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Lee County Out In The Garden

Featured Plants

Mock Orange (English Dogwood)

This fragrant, deciduous shrub is currently blooming in NE Mississippi. The showy white blooms may be single or double and are generally 1-2 inches wide. These shrubs perform best in full sun but will grow in partial shade. They need good drainage. At maturity, they reach 10-12 feet tall and wide, so give them plenty of room to grow. Buy plants while they are in bloom t o check for fragrance; some cultivars have no scent. Prune Mock Orange each year right after it blooms; cut the oldest wood and any unproductive branches at the base.

Japanese Kerria

This old-fashioned favorite provides golden yellow flowers in the spring and green stems year-round. Blooms may be single or double and the stems grow to six feet in height at maturity. This shrub has graceful, arching branches; it prefers light shade and well-drained soil. Its flowers resemble roses, so this plant is sometimes mistakenly referred to as "Yellow Rose of Texas" or Easter Rose. This shrub may be heavily pruned after it blooms. Be sure to remove all the dead canes.

Eastern Redbud

These trees are native to the eastern US; they have red buds, yet are known for their purplish pink flowers in early spring. These trees have heart shaped leaves and may reach 35 feet in height at maturity. Considered an understory tree, they tolerate partial shade and are drought tolerant. Their seeds are eaten by a variety of birds and their blossoms attract honeybees. There are new selections on the market that have different flower and leaf colors.

Azalea Lace Bugs

Stephanitis pyrioides

Order: Hemiptera

Family: Tingidae

Azalea lace bugs are the most common insect pest of azaleas. Most azaleas harbor some lace bugs and light infestations cause no real harm, but heavy infestations cause leaves to be bleached or bronzed and cause plants to grow and bloom poorly. Both adults and immatures (nymphs) damage plants by inserting their stylets into the stomates on the undersides of leaves and sucking sap from tissues within the leaf. This causes small patches of dead, bleached cells, resulting in leaves having a bleached, stippled appearance, that resembles spider mite injury.

Heavy, damaging infestations of lace bugs are most likely to occur on azaleas growing in full sun or on plants that are stressed by drought or other factors. Also, some varieties are more susceptible than others. Once plants are severely damaged, it can take some time for them to recover.

Avoid excessive lace bug damage to azaleas in your landscape by regularly checking the undersides of leaves for adults or nymphs. You won’t be able to find lace bugs through the winter months because they overwinter as eggs inserted into the leaf tissue, but the brown fecal spots left from the previous growing season will remain on the undersides of leaves as a sign of infestation. Begin scouting in early spring and consider treating if you start finding significant numbers of lace bugs and damage symptoms. Also, some plantings have a history of recurring lace bug infestations, and these are candidates for early preventive treatments. Soil-applied systemic insecticides usually provide season-long control. Although somewhat costly, these are a good choice for treating plantings that routinely suffer heavy attack.

Control: For fast-acting control of heavy lace bug infestations spray with a foliar-applied systemic insecticide such as acephate (Orthene Tree, Turf and Ornamental 97 Spray) or imidacloprid (Bonide Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control Concentrate). For long-lasting preventive control use a soil-applied systemic treatment such as imidacloprid (Fertilome Tree and Shrub Drench, Bonide Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control Concentrate, and Monterey Once a Year Insect Control II are examples.). For best control of severe infestations do both; spray with acephate and apply a soil treatment of imidacloprid. Be sure to follow label precautions for protecting pollinators.

See Extension Publication 2369, Insect Pests of Ornamental Plants in the Home Landscape, page 17-18 and pages 38-40 for more information. 

Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist, Mississippi State University Extension Service

Soil Test

If you are interested in improving soil fertility for farming, gardening, lawns or wildlife food plots you should get a soil test! Drop by the Extension office on Cliff Gookin and pick up a soil test kit. The basic soil test costs $8.00 (payable by check or credit card).

Garden Calendar: May


  • Plant annuals and perennials early in the month. Keep well watered.
  • Set out Chrysanthemums.
  • Continue planting Gladiolus. Can also plant Calla lilies, Ginger lilies, Tuberose, and Cannas.
  • Take Hydrangea cuttings and let root in coarse sand.
  • In the shade, plant: Impatiens, Coleus, Sweet Alyssum, Lobelia, and annual Dianthus.
  • In the full sun, plant: Verbena, Periwinkle, Ageratum, Marigolds, Zinnias, Petunias, Wax Begonia, Clematis, Four-o'clocks, and Portulaca.
  • Vegetables that should be planted this month: Cucumber, Tomato, Pepper, Squash, Peas, Beans, Eggplant, Corn, Okra, Parsley, Watermelons, and Cantaloupe.

Pest Control

Keep an eye on garden pests and diseases: red spiders, thrips, aphids, lacebugs, lacewings, mealy bugs, caterpillars, slugs, snails, mildew, fungus, and crown rot.


  • This is the last month to prune Azaleas and Camellias as new buds are formed in June.
  • Gardenias can be pruned by bringing a bouquet inside to beautify the house.
  • Cutting bouquets regularly will keep your plants pruned and prolong the blooming season.
  • Cut in early morning or late afternoon and put into water immediately.
  • Remove seedpods from bulbs and irises as they sap the plants’ strength.


A layer of mulch helps maintain moisture and can protect roots from extremes in temperature.


Water deeply during weeks that it does not rain. One inch of water per week is needed.

Home Accent

  • Repot house plants during their active growing period: April through September.
  • May is a good month to repot and divide overcrowded ferns.

In Bloom

Azaleas, Begonias, Clematis, Confederate Jasmine, Deutzia, Gardenias, Geraniums, Goldenrain Tree, Honeysuckle, Hydrangeas, Impatiens, Magnolias, Mock Orange, Phlox, Pomegranate, Roses, Salvia, Sweet William, Weigela.

Garden Calendar: June


  • Plant Crape Myrtles in bloom to be sure of color.
  • Replace turf in deep shade with ground cover: Liriope, Ajuga, or Jasmine.
  • Set out Caladiums in shady areas.
  • Plant summer annuals such as Ageratum, Cockscomb, Impatiens, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Four-o'clocks, and Periwinkle.
  • Plant Tomatoes late this month to insure harvest late into fall. Cherry Tomatoes are a choice that is heat tolerant.
  • Choose Daylilies that they are in bloom to plant in your garden.
  • Divide and replant Iris. Cut leaves back to 6 inches after transplant.
  • Plant Zinnias and Marigolds now for a second crop of flowers.
  • Plant Snap beans, Lima beans, Cucumbers, Eggplants, Peppers, Squash, Tomato plants.
  • Gladiolus planted now will give lovely fall blooms.


  • Fertilize Camellias with Azalea-Camellia fertilizer if not done earlier in the year.
  • Fertilize Bermuda and Zoysia grass.
  • Fertilize Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Zucchini monthly with 5-10-10.
  • Fertilize annuals and perennials.

Pest Control

  • Mow lawn in the morning to reduce the chance of starting Brown Spot (fungus).
  • Remove Zinnias with powdery mildew and replant.


  • Prune Oleander after blooming ends.
  • Pinch Dahlias and Mums to assure a compact growth habit.
  • Remove Blackberry fruiting canes after harvest. Prune new canes to encourage side branching.
  • Faded flowers should be removed from Daisy, Daylily, and other summer flowers.
  • Prune out dead and damaged wood from trees and shrubs.

In Bloom

Ageratum, Althea, Balloon Flower, Bee Balm, Begonia, Blackberry Lily, Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Weed, Coreopsis, Cornflower, Crape Myrtle, Day Lily, Dusty Miller, Feverfew, Four O’clock, Geranium, Gladiolus, Goldenrain Tree, Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Hosta, Hydrangea, Hypericum, Impatiens, Japanese Iris, Jasmine, Lantana, Lily, Mimosa, Morning Glory, Nicotiana, Oleander, Petunia, Phlox, Plumbago, Portulaca, Purslane, Roses, Salvia, Scabiosa, Shasta Daisy, Sourwood, Stewartia, Sweet Pea, Verbena, Veronica, Vitex, Yucca, Zinnia.

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Portrait of Dr. Bill Burdine, Jr.
Extension Specialist I
Agronomic Crops