Lower South

March, 2009
Regional Report

Protect New Transplants

If you are a gambler and like to set out tomatoes and other warm season transplants early, take steps to protect them from cold nights. Set two milk jugs full of water on each side of a transplant right up against the plant. Cover the cage with row cover or clear plastic. Leave the cage tops open during the day if you use plastic but fold it over to close them up for the night.

Try Melon Transplants

Cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelons, and squash are usually direct-seeded into the garden. For a head start on the season you can start them indoors as transplants a couple of weeks ahead of their normal outdoor planting dates. Just don't let them stay too long in the confines of a seedling container or they will be stunted and not perform as well.

Don't Misapply Weed Killers

Many trees and shrubs are damaged each year by the careless application of weed killers, including those found in "weed and feed" products. Always read and follow label directions very carefully. Keep these products away from flower, and shrubs. Don't overdose and don't apply just prior to a rain or the product may wash down causing problems for tree and shrub roots growing beneath the lawn.

Feed Blooming Plants Regularly

Fertilize color beds and containers every few weeks to keep them vigorous and blooming. Many of our new varieties will literally bloom themselves into a weakened state. Provide these thoroughbreds regular feeding and they will reward you with outstanding performance.

Fertilize Camellia and Azaleas

Camellia and azalea plants will soon be completing their spring bloom period. This is the time to fertilize them with 3 pounds of azalea-camellia fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed area. This spring feeding will help keep them healthy and vigorous so they can set a new set of buds in mid to late summer for next year's blooms.

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