Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Coastal and Tropical South

February, 2010
Regional Report

Fabric Mulch

If summer weeds are a constant problem in shrub beds or around trees despite a two inch layer of organic mulch, consider weed barrier cloth. Now, while new weeds are small and easy to pull, clean out around the plants and install this fabric mulch under a new organic blanket. Cut as few pieces as possible, overlap to connect the pieces, and hammer fabric staples into the overlapped cloth. The staples are usually in small boxes next to the rolls of cloth. Don't forget to buy them!

Brown Patch

Watch for the return of the bane of St. Augustine grass, brown patch fungus. Irregularly shaped brown areas appear and grow in wet weather, then shrink in drier times. The fungus is also favored by excess nitrogen fertilizer, so don't feed the lawn in an effort to regrow the grass. Keep the mower deck clean to prevent spreading the fungus. If a lawn service mows for you, make sure their equipment is clean, too.

Feeder Patrol

Whether they migrate through or stay the winter, birds are hungry now. Berries are good, but going fast, and the new feeder you filled in December is long emptied. Clean it now and refill with fresh seed. Mix hot water and a little soap and really go at it with a plastic scrubber. Rinse very well and dry thoroughly before refilling. Store sacks of birdseed in plastic containers to keep it dry and safe to use.

Don't Stop

Fertilize pansies, snapdragons, candytuft, viola, and other winter annuals with a soluble flower formula every other week. Especially when rainy weather patterns dominate, solubles can too soon wash out of the root zone entirely and must be replaced. Even slow release products like Osmocote can be diluted in rainy seasons and should be reapplied to plantings and containers.

Last Call

The window is fast closing for several annual chores. Potato planting should wrap up by month's end, with corn planting well underway. Planting roses, shrubs, and trees should be completed by the end of this month, especially if you are transplanting from one place to another, or installing bare-root roses and other plants. Be sure to root prune lightly and soak bare-root plants in warm water overnight to rehydrate them before planting.


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