Lower South

July, 2012
Regional Report

Give Container Plants an Afternoon Break

Some container flowers and foliage plants will benefit from a move to a location with part day shade now that the weather is really hot. Geraniums, bacopa, petunias, calibrachoa, coleus, verbena, and angelonia are examples of warm season flowers that need lots of light but will benefit from a little break from the direct sun in the mid to late afternoon.

Plant Fall Tomatoes

July is the time to set out tomato plants for the fall garden. This allows for the plants to grow large enough to start producing well once the heat breaks and their blooms start to set fruit well again. Water the new plants in with a soluble plant food and keep the soil moderately moist for a few weeks to give them a chance to expand their confined roots into the surrounding soil.

Prepare Soil for Fall Gardens

Fall planting season for vegetables and flowers is just around the corner. Take advantage of this summer heat and mix an inch or two of compost into the soil. Then water the area well and mulch the surface. Microbes will get to work on the organic matter and by planting time the soil will be more enriched and ready for the new plants to take off and grow!

Give Spring Flowering Shrubs a Touch Up

This is the last call for pruning shrubs or other woody ornamental plants that bloom only in the spring. This includes spirea, flowering quince, roses that don't repeat bloom, Chinese witch hazel, mock orange, spring blooming viburnums, and most azaleas. If these plants look fine leave them be, but if they have some gangly shoots and only need a little shaping here and there get the job done soon so there will be plenty of time for them to set bloom buds in the coming weeks for next year's spring show.

Recycle Excessive Lawn Clippings

While it is best to recycle grass clippings back into the turf with a mulching mower, sometimes days of rainy weather leave your lawn too tall to mow and leave. Rather than having it look like a hay field after mowing, either bag or rake up the clippings and spread them as a 1-2 inch deep mulch on the soil surface in flower, vegetable and shrub beds.

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