regional Report

Prevent Blossom-End Rot

Blossom-end rot is caused by a lack of calcium at the growing tip of tomatoes and watermelon fruit. Calcium-deficient soil or moisture levels that fluctuate from dry to wet can lead to this condition. Keep soil evenly moist, especially early in the season when the first fruits are developing. Plants growing in sandy soil are especially prone to this problem.

Tolerate Evergreens Dropping Old Leaves

Don't be concerned about some of the old leaves on live oak, holly, southern magnolia, gardenia, cleyera, abelia, ligustrum, or pittosporum turning yellow and falling. It's a natural occurrence this time of the year as new growth and foliage develops. Some plants may drop more leaves than others, and stresses such as dry conditions and root injury can increase the amount of leaf drop.

Include Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are a great way to decorate a porch or patio with greenery and color. A few of the many plants suitable for hanging baskets are trailing types of petunias, portulaca, ivy, geraniums, airplane plants, bougainvillea, English ivy, begonias, ferns, and impatiens.

Fertilize Tomatoes

The new hybrid types of tomatoes can set heavy fruit loads. They need extra nutrition to do their best. When they start to set fruit, increase fertilizer to give them an extra boost. A liquid feed applied weekly or a slow-release product applied once can carry them through the spring to early summer production period.

Use Caution With Weed Killers

Trees, shrubs, and flowers can be damaged or killed by careless application of weed killers, including those found in weed and feed products. Use alternative products wherever possible, and always read and follow label directions very carefully. Focus on proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing practices that promote a dense healthy turf. This will significantly reduce weed problems.

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