Lower South

August, 2008
Regional Report

Plant Fall Potatoes

Mid to late August is the time to plant potatoes in the south for a fall crop. If we wait much longer, they won't have time to develop tubers before the first fall frost shuts them down. When possible, select small whole potatoes for planting because cut pieces may tend to rot in the hot soil, even if allowed to dry before planting.

Maintain Fall-Bearing Fruits and Nuts

Keep pecans, persimmons, and citrus trees adequately moist to encourage good development of the kernels and fruit. Water stress now can cause fruit and nut drop and poor filling of pecan kernels.

Break Up Webworm Webs

It looks like this summer may be a bad one for webworms in susceptible landscape trees like pecan, mulberry, and black cherry. Left unchecked they can result in an early defoliation after which a tree often attempts to "releaf" just as fall is arriving. Break up their webs with a long pole to allow wasps and other predators to reach them. Sprays containing Bt work well when sprayed onto the leaves in and around their colonies.

Protect Transplants and Seedlings From Hungry Insects

Tender seedlings and transplants are prime targets for hungry grasshoppers, caterpillars, and beetles. Lightweight row cover materials help 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.

Shear Herbs and Summer-Blooming Salvias

Shear back herb plants that are ragged from the effects of summer. They will respond with new growth in the coming months. Summer-blooming salvias such as autumn sage (Salvia greggii), mealy blue sage (S. farinacea), and 'Indigo Spires' will also respond to being cut back now. In fall they will put on another great show.

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