Lower South

May, 2014
Regional Report

Keep Mower Blade Sharp

Check your lawn mower blade. Nicks and dents may indicate a need for a new blade, a dull blade will need sharpening. Dull blades can cause a brownish discoloration on the cut ends of stems and leaves shortly after mowing. Multiply these tiny tan to brown tips times a million and your lawn takes on a less attractive color and appearance.

Wean Spring Transplants From The Water Hose

Begin to wean those spring transplants off the frequent water schedule used to help them get started. Over a few weeks transition them to a less frequent watering schedule. Deep, infrequent soakings will help them develop an extensive root system and be more resilient in the summer heat. This is also true of newly established sod.

Trim Blackberries

Pinch or snip out the tips of blackberry shoots when they reach about 4 feet tall. This encourages branching, which helps form a tidier hedgerow for easy picking. After harvest remove the shoots that bore fruit back to ground level.

Prevent Powdery Mildew Problems

Powdery mildew is often a problem on our southern roses, crape myrtles, rock rose (Pavonia), squash, and melons. Regular sprays with a preventative product are required for effective control. Some low-toxicity options are sprays containing potassium bicarbonate or neem oil. Read and follow label directions carefully to prevent injury to plants.

Put Spring Bulbs to Bed for Summer

Spring bulbs have just about completed their period of replenishing their food reserves to get ready for next year. Allow the foliage to turn yellow before removing it to tidy up the planting bed. If you want to rework the beds and need to remove the bulbs, you can do so when the foliage dies back. Dig up the bulbs and allow them a week or so to dry in a shady location. Then cut away any roots or foliage and store them in a cool, dry place for fall planting.

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