Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Coastal and Tropical South

May, 2005
Regional Report

Watch for Tomato Trouble

Keep an eye out for aphids on the growing tips and flowers of tomatoes as the nights stay warmer this month. You may even see ants climbing the stems first, seeking the critters. Spray for aphids with insecticidal soap, pyrethrin, or permethrin. Use the spray twice, at 8-day intervals.

Promoting Healthy Hedges

Grow dense, healthy hedges with a combination of fertilizer, pruning, and water. Ligustrum, cleyera, and many more evergreens will continue to put on new growth all summer and fall if you clip off 1 inch each time two of them sprout, then fertilize and water regularly. Use a soaker hose and keep the hedge mulched.

Pruning Lorries

Hugely popular in recent years, lorapetalum shrubs have been planted across our regions. But some didn't have height information, or it was ignored, so many lorries have grown out of bounds. After they flower the first time, prune back by one third, or limb up into a tree form.

Wash and Treat Black Gardenia Leaves

Black layers of sooty mold on gardenia leaves spoil their looks, and can limit flowering. Insects are feeding on the shrub, excreting sugary honeydew on the leaves. Sooty mold grows well in the honeydew. Wash the soot off with soapy water; use a product containing Neem or permethrin to control the insects.

Repair Lawns

Soils and night temperatures are perfect now for resodding, reseeding, or plugging lawns. If more than half the front yard has no turfgrass, seriously consider resodding for a good result quickly. To repair small areas, rake the area very well, work in compost, plant plugs or sow seeds, and water well.


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