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Terrebonne Horticulture Hints by hedongchenchen


									                      Terrebonne Horticulture Hints

                                               March April May 2011

Landscape Gardening and Ornamentals
All-America Selections winners for 2011                         All-America Selections cool-season bedding plant
                                                                award winners
   All-America Selections is a nonprofit organization
that tests new ly developed cultivars of bedding plants             Glamour Red ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea
and vegetables in garden plots all across the United            „ Glamour Red‟ ) is the first All-America Selections
States. The 2011 All-America Selections Winners                 w inning Kale (edible or ornamental) in 78 years of
w ere judged in side-by-side comparison tests w ith             trials! This is new FI hybrid cultivar is an excellent
standard cultivars and w ere selected based entirely            achievement in breeding. The leaves are uniquely
on the performance of the w inning plants.                      shiny w ith a more intense, vivid color w hen compared
   Seeds of these plants should be available from               to existing ornamental kales. Leaf coloring is best in
most of the larger seed companies. Availability of              full sun and w hen night temperatures fall below 55
transplants at local nurseries may be lacking since the         degrees, F, and it is hardy to the teens, so it is ideal
plants are so new , but you can check.                          to grow here during the fall, w inter and spring cool
All-America Selections flower award winner                          Shangri-La Marina viola (Viola cornuta Shangri-La
                                                                Marina‟ ) is a FI hybrid early flow ering, mounding viola
    Arizona Apricot gaillardia (Gaillardia x grandiflora
                                                                in a vibrant new color for violas. The 6 -inch tall
„ Arizona Apricot‟ ) offers a new and unique apricot
                                                                plants produce 1¼ inch blooms that have light blue
color. Blooms have yellow edges that deepen to a
                                                                petals w ith a velvety dark blue face surrounded by a
rich apricot in the center. Judges noted the aw ard-
                                                                narrow w hite border. This vigorous cool-season
w inning distinctive flow er color of the 3 - to 3.5-inch
                                                                bedding plant provides a solid mat of color from fall
daisy-like flow ers, described as exceptionally lovely
                                                                until spring. Grow in full sun as a low edging in the
and lighter in color than traditional gaillardia. The
                                                                garden or in hanging baskets and pots.
compact, 12-inch –tall plants offer bright green
foliage and a tidy, uniform habit. Best in full sun.
                                                                All-America Selections vegetable award winners
All-America Selections bedding plant award                          Hijinks pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo „ Hijinks‟ ) is a
winner                                                          great new FI hybrid cultivar that produces small-size,
                                                                6- to 7-pound fruits of a very uniform size and shape.
    Summer Jew el Red salvia (Salvia coccinea                   Smooth, deep-orange skin w ith distinctive grooves
„ Summer Jew el Red‟ ) w as consistently rated                  gives a very classy appearance to fall decorations and
“ superior” or above average” by the All-America                is ideal for painting or carving. In trials, plants
Selections judges because of its early and generous             produced high yields and notable resistance to
flow er blossoms that are produced from spring to               pow dery mildew . Allow plenty of space in the garden
autumn. The densely branching plants remain a tidy              for long vines that spread up to 15 feet. Early to
20 inches tall and produce dark green leaves that are           mature, this pumpkin is ready for harvest in about
slightly finer textured than other types. The bright            100 days from sow ing or 85 days from transplant.
red flow er spikes are covered w ith half -inch blooms
that act as a magnet for hummingbirds. At just 50
days from sow ing to first flow er, Summer Jew el Red
is approximately tw o w eeks earlier than comparisons.
This annual is ideal for full sun containers, mixed beds
and borders w here uniformity is desired.

    Lizzano tomato (Solanum lycopersicum „ Lizzano‟ )               Butterfly Series Pentas (Pentas lanceolata). This FI
is a vigorous semi-determinate, FI hybrid tomato                hybrid pentas is distinctive for its compact grow th
variety w ith a low -grow ing, trailing habit that is           habit, larger flow ers and excellent garden
excellent for grow ing in patio containers or hanging           performance. Superb heat and humidity tolerance
baskets. In the garden, grow it in a short tomato               make this summer bedding plant a reliable choice for
cage. The plants grow 16 to 20 inches tall. In trials,          Louisiana gardeners. Clusters of five-petaled flow ers
Lizzano consistently produced abundant yields of                are produced continuously all summer from spring to
high-quality, bright red, baby-cherry-size fruits (about        first frost. The series includes a variety of colors –
0.4 ounches). Judges noted better eating quality,               „ Butterfly Deep Rose‟ , „ Butterfly White‟ , „ Butterfly
yield and plant habit than comparisons. Lizzano is the          Blush‟ , „ Butterfly Deep Pink‟ , „ Butterfuly light
first late blight tolerant, cherry fruited, semi-               Lavender‟ , „ Butterfly Lavender‟ and „ Butterfly red‟ .
determinate variety on the market. Harvest begins               The flow ers are rich w ith nectar and are highly
105 days from sow ing seed or 63 days from                      attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Plant in
transplant.                                                     full sun to partial shade.
    „ Terenzo‟ (Solanum Lycopersicum „ Terenzo‟ ) is a
high-yielding, red, cherry-type tomato that is a prolific           Gardenia ‘Frostproof’ (Gardenia jasminoides
producer on a tidy, low -grow ing, trailing plant. The          ‘ Frostproof’ ). This evergreen shrub produces fragrant,
round, extra sw eet fruit is approximately 1¼ inches            double, velvety, w hite flow ers heavily in May and
w ide – about the size of a typical cherry tomato.              then sporadically through the summer. „ Frostproof‟ ,
With a plant height of only 16 to 20 inches, this               as its name implies, is more cold hardy than other
compact variety is suitable for grow ing in hanging             gardenias. It also has proven to be tough, adaptable
baskets or containers on porches, decks or balconies.           and not as finicky. Grow ing about 5 feet tall and 4
                                                                feet w ide, it is considered a compact gardenia. The
Louisiana Super Plants                                          leaves are somew hat smaller than most other
   The Louisiana Super Plant program is a new                   gardenia cultivars, giving the plant an attractive
educational and marketing campaign that highlights              medium to fine texture. Plant in acidic soil in full sun
tough and beautiful plants that perform w ell in                to partial shade.
Louisiana landscapes. Louisiana Super Plants have a
proven track record – having gone through several
years of university evaluations and observations. In
short, Louisiana Super Plants are “ university tested
and industry approved.”
   Each spring and fall LSU AgCenter horticulturists
unveil a list of Louisiana Super Plants, evaluated and
selected for their superior performance throughout the
state of Louisiana. Wholesale nurseries are
encouraged to grow Louisiana Super Plants, and retail
nurseries are encouraged to carry these plants. That
w ay, w hen you hear about these outstanding plants,
you should be able to find them at your local
nurseries. Homeow ners and professionals alike can
benefit from using Louisiana Super Plants to ensure
successful landscaping efforts.
                                                                    Vitex ‘Shoal Creek’ (Vitex agnus-castus „ Shoal
Louisiana Super Plants for Spring 2011                          Creek‟ ). The 12 inch, fragrant flow er spikes of deep
    Serena Series Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia).           lavender blue provide a w onderful addition to summer
This outstanding summer bedding plant can be relied             landscape color w ithout the w ork involved w ith
on for dependable garden performance through the                bedding plants. The flow ers appear in May/June, and
hottest summer w eather. There are four soft colors             there is a second flush of flow ers in August. This
in the Serena series that blend together beautifully –          versatile plant blooms best in full sun and can be
„ Serena Purple‟ , „ Serena Lavender‟ , „ Serena Lavender       trained as a large shrub or small multitrunked tree
Pink‟ and „ Serena White‟ . Plants are compact,                 about 10 to 15 feet tall and w ide. „ Shoal Creek‟
grow ing 12 to 14 inches tall and about as w ide.               vitex is more vigorous and produces larger flow ers
Masses of flow er spikes cover the plants from late             and deeper color than common vitex. Once
spring to frost. Plant in sunny beds after danger of            established, it is very drought tolerant and fits w ell
frost passes and the w eather is w arm and settled.             w ith a low er maintenance landscape. The flow ers
                                                                also are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Take advantage of educational opportunities                                     Louisiana Master Gardener
   Many gardening organizations, public gardens and the LSU AgCenter            volunteer program
have garden-related educational programs, classes, demonstrations,                 The LSU AgCenter‟ s Louisiana
show s, plants sales, garden tours and a variety of other events over the       Master Gardener program plays
next few months.                                                                an important role in meeting the
   Make an effort to take advantage of these opportunities w hile they are      horticulture needs of Louisiana
available. It is amazing how much useful information you can pick up.           residents and providing research-
These events are local, and the information is accurate for your particular     based information for the fastest -
area.                                                                           grow ing leisure-time activity in
   You also w ill be able to find unique plants at plant sales that may not     the nation – gardening.
be readily available from other sources. Of course, the chance to meet             Designed to recruit and t rain
other gardeners, talk gardening and get new inspiration for w orking in         volunteers, the Louisiana Master
your garden certainly is important.                                             Gardener program is open to
   Take some time out from w orking in your garden this spring to               anyone w ith a w illingness to
participate in these events. You‟ ll be glad you did.                           learn and a desire to help others.
                                                                                Instructional training for the
                                                                                Louisiana Master Gardener
Ground covers for Louisiana Landscapes
                                                                                program is tailored for beginners
   The term ground cover is applied to low -grow ing plants (other than         and experienced gardeners.
turfgrass) that are used to cover areas of the landscape. Perennial,
                                                                                    In exchange for horticulture
evergreen plants w ith a spraw ling or spreading habit are most often used.
                                                                                training, Master Gardeners
    The plants used for ground covers generally are less than 12 inches         contribute time as volunteers,
high, but taller plants also are used appropriately in certain landscapes       w orking through their parish
w ith a larger scale. You must carefully consider the characteristics you       Extension offices, to develop and
w ould like the ground cover to have (height, texture, color, etc.) w hen       enhance community programs
making your selection, as w ell as the grow ing conditions w here it w ill be   related to horticulture.
planted – such as sun or shade.                                                 Depending on community needs,
   Don‟ t forget to look at the size of the area to be planted, too. Only the   these may include environment al
most reliable, fast -spreading and reasonably priced ground covers should       improvement activities, parish
be considered for large areas.                                                  fairs, plant health clinics, civic
   For larger areas, monkey grass or mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicas),        meetings and community and
creeping lily turf (Liriope spicata) and Japanese ardiasia (Ardisia japonica)   school gardening programs.
are good choices for partial shade to shade. Asiatic jasmine                        Enjoy the satisfaction that
(Trachelospermum asiaticum) and liriope (Liriope muscari) are excellent for     more than 1,700 citizens across
partial shade to sun.                                                           the state are experiencing as a
   Ground covers can reduce maintenance, beautify problem areas and             certified Louisiana Master
create a w hole new dimension in your landscape. Here are some                  Gardener. To learn how you can
recommendations for Louisiana.                                                  become a Master Gardener,
                                                                                contact the LSU AgCenter
   Partial Shade to Shade: Choose from liriope (various varieties of Liriope
                                                                                Extension office in your parish or
muscari), creeping lily turf (Liriope spicata), monkey grass (Ophiopogon
                                                                                visit our w ebsite:
japonicas), Asian jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum), cast iron plant
                                                                                w w w
(Aspidistra elatior), English ivy (Hedera helix), Algerian ivy (Hedera
canariensis), periw inkle (Vinca major, an excellent variegated form is
available), ajuga (Ajuga reptans, use in small areas, since it is prone to
crow n rot), straw berry begonia (Saxifrga stolonifera), many ferns such as
holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum), w ood fern (Thelypteris kunthii), sw ord
fern (Nephrolepis cordifolia) and autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora), to
name a few .
    Partial Sun to Sun: Consider Lily-of-the-Nile (Agapanthus), sedum
(Sedum acre, S. Album), low -grow ing junipers (Juniperus chinensis
procumbens and J. horizontalis cultivars especially), dw arf lantanas, dw arf
bamboo (Arundinaria pygmaea), daylily (Hemerocallis), w edelia (Wedelia
trilobata, south Louisiana), perennial verbenas and yarrow (Achillea

Plant warm-season bedding plants for summer color
    Warm-season bedding plants         Spread a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost, rotted leaves, aged manure, finely
grow and flow er best during           ground pine bark or peat moss over the bed, and then evenly sprinkle a
April through October, and w e         light application of a granular or organic all-purpose fertilizer. Thoroughly
can begin planting them as early       blend the organic matter and fertilizer into the bed and rake smooth. Then
as late March in south Louisiana.      you‟ re ready to plant.
Gardeners w ho planted cool-               Make sure you plant the transplants no deeper than they w ere grow ing
season bedding plants generally        in the original containers and at the proper spacing. Annual plantings are
w ill w ait for those plants to        not low maintenance, and you should keep in mind the care they w ill need
begin to fade in late April or         w hen deciding w here, how large and how many beds you w ill plant.
May, how ever, before removing         Mulch w ill reduce problems w ith w eeds, but regular w eeding still w ill be
those and replacing them w ith         necessary. Regular w atering, pest control and grooming (removing dead
w arm-season bedding plants.           flow ers and unattractive leaves) w ill keep them looking their best. In
    Tender perennials, such as         containers, hanging baskets and w indow boxes, annuals need regular
impatiens, periw inkles, blue          w atering and fertilization. Invite a rainbow into your garden this summer
daze, pentas and begonias, are         – plant a flow er garden.
used as bedding plants along               Here are some excellent choices for summer flow er beds in Louisiana.
w ith true annuals, but these          Those marked w ith an asterisk (* ) are tender perennials.
plants have far more stamina and
                                           Warm-season Bedding Plants for Sun to Partial Sun (6 to 8 hours of
“ staying pow er” in the summer
                                       direct sun): Abelmoschus, Ageratum, Amaranthus, Balsam, Blue Daze* ,
flow er garden. They make
                                       Celosia, Cleome, Coleus (Sun-tolerant types), Coreopsis, Cosmos,
outstanding bedding plants, often
                                       Dahlberg Daisy, Dusty Miller* , Gaillardia, Gomphrena, Lantana* ,
blooming from late spring until
                                       Lisianthus, Marigold, Melampodium, Narrow -leaf Zinnia, Ornamental
cool w eather arrives in fall.
                                       Pepper* , Periw inkle” , Pentas* , Portulaca, Purslane* , Rudbeckia, Salvia* ,
Sometimes they survive the
                                       Scaevola* , Sunflow er, Tithonia, Torenia, Perennial Verbena and Zinnia.
w inter to grow and bloom
another year. True annuals, on            Warm-season Bedding Plants for Partial Shade to Shade (2 to 4 hours
the other hand, rarely make it all     of direct sun): Balsam, Begonia* , Brow allia* , Caladium (perennial tuber),
the w all through our                  Cleome, Coleus* , Impatiens* , Pentas* , Salvia* and Torenia.
exceptionally long summer
grow ing season.
    Choose annuals w ell suited to
the grow ing conditions of the
location w here they w ill be
planted. While most annuals
need full sun (at least eight hours
of direct sun) to partial sun
(about six hours of direct sun),
some thrive in partial shade
(about f our hours of direct sun)
or shade (about tw o hours of
direct sun). Even annuals that
like partial shade to shady
locations, how ever, w ill generally
not perform as w ell in full shade,
w here they receive no direct sun.
Caladiums, planted from tubers
or grow ing plants, are one of the
best choices for color in full
   Prepare your beds carefully
before putting in summer
bedding plants. First, eliminate
any w eeds or other unw anted
plants. Next, turn the soil to a
depth of at least 8 inches.

Use insecticides properly                                         spray everything in your landscape just because a
                                                                  few plants are infested.
   As the w eather w arms, a number of insect pests
become more active. Many people still feel they                      Identifying insect pests and other problems in the
should immediately get an insecticide and begin                   garden is a major problem for home gardeners.
spraying w hen they see insects or some apparent                  Contact the LSU AgCenter Extension office in your
insect damage in gardens, but just seeing an insect or            parish; the county agent located there can help you
insect damage is not reason enough to spray.                      diagnose the problem and come up w ith an
                                                                  appropriate control strategy.
    The insect you see may not be harmful or may not
cause enough damage to w arrant the use of an                     Checklist for March, April and May
insecticide. It may even be a beneficial insect. And                 1. Plant w arm-season bedding plants beginning in
if the damage is old and the pest has already come                         mid-March (south Louisiana). For best results,
and gone, spraying w on‟ t do any good.                                    plant petunias by mid-March and w ait to plant
   Before you decide to use an insecticide, it is                          periw inkles (vinca) until late April.
important to identify the insect causing the damage.                 2.    After spring bulbs that reliably re-bloom each year
                                                                           have finished flow ering, w ait until the foliage turns
Otherw ise, you may spray the w rong insecticide or
                                                                           yellow before cutting it off. Food is being
use an insecticide w hen it w as not needed.                               manufactured in the leaves and stored for next
Remember that no single insecticide w ill control all                      year‟ s blooms.
insect pests. Indiscriminate spraying may kill                       3.    Mulch plants to reduce w atering requirements,
beneficial predatory insects that are eating pests on                      suppress w eed grow th and minimize soil
your plants, and this actually can cause pest                              temperature changes. Excellent mulches are pine
problems to develop or become w orse. In such a                            straw , chopped leaves and pine bark. Mulch should
case, you w ill have w asted time and effort and                           be applied 2 inches thick for effective w eed
destroyed a friend rather than a pest.                                     suppression.
                                                                     4.    Divide and transplant older, larger clumps of
   It is essential to read the entire label before                         chrysanthemums in early March. Failure to divide
purchasing and using an insecticide. This is the best                      plants can result in w eak, spindly grow th w ith few
w ay to be certain it w ill control the pest situation y ou                flow ers.
are dealing w ith. If the label does not have specific               5.    Coleus is a great annual bedding plant for
information covering how you intend to use the                             Louisiana‟ s landscapes. Try some of the new er
insecticide, put it back and find a product that does.                     sun-loving varieties.
The label also w ill tell you how much to use and how                6.    Fertilize shrubs during the spring using a general-
to mix and apply it safely.                                                purpose fertilizer. Carefully follow the label
    Pay careful attention to the safety precautions that
                                                                     7.    Watch for insect problems this spring. Lace bugs
must be taken, such as w earing protective clothing.                       on azaleas and aphids or w hiteflies on gardenias
Some insecticides have restrictions for use on certain                     are common. Also, examine camellias, sasanquas
plants and at certain temperatures. If you don‟ t                          and hollies for scale insects on the low er foliage.
follow those, the produce might cause the plants                           Control w ith acephate, imidacloprid or horticultural
damage rather than helping them. You should read all                       oil sprays.
of this before buying the pesticide. When applying                   8.    To encourage more rapid re-blooming, pinch off old
insecticides (or any pesticides) to food crops, check                      flow ers on bedding plants after their first flow er
to label to see how many days you must w ait from                          cycle is completed this spring.
treatment to harvesting.                                             9.    Roses may develop insect problems. Watch for
                                                                           aphids on tender new grow th, thrips on flow ers
   You also should use an effective insecticide that is                    and cucumber beetles on foliage. Beetles may be a
the safest and least toxic. Check the label of the                         problem if a vegetable garden is nearby.
insecticide container for one of three w ords.                       10.   Garden centers w ill have many crape myrtles
“ Caution” denotes the least toxic category of                             during May and June. Plant these shrubs and trees
pesticides. “ Warning” appears on the labels of the                        (depending on the variety you select) for great
next most toxic category, and “ danger” is on the                          flow ering all summer. Most varieties also have
labels of the most toxic.                                                  exfoliating, colored bark.
                                                                     11.   If your crape myrtles have had problems w ith crape
    The control method must be directed tow ard the                        myrtle aphids and the unattractive, black sooty
pest. If the insect lives and feeds on the underside of                    mold they cause, treat your trees now to prevent
the foliage, your spray should be directed there. If it                    problems this summer. Apply a drench of
lives on the trunk and branches, a light spray on the                      imidacloprid insecticide to the base of t he tree, and
foliage w ill not be effective. Spray only the infested                    the tree w ill be protected from aphids all summer.
plants and those nearby of the same kind. Do not

Turfgrasses and Lawns
Lawn weed control                                                    Some product manufacturers w ill recommend a
     Herbicides can be effective tools for reducing              follow -up spray tw o or three w eeks after the first
w eeds in your yard, but the best w eed control is a             application. Clean your sprayers thoroughly w ith an
thick healthy law n. An agent in your parish LSU                 ammonia solution if the same sprayer is used for
AgCenter Extension Service office can advise you on              applying insecticides or fungicides on good plants. It
fertilizer and other cultural practices that w ill improve       is best to buy a sprayer specifically dedicated for
the overall health of your law n.                                w eed killers, how ever, to avoid accidental injury to
     Weed preventer or pre-emergence herbicides may              desirable plants.
be applied safely in t he w inter and early spring to all            Weed and feed herbicides can be used at the time
established southern law ns. These products usually              recommended for the first fertilizer application of the
are granular and should be applied w ith drop or                 year. Apply w eed and feed in the New Orleans area
broadcast spreaders and w atered in soon after                   about late March. Applying w eed and feed too early
application.                                                     (late February to early March) may encourage
     Pre-emergence herbicides are effective in reducing          outbreaks of brow n patch disease. Be sure to read
the emergence of several annual grasses like                     and follow product label recommendations.
crabgrass and goosegrass, w hich are common grassy
w eeds in law ns throughout the state. These
herbicides w ork before you see the w eeds infesting
your law n, but timing is everything w ith the pre-
emergence type of herbicides. You have to apply
them before the w eeds germinate.
     Residents in the New Orleans area and other
extreme southern areas of the state should apply pre-
emergence herbicides around Valentine‟ s Day or a
few days after. The w indow for applying pre-
emergence herbicides further north in Louisiana is late
February to early March.
     Some pre-emergence herbicide trade names to
look for are Green Light Crabgrass Preventer, Scott‟ s
Halts and Hi Yield Crabgrass Preventer w ith
     Post-emergence herbicides are used to kill w eeds
that already have emerged in the law n. Winter
broadleaf w eeds usually are prevalent in the late
w inter and early spring throughout the state.
     These broadleaf w eeds often can be controlled by
using selective liquid post -emergence “ trimec-type”
herbicides that contain formulations w ith three w eed
killing ingredients – 2,4-D; dicamba and mecoprop.
These herbicides are w idely available and can be used
on most southern grasses. Be extra careful, how ever,
w hen using them on St. Augustine grass w hen the
w eather gets w armer. Some examples of trimec-type
broadleaf herbicides are Bayer Advanced Southern
Broadleaf Herbicide, Ortho Weed B Gon Max for
Southern Law ns and Fertilome Weed Free Zone.
     Most herbicide labels w ill stress the use of these
products on younger w eeds at temperatures below
85 degrees. Even w hen used as directed, a temporary
discoloration of the law n may occur follow ing the use
of these herbicides. Follow the manufacturer‟ s
recommendation for the amount of w ater and spray
material to cover a given area as w ell as the
recommendations regarding mow ing practices before
and after the herbicide application.

Cultural management of pecan trees in the                       best in w ell-drained, nutrient -rich soil. Soil acts as a
home landscape                                                  “ vault” to store w ater for crop use. The deeper the
                                                                soil you have, the larger the vault for storing w ater.
                                                                Well-drained, sandy soils require and tolerate more
                                                                w ater than clay soils w ith slow er internal drainage.
                                                                     Generally, coarse, sandy soils can store only about
                                                                0.5 inch of w ater per foot of depth. Silty loam soils
                                                                can store more than five times that much, or 2.5
                                                                inches per foot of depth. Other soil types, including
                                                                heavy clays, w ill fall in a range betw een 0.5 and 2.5
                                                                inches per foot of depth.
                                                                     Organic matter percentage also influences w ater-
                                                                holding capacity. As the percentage increases, the
                                                                w ater-holding capacity increases because of the
                                                                affinity organic matter has for w ater.
    For many homeow ners, their vision of planting a                 Irrigation and rain fill the soil reservoir or bring the
pecan tree is to grow a tree large enough to provide            soil moisture content up to field capacity to store
shade for outdoor activities and produce a large crop           w ater for tree use. Thus, the depth of the root zone
of delicious nuts every fall. What they fail to                 and the soil type must be know n to determine how
consider, how ever, are some of the challenges                  much irrigation w ater is needed.
associated w ith grow ing pecan trees in an urban                    For a homeow ner, one of the most important
setting.                                                        practices to successfully grow a pecan tree is to
    Pecan trees grow to be very large trees at maturity         provide adequate w ater during the grow ing season.
and can completely overw helm the residential                   Generally, w ater w ill have more of an influence on
landscape. They also are relatively high-maintenance            pecan production than any other environment al
trees based on the amount of resources required to              factor, particularly w here nut quality is concerned.
keep the trees healthy and producing a consistent,              Insufficient w ater or drought stress w ill affect nut
quality crop.                                                   size, nut filling and kernel quality, as w ell as leaf and
    One of the most common mistakes homeow ners                 shoot grow th. Adequate soil moisture is important at
make probably is not giving pecan trees enough room             bud break for stimulating strong, vigorous grow th;
to grow properly. If your goal is to maximize nut               from bloom through shell hardening for nut size; and
production, no object, w hether it is another tree or           during the nut filling stage for optimizing kernel
structure, should be located close enough to shade              percentage. If trees do not receive adequate soil
any portion of the pecan tree.                                  moisture levels late in the season, shuck split and
                                                                energy reserves are affected. Lack of sufficient w ater
    Of course, another benefit of not crow ding your
                                                                during the nut filling stage w ill lead to poorly filled
pecan tree is the increased air circulation around and
                                                                nuts, poor nut quality and increased alternate bearing.
through the trees. Why is this important? Air
movement through the tree canopy dries the foliage,                  The nut sizing period normally occurs from May 1
providing an unfavorable environment for the                    through August 1. Even though this is not a critical
development of pecan scab, one of the most                      w ater-use stage for pecans, serious drought
damaging fungal diseases of pecans. Boxed-in pecan              conditions during this period can affect yield. The
trees are more prone to scab because the leaves and             most common visible effects of an extended drought
nuts stay w et for longer periods of time.                      during this period are excessive nut drop and “ shell
                                                                hardening” on small nuts. When a pecan tree begins
    Neglected pecan trees can pose a hazard to people
                                                                to stress, w hether it be f rom lack of w ater, an insect
and property. Trees that are not properly trained
                                                                infestation or disease, the tree generally w ill respond
w hen young have a tendency to develop narrow ,
                                                                by shedding some or the majority of its nut crop.
forked low er branches. With age, these trees are at
risk of splitting during a storm. Late w inter, w hen the            Lack of sufficient w ater during the nut sizing
trees are completely dormant, is the normal time to             period also may lead to w ater stage fruit split, w hich
correct structural defects and remove dead w ood, but           results from a sudden influx of w ater during the nut
pruning can be done any time of the year, if                    filling stage in some varieties. The nut filling stage
necessary.                                                      occurs from about August 1 to the first w eek of
                                                                October, depending on variety. The most critical
    In its native habitat, the pecan tree prefers to
                                                                period for w ater use is during the first tw o w eeks of
grow in the rich alluvial flood plains of rivers and
streams. This gives an indication that they w ill thrive

    It is possible to identify trees that didn‟ t receive         root zone of the pecan tree. Pecan roots usually
sufficient w ater w hen they are being harvested during           extend beyond the limb spread of the tree. Be careful
the fall. Trees undergoing stress at some point during            w hen applying fertilizer; try to avoid applications in
the year may have dropped their nuts early, produced              narrow bands or clumps, w hich could result in injury
smaller pecan or few er pecans or have pecan hulls                to law n grasses or tree roots.
w hich failed to open properly (sticktights).                         There are a large number of fertilizers available
    Because a pecan tree has such an expansive root               today, and choosing w hat type of fertilizer to use can
system, every effort should be made to w ater the                 be confusing. All fertilizers are labeled w ith three
entire surface area covered by the tree canopy. The               numbers that indicate the guaranteed analysis or the
w ater needs of a pecan tree w ill vary from 1 inch per           fertilizer grade. These three numbers give the
w eek during the spring to more than 2 inches per                 percentage by w eight of nitrogen (N), phosphate
w eek during the summer. Rainfall shouldn‟ t be your              (P2 O5 ) and potash (K2 O). Often, these numbers are
primary irrigation source; rainfall should be                     said to represent nitrogen, phosphorus and
supplemental to mechanized irrigation practices on                potassium, or N-P-K, but remember that it is not N-P-
your tree.                                                        K, but N-P2 O5 -K2 O.
    For trees planted in law ns, do not rely on
                                                                      For example, in a 100 pound bag of fertilizer
sprinklers to w ater both the grass and trees. The use
                                                                  labeled 10-10-10, there are 10 pounds of nitrogen,
of a law n sprinkler system may supplement deep
                                                                  10 pounds of phosphate and 10 pounds of potash.
w atering how ever. To deep w ater your tree, run a
                                                                  This fertilizer actually w ould contain 10 pounds of
soaker or w ater hose at the dripline on a prescribed
                                                                  nitrogen, 4.3 pounds of phosphorus and 8.3 pounds
schedule. Make sure the entire root zone, including 3
                                                                  of potassium. Other nutrients contained in the
feet beyond the dripline, receives deep moisture
                                                                  fertilizer w ill be listed on the bag, as w ell. These
regardless of the irrigation system used. It‟ s a no-
                                                                  analyses allow the grow er to select a fertilizer that
brainer that smaller, younger pecan trees w ill require
                                                                  contains the nutrients necessary for the specific
less w ater than mature trees, but do not
underestimate their w ater requirements. A mature
tree has an extensive root system to harvest moisture
from a substantial area, w hile a young tree‟ s roots
may only spread 2 to 3 feet from the trunk.
    Weed competition often results in poor grow th or
even death of young pecan trees. Bermuda grass and
Johnson grass are especially severe competitors, but
numerous other grasses and w eeds can result in poor
tree grow th. Pecan trees w ill make the best grow th in
the first few years after planting if a circle 6 feet in
diameter is kept w eed-free w ith glyphosate herbicide,
hand cultivation or mulch.
    Chemical w eed killers (herbicides) should be used
w ith extreme caution and in complete accordance
w ith label directions. Numerous mulches can be used,
including pine straw , bark or synt hetic w eed-barrier
cloth. If the tree is in a law n w here a w eed-free circle
is undesirable, compensate by applying extra w ater
and fertilizer and by mow ing often to help reduce                The type or form the fertilizer comes in is called the
grass competition.                                                formulation. Some of the formulations available to
    As the tree develops a larger canopy, the shade               homeow ners include w ater-soluble pow ders, liquids,
helps suppress the grow th and competition of grass               slow -release pellets, slow -release spikes, tablets and
for w ater and nutrients. Law n grasses vary in their             granular solids. Fertilizer formulation can affect the
tolerance to shade. St. Augustine and tall fescue are             quality of results. Granular and liquid formulations can
the only common turfgrasses that consistently grow                be applied evenly and distributed to the entire root
w ell under a thick shade canopy.                                 system. Spikes, pellets or fertilizer packets are
    Standard fertilization of law ns near and beneath             convenient to use but concentrate the fertilizer in one
pecan trees may supply much of the fertilization                  spot, w hich may lead to some root burn from
requirements of both trees and law n. But additional              excessive fertilizer.
fertilizer probably w ill be necessary to supply nutrient
requirements during years w ith large nut crops.
Fertilizer should be applied by broadcasting over the

Vegetable Gardening
Vegetables to Plant in                 Now is time to think about spring vegetable garden
March                                      There is no better time to start thinking about your spring vegetable
   Direct plant snap beans,            garden than now .
Sw iss chard, radishes, lettuce,           Start brow sing seed catalogues and local nurseries for new varieties of
collards, mustards, turnips,           vegetables to grow . Ordering seed is the first step in prepping for a spring
cabbage, broccoli and sw eet           garden.
corn seeds. Plant tomatoes,                You‟ ll also have to remove fall vegetables that have not yet been
peppers and eggplant                   harvested, remove any w eeds and till the soil. Remember to till at least 8
transplants. Plant cantaloupes,        inches into the ground for adequate root grow th on vegetable crops.
squash, cucumbers and                      Take a SOIL SAMPLE prior to adjusting pH and fertilizer! Soil varies in
w atermelons w ell after danger of     different parts of the state, so have your soil checked at least every three
frost is over; this is usually after   years! Soil samples can be sent to the LSU AgCenter‟ s soil testing lab on
March 15 in south Louisiana.           the LSU campus in Baton Rouge (w w w ).
                                           Once you‟ ve done all that, apply pre-plant fertilizer, if needed, then
April                                  irrigate and w ait tw o w eeks to plant! See the planting guidelines and
    Plant snap beans, butter           suggestions that follow for dates to plant particular crops.
beans, radishes, collards,
cucumbers, eggplants,                  Crop Highlights
cantaloupes, okra, Southern peas            Sweet corn. Planting corn early helps reduce problems from corn
(field peas), peanuts, pumpkins,       earw orms. The earliest planting should be made seven days before the
w inter squash, summer squash,         average last frost date for your area. Plant every tw o to three w eeks to
sw eet corn, sw eet potatoes (late     provide a continuous supply of sw eet corn. Remember to plant the same
April), tomatoes (transplants),        variety in a block of at least three row s side at each planting. This w ill
peppers (transplants) and              help w ith good pollination and w ell-filled ears.
w atermelons.                               When planting sw eet corn, drop tw o or three seeds every 8 to 12
                                       inches in the row , and cover to about ½ inch to 1 inch deep. After the
May                                    seeds germinate and the plants are 3 to 4 inches tall, thin to one plant per
    Most spring vegetables can be      hill. Side-dress a 100-foot row w ith ¾ -1½ pounds of ammonium nitrate
planted in May, since the soil has     w hen the plants are about 12 inches high and again w hen the plants are
w armed and danger of frost has        24-36 inches high. One pint of fertilizer is about 1 pound.
passed. Plant sw eet potatoes               Dust or spray silks w ith Sevin about every tw o to three days after silks
(transplants), okra, Southern          first appear and until silks begin to dry. This treatment w ill help reduce
peas, pumpkins, peanuts, sw eet        corn earw orm damage.
corn, w atermelons, cucumbers,               Harvest sw eet corn early in the morning w hile it is still cool. Chill or
butter beans, squash,                  cook immediately after harvesting. Sw eet corn that is ready to harvest
cantaloupes, collards and              should have a w ell-filled ear. Kernels should be bright and plump, and
eggplants (transplants). Snap          their juice should be milky. The recommended regular early maturing
beans, butter beans, sw eet corn,      variety is Seneca Horizon. Midseason varieties are Funks G90, Gold Quen
tomatoes and peppers                   or Merit. Late-season regular varieties are Silver Queen (w hite), lochief,
(transplants) should be planted in     NK199 or Golden Cross Bantam. Three ounces of seed w ill plant 100 feet
the early days of May to prevent       of row .
poor fruit set as a result of high          If you love to eat fresh corn on the cob, try the improved super sw eet
temperatures.                          (Sh2 ) and enhanced (EH) (se) varieties of sw eet corn. They are much
                                       sw eeter than regular sw eet corn and hold their sw eetness longer. The
                                       super sw eets need to be isolated from field corn or regular sw eet corn;
                                       they lose some of their sw eetness w hen pollinated by t hese other types of
                                       corn. The super sw eets don‟ t germinate w ell in cool soils, so w ait until
                                       soil has w armed considerably before planting.
                                           Many new high-sugar modern varieties are commonly available. The
                                       best include (early) Platinum Lady, White Out, Xtra-Tender 372,
                                       Temptation, Sw eet Ice, Bodacious, Sw eet Riser, Dazzle, Lancelot and
                                       Precious Gem; (midseason) Argent, Devotion, GSS966, Passion, BSS982
                                       or 977, Snow belle, Summer Sw eet (7630Y, 7210, 8102), Honey Select,
                                       Crisp N Sw eet 711, Incredible, Prime Plus, Big Time, Sw eet Chorus and

Sw eet Rhythum; and (late or               Tomatoes. Begin transplanting         Recommended determinate
long season) Even Sw eeter,            plants in mid-March in south          types for Louisiana include
Pegasus, Tahoe and Silver King.        Louisiana after the danger of         Celebrity (an All-America
                                       frost is over. If a frost occurs,     Selections w inner, best taste),
Snap beans. Plant bush                 you w ill need to cover the new ly    Carolina Gold, Fla. 47 or 91,
varieties every tw o                   planted transplants! To avoid         Mountain Spring, Cherry Grande
w eeks, starting right                 severe damage from disease and        (cherry), Floralina, Mountain
after the average last                 insects, spray tomatoes after         Fresh and Mountain Crest. Also
frost date for your area. This w ill   fruit set every seven to 10 days      try Sun Master, Sunleaper,
provide a continuous harvest for       w ith a fungicide (Daconil or         Summer Flavor 6000, Mountain
an extended period. Good bush          Maneb) and an insecticide (Sevin      Spring and Phoenix.
snaps for Louisiana are Ambra,         or Malathion).                            Note: The spotted w ilt virus
Bronco, Contender, Pod Squad,              Plant tomatoes in a w ell-        has nearly eliminated tomato
Valentino, Dusky, Festina,             drained site that receives 6 to 8     production in some areas. If you
Hialea, Magnum, Storm, Strike,         hours of direct sunlight. When        had this trouble, plant Bella Rosa,
Provider and Bush Blue Lake            tomatoes receive too little           Mountain Glory, Amelia, Crista,
274. An All-America Selection is       sunlight, few blossoms are            Quincy or Talladega varieties.
Derby. Try Roma II for a good-         formed, and many that do form
eating, flat Italian pod bean. For     fall off before setting any fruit.        Bell Peppers and eggplants.
a purple pod bush snap, try            Space tomato plants 18-24             Wait to transplant okra, bell
Royal Burgundy in early spring.        inches apart. Make your ow n by       peppers and eggplants until the
Those w ho prefer the yellow           mixing ½ cut of a complete            w eather has w armed
w ax beans should choose Golden        fertilizer (8-8-8) in 2½ gallons of   considerably. These vegetables
Rod Wax, Goldmine or Golden            w arm w ater and stirring             are sensitive to cold soils and
Improved.                              completely. This w ill encourage a    w eather. Once stunted by cool
    One-half pound of seed w ill       strong root system and faster         w eather, they recover slow ly.
be more than enough to plant a         grow th.                                  A garden site w ith full sun is
100-foot row . Plant seed about            Tomato vines may be               required for grow ing bell
1-2 inches apart in the row .          determinate or indeterminate.         peppers. Any shade w ill greatly
    High temperatures at bloom         Indeterminate types have a            reduce fruit set. Space peppers
cause many of the flow ers to fall     vegetative terminal bud that          about 12-18 inches and
off. Generally, snap beans don‟ t      continues to grow . Determinate       eggplants about 18-24 inches.
produce w ell w hen planted in         types have a fruiting terminal            Recommended non-hybrid
late May. For best quality,            bud that keeps the plant from         varieties of bell peppers for
harvest pods before the                grow ing beyond a predetermined       Louisiana are Capistrano, Jupiter
developing seeds cause the pod         height. Determinate types are         and Purple Beauty.
to bulge. Beans can be held for        better suited for container               Recommended hybrids are
up to seven days at 40-45              gardening. Indeterminate types        Revolution, Heritage and the
degrees F and 90-95 percent            w ill need to be staked in the        large King Arthur, Valencia,
humidity.                              field.                                Paladin and Plato. For a yellow
    Pole snap bean varieties               Indeterminate varieties that      bell, try Orobelle, Summer Gold,
produce larger yields, since they      grow w ell in Louisiana include       Valencia or Summer Sw eet
produce for a longer period than       Better Boy and Big Beef (large),      8610. For a mature red bell, try
bush varieties. Space seed about       Champion and Pink Girl (pink);        Camelot (X3R) or Aristotle.
6-12 inches apart. About 2-3           and Sw eet Million, Sw eet                Producing yellow and red bell
ounces of seed w ill plant a 100 -     Chelsea, Jolly, Small Fry, Juliet,    peppers is difficult in our humid
foot row . For pole snaps, the All-    Elf, Elfin, Navidad, Cupid,           conditions. Note: Spotted w ilt
America Selection w inner is           Mountain Belle and St. Nick           virus has hindered bell pepper
Kentucky Blue. Blue Lake KY            (cherry).                             production in many areas. The
Wonder 191, Dade, Rattle Snake             Determinants have very            varieties Stilleto, Patriot and
and McCaslan have done w ell in        productive vines that grow to         Excursion II are resistant to
Louisiana. For those w ho w ant a      heights of 4 feet. Stems              tomato spotted w ilt virus. Try
bean that sets w ell in the heat,      terminate in a flow er cluster.       these varieties if you had trouble
try the vigorous Yardlong              Determinants should be pruned         producing bell peppers.
Asparagus Bean and harvest             only once or tw ice up to the first       Recommended hybrid
pods w hen about 18 inches high.       cluster.                              eggplant varieties are Fairy Tale,

Night Shadow , Blackbell,              Cream of Crop Acron (AAS),               See the article on LSU
Calliope, Classic, Epic, Disky,        Table Queen, Table King (AAS)         AgCenter‟ s w ebsite
Santana, Rossita or oriental           and Imperial Delight.                 http://w w w
Ichiban. The green eggplant                Viruses are a big problem in      crops_livestock/crops/vegetables/
varieties produce w ell in             squash production. Try planting       2010-Pumpkin-Variety-
Louisiana and are less bitter than     some of the new virus-resistant       Evaluation.htm for more
the purple varieties in hot, dry       varieties: Prelude II and Destiny     information from our 2010
w eather. The Louisiana Market         (yellow crookneck); Liberator and     pumpkin evaluations.
Bulletin is a fairly good source for   Conqueror (yellow straight neck);
green eggplant seed and other          and Declaration, Payroll,                 Cucurbit hints: Don‟ t be
hard-to-find vegetable seeds and       Judgment III, Revenue and             concerned if the first several
plants.                                Independence (zucchini).              squash fruit fall off the plant
                                           Recommended cantaloupe            before they reach an edible
    Cucurbits. All                     varieties are Aphrodite, Athena,      stage. The first flow ers to form
squash, cucumber and                   Primo, Magnum 45, Super 45,           in early spring squash are the
melon members of the                   Ambrosia, Earlidew or Honey           female flow ers (w ith the
cucurbit family can be planted in      Max.                                  miniature fruit). Male flow ers do
May, but yields may be low er                                                not form at this time, so no
                                           Recommended w atermelon
than w ith the late plantings.                                               pollination takes place. In a few
                                       varieties are Crimson Sw eet
Plant these outside w ell after the                                          days, though, the male flow ers
                                       (OP), Jubilee II (OP), Fiesta, La
danger of frost is over. Do not                                              appear, and normal fruit set
                                       Sw eet (OP), Jamboree,
keep transplants in pots longer                                              begins. In summer, the process
                                       Jubilation, Patriot, Regency,
than three to four w eeks prior to                                           reverses – w ith the male flow ers
                                       Royal Star, Royal Jubilee, Royal
planting in your garden.                                                     usually developing first and the
                                       Sw eet, Sangria, Stars „ N Stripes,
    Recommended cucumber                                                     females later.
                                       Starbrite, and Summer Flavor
varieties for slicing are Taledega,    800, 710 or 500. Seedless:                Cucumber yields may be
Dasher II, Fanfare AAS, Diva           Revolution, Summer Sw eet             doubled by grow ing plants on a
AAS, General Lee, Speedw ay,           5244, TriX Carousel or 313,           trellis. To get cucumber vines to
Poinsett 76,Slice More, Thunder,       Cooperstow n, Millionaire,            climb a trellis or fence, you may
Indy, Intimidator, Sw eet Slice        Crimson Trio, Laurel and Nova.        need to tie them to the trellis in
and Sw eet Success.                    Ice Box Type: Sugar Baby and          the beginning. Once they catch
    For pickling, try Calypso,         Mickeylee. Yellow : Gold Strike,      hold, they w ill continue to climb.
Fancipak and Jackson.                  Tendersw eet, Desert King and             Use pesticides on cucurbits
    Recommended summer                 Butter Cup.                           late in the afternoon so as not to
squash crooknecks are Prelude II,          Apply 2-3 pounds of 8-24-24       reduce the bee population. Side-
Dixie, Gentry, Goldie, Supersett,      or similar fertilizer per 100-foot    dress cucumbers, squash,
Destiny III and Medallion.             row before planting. Side-dress       w atermelons and cantaloupes
    Recommended yellow                 w ith ¾ -1 pound of ammonium          w ith ¾ pint ammonium nitrate
straightneck are Goldbar,              nitrate or 1½ -2 pounds of a          per 100-foot row as vines begin
Liberator III, Enterprise, Cougar,     complete fertilizer (13-13-13) per    to run. Weekly applications of a
Multipik, Patriot II, Superpik,        100 feet of row w hen vines           general-purpose fungicide
Fortune and Lemondrop.                 begin to run. Remove all but          (Daconil or Maneb) and
                                       three to four w ell-shaped fruits     insecticide (Sevin or Thiodan)
    Recommended zucchini
                                       from each plant w hen they reach      starting at first bloom w ill protect
varieties are Declaration II,
                                       4-5 inches in diameter.               the foliage and improve yield.
Justice, Independence II, Tigress,
Lynx, Spineless Beauty, Senator,           Pumpkins are much like                Plastic mulch w ill reduce fruit
Gold Rush (AAS), Payroll,              w inter squash, but the flesh is      rot and enhance the production
Revenue and Dividend.                  often coarser and stronger. For a     of cantaloupes and the other
                                       small size, choose Touch of           cucurbits.
    Recommended scallop or
patty pan varieties are Peter Pan      Autumn or Orange Smoothie.
                                       Recommended medium-size                  Lima beans (butter beans).
and Sunburst.
                                       pumpkins are 20 Karat Gold and        Lima beans require w armer soil
    Recommended hard shell                                                   (70 F) than snap beans to
(w inter) squash varieties are         Hannibal. Recommended large or
                                       jack-o‟ -lantern types are            germinate, so w ait until soil
Waltham, Butternut, Butternut                                                w arms (usually in early to mid-
Supreme, Early Butternut, Ultra        Contastoga, Mustang or
                                       Cinderella.                           April) before planting. Bush
Butternut, Tay Belle Acorn,                                                  varieties to plant are Henderson‟ s

Bush, Fordhook 242,                     Recommended varieties are            places to heal over at high
Thorogreen, Bridgeton,               Louisiana Green Velvet, Emerald,        temperatures; then store in a
Nemagreen, Dixie Butterpea or        Annie Oakley (hybrid), Cow horn,        cool, dark place w ith high
Baby Fordhook.                       Cajun Delight -AAS, Burgundy            humidity. Don‟ t store w here they
   Plant lima beans every tw o       and Clemson Spineless. Each of          w ill receive light because they
w eeks through mid-May to            these varieties is semidw arf –         w ill turn green and develop an
extend the harvest. One-half         except Louisiana Green Velvet.          undesirable taste.
pound of seed w ill plant a 100 -
foot row w hen three or four             Peanuts. Many home                  Mulching
seeds are planted every 12           gardeners w ish to plant a row or           Remember to mulch your
inches w ithin the row .             tw o of peanuts. Shell the              garden. There are several mulch
   Recommended pole lima             peanuts, and plant about four           options including black plastic,
beans are King of the Garden,        seeds per foot of row . Plant           leaves and pine straw . Using
Carolina Sieva, Willow Leaf,         peanuts in April and May.               mulch has several benefits. It
Florida Butter, Christmas and            Spanish peanuts have the            reduces w eed germination. It
Florida Speckled. Plant seeds 6-     smallest seeds. Runner types            also prevents soil from splashing
12 inches apart. One-quarter         have intermediate-size seeds,           on your vegetable leaves and
pound of seed w ill plant a 100 -    and Virginia types have the             fruit, w hich, in turn, reduces
foot row .                           largest. Fertilize lightly w ith 1 -2   insect and disease damage. And
                                     pounds of 8-24-24 or similar            it adds organic matter to your
    Sweet potatoes. Bed seed         fertilizer per 100-foot row . Soil      soil – improving the soil‟ s health
potatoes during April and into       should be high in calcium.              and tilth.
May. Transplants should be
ready to cut in four to five             Onions, shallots and garlic.
w eeks. Sw eet potatoes slips        Harvest mature onion bulbs,
(transplants) can be set out in      garlic and shallots in the early
late April if soil is w arm enough   summer. When mature, the tops
(greater than 70 degrees             begin to turn yellow or brow n
Fahrenheit). Cut plants from         and fall over. Pull them, trim
plant bed about 1 inch above soil    tops and roots and lay the plants
line and transplant. Purchase        on top of the row or place in
w eevil-free plants.                 burlap sacks for a couple of days
    Cutting rather than pulling      to let them dry, if w eather
helps reduce sw eet potato           permits. Then store them in a
w eevils and many disease            cool, shaded and w ell-ventilated
problems. Cuttings develop           place. (Ideal storage for onions
feeder roots w ithin a day or tw o   after drying is 45-50 F and 65-
if the soil is w arm and moist.      70 percent relative humidity.)
Holding the cut slips in the shade
for tw o to three days before            Irish potatoes. Begin digging
                                     90-110 days after planting. Plant         Information to improve your life
transplanting w ill help increase
survival. Use a low -nitrogen        tops start turning yellow as
                                     tubers reach maturity. Allow ing             LSU AgCenter Publications
fertilizer such as 6-24-24 or 8-
24-24 at 2-3 pounds per 100-         the potatoes to remain in the
foot row .                           ground a few days after tops die
                                     or after tops are cut w ill help set
    Beauregard, developed by the
                                     or toughen the skin and reduce
LSU AgCenter, is the most
                                     skinning, bruising and storage
popular variety. It is high-
                                     rot.                                           The LSU AgCenter offers a
yielding, very attractive and                                                w ealth of research-based information
tastes great. Bienville requires a       Spraying potatoes w ith a
                                                                              on topics that affect your life every
sandy soil.                          general-purpose fungicide
                                                                                 day. Visit our online store for
                                     (Daconil or Maneb) at the end of            publications that interest you.
   Okra. Soil needs to be w arm      April or early May w ill protect
(65-75 degrees) for okra seeds       the foliage from early blight and         LSU
to germinate. Soak seed              improve yields.                                        or
                                         To keep potatoes for several              by phone 225-578-2263
overnight in tap w ater to soften
seed coat before planting.           w eeks, allow cuts and skinned

   Small yard? You can                 w as applied to plants to control       Heat Wave II and Supertasty had
still enjoy homegrown                  the insect population. The only         nice color on the outside and
                                       other insects that w ere a              inside. But the insides of these
tomatoes.                              problem w ere stink bugs that           verities had small w hite blotches
    Do you enjoy the taste of          arrived tow ard the end of the          throughout. The w hite blot ches
a homegrow n tomato but have a         study, so no control measures           did not affect flavor. Italian Ice
small yard or no yard at all? If       w ere taken.                            tomatoes w ere betw een a yellow
yes, then this is the research                                                 and w hite color on the inside and
                                           Fruit w ere harvested, counted
study for you.                                                                 outside w ith little to no
                                       and w eighed once a w eek from
    Tw elve varieties of tomatoes      June 7 to July 12. The 12               blemishes. The Celebrity, Yellow
w ere grow n in 3-gallon               varieties studied w ere                 Magic and Porter House w ere the
containers to determine the best       Supertasty, Health Kick hybrid,         poorest performers of all the
tomato for patio grow ers. The         Sw eet Tangerine, Patio Princess,       selected tomatoes. The Celebrity
majority of varieties w ere chosen     Fresh Salsa, Bush Steak,                and Porter House w ere not firm
because they are determinate           Encalada, Italian Ice, Celebrity,       and w ere poor producers in
tomatoes. Other varieties grow n       Heat Wave II, Yellow Magic and          containers. Overall, the Yellow
in this study w ere chosen             Porter House. The roma types            Magic variety never yielded
because they had unique                w ere Health Kick hybrid,               tomatoes. It w as all foliage but
characteristics that a home            Ensalada and Fresh Salsa. Yellow        no fruit – although I did harvest
gardener values. Unlike                Magic, an indeterminate tomato,         five fruit one w eek from these
indeterminate tomatoes,                w as a yellow , bell-pepper-shaped      plants. The fruit w ere very small
determinate tomatoes have a            tomato, sw eet tangerine w as an        and not w orth the effort of
flow ering terminal point that         orange tomato and Italian Ice           grow ing in a container.
usually prevents them from             w as a cherry tomato that w as               Overall, if you are looking for
grow ing taller than 5 feet.           light yellow to w hite w hen            good color and good yields, I
Determinate tomatoes are w ell         harvested.                              w ould suggest planting Sw eet
suited to containers because                                                   Tangerine. Even though Sw eet
                                           The three top-producing
they do not become top-heavy in                                                Tangerine w as not in the top
                                       tomatoes based on the number
a container.                                                                   three varieties for number or
                                       of tomatoes w ere Italian Ice,
    The tomato plants w ere            Patio Princess and Health Kick          pounds produced, it did have
grow n in 3-gallon containers w ith    hybrid. The top three tomatoes in       good yields and w as beautiful
drainage holes. Plants w ere           terms of pounds harvested w ere         inside and out. If you are looking
grow n in 56-inch standard             Super Tasty, Health Kick and            strict ly for flavor, plant the Heat
tomato cages available at all          Patio Princess. Italian Ice             Wave II. Not many tomatoes
local nurseries. A peat based soil     tomatoes w ere cherry tomatoes,         have beaten Celebrity in taste
w as used as the medium.               so their w eight prevented t he         from the variety trials conducted
    The pots w ere all fertilized      variety from being in the top           in the LSU AgCenter. Finally, if
w ith Osmocote Plus Multi-             three for pounds of tomatoes            you are looking for a high
Purpose Plant Food (15-9-12) at        produced.                               producing tomato in a container,
a rate of 1 tablespoon per                 Out of a panel of 40 taste          plant Patio Princess.
container. This fertilizer w as        testers, the top choice for best -           Some grow ing changes I‟ ll
chosen because it is a slow -          tasting tomato w as aw arded to         make for the next tomato study
release fertilizer (six months) that   the Heat Wave II variety. My            include using a heavier media.
contains micronutrients.               personal favorite tomato for color      The media used in this study w as
Tomatoes are heavy users of            both inside and out w as the            primarily composed of peat
micronutrients, so using a             Sw eet Tangerine variety. It w as       moss. I think using a basic
fertilizer w ith micronutrients is     bright orange on the outside and        potting soil w ould have yielded
best. The plants also w ere            inside w ith little to no blemishes.    better results. I also w ill use
fertilized w eekly w ith Miracle       The Bush Steak, Patio Princess          saucers under the containers.
Grow w ater-soluble all-purpose        and Health Kick hybrids had a           During the hot summer months,
plant food (24-8-16). This             firm w hite center on the inside,       container plants dry out quickly.
fertilizer w as applied through the    w hich is not considered                If I‟ d used saucers, I might have
Miracle Grow feeder on a garden        desirable.                              had to w ater less frequently
hose and applied to the foliage                                                because the w ater w ould have
                                           Fresh Salsa w as a firm tomato
and roots of each plant. Insect                                                been prevented from running out
                                       w ith no “ jelly.” It lives up to its
problems w ere encountered; the                                                of the bottom of the pot. I
                                       name as far as making a salsa
cucumber beetle became a                                                       recommend a 5-gal.container.
                                       w ith the tomato. The Ensalada,
problem early in the study. Sevin

Planning the                          observation and care both             hours, the soil has excellent
home fruit                            practical and convenient.             drainage and is suitable for all
                                          Decisions regarding size, site    fruit crops. If the hole drains in
planting                                                                    36 hours, the internal drainage is
                                      and management of the home
    A w ell maintained fruit                                                adequate for more tolerant crops,
                                      fruit planting need to be made
planting can be productive and                                              such as figs, blueberries,
                                      w ell in advance of planting.
also enhance the beauty of the                                              straw berries, grapes, pecans and
                                      Before planting is an important
landscape of a home in a variety                                            blackberries. Choose
                                      time to gather information about
of w ays – from attractive                                                  persimmons, citrus and pears for
                                      the potential fruit species.
blossoms and interesting shapes                                             more poorly drained sites. If the
                                          It is very important to
and foliage to delicious fruit and                                          hole has not drained in 36-48
                                      consider the mature size of the
beautiful fall color.                                                       hours, the site is unsuitable for
                                      fruit tree or bush w hen designing
    Fruit trees, bushes, and vines                                          fruit production. Planting a fruit
                                      a planting. Many small nursery
are long lived and require patient                                          tree on a raised berm can
                                      trees are planted near buildings
care to give years of production.                                           increase longevity and
                                      and fences; then the tree quickly
Fruit trees can be easily                                                   productivity.
                                      grow s too large for the space.
integrated into the “ edible                                                    After evaluating the planting
                                          Sunlight also is an important
landscape” w ithout designating a                                           site, select fruit varieties that are
                                      aspect in fruit production.
specific area as a fruit orchard.                                           adapted to your area of
                                      Anything less than full sunlight
    Success w ith a home fruit                                              Louisiana. Consult experienced
                                      can result in reduced production.
planting depends on how                                                     fruit producers and local LSU
                                          Where space is limited, fruit
carefully a plan is designed and                                            AgCenter Extension Service
                                      plants may be set in almost any
how w ell it is implemented. Good                                           agents w ho can recommend
                                      location suitable for ornamental
quality fruit cannot be grow n                                              varieties for the area.
w ithout careful attent ion to care                                             Select different varieties to
and management of the plants.                                               extend the harvest of ripe fruit
Success w ill depend largely on       Site selection
                                          All fruit crops perform best in   during the grow ing season.
variety selection, soil                                                     Selecting early, mid and lat e-
management, pruning,                  full sun. Choose a site that w ill
                                      receive sunlight most of the day      season varieties w ill allow for an
fertilization, irrigation, pest                                             extended harvest season and w ill
control and other cultural            during the grow ing season. As
                                      the hours of sunlight a fruit tree    not produce an overabundant
practices. The size of a planting                                           supply of fruit at any one time.
should be determined by the           receives diminish, so does the
                                      productivity of the plant. In most        Remember that some fruit
space available, site
                                      cases, sunlight is needed for the     crops require at least tw o
characteristics, size of the family
                                      tree to set and properly develop      varieties planted in the same
and the time that can be devoted
                                      fruit buds. Also, sunlight is         vicinity for cross-pollination. For
to maintenance of the planting.
                                      needed to furnish energy to the       example, only one blackberry
    It is essential to stress the                                           variety is required for production,
importance of selecting crops         fruit in the form of sugars from
                                      photosynthesis.                       but at least tw o rabbiteye
that are w ell adapted to the                                               blueberry varieties are required to
climate and environment of                Another important
                                      consideration is drainage.            ensure cross-pollination.
Louisiana. Fruit crops that
perform w ell in the home             Adequate drainage is the most
landscape w ith few or not            important soil characteristic. Poor   Size of planting area
pesticide sprays should be            soils can be improved by proper          Your planting area should be
emphasized. Ease of care needs        fertilization and cultural            determined by space, site, family
to be the primary consideration       practices, but improving soil w ith   size, the time you have available
in selecting w hich crops to grow .   poor internal drainage is difficult   to dedicate to management of
A sustainable, low -input, edible     and expensive. Fertile soil is        the planting and pollination
landscape accommodates the            desirable, and deep, w ell-drained    requirements. The range of fruits
lifestyle of most homeow ners         soil is vital.                        planted should depend on family
and harmonizes w ith                      Determine the soil‟ s internal    preference, adaptability and
environmental concerns.               drainage rate by digging a hole 8     space. It is better to have a
                                      inches in diameter and about 2        small, w ell-tended home fruit
    Locating the fruit planting
                                      feet deep. Fill the hole w ith        planting than a large, neglect ed
close to the house w ill make
                                      w ater. If the hole drains in 24      one.

                                                                                Cooperative Extension Service – Terrebonne Parish
                                                                 511 Roussell Street (70360), Post Office Box 627, Houma, LA 70361
                                                                                                 (985)873-6495, Fax (985)850-4620;
                                                             E-mail:; Web-site:
March April May 2011 Issue
The Terrebonne Horticulture Hints may be obtained at 511 Roussell Street in Houma, Louisiana, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00
noon, and 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. They are also located at most Terrebonne Parish libraries,
South Louisiana Feed and Seed, Ganier’s Nursery, Lowe’s, Starke’s Garden Center and the Home Depot. Please call us at
985-873-6495 or email us at, or you can also visit the LSU AgCenter’s web site:
The Terrebonne Horticulture Hints are adapted for Terrebonne Parish residents by Barton Joffrion, County Agent of
Terrebonne Parish.

Barton Joffrion
County Agent
Terrebonne Parish                          For the latest research-based information on just about anything, visit our web site:
The LSU AgCenter provides equal opportunities and employment. Cooperating agencies: LSU AgCenter, Louisiana parish governing
bodies and United States Department of Agriculture.


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