Coastal and Tropical South

April, 2008
Regional Report

Pruning Azaleas

As the azaleas finish their flower cycle, take a good look at what needs pruning. If one side of a bush doesn't flower, or the blooms and only a few leaves dot the outside, get busy and prune within a month. Take off no more than one-third of the plant's height in one year.

Promote Healthy Grass With Proper Mowing

Mow that lawn regularly so you never have to cut off more than half its height at one time to maintain your particular turf at its optimum height: St. Augustine (3 to 4 inches); centipede and zoysia (2 to 3 inches); bermudagrass (1/2 to 1 inch). Keep the blade sharp and the mower deck clean.

Rejuvenate Compost

If a dry spring has slowed the natural rot of your compost or leaf pile, turn it thoroughly. If the pile is very dry all the way through, water it lightly and toss with granular, balanced garden fertilizer (1 cup for a 3x3 pile). Water until the pile is moist, not wet.

Check Irrigation Systems

Inground irrigation systems are designed to provide adequate water to your plants, but such systems are only as efficient as their operators. Monitor equipment in all zones and rainfall shutoffs monthly. Replace cracked or broken heads right away.

Don't Overdo Mulch

It's tempting to try and bury potential weeds in mulch, especially when we have so much in our own yards. But limit its depth to about 2 inches or less. A thicker layer than that can actually absorb most of the water intended for the plant, and also limit air circulation around plants.

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