Coastal and Tropical South

October, 2012
Regional Report

Add Sand to Lumpy Lawns

If you are the victim of poorly laid sod, you may have ruts between squares that have not grown together. Or maybe parts of the lawn have sunk, creating lumpy areas. A lousy sod installation seldom completely recovers, but you can even out the lumps and fill in gaps with sand. Up to an inch of sand a year will not damage the grass. Pour in the sand, then water well and let it settle before you refill any sunken spots.

Prune Hardy Vines

Get ready to prune hardy vines not in bloom now. Coral honeysuckle, orange trumpet vine, and many others can use a trim to neaten them up and stimulate new growth in the coming months in the tropical region. Follow the pruning with horticultural oil spray if insects have been a problem this year.

Divide Crowded Palmettos

When you see mature clumps of palmettos with tall leaves standing straight up against each other, you are seeing a crowded planting. It may look good from a distance, but over time you begin to miss its looser grace up close. To avoid crowded clumps, dig up new sprouts as soon as you can handle them. Palmettos are difficult to transplant, so put in three where you want one.

Plant Geraniums and Petunias for Winter Bloom

Geraniums and petunias are two of my favorite annual plants that often go on for more than one season. Some of the varieties planted in spring may still be flowering, but grab what you see on the racks this autumn. Both plants grow well in sun or part shade and should be deadheaded if blooms do not fall off by themselves. Fertilize monthly and enjoy them through the winter in pots and protected beds.

Decorate with Okra

Cut some long stems from okra plants and let them dry to use as
decorations in the coming holiday season. Spray paint stems red, dust with gold, and tie in bunches with a seasonal ribbon. Arrange at the base of candlesticks or a punch bowl and collect compliments. Keep a few dried okra pods full of seeds handy for children who fidget at dinner. They are fun to shake.

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