Coastal and Tropical South
Beware Standing Water
Cisterns and rain barrels have been part of our scene for years. But concerns about standing water and mosquito breeding are more serious than ever. Catch the water, then cover the container and control their breeding by dropping in an aerator, or setting up a small pump, or adding a mosquito dunk.
Troubleshoot Flower Failures
Rake back the mulch to see if soil around bloom-shy trees is very wet or very dry. If so, fix it: rake the mulch away to speed drying, or irrigate deeper and slower. Cut open a bud to look for thrips. If you find some, remove the buds and spray with neem.
Look for Causes of Stunted Okra Pods
Tiny okra pods that stop growing and drop off are either not getting enough water or aphids are active. Regular watering and mulch helps. Look for aphids or the ants that carry them, and control with insecticidal soap.
Evaluate Dying Shrubs
When a shrub suddenly dies, consider its age. Shrubs less than three years old are immature and more vulnerable to drought, wet soils, or other threats. After 15 or 20 years shrubs can begin a natural decline. Check the base for fatal cracks in new or old shrub stems to decide whether the shrub should be removed.
Keep Houseplants From Getting Scorched
Houseplants summering outside may develop burnished or even crispy leaves where sunlight is too strong. Put pots at the back of the porch or under a tree to recover. Indoors, one side may overgrow if pots are not turned so rotate weekly for even growth.