Coastal and Tropical South

May, 2014
Regional Report

Keep Cannas Thriving

Three "monsters" can ruin canna lilies' appearance and blooms. Earworms chew huge chunks from the leaves, and leaf rollers twist them and prevent unfurling. Cut down the affected stems to the ground and dust with diatomaceous earth. No bugs? Canna leaves weakened by lack of fertilizer will rip apart, too.

Reduce Lawn Areas

No time or energy to mow? Devise a plan to reduce or eliminate lawn grass (and its maintenance) by creating a path that winds alongside existing beds and defines the new ones. In the largest areas to be de-sodded, mow to scalp the grass, then mulch to suppress regrowth.

Fertilize Azaleas

Yellow leaves on azaleas can mean one of two nutrition problems is present. Lower leaves turn solid yellow and fall off when the plants lack nitrogen. Leaves throughout the plant may turn yellow except for green veins, indicating iron deficiency. Cure both with applications of fertilizer made for these acid-loving plants.

Keep Ferns Healthy

Soak Boston and other basket ferns weekly to keep them fresh all summer. Use a bucket larger than the container so it can be submerged in a solution of water and fertilizer (20-20-20 works well). Soak for at least two hours, then rehang to drain and enjoy for another week.

Watch for Tomato Trouble

Keep an eye out for aphids on the growing tips and flowers of tomatoes as the nights stay warmer this month. You may even see ants climbing the stems first, seeking the critters. Spray for aphids with insecticidal soap twice, at 8-day intervals.

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