Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

July, 2006
Regional Report

Let Peppers Turn Ripe

Peppers allowed to turn red will be sweeter and more nutritious (higher in beta-carotene), and downright pretty, too. The only downside is the plants will produce a little less. Even jalapenos, which are traditionally harvested green, mature to tasty red peppers.

Watch for Chinch Bug Damage

St. Augustine lawns may begin to show chinch bug damage now that summer is here. These infestations usually first appear in a sunny area next to a drive, curb, or other masonry structure. Overwatering and overfertilizing may make your turf more susceptible to chinch bug attack. Several insecticides are labeled for use on these pests, however there is no need to treat the entire lawn, just the affected areas.

Make Vacation Plans for Plants

Don't forget to make arrangements for plant care when planning a vacation. In a pinch, a plastic wading pool makes a good week-long waterer. Place plants in the pool without drain saucers. Then add an inch or two of water to the pool to wick up into the roots and potting mix. But, don't stay gone too long or mosquitoes will start having pool parties at your place!

Tune Up Crape Myrtles

Keep crape myrtles vigorous and productive with a good soaking every week or two, and light fertilizer applications every four to six weeks during early to midsummer. Remove spent blooms before they set seed. This will improve the appearance of the plant and direct energy into more blooms.

Back Off On Lawn Fertilizing

Hold back on lawn fertilizing during the summer months. The clippings will decompose rapidly in our hot southern summers to feed the turf. Extra nitrogen can cause rapid growth and the need for extra water to keep the grass going. Lush, succulent lawn growth is more susceptible to some insect and disease problems, too.


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