Monthly Gardening Tips
Find out what to do in the garden each month of the year!
Palms: Do not cut palm fronds until they are completely brown. Look at the center, rachis, of the palm and if there is still green there then leave a while longer.
Lawns: Pre-emergent herbicide for control of summer weeds needs to be applied to lawns.
Wait on fertilizing lawns until late March to early April.
Shrubs: Wait until spring flowering shrubs and plants have finished blooming before trimming them back.
Summer flowering shrubs can be pruned now since flowers will be produced on new growth.
Lawns: With the increase in temperatures this is one of your last chances to to do selective weed control and not damage your turf. Make sure your lawn is not under stress, it is watered and healthy before applying herbicides so as not to damage your lawn.
Lawns - All grass types can be added at this time. But do not mix grass types. If more than 50% of the lawn area is damaged and full of weeds you may want to replace the lawn or at least patch the weedy areas.
With May the rainy season could begin or not so still be prepared to water as needed. Make sure you are mowing at he recommended height and to prevent forming ruts change the mowing direction each time.
Remember to always water in fertilizers right after application.
Insect best that you will be wanting to check for include: mole crickets in bahia and zoysia. In St Augustine check for early signs of chinch bugs and lawn caterpillars.
Vegetables: Chose plants that can take the summer heat such as hot peppers, okra, cherry tomatoes, sweet potatoes and peas.
Herbs: Many herbs that are in full sun and are tough may begin to decline with the hot rainy weather. Containers may be a good alternative for many herbs such as sage and thyme.
Fruits: April and may are the time for blackberries to ripen so make sure you harvest before the birds, etc. do.
Palms and Trees: Palms can be feed now if you are using a slow release fertilizer. Remember to pick a palm fertilizer that has equal nitrogen and potassium and also includes manganese and magnesium.
If you are replacing declining or dead plants you may want to do a little special soil preparation by removing as much of the soil root ball, remove some of the old soil and till or work in some organic matter to the hole prior to planting. Make sure you create a basin or berm several inches high around the the edge of the root ball of the new plant for watering.
Many established plantings of shrubs, vines and especially trees will not need any additional watering with the return of summer rains.
July is still a good time to plant most container plants. The summer rains help with the watering, but if more than a couple days go by without rain check the soil moisture and water if needed.
Peaches and nectarines are starting to ripen and become a favorite food for for Caribbean fruit fly and papaya fruit fly. No real good control is available for these pest. Cooler weather will reduce the fruit fly activities.
If the lawn is looking a little yellow or light green an application of iron may help to green things up.
Bermuda and zoysia grass like a light application of nitrogen during this time.
It is too hot at this time for most selective weed controls. Dig out or spot treated weeds if needed.
Finish up pruning of shrubs especially azaleas and gardenias. It is too late to prune camelias without taking the risk of losing flowers.
Remember to only remove the brown fonds and seeds on palms.
This is a good time to get the vegetable garden ready for the long fall and winter growing season. Okra and southern peas can still be added to the garden but planting is over for hot season vegetables.
Solarization for nematodes is done now after you remove as much of the old plants. Add organic matter and control weeds with herbicides.
Prepare for next nine months of gardening. August is a great time to plant corn, eggplant, pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes and watermelons.
Blueberries and blackberries need to be pruned right after fruiting. Blackberries need to be pruned to the ground allowing the new shoots to come up and grow for next years's fruiting.
For your August fertilizing of citrus apply 1/4 pound of for each inch of trunk circumference. Measure circumference approx. 6 inches above the ground. Spread the fertilizer under the tree and out past the drip line a couple of feet.
August is the usually the last month of the rainy season. Leaf spots caused by fungus activity cause yellow to brown spots mainly on older leaves. If you are going to apply fungicide apply it to the new healthy leaves that may be infected.
Check azaleas for lacebugs. They are found on the under side of leaves and turn the leaves yellow or bronze. They favor plants that receive more sun light. An oil spay applied to the underside of the leaves or a systemic applied to the top of the leaves is usually effective.
You can continue to add container grown plants to the landscape. Watch the plant depth of new plant, planting too deep is a major cause for plant failure.
Removing old flowers before they go to seed on crape myrtles will encourage additional blooms.
Continue to remove old fronds and seed stalks from palm. Do not remove any green fronds. Basic recommendation is not to remove any fronds above 90 degrees.
Seeds: Many seeds from perennial plants such as salvias, butterfly weed can be collect and saved. Let the seeds dry on the plant and collect them when the seed pod begins to open.