Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Lower South

April, 2001
Regional Report

Leaf Blights on Trees

Cool, rainy spring weather during leaf emergence often results in leaf blights on ash and oak trees. Anthracnose blight causes brown to blackened areas on ash leaves followed by partial leaf drop. Oak leaf blister causes bumps and depressions that will later turn brown. There is no cause for concern, however, as the tree will soon send out new leaves to replace those lost to the fungus.

Sow Warm-Season Annual Seeds Into the Garden

Now that the weather and the soil have warmed, we can begin direct-sowing seeds of warm-season annual flowers in the garden. Amaranthus, celosia, cosmos, marigold, portulaca, and zinnia are great spring- and summer-blooming flowers for the South. Keep garden beds moist until seeds germinate. Thin out seedlings after they get their first set of true leaves.

Fertilize Azaleas

When spring-blooming shrubs such as azalea, spirea, quince, and forsythia have finished flowering, apply a light application of fertilizer. Give acid lovers such as azalea a fertilizer adapted to acid-loving plants. Water all fertilizers in well.

Move Houseplants Outdoors

Begin to acclimate indoor houseplants that live outdoors in summer to their new environment. Move plants outdoors to a very shady location for a few hours a day. Even the shadiest outdoor location is probably much brighter than your brightest indoor location.

Stockpile Leaves

As neighbors do their spring cleanup, keep on the lookout for bags of leaves from their yards. Summers are very long in the South, and we can never seem to get enough leaves for mulching and composting all season. Leaves decompose into some of the best soil-building compost you can get.


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