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Soil Preparation

Soil preparation is the most crucial step in success with annuals. Roots of annuals have to penetrate soils quickly, anchor plants, and absorb water and nutrients in one season, often under adverse conditions. Most Mississippi soils can be improved with cultivation and the addition of other ingredients.

Cultivating wet soils may cause lumping and shallow "pans," which resist air, water, and root penetration. Soil that is ready for cultivation holds its shape when squeezed, but crumbles easily. Power tillers are useful for preparing large areas, but may create a compacted zone in the soil directly under the tilled area. Use a digging fork to help avoid soil compaction.

The first step in preparing a bed for annual plants is to remove any unwanted plants with a hoe and rake or with a nonselective contact herbicide. After weeds have been removed or killed, dig the soil a shovel's depth; deeper soil preparation is normally not necessary. To prevent resprouting, remove grass and weed roots while turning the soil. Break clods and lumps into smaller pieces.

Add 3 to 4 inches of organic material, such as composted leaf and yard litter, pine bark, peat moss, or composted manure. Then add an inch or two of sharp sand if the soil is heavy. Also, if the soil test indicates a need for lime or fertilizer supplements, spread them at the recommended rate over the top at this time. Mix amendments together, blending the organic matter, sand, and fertilizers. Rake the prepared bed smooth when finished.

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 A brown clay pot contains a small bush with pink flowers.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Plants and Trees Diseases June 18, 2018
I love crape myrtles in the landscape. They flower all summer, and their beautiful exfoliating and peeling bark exposes cinnamon-brown trunks in the winter. It's no wonder that somebody way back when called them the Flowers of the South.
 
A butterfly gathers nectar from a yellow flower in a group of yellow flowers.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Herb Gardens, Places for Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife June 15, 2018

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Pollinators are important to flowering plants and the food supply, but dwindling numbers of some of these creatures, including monarch butterflies and bees, have captured the public’s attention.

Many people want to help. But what can homeowners do to support these important pollinators?

Jennifer Buchanan, senior curator at the Mississippi State University Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, shared her top three tips for creating a pollinator-friendly garden.

A pair of orange trimmers is about to snip off a spent flower.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens June 11, 2018

This past Saturday and Sunday turned into a typical work weekend in my garden and landscape.

It was hot and humid, and, of course, I was soaking wet. As I sat on a 5-gallon bucket taking a break, my mind wandered as I took a visual inventory and looked at the next job that needed doing. I have 25 15- and 25-gallon containers, 136 subirrigated containers and a bunch of 3- and 5-gallon pots.

Orange marigolds grow in a bed with purple blooms and green elephant ears.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens, Landscape Design and Management June 4, 2018

Marigolds are my go-to hot weather color annuals. Marigolds are great in-ground or in containers, and they add a cheerful and colorful brightness wherever they are planted.

Sunlight reaches a portion of mostly shaded light green foliage.
Filed Under: Flower Gardens May 28, 2018

One landscape plant I wish I grew more of is coral bells, known botanically as Heucheras.

I absolutely love the colorful foliage with a seemingly unlimited variety of textures that add interest in any garden or landscape. Some have ruffled margins, some have deep cuts, and others feature smooth margins. Texture is certainly on display with coral bells.

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Wonderful Water
Southern Gardening

Wonderful Water

Sunday, June 24, 2018 - 2:00am
Butterfly Bush
Southern Gardening

Butterfly Bush

Sunday, June 17, 2018 - 2:00am
Landscape Supertunias
Southern Gardening

Landscape Supertunias

Sunday, June 10, 2018 - 2:00am
Salvia Farinacea
Southern Gardening

Salvia Farinacea

Sunday, June 3, 2018 - 2:00am
Bougainvillea
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Bougainvillea

Sunday, May 27, 2018 - 7:00am

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