Lee Rouse

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Lee Rouse is the LSU AgCenter's East Baton Rouge Parish horticulture agent. Lee worked as a horticulture agent in New Orleans before moving back to his hometown of Baton Rouge.

While working for the AgCenter, Lee has conducted Master Gardener Training classes and has graduated more than 100 people through his program. He has played an integral role in the development of the annual Farm to Table conference in New Orleans, while aiding the expansion of urban farming and community gardening in South Louisiana.

Lee is a contributor to the Advocate, WRKF, and maintains the East Baton Rouge Parish Master Gardener Facebook page. He is an alumnus of the LSU College of Agriculture.

Allen Owings / LSU AgCenter

Spring is short in Louisiana. Weather rapidly transitions from winter to summer. But if you look for it and you're aware of the signs, spring actually starts to show up in February in Louisiana, especially in the southern part of the state.

Spring lingers through late April and into May. So we actually have eight weeks of spring weather, which isn't so bad. But whichever way you look at it, May is the first month of summer in Louisianans, so now is the time to switch from spring gardening activities to summer ones.

LSU AgCenter

Nothing more frustrating than fruits of labor lost to disease and pests. Though the spring has been pleasant, warm days and cool nights contribute to the growth and spread of many diseases that can attack the vegetables in our gardens.

If you have vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and melons, then you might notice fuzzy white material growing on the leaves and growing to spread. Two types of mildews affect vegetables: downy mildew and powdery mildew. Powdery mildew grows during hot and dry weather. Downy mildews thrive in cool, wet periods.

LSU AgCenter

The foliage on your spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths is probably beginning to look a little ratty in your landscape by now. Late April to early May is a great time to dig these spring flowering bulbs out of the garden where it's possible.

If these bulbs happen to be growing in the lawn or close to a three or shrub, consider leaving them in the landscape to go dormant naturally. It's not worth disturbing the root systems of other plants in order to properly store these bulb.

For the best results for next year's blooms for those bulbs that you can get out of the ground, use a pitchfork instead of a shovel. With a pitchfork, you'll loosen the soil but won't sever roots or accidentally cut a bulb in half the way you might do with a shovel.

Allen Owings / LSU AgCenter

A new cleome, Seniorita Rosalita, is a radical departure from the cleomes we have grown in the past.

The cleome, or spider flower, is a traditional summer annual grown in the south for generations. They are tall robust plants growing three to five feet tall with a hand-shaped leaf and a large heads of delicate flowers.

Allen Owings / LSU AgCenter

The fig tree was imported into the United States some time during the 16th century. It grows well in the south Atlantic and Gulf coast areas. Figs are one of the most interesting fruits you can grow in your back yard.

The fig was one of the first fruits cultivated by ancient people. Evidence shows it's been in cultivation since 4,000 BC.

LSU AgCenter

One plant that continues to hold my interest season to season is the native Virginia Willow. As gardeners have become more environmentally conscious, they're employing more environmentally sound principles in the landscape.

Don Ferrin / LSU AgCenter

Have you looked around your lawn recently? Have you noticed yellow or brown patches that are beginning to spread and get larger?

If so you may have a disease in your lawn called take-all root rot. It's caused by a soil-borne fungus which is typically found around turf grass roots.

The Louisiana Master Gardener Program is an ongoing volunteer platform offered by the LSU AgCenter. It's not a one-off volunteer opportunity like you might find so much in the community. The Louisiana Master Gardener Program is an ongoing education and volunteering arrangement open to those with a passion for horticulture and gardening.

The main focus of the program is volunteering in the arena of home horticulture education. No prior experience with gardening is necessary to becoming a master gardener. There is a job available for every skill-set.

Dan Gill / LSU AgCenter

If you're interested in planting wildflowers in your garden, one of the best plants to put in the garden this time of the year is the native Louisiana iris.

Hybrids of this native species bloom in a rainbow of color with large, showy flowers on their long stems. While their beauty and reliability in the garden have made Louisiana irises increasingly popular around the world, they still have some obscurity in their own native Louisiana.

Mark Claesgens / LSU AgCenter

It's time to wake up and plant the roses. Roses are one of the most common gardening shrubs used throughout the world.

The Chinese have been growing these and breeding them for over five thousand years. This breeding practice has led to many, many new cultivars, interesting colors, flower habits, and shrub sizes and forms.

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