Lower South

October, 2009
Regional Report

Prepare Beds for Rose Planting

It's not too early to start preparing beds for rose planting in January and February. Mix in 3 or 4 inches of composted manure or pine bark into the soil and build slightly raised planting beds to improve drainage. This way the soil will be settled and ready at planting time, no matter the weather.

Prevent Tender Plants from Freezing

Seedlings and tender plants benefit from a little protection when temperatures dip down below freezing. A lightweight blanket or, better yet, one of the commercial frost blankets made of spunbound polyester fabric may be all they need to get them through a cold night. Remove the cover the next day to allow the sunlight to reach their leaves and the soil surface. Warm soil is the source of heat that protects them under the blanket cover.

Plant Trees and Shrubs

Late fall through mid-winter is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Roots will continue to grow in our cool winter soils. Early planting results in a well-established plant that's better prepared for the stresses of next summer. Make sure to firm soil around the roots of plants to remove air pockets, and water as needed to keep their rootballs moist.

Protect Cole Crops from Loopers

Watch for loopers on cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts) in the vegetable garden and on ornamental kale and cabbage. When they first appear, treat with a product containing Bt, a natural caterpillar control ingredient.

Save Fruit Tree Pruning for Late Winter

Wait to prune fruit trees, vines, and bushes. Late winter is a better time. Research has shown that fall pruning of some fruit trees can promote earlier blooming and thus an increase in risk of frost damage to next year's crop.

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