Coastal and Tropical South

April, 2014
Regional Report

Transplant Blue Flag Iris

Divide native blue flag iris now in boggy spots and damp soils. Its leaves are tall and spread a bit like the fans of bearded iris, but blue flag won't yield to rot or borers. The flowers last well in the vase, and don't smell like cat urine, as cut Louisiana iris do.

Stay Ahead of the Grasshoppers

When grasshoppers like the black lubbers appear on foliage plants in partly shady areas, knock them off and stomp them quick. Like so many insects, the yellow-striped hoppers are almost impossible to control once they mature. Pyrethrin spray will also do them in, before they eat your hostas and crinum.

Make an Easy Pathway

If a permanent, poured path is not practical for your garden, try this alternative. Dig the path to a depth of 1 to 2 inches and fill with gravel or crushed oystershells. Water the material, then spread dry cement mix on top. Wet it again and tamp it down. Cure for 3 days before walking the path.

Watch for Tomato Leaf Miners

White roadmap-looking trails in tomato leaves mean leaf miners are tunneling the life out of them. Removing affected leaves is the best course of control. Do not compost such debris, rather throw it into the burn pit or garbage can. Inspect tomato plants daily for signs of more miners and remove them.

Use Alternatives to Peat Moss

Sandy soils benefit from organic matter additions that change the pH to favor blueberries, azaleas, and hollies. Peat moss is favored for its very acidic properties, but issues have been raised about its status as a nonrenewable resource. Look for equally acidic pine bark products instead that have been grown in the South.

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