Middle South

April, 2010
Regional Report

Eliminate Poison Oak and Poison Ivy

Keep an eye out for poison oak and poison ivy, as these plants are easiest to kill when they're putting out fresh, rapidly growing leaves. You may be able to uproot new, small plants, but older plants often require the use of an herbicide. If that is the case, use a sponge brush for application of your product. It will saturate the leaves thoroughly while eliminating any chance of spray drift.

Begin Bedding Out

If you're partial to seasonal flower borders, you can begin bedding out new plants after the middle of the month. Play it safe by starting with cool-season species such as petunias, dusty miller, sweet alyssum and dianthus, and saving the heat-lovers such as marigolds, zinnias, portulaca, and impatiens for another six weeks or so. Snip off blooms whenever you plant, as this will redirect energy to root growth and will also multiply the number of bud-bearing branches.

Care for Spring Bulbs

As daffodils and other spring bulbs begin to fade, ensure they bloom again next year by removing the dying flower stalks but leaving the foliage alone. When the leaves are allowed to mature naturally and are not cut away after they have turned yellow, they have time to produce and store energy for the next cycle of life.

Divide Daylilies the Simple Way

If you've ever struggled to separate a clump of daylilies, rest assured there's a simpler way. After digging the clump from the ground, use a garden hose to wash away all traces of dirt. Then, turn the clump on it's side and gently roll the clean tubers back and forth until they slip apart and are all lying separately.

Plant Bronze Fennel

Plant or sow bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) among your annuals and perennials for a dramatic addition to flower gardens. Unlike the bulb-forming fennel, grow this one for its unusual color, feathery tops, and graceful six-foot form. Late-summer flowers are particularly attractive to butterflies, and fennel is a host plant for certain swallowtails.

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