Coastal and Tropical South

June, 2013
Regional Report

Inspect Brown Conifer Foliage

Watch for green needles turning brown on junipers and other conifers. If your weather has been very dry or wet, these plants will be vulnerable to pests. Dry plants and soil make for good spider mite conditions, while flooded roots can get root rot. Use neem for mites and fungicide for rot.

Propagate Honeysuckle

New growth on red coral and golden honeysuckle roots easily in water now. Take 6-inch cuttings from stems not in bloom. Strip leaves off the lower half of the stem and stick it in water with a bit of fertilizer. Use a clear glass; if the water clouds, replace it promptly.

Set Up a Rain Barrel

A clean barrel covered in window screen can be the gardener's best friend during drought. Float a mosquito dunk in the water to keep these annoying biters from breeding.

Harvest Veggies on the Small Side

A great advantage of homegrown produce is you can harvest at the most delectable stage. Squash and cucumbers deliver their best taste when smaller than usually seen in the produce department, and picking often allows more to set and develop. Bush beans, too, are fully edible and delicious at smaller sizes.

Deadhead for More Blooms

Lots of flowers can keep going all summer if you will take the time to deadhead them properly. Resist simply plucking the flowers off the tops of their stems. Instead, use a hand pruner or even scissors to cut the stem down to a leaf axil or to a lower flower bud if one is present. Clip single stems of flowers like gerber daisy but shear off plants with masses of blooms, such as Mexican hat, to keep them neat as they rebloom.

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