Southern Coasts

August, 2000
Regional Report

Starting New Lawns


Lots of new houses get finished in late summer, leaving a raw swath of dirt and perhaps topsoil that will erode over the winter. To keep the soil in place, seed a combination of carpetgrass and an improved bermudagrass such as 'Cheyenne' for a fast sprouting, full sun, lawn. Over time the hardy bermuda will take over, but carpetgrass makes for a fast, though temporary, ground cover.

Keep Coleus Looking Great

Coleus might be called the \"comeback kid\" of summer gardens, breaking through from relative obscurity to become a well-publicized, hot plant as new varieties hit the market. Now\'s when it really shines if you keep flowers and leggy stems pinched off and fertilize every two weeks through September with a soluble fertilizer.

Weeding Out Wisteria


Even a desirable flower like wisteria can become a weed and straggle other trees and shrubs. Untamed wisteria is hard to control anytime, but if you leave new vines to overwinter, they'll be even tougher to remove next spring. To kill them, dig around the base of the invaders cutting the root several inches below the surface. Leave the hole exposed to dry out further and do not compost the vines.

Checking For Spider Mites


Shrubs and stiff-leaved perennials may have pale leaves with a stippled look to them; in worse cases whole branches turn ugly brown. Hold a piece of white paper under the suspect branch and tap it: if the dust that falls off moves, you've got spider mites. Control spider mites with insecticidal soap or pyrethrin spray and keep the foliage washed off to prevent them from returning.

Removing Ragweed


If fall allergies trouble your family, locate and rip out ragweed now - before it blooms. It's the number one plant for fall sneezers, but unfortunately goldenrod gets the blame. It's probably because where one grows, so does the other. Since goldenrod is so much showier, people see it as their eyes begin to tear and conclude goldenrod's the culprit. It's not.

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