Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

September, 2006
Regional Report

Control Perennial Weeds

Fall is a good time to control those difficult-to-eradicate perennial weeds like nutsedge, wild blackberry, poison ivy, and bermudagrass. Options include hand digging (watch out for the poison ivy!) or sprays of a low-toxicity herbicide. The plants are storing sugars for winter and are more susceptible to these control efforts now than they would be in spring.

Plant Naturalizing Bulbs

Now is a good time to plant naturalizing bulbs, which are those species adapted to our climate that return dependably for years of beauty and enjoyment. Narcissus, oxblood Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida), spider lilies (Lycoris), amaryllis, and rain lilies (Zephranthes) are among the time-tested choices. Work a few inches of compost into the soil prior to planting.

Spread a Compost Blanket

A layer of compost in the fall can be a boost for flowerbeds, shrubs, and lawn areas. Apply a half inch layer around shrubs and flowers to mulch the surface. As winter rains percolate through the compost, they'll take with them some of the nutrients to enrich the soil for the growing plants. If your lawn is thinning from the stress of a long hot summer, spread screened compost about 1/3 inch deep and water it in well to help prepare it for the winter ahead.

Plant Mums for Perennial Beauty

Chrysanthemums put on their big show in the fall season. There are many great varieties to plant in the southern garden. One of my favorites is 'Country Girl', with its large single blooms in fading shades of pink. The plant's sprawling habit makes it a great choice for a cottage-style perennial border.

Pick Up After Twig Girdlers

Each fall twig girdlers appear throughout the region in many types of trees including pecan, sycamore, and persimmon. We seldom see the insects but rather find perfectly cut, pencil-sized branches about the landscape. This amounts to a minor pruning and no control efforts are needed. Simply collect and destroy the fallen branches since the eggs are deposited in that portion of the branch that drops to the ground.


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