Lower South

May, 2012
Regional Report

Raise Mower Blade

Southern turf species such as St. Augustine, bermudagrass, zoysia and centipede are growing rapidly now that the weather is warming. Make sure your mower blade is not set too low. Taller mowing heights make thin turf areas look fuller and help the grass plant develop a deeper root system and increase its drought tolerance.

Rejuvenate Houseplants

If you have houseplants that lack vigor now is a good time to move them to a very shady spot outdoors. Don't put them in too much light or the foliage may burn. Fertilize the plants and water them well. The increased light levels and added nutrients will spur new growth and get them looking great again.

Plant Okra

Okra likes warm growing conditions. Now is a good time to direct seed it into the garden. Put your seeds in hot water the night before you plant to help water soak into the hard coats and speed germination. As an alternative you can start the seeds in transplant trays for setting out in the garden about two or three weeks later.

Check for Plum Curculio

Plum curculio is a significant pest of peaches, nectarines, and plums. The female adults make a tiny crescent shaped cut into the skin of developing fruit into which they lay an egg. Larvae soon hatch out and eat their way to the pit, where they cause the fruit to abort or otherwise ruin it for eating. Sprays applied from the end of bloom to a few weeks prior to ripening can protect against this insect. Check your trees for evidence of their damage to the fruit. Even if some fruits are already affected, there is still time to protect the remaining fruits on a tree.

Cut Back Spent Bulb Foliage

Bulbs that bloom in winter and spring rejuvenate their stored reserves after the blooms fade. Then the foliage starts to turn yellow or brown as the plant goes dormant until the next bloom season. Once the foliage declines, it is okay to cut this spent foliage back to the ground to tidy up the beds.

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