Lower South

September, 2008
Regional Report

Maintain Pecan Tree Health

Pecans grow in size until about the beginning of this month, at which time the shell hardens and they begin to fill the kernels inside. Drought, diseases of the foliage, and insects attacking foliage or nuts can all result in poorly filled pecans.

Coax Poinsettias and Christmas Cactus into Bloom

Place a cardboard box over poinsettia and Christmas cactus plants when you leave for work in the morning and take it off when you arrive back home around 5 or 6 p.m. This will fool the plants into thinking that the days have become shorter. Continue the procedure for about six weeks to induce the bloom response (and colorful bracts in poinsettia) in time for the holidays. Short days along with cool (60 to 65 degrees F) nights will encourage development of good color.

Fertilize Citrus

Keep Satsuma oranges, kumquats, and various other citrus plants healthy by fertilizing with a light dose of soluble liquid plant food on a frequent basis. Many types are ripening their fruit now and need a little extra nutrition. Just don't overdo it or fruit quality and winter hardiness will be compromised.

Return Lawn Clippings to Fight Weeds

Returning clippings to the turf when you mow. They slowly decompose to feed your lawn. They also will help mulch the soil surface and can help cover bare soil areas to deter those cool-season weeds that will soon be germinating if the soil surface is exposed to sunlight.

Divide Summer-Blooming Perennials

This month is a good time to start dividing summer-blooming perennials including: amaryllis, calla lilies, cannas, daylilies, iris, and liriope. It is also a good time to divide hardy ferns. Work a few inches of compost into the soil and reset these plants for renewed growth. Don't allow them to dry out in the dividing and replanting process. Share a few with your gardening friends too!

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