Lower South

July, 2011
Regional Report

Maintain Soil Moisture in Flower Beds

This brutal heat can dry out a flower bed very rapidly, especially if you soil is somewhat sandy. Regular watering is key to keeping plants not only alive but healthy and productive. Dig down a few inches to feel the soil and help monitor how often you need to water for your soil type and the bed's sun exposure level.

Plant Tomatoes and Peppers

This is a last call for planting tomato and pepper plants for a fall crop. Planting now allows them time to grow, set fruit, and ripen a harvest before the cool frosty days of late fall shut them down. Provide new transplants a little shade for a couple of weeks to help them get established in the summer heat.

Move Flowering Container to Part Shade

The hot sun can stress container plants by heating up the sides of the container and by causing them to dry out very quickly. Moving the containers to a spot where they get part day sun (morning is best) will keep them blooming well while making it easier to maintain adequate moisture around their roots.

Control Nutsedge

Nutsedge, or "nutgrass" as it is often called, has the ability to proliferate exponentially during a gardening season. The most effective method is hand digging. Wet the soil area well, then wait a day or two. Then use a spading fork to dig up the plants, taking care to get all the attached nuts that you can. Prompt and regular removal will prevent it from growing into a huge job a season or two from now.

Give New Woody Ornamentals A Boost

Shrubs, trees, and woody vines that were planted this year still have a rather limited root system. Make sure to provide deep soakings every couple of weeks in the area beneath and just beyond their branch spread. Fertilize them in this same area by sprinkling one third cup of lawn type fertilizer per 10 square feet of soil area. Water the area after application to move the fertilizer nutrients down into the soil.

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