Southern Coasts

April, 2001
Regional Report

Preventing Fungal Diseases

Most fungus diseases on garden plants are opportunistic. They are always around and ready to strike with the right conditions such as wet leaves at night, crowded plantings, and plants under stress. To reduce their opportunities, use soaker hoses, water in the daytime, provide good air circulation, and maintain regular water and fertilizer regimes.

Control Aphids

Look for the traditional late-spring aphid attack to be fierce this year. Keep an eye on tomatoes, roses, and other flowers in bud. At the first sign of their pinhead-sized soft bodies, grab the hose and blast them off. For bigger infestations, spray insecticidal soap or pyrethrin-based insecticides.

Remove Tulips

Some northern plants such as tulips and strawberries just don't grow the same in our region, and transplanted gardeners often are confused about what to do with them. Tulips and strawberries are perennial favorites in cooler regions but struggle in our heat. The solution is to grow them as annuals and once they've finished blooming, dig them up, replanting them each fall.

Rejuvenate Hedges

Long established evergreen hedges may need some rejuvenation. If the soil around them is pale and roots are exposed at the surface, then they need some help. Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost around each shrub, then cover that with a half-inch layer of garden soil. Water well, then mulch.

Plant Large Pots

Large pots such as sphagnum baskets, clay bowls, and plastic tubs can make great planters and they are easier to care for than smaller pots. Mix annual flowers for color and texture, starting with a tall plant off to one side and one that cascades over the opposite edge. The larger pots will give the plants more room to fill out, and you won\'t have to water as much since they hold more soil.

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