Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2008
Regional Report

Rejuvenate Thin Turf

Heavy foot traffic, compaction from parked vehicles, drought, very wet weather -- all can be blamed for thinning lawn areas. Loosen the soil and replant or reseed now unless you live where it's been very dry, like west Florida. If you live there, wait for the rains to return there or be prepared to water.

Keep Ground Covers in Bounds

Ground covers like Asian jasmine and perennial vinca can escape their boundaries, spreading, unwanted, into lawns and flower beds. Use a sharp-edged tool, such as a hoe or pointed blade weeder like a Cobrahead, to wiggle them out and then reestablish the original bed's edge to slow down roaming ground covers.

Watch for Rust Spots

They're back! Where rainfall has been plentiful, like New Orleans, orange dots have erupted like acne on iris, daylilies, and other strappy-leaved plants. This disease can disfigure plants and interrupt flowering. Remove the damaged leaves and destroy them. Spray the new growth with a fungicide if wet weather continues.

Freeze Beans

Green, yellow, or purple; pencil pod or flat romanos; bush or pole beans -- all keep better color and texture when you blanch them before freezing. Wash beans and plunge small batches into boiling water for 6 minutes, then drop the blanched beans into a pan of ice to cool before freezing.

Keep Building Compost Pile

Adding grass clippings and spent annual flowers to the compost pile provides the green matter necessary for all of last winter's leaves to compost quickly and efficiently. Any healthy debris is good, but leave out diseased or insect-ridden plants, as well as your worst weeds, unless you want to see them again.

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