Lower South

April, 2011
Regional Report

Thin Fruit Tree Crops

Fruit trees set more fruit than the tree can carry to a quality harvest. Thin peaches to at least 6 inches apart and plums to 4 inches apart. Apples and pears should be thinned to one fruit per cluster. This will ensure that the fruit reaches a good size and there are enough leaves to build carbohydrates for sweet, juicy quality.

Shear Evergreen Hedges

Evergreen hedges can use another shearing about now to keep them dense and well shaped. Keep the tops narrower than the base to allow light to reach the lower parts of the hedge and maintain good foliage all the way to the ground.

Control Harlequin Bugs

About this time of the year harlequin bugs arrive to feed on our cole crops, including broccoli, kale, and collards. If you have already harvested the crops, it may be best to pull them up and get the area ready to replant in another crop. If you still have hopes for more harvests, especially of the leaves, it will pay to cover the plants with row covers to exclude the pests or do some early handpicking as there are few pesticides that are both safe and effective against these pests.

Plant Colorful Containers

Add some pizzazz to your patios, porches, decks, and other outdoor areas with colorful containers. Annual flowers that love warm weather can be planted in attractive containers and moved to the sun or shade location where the particular species will thrive.

Watch for Squash Vine Borers

Squash vine borers are orange and black moths that actually look more like a wasp. You'll find them setting on the squash foliage early in the morning. They lay single amber eggs about the size of a pin head, which hatch into larvae that bore into the vines. An early trip into the garden can provide a chance to swat down an adult or rub off an egg you see on the petiole or stem of the plant.

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