Middle South

April, 2011
Regional Report

Deceive the Eye

To exaggerate the depth of a garden, taper a path into the distance, trim hedges or conifers to a slightly lower height at the back of the garden, and use pastels or receding colors such as blue at the landscape's far reaches. Conversely, to shorten a garden's depth, widen a path into the distance, make hedges or conifers taller at the end of the garden, and use hot colors to bring far-away plants towards the foreground.

Build an Easy-To-Move Compost Bin

Build a flexible and easy-to-move compost bin by using animal fencing, such as chicken wire or hog wire, held in place with rebar driven firmly into the ground. As a bonus, the bin will also be less obtrusive in the landscape and friendlier on the pocketbook.

Transplant Small Shrubs

In the Middle South, autumn is the best time to transplant woody plant material, but small shrubs can also be moved successfully in spring when care is taken. Water the shrub well in the week prior to the move, dig the new planting hole before lifting the shrub, use burlap or heavy plastic sheeting to secure the root ball during transport, and replant as quickly as possible.

Rewet Soil Mixes

When potting soil dries out, it can be difficult to rewet. Prevent this problem in container gardens by placing a reservoir such as a small, shallow bowl at the very bottom of pots and baskets. If the mix does become hard, however, add a couple of drops of mild dishwashing liquid to water to act as a wetting agent. In extreme cases, place the container inside a larger one filled with water and move it to the shade until plants perk up.

Use Herbicides Effectively

When trying to kill weeks, it's important to apply the correct amount of herbicide. Some gardeners mistakenly believe a more concentrated form will do a more thorough job, but this is not true. Too strong a dose can scorch the foliage, limiting the amount of weedkiller that the plant absorbs.

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