Lower South

July, 2009
Regional Report

Control Fire Ants

Fire ants can really spoil the show by infesting compost piles, recreational turf areas, and even our beloved okra pods! Low toxicity products are available, including baits and mound treatments. Apply baits late in the day when the ants are out foraging. A good way to tell if they are active is to toss a paper chip or tuna can lid on the ground and check back in 15 minutes. If they are out they will have found it.

Prepare Fruit Trees for Next Year

Fruit trees are setting next year's fruit buds now. Make sure they are healthy and have plenty of water to keep them from being stressed. Leaf diseases, insect damage, drought, canopy shading (from suckers and watersprouts), and other such stresses will reduce next year's fruit load.

Water Pecan and Persimmon Trees

Keep pecans and persimmons adequately moist to encourage good development of the kernels and fruit. Water stress now can cause fruit and nut drop and poor filling of kernels. In the absence of a good rainstorm give the trees a deep soaking every week or two.

Check for Outbreaks of Scale Insects

Watch for scale infestations or ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as fruit trees. These insects can build up over the summer if left unchecked. Summer oil sprays directed to the patches of scale insects will help keep them under control.

Plant Heat-Tolerant Vegetables

There is still time to plant heat-loving vegetables like southern peas, okra, sweet potatoes, amaranth, and Malabar if you don't delay. Make sure and give them adequate water as the heat really increases their water use. New seedlings are prime targets for hungry caterpillars and beetles, so make sure and keep a close eye on plants so you can be ready when pest damage warrants control.

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