Middle South

July, 2012
Regional Report

Watch for Impatiens Downy Mildew

Impatiens downy mildew, a fungus-like organism, has now spread into the Middle South. Symptoms begin as a yellowing or stippling of the leaves, and then the foliage may begin to curl. In moist or humid conditions, a white mold will become visible on the underside of leaves within days. As the disease progresses, leaves and flowers drop off, leaving bare stems. Since the pathogen cannot be controlled with any type of fungicide once the downy mildew develops, home gardeners are strongly urged to remove all infected plant material, including fallen leaves and stems, from the garden as soon as possible.

Take Successful Cuttings

If you want to try your hand at propagating woody plants, keep an eye out for midsummer's semi-ripe cuttings. A branch tip is semi-ripe when the shoot begins to become woody and firm but is not fully hardened. Gardeners are more likely to be successful with semi-ripe cuttings than soft cuttings because they're thicker and contain more stored nutrients.

Deadhead Hybrid Perennials

Ensure the integrity of your planting scheme by deadheading hybrid perennials. Since any seeds would be inferior to the parent plant, you don't want them to mature, germinate, and crowd out the more desirable hybrids in your garden beds.

Feed Dalhias and Other Summer Bulbs

Summer bulbs are heavy feeds and should get a twice monthly boost of quick-acting balanced fertilizer, such as a liquid plant food. To otherwise ensure an extended season of bloom for dahlias, keep them well watered and mulched.

Examine Lawn Areas Near Trees

Trees put the most stress on nearby lawns when summer is at its peak. If the lawn is suffering from shade and/or lack of moisture, make a plan to resolve the situation at the appropriate time of year. You can increase irrigation and remove lower limbs to allow for more moisture and light, or replace a part of the lawn with groundcover or mulch.

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