Lower South

April, 2010
Regional Report

Move Houseplants Outdoors Gradually

Start acclimating houseplants that live outdoors during the summer to their new environment. Begin by moving them outdoors to a very shady location for a few hours a day. Remember the shadiest outdoor location is probably much brighter that the brightest indoor location.

Plant Heat Tolerant Veggies

Okra, sweet potatoes, southern peas (black-eye, crowder, purple hull, zipper cream), Malabar spinach, vegetable amaranth, and other hot weather veggies will thrive in the heat of our southern summers. Plant them now in a sunny garden spot and mulch the area well to deter weeds. Keep them well watered, as the hot weather increases their need for moisture.

Fertilize Tomatoes

The new hybrid types of tomatoes can really set heavy fruit loads. They need extra nutrition to do their best. When they start to set fruit, increase their fertilizing to give them an extra boost. A liquid feed applied weekly or a slow release product applied once can carry them through the spring to early summer production period.

Get Ready to Fertilize Turf

Once you have mowed your lawn grass twice (mowing weeds doesn't count), it is actively growing and can use a boost from some fertilizer. This is usually early to mid April in most of the Lower South. If we fertilize too early the winter weeds will really benefit, and nutrients can wash away or otherwise be lost before our sleepy-headed southern turf wakes up enough to really need it.

Thin Fruit Crops Early

Thin fruits on peach, plum, pear and apple trees to prevent limb breakage as fruit grows larger and to ensure a good crop of large, juicy fruit. The earlier you thin, the better the effect. Space peaches at 6", plums at 4", and pears and apples to one per cluster.

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