Lower South

August, 2012
Regional Report

Shut Down Perennial Weeds

Bermudagrass, nutsedge, Johnsongrass, and other perennial weeds can take over a garden or landscape bed if left to grow over the course of a few months. Now is a good time to shut them down whether by hand digging or application of an approved product. Don't wait until next spring or you'll have more than twice the battle to face.

Keep Fruit Trees Open

Water sprouts, those upright shoots that grow from the scaffold branches, or suckers that emerge from the base of the trunk can shade out the productive branches of fruit trees. This is especially true for peaches, plums, and apple trees. These vigorous shoots are generally not very productive. Remove watersprouts and suckers at their base to open up the tree to more light, which will result in more productivity next spring.

Maintain Moisture on Warm Season Vegetables

Sweet potatoes, southern peas, okra, Malabar, eggplant, and various types of melons can take the summer heat if you keep their soil moist to avoid drought stress. Water enough to maintain moderately moist soil conditions and they will not only survive but continue to be productive.

Provide Water for Beneficial Insects

Many types of beneficial insects need some source of moisture and will stay around your gardens if you provide them a source of water. A shallow bird bath with some stones to allow easier access to the water, drip or sprinkler irrigation, or a water feature in the landscape will all become favorite spot to stop in for a sip.

Plant Tomato Relatives

Tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes are all in the same family. Although it is getting a bit late to get in a tomato planting in the Lower South area, this is the time to plant transplants of eggplant and peppers, and to plant a fall crop of potatoes from small "seed" potatoes left over from the spring harvest. Provide a cover to block the brunt of the sun for a couple of weeks until the plants have a chance to become better established. Water new transplants with a liquid fertilizer solution immediately after planting.

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