Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

March, 2004
Regional Report

Prepare Planting Beds for Warm-Season Flowers

We are just around the corner from our last average frost date and the rush to plant our warm-season flowers that thrive in our southern climate. Take advantage of this time by building up planting beds with 2 to 3 inches of compost and digging out any perennial weeds. Poor preparation spoils your best blooming plans. It is so much better to prepare soil before you plant.

Wait To Fertilize Turf

Wait to fertilize lawns until you have mowed the turf twice (early to mid-April in most areas of our lower south region). By then it will be actively growing and ready to utilize the fertilizer. Early fertilizing is less efficient and can really encourage those winter weeds, which are actively growing now.

Don't Harm Those Bees

Fruit trees are starting to bloom in the lower south. Bees are busy working those blooms, a critical part of a successful bumper crop of fruit. Avoid using insecticide sprays during bloom, as these products can be devastating to bees and other insects that pollinate our fruit and vegetable plants.

Fertilize Established Woody Ornamentals

The roots of trees, shrubs, and vines are active in early spring in our warm southern climate. Established plants will benefit from some extra nutrition applied early. Spread about 2 cups of a turf type fertilizer per 100 square feet to provide an extra boost of nitrogen as these woody ornamentals begin their spring growth.

Last Call For Tree Trimming

Although most pruning is done in late winter, you can still make a few minor cuts in those landscape trees to brighten a shady area. As the years pass by, the trees get larger and the shade denser to a point where grass and many shade-tolerant blooms will no longer thrive. A judicious cut here and there to remove low-hanging limbs or crowded overhead branches may increase light intensity enough to do the trick.


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