Coastal and Tropical South

May, 2013
Regional Report

Prevent Fungal Diseases

Most fungus diseases on garden plants are ready to strike when the conditions are right -- wet leaves at night, crowded plantings, and plants under stress. To reduce the opportunities for fungal disease to get a toehold, use soaker hoses to keep foliage dry or water in the morning so leaves are dry by nightfall; provide good air circulation, and maintain regular water and fertilizer regimes.

Control Aphids

Keep an eye on tomatoes, roses, and other flowers in bud for the traditional late-spring aphid attack. At the first sign of their pinhead-sized soft bodies, grab the hose and blast them off. For bigger infestations, spray insecticidal soap or pyrethrin-based insecticides.

Remove Tulips

Some northern plants such as tulips, just don't grow the same in our region, and transplanted gardeners often are confused about what to do with them. Tulips are perennial favorites in cooler regions but struggle in our heat. The solution is to grow them as annuals. Once they've finished blooming, dig them up and replant new bulbs in the fall.

Rejuvenate Hedges

Long established evergreen hedges may need some rejuvenation. If the roots are exposed at the surface, then they need some help. Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost around each shrub, then cover that with a half-inch layer of garden soil. Water well, then mulch.

Plant Large Pots

Large pots such as sphagnum-lined baskets, clay bowls, and plastic tubs can make great planters and they are easier to care for than smaller pots. Mix annual flowers for color and texture, starting with a tall plant off to one side and one that cascades over the opposite edge. The larger pots will give the plants more room to fill out, and you won't have to water as frequently since they hold more soil.

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