Lower South

April, 2010
Regional Report

Plant Heat Tolerant Bedding Plants

Plant some colorful, heat-tolerant summer annuals. Zinnias, portulaca, purslane, periwinkle, salvia, impatiens, and hyacinth bean are a few of the many options. Heat tolerant perennials for the south include canna, esperanza (Tecoma stans), firebush (Hamelia patens), various gingers, and the salvias: S. 'Indigo Spires', S. gauranitica, S. leucantha, and S. greggii.

Prevent Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium at the growing tip of tomatoes and watermelon fruit. A lack of calcium in the soil, or moisture levels that fluctuate from dry to wet can lead to blossom end rot. Keep soil evenly moist, especially early in the season when the first fruits are developing. Plants growing in sandy soil are especially prone to this problem.

Prune Spring Blooming Shrubs

Prune spring-flowering shrubs soon after they complete their flowering cycle. This includes azaleas, camellias, roses that bloom only in spring, spirea, forsythia, and flowering quince. Keep the natural shape of the plant in mind as you prune, and avoid excessive cutting except where necessary to control size.

Keep Roses Tidy And Productive

Remove the spent blooms on roses to tidy up the bush and encourage more blooms. Cut the bloom stalk back to the first compound leaf with 5 leaflets. Fertilize plants with a light application of fertilizer every 6 weeks to keep them vigorous and productive.

Avoid Weed Killer Damage

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 turf weed killer products away from flowers and shrubs. Don't apply to St. Augustine turf when temperatures rise above the mid 80's or it can damage the lawn and predispose it to other problems.

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