Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

August, 2006
Regional Report

Water the Gardener Too

Don't forget to drink plenty of water when you are out in the heat. These days over 100 degrees are brutal. Heat stress can really sneak up on you if you are not careful. Don't wait until you are thirsty. Drink glasses of water throughout the day whenever you are working outdoors. Try to do most of your outdoor activities in early morning or very late in the day, and take frequent breaks.

Sun Sense

We gardeners often get careless with the sun. It can do significant skin damage over the years, as its effects are cumulative. A wide sombrero and some sun screen lotion for the skin will go a long way in avoiding major problems later in life.

Pecans and Persimmons Developing Fall Crop Now

Keep pecans and persimmons adequately moist to encourage good development of the kernels and fruit. Water stress now can cause fruit and nut drop and poor filling of kernels. In the absence of a good rainstorm give the trees a deep soaking every week or two.

Fall Vegetable Planting Time

Late July and August is the time to get in that final planting of warm season veggies such as summer squash, cucumbers, green beans, chard and even okra, if you hurry! Potatoes should be planted in mid to late August. I like to start them in 4 inch pots in a bright shady area and then transplant out into the garden in mid to late August. This decreases losses from rot in the hot summer soil. Planting whole smaller potatoes also helps reduce losses from decay.

Rejuvenate Summer Blooming Shrubs

To keep chaste tree (Vitex), butterfly bush (Buddleja) and crape myrtle blooming well, trim back spent blooms to prevent the plant from expending energy on seed production. The first two shrubs can get rather loose and unattractive following a good bloom cycle. Trim them back by a third and then provide a little water and fertilizer to stimulate regrowth and another attractive bloom cycle.


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