Southern Coasts

March, 2001
Regional Report

Lichens on Trees


Those lacy gray patches of growth on the stems of older shrubs and trees are called lichen. This fungus isn't a problem to trees, but it thrives on stress and is an indicator that your plant needs care. Rejuvenate your plant with fertilizer now and again in June.

Designing Hedges


If you're planting a hedge, mix up the shrub selection for more visual interest and a better home for wildlife. The classic southern pairing is Formosa azaleas with bridalwreath spirea. Others to try in the mix include Cleyera, spirea, Indian hawthorn, nandina, and compact holly. Plant in a sequence of two evergreens then one flowering shrub.

Plant Early Corn


Get your corn in the ground early to beat the worst of the late spring insects: the dreaded corn earworm. Plant in at least a 4-foot-square plot for best pollination. Fence it if squirrels and raccoons plague your garden, and cover the soil over seeds with mesh netting if birds like to dig them out.

Divide Flag Iris

In big stands of flag iris, seedlings are common as well as sprouts rising from the clump around the mother rhizome. Both seedlings and offsets can crowd the bed and reduce flowering. After flowering, lift up the clumps and divide off the sprouts and dig up small seedlings.

Turn the Compost

Dig out the finished compost in the pile you\'ve been ignoring all winter and spread it on a tarp. Pick out any big stems that didn\'t break down and throw them away. Dust the pile with cottonseed meal for a boost of nitrogen, turn it once, and use it for mulch around shrubs, trees, and perennials.

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