Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Southern Coasts

May, 2004
Regional Report

What To Do About Tomato Suckers?

Conversations abound on whether to remove suckers from tomato plants or leave them on the plant. Removing them will result in larger fruit and give you cuttings to root for the July planting. Leaving them will allow the leaves to shade the lower part of the plant, and will help produce a stockier plant.

Deadheading Roses

As rose flowers fade, clip them off at the first whole leaflet below the flower cluster to encourage new blooms on remontant (reblooming) roses. At the same time, prune lightly to shape the shrubs and control any rampant canes. Follow with a rose fertilizer or flowering shrub formula, but not fertilizers made for azaleas.

Consider Carefully Where You Plant Conifers

Pine trees and other upright conifers have a strong central-leader growth habit. Their predominant growth is at the top. Be sure to locate them where they have plenty of room to grow straight upward. If you cut off the top to accommodate an eave or other feature that's in the way, death may be slow but it's probably inevitable. At the very least, the plant will look unsightly.

Avoid Canna Worms

Even if you cleaned up the canna bed and poured diatomaceous earth into each sprout, it's possible to still see the twisted leaves that indicate an infestation of canna leaf rollers. Cut down the troubled stalk, retreat, and consider digging and dividing the cannas at the end of their season.

Rejuvenating Ferns

Take a look at your ferns, like the hardy southern shield and holly fern and the tender Bostons hanging on the porch. If the lower or outer fronds aren't showplace pretty, clip off the tips or the whole offending frond. Add a half inch ring of compost around each plant, and water more often.


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