Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2012
Regional Report

Root Those Leaves

Snake plant, African violet, and piggyback plant are only three of the many plants that can be rooted from their leaves. Fill small pots or flats with a lightweight, soilless potting mix and water it once. When the soil is damp, lay the piggyback leaf on the soil so it makes good contact. Cut a 4 inch tip from a snake plant leaf and slip it in, one inch deep. Sink the African violet stem into the soil right up to the point where the leaf touches the top of the soil. Keep the cuttings damp and in the shade; roots should form in about a month. The piggyback and violet will send up tiny new plants after they root and these clones can be separated into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle.

Care for Spotted Leaves

If a fungus disease left your dogwood or Japanese maple with small white spots on its leaves this spring, it's likely that the tree will take on fall color and drop its leaves prematurely. Ugly as they are, the spotted leaves are harmless in the longer life of the tree. Keep the leaves raked up as they fall to prevent reinfection and do not compost them. If the problem was severe this year, apply preventative fungicide sprays next spring, when new growth appears.

Get More Sun

Turf grass cannot grow in dense shade, but dappled, high, or partial shade can host a lawn. June can reveal the depth of shade in your garden, and if it has expanded too much, now can be a fine time to take action. Thin the trees if lawn grass in the area has grown thin or plants in the bed below have stopped blooming. Take time to sprig or plug in new grass if needed to refill the space. If you do both, fertilize lightly and water very well as both lawn and tree will put on new growth.

Trim Crape Myrtles

The mildews of damp spring weather may still be showing under the new flowers on crape myrtle trees. Their twisted, dusky look can go away as quickly as you can grab the pruning shears. It is a good practice to clip off crape myrtle flowers as they fade anyway to hasten rebloom. Reach behind the flower and cut off the flower cluster and at least two sets of leaves behind it. Make the cut just above a leaf node and do not leave a stub.

Keep Tomatoes Happy

Take the time to tend the tomato vines even if they are not producing fruit right now. Depending on the variety, tomatoes stop setting when nighttime temperatures reach the 70 degree range. But if you keep the vines healthy, they will bear again sooner than will vines newly planted for a fall crop. Pluck off any disfigured leaves, cut out the suckers, and prune the plants back to rejuvenate them. Continue water and fertilizer regimes and be the first one on the block to harvest tomatoes when the weather changes.

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