Lower South

June, 2008
Regional Report

Catch Scale Infestations Early

Watch for scale on fruit trees and many woody ornamental plants. If you catch them early you can prevent a small group of scale from becoming a serious infestation by the end of the season. These pests are difficult to control and often require both dormant season treatment and periodic summer sprays of a lightweight summer or horticultural oil. In summer, direct spray to the areas of infestation rather than trying to cover the entire tree or shrub.

Give Blooming Plants a Boost

Many of our new flowering plants will bloom themselves into a weakened state if we don't continue to fertilize them. Use a liquid product once a week or a dry granular fertilizer about every six weeks. Slow-release products last even longer. This extra feeding will keep them vigorous and blooming up a storm!

Protect Seedlings From Drying Sun and Wind

The lighter weight row cover fabrics can protect seedlings until they are up and large enough to make it on their own. These covers also help retain soil moisture and reduce desiccation from the wind and sun. They help young seedlings get off to a good start.

Control Crape Myrtle Aphids

Aphids can be a significant problem on crape myrtles. They secrete honeydew, which falls on lower leaves and is soon covered with a sooty, black mold. Early control prevents the problem from becoming an eyesore. Insecticidal soap, lightweight summer oils, and pyrethrins are among the many products available for aphid control.

Raise the Mower Blade

Set your mower blade as high as is aesthetically acceptable. Mowing at a low height is more stressful to most turf species. It results in shallow rooting (less drought resilience) and encourages weed problems. Tall turf is stronger, deeper rooted, and denser looking. It is also better able to take foot traffic and does better in shady spots.

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