Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

May, 2001
Regional Report

Feed Peonies

Give your peonies plenty of water and fertilizer to help the buds fill out and bloom well. To obtain extra large blooms, pick off the side buds when they're very small. To keep the heavy blooms from falling over, provide a plant support such as chicken wire to the entire plant, loosely.

Control Aphids on Honeysuckles

Perennial honeysuckle vines are particularly susceptible to aphid attacks just as the plants are about to come into bloom in late spring and early summer. Check new growth periodically for clusters of small green insects. Control aphids with a pyrethrum or hot pepper spray to ensure that you'll have plenty of those bright orange and yellow flowers.

Prune Spring Shrubs

Early-blooming shrubs and trees such as forsythia, magnolias, flowering almonds, flowering cherries, lilacs, deutzias, and spireas are best pruned immediately after flowering. Prune to thin out old, dead, and diseased wood as well as to shape plants and control errant growth.

Plant Iris

The large, old-fashioned bearded irises, which have been blooming for several weeks now, are easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant plants. They grow best in well-drained, organic soil in full sun. Plant the roots (rhizomes) 1 foot apart, with the top half of the rhizome showing. Firm the soil over the white feeder roots. Mulch around the plants, but don't cover the rhizome.

Plant Sweet Corn

Continue planting sweet corn every week or so from now until mid-July in order to have plenty this summer. The super-sweet type of corn is bred to retain flavor and tenderness for up to two weeks but must be planted 200 feet away from other varieties to avoid cross-pollinating. The sugar-enhanced type retains sweetness for one week and is creamier, sweeter, and more tender than super-sweets. It doesn't have to be isolated.


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