Middle South

September, 2012
Regional Report

Prevent Future Weeds

If you haven't weeded your garden lately, keep an eye open for plant pests that might be going to seed. Even if you don't have time to do a thorough job of removing the interlopers, make a quick pass through the landscape to remove their flowers and save yourself a slew of future problems.

Mark Shovel for Easy Planting

Make tree and shrub planting easier by marking the top 36 inches of your shovel handle as a convenient measuring guide. Once marked, the shovel handle can be used to measure the size of the planting hole (both depth and width) against the size of the plant's root ball.

Edge Beds

One of the easiest ways to make your garden look more attractive is to edge garden beds. For a fast job, sharpen the blade of a square-head spade and tackle the chore after a soaking rain. Use the spade to make a 3-inch deep and wide trench between grass and beds, by making 45-degree angle cuts into the soil.

Protect Forearms

I'm always worried about getting irritating plant sap on my skin, especially when pruning a Confederate jasmine that grows near my front door. In summer, I shield my forearms with protective cuffs made from old knee socks. To do the same, cut the feet out of a pair of old socks and then pull the tops over your arms before putting on gloves.

Know Frost Indicators

Do you know the signs of an impending frost? When the sky is clear and the air is still, chances of frost are more likely, especially if the thermometer reads 45-degrees F or less by 10 p.m. Cloud cover helps hold heat in, while a breeze can keep cold air from settling.

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