Maintenance Schedule
Home Maintenance Schedule Connie B's Cool Links Native Florida Webring

 


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Connie B's

South Florida 12 Month

Lawn & Garden Maintenance Schedule

w w w . b r e t a b e n n e t t . c o m / c b c o r n e r

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December.

Helpful Links

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Important Notice about Ganoderma Butt Rot of Palms:

10/10/2012: In the last two years we've lost one trunk of a large three trunk Christmas Palm (aka Adonidia). The other two trunks are also infected and will die eventually. We've also lost two trunks of a large three trunk Roebelenii Palm (aka Pigmy Date Palm or Miniature Date Palm). Use extreme caution when handling, pruning and and disposing of plants infected with Ganoderma. Ditto with the yard tools you use to maintain infected plants. Ditto when touching non-infected plants after working with infected plants. Dot not dispose of infected plants or pieces of the fungus with normal yard waste. I had a bit of a time getting convincing our local town/village office and their yard waste contractor that my infected waste needed special disposal.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension has published a very informative document/pictorial by Monica L. Elliott and Timothy K. Broschat titled "Ganoderma Butt Rot of Palms". It's available at your local UF-IFAS Extension office (see "Important Notes" immediately below) or by the visiting http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pp100 .

Important Notes:

1) For further information beyond what this page provides, please contact a nursery, a tree specialist, or the Palm Beach County/University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (aka Palm Beach County/UF-IFAS Extension) at palmbeach@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu or 561-233-1700. If you contact them, please let them know that you were referred from Connie B's Corner on the web.

2) You may choose to have a low maintenance or high maintenance lawn - our schedule puts us about in the middle. For example, a low-maintenance lawn gets fertilized only twice a year in the spring and fall. A high maintenance lawn may have up to four or more fertilizings; usually three fertilizings plus August or September if it has been a heavy rain summer. Additionally, we list various chemicals to be applied at various times of the year. These "listings" are for our chosen "mid-maintenance" lawn only. Your requirements may vary based on your location, garden and yard health, or personal preferences.

3)  Some insecticide products are available from various manufacturers. If your yard is infested, you may have to apply a second, or third application, 2-3 weeks apart - check with the product's manufacturer for safe usage guidance (their phone number is usually on the bag).

4) Banned Chemicals: The sale Dursban (chlorpyrifos) ceased in 2000 and Diazinon in 2002. Now what can you do to keep from going buggy?  You can also take a look at a CNN article called "The pros and cons of Dursban alternatives" that can be viewed at http://fyi.cnn.com/2000/US/06/09/dursban.alternatives/ . If you're a Florida resident and want to read something scary, then check this out: http://www.safe2use.com/ca-ipm/00-06-09b-comment.htm

5) These pesticide products come in flakes, granules or liquids. Liquid concentrates can be sometimes be found in various concentrations. I like the higher strengths because less chemical is used in the spreader tank which means I don't have to go shopping for it as often.  It is very easy and fast to apply from an inexpensive little tank attachment that screws onto the end of your garden hose. These liquid spreaders are also great for putting down fertilizers and pesticides in those hard to reach spots like flower gardens. For things like butterfly gardens, if you like, you can kneel down and just get the ground without covering leaves and flowers.  I feel that liquid spreaders are also safer to use near lakes and canals because it is very easy to control exactly where the chemical is getting put down (ie. not in or near the water's edge).

Also in my opinion -- the flakes are best applied with a hand-held spreader. Hand-helds and push-type broadcast spreaders can be dangerous because of the chemical dust you can breath if you have the spreader in front of your face and the wind shifts on you. I have a 90 degree horizontal spinning spreader and some manufacturer's flakes are so small and powdery that they're almost uncontrollable. When I use a "flake" product, I put on one of the inexpensive surgical masks to try to filter out some of the chemical dust.

I used to recommend a liquid product. However, since about 2005, I have switched over to the "Ortho Max Bug-B-Gone Max" granular product. I broadcast it from a hand spreader and it has produced superior results. I try to stay "up wind" from the spreader so that it does not blow back upon me. Additionally, I put it down the same day that I put down my favorite granular fertilizer (currently Scotts brand). Note that "Ortho Max Bug-B-Gone Max" is also available in pre-mixed and concentrate liquid versions (I have not tried these yet). Keep "Ortho Max Bug-B-Gone Max" out of water areas.

6) Use caution. Use common sense: These chemicals should not be applied directly to water such as canals or lakes. Read the labels, read and heed the warnings and apply only as instructed. Two bags or two ounces are not better than one. Protective clothing and air filtration masks are good ideas also.

JANUARY

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Fertilize now. Don’t overwater—root rot is a problem now since soil dries slowly. Water every 10-14 days. If you have insects or diseases affecting citrus, it is OK to spray them even though fruit is ready for picking—just wash thoroughly before eating.

Ornamentals and Vegetables

Plant with caution now because of freeze. Protect sensitive tropicals if there’s a danger of freeze. Bring them inside or at least on the patio. Popular shrubs are ixora, hibiscus, gardenia, oleander, jasmine, and croton. Discoloration of older leaves is normal now so don’t change maintenance practices. Last month to plant cool season vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, escarole, lettuce, potatoes, and spinach).

Lawns

Don’t overwater—water every three to four days in the morning so the grass dries quickly.

Palms

Fertilize only if signs of nutritional deficiencies. Yellowing of lower fronds probably is due to winter conditions. If signs of nutritional deficiencies, fertilize with slow-release granular fertilizer containing minor elements including magnesium, manganese and iron sulfates.

Other trees: This is the month you’ll see mosses, bromeliads, and lichens. They do not kill trees; these plants obtain their nourishment from the air and rain.

 

FEBRUARY

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Fertilize if not done last month. Spray young fruit with copper fungicide to prevent disease. Leaf shedding normal for many citrus varieties. No major pruning. Do not mulch citrus.

Ornamentals

Check for insects or disease. Plant annuals with leaf color—coleus, dusty miller. No heavy pruning. Fertilize at end of month. Prune evergreens such as podocarpis, holly, ligustrom, juniper and wax myrtle as needed. Maintain 3-5 inches of mulch in all landscape beds. Remove Brazilian Peppers, which harm native plants and wildlife.

Lawn

Good time for new sod. Overwatering promotes disease. Water twice a week, if dry.

Palms

Fertilize now only if signs of nutritional deficiencies (see Janurary)

 

MARCH

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Plant citrus trees now. Most blooming is complete and small fruit is set. Some fruit dropping normal—trees discarding excess fruit. Prune if necessary.

Pruning Trees

Remove dead, diseased or broken branches first. Next, remove fast growing suckers along interior limbs. Then remove branches with a narrow angle of attachment. Finally, thin crowns to resist wind damage.

Ornamentals

Fertilize now. Tip - I've had very good luck using palm fertilizer with micronutrients on the ornamentals. It's cheap and I find it convenient to do the ornamentals at the same time that I fertilize the palms. Please let me know your opinions/experiences with this.

Plant caladiums now—in bloom through November. Prune, if needed. Many shrubs drop old leaves. Beware of aphids, whitefly and scale insects. Check plants every two weeks throughout the year. Learn the difference between pests and beneficial insects. Do not blanket the landscape with pesticides. It’s wasteful and may be environmentally dangerous.

Lawns

Fertilize early March with a quality "weed & feed" fertilizer. If you choose not to use a "weed & feed" now, you may use a quality, slow release nitrogen fertilizer for St. Augustine lawns, and then use a separate weed agent next month.

Insecticide. If using a liquid product, do this a couple weeks after the granular fertilizer; otherwise, you may burn your lawn.  Beware of chinch bugs (now through November), mole crickets and white grubs. Don’t overwater—it increases chances of disease and fungus. If you have been using insecticides, water properly and still get brown patches and dying off lawn areas, have your lawn tested for disease or fungus by the County Cooperative Extension Service.
Water lawn only when 30-50 percent of the grass shows signs of drought
. Look for weeds and treat now, if necessary—it’s too hot for most weed killers after this month.

A note about the largest and most destructive yard pest we've encountered: Armadillos. It is ironic, but the nicer your lawn, the more likely you can have damage from Armadillos (you lawn looks all ripped and dug up). This is because the nicer your lawn, the more tasty roots your lawn has, and the more bugs are eating on those roots, and that's what the Armadillos love to eat: BUGS! (grubs it's said). If you keep the bugs down with pesticides, you'll have less Armadillo damage.

Palms

Fertilize now early March if not done last month with palm fertilizer (every three months). Date and queen palms prone to magnesium deficiencies. Fertilize same time as fruit if desired — March, June, August and November. Plant now. Strong growth this month.

 

APRIL

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Dry conditions may encourage spider mites. Control with Malathion or other citrus sprays. Some fruit dropping normal through mid-June. Water older trees once a week. OK for severe pruning this month.

Ornamentals

Check weekly for insects, especially aphids, whiteflies and scale, which like new growth. Finish pruning this month. For color, plant pansy, nasturtium, portulaca, salvia, periwinkle, marigold and crossandra. Don’t plant annuals around pine trees. Annuals like lots of water and pines don’t.

Lawns

Last month to apply weed killers safely for broad-leaf weeds if not done last month. Replace dead sod. Look for mole crickets, white grubs, chinch bugs. If damage is noticed, control with insectide. Water 15 to 20 minutes a zone, three times a week. Watering should be done preferably before sunrise, or otherwise after sunset. Watering during the day, high wind, or after raining just wastes water.   St. Augustine grass should be cut at a height of 3-4 inches to help develop a deep root system.

 

MAY

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Water no more than once a week. Overwatering can cause root rot, small fruit and leaf loss. Some fruit dropping is normal through mid-June.

Ornamentals

Check weekly for pests, especially spider mites, scale, whitefly and aphids. Mulch to slow water evaporation. Finish pruning.

Lawns

Water three times a week (adjust for rain—don’t overwater). Beware of chinch bugs, white grubs and mole crickets. (Signs include yellow streaks, brown patches.) After mowing, leave grass clippings where they fall—they will not harm your lawn. Grass clippings decompose readily, recycling organic nitrogen back to the lawn.

Palms

Brown spots on leaves could mean disease. Control with copper fungicide.

 

JUNE

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Check for insects, especially whiteflies, aphids. Fertilize with a slow release granular fertilizer containing minor elements. Plant tropical fruits such as mango, avocado, litchi, jaboticaba, and banana.

Ornamentals

Fertilize with micronutrients (see March for a Tip). Check for insects. Dropping of old leaves normal. Plant shrubs and trees. Prune trees, major plants, if needed. Flowers that can be planted this month include periwinkles, marigolds, and zinnias.

Lawns

Fertilize now early June. Apply "summer" fertilizer (ie. 27-2-2, with slow release nitrogen only).   Don’t use weed control products—it is too hot. Pull weeds or spot treat Bahia. Water three times a week (adjust for rain—don’t overwater ).

Insecticide.  If using a liquid product, do this a couple weeks after the granular fertilizer; otherwise, you may burn your lawn. Check for disease, weeds. Beware of chinch bugs. Best time to plant Argentine Bahia grass seed. If you have been using insecticides, water properly and still get brown patches and dying off lawn areas, have your lawn tested for disease or fungus by the County Cooperative Extension Service.

Palms

Fertilize now with palm fertilizer. Palms should be in good condition but remove discolored fronds. Good time to plant new palms.

 

JULY

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Prune, if needed. Fruit-splitting common through September—may be from rain but could mean overwatering. Look for whiteflies, scales—treat with sprays such as Malathion.

Ornamentals

Fertilize if not done last month. Plant trees and shrubs if wanted. Light pruning OK, but no severe trimming. When planting landscape trees and shrubs, never use organic mater such as peat moss, cow manure or topsoil just in the planting hole. Instead, mix the organic matter into the entire planting area and apply mulch. Plant Florida grafted roses and hibiscus. They live longer than other types.

Lawns

Hot weather and frequent rain increases chance for disease. Check weekly for brown spots on grass blades or brown patches. Check for mole crickets, grubs, chinch bugs. If you have been using insecticides, water properly and still get brown patches and dying off lawn areas, have your lawn tested for disease or fungus by the County Cooperative Extension Service. Good time for new sod. Water three times a week (adjust for rain—don’t overwater). Keep mower blades sharp to prevent shredding, which can lead to lawn fungus infection.

Palms

Frequent rain may mean bud rot, leaf spots and other diseases—spray with copper fungicide so disease doesn’t spread. Remove lower yellow fronds. Plant new palms.

 

AUGUST

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Look for red algae, greasy spot and other problems on citrus. Lightly fertilize trees that show signs of nutritional deficiencies. Check for sucking pests.

Ornamentals

Check weekly for whitefles, scale, and aphids. Yellow leaves common due to high temperatures and heavy rain. Finish pruning. Attract butterflies to your yard by planting a trellis or passionvine and a bed of colorful pentas. Maintain 3-5 inches of mulch in al landscape beds, except citrus. Plant warm season veggies (beans, cantaloupe, corn peppers, pumpkin, tomatoes, and watermelon).

Lawns

Poor condition increases chance for disease. Don’t water more than every three days (adjust for rain—don’t overwater). Look for chinch bugs (brown, straw-colored patches) and treat promptly.

If you fertilize now or in September (as many sources say to do with a "summer" fertilizer), your lawn will grow like Jack's beanstalk. If you mow your own lawn, you don't need this extra annoyance during two of the hottest months of the year.

Palms

Fertilize now with palm fertilizer. Also - Frizzled tops mean magnesium deficiency. Fertilize with magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) every other month until palms regain normal appearance. Use copper fungicide for leaf spot diseases land bud rot.

 

SEPTEMBER

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Prune, if needed. Check weekly for whiteflies, scale, and aphids.

Ornamentals

Prune trees, major plants. Sept. 10 is the last day to prune poinsettias for holiday blooming. Discolored foliage may be due to hot weather and rain. Check for insects. Plant fall flowers: impatiens, geraniums, begonias, and petunias. Grow herbs in the home garden throughout the year. Try chives, catnip, fennel, ginger, oregano, rosemary or sage.

Lawns

Insecticide now. Also - beware of weeds. Spot treat only: above 80 degrees is too got for general application. Chinch bugs still a threat. If you have been using insecticides, water properly and still get brown patches and dying off lawn areas, have your lawn tested for disease or fungus by the County Cooperative Extension Service. Water three times a week or less (adjust for rain—don’t overwater). When mowing, no more than one-third of the height of the grass blades should be removed.

Palms

Copper fungicide will help control leaf spot and bud rot. Still a good time to plant new palms.

 

OCTOBER

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Fertilize with slow-release granular fertilizer containing minor elements. Check for aphids and whiteflies. Treat with Malathion. Navel oranges may be ripe this month, though their skin is still green.

Ornamentals

Fertilize (see March for a Tip. Good time to stock up on Palm fertilizer for next month's palm feeding anyway).

Prune trees, major plants. No severe pruning after this month. Plant things with leaf color: coleus, dusty miller, geraniums, periwinkle, impatiens, begonias, kalanchoe, pansies, petunias, statice or verbena.

Lawns

Watch for watch for bugs that may have rehatched since last month's pesticide application. If you have been using insecticides, water properly and still get brown patches and dying off lawn areas, have your lawn tested for disease or fungus by the County Cooperative Extension Service.

Palms

Remove damaged fronds. Check for disease.

 

NOVEMBER

Tropical Fruits/Citrus

If fruit is not good, it may mean nutrients leached out during rains. Don’t fertilize now—it won’t affect fruit quality. Water once every two weeks, maximum.

Ornamentals

Light pruning OK. Leaf yellowing on shrubs and trees normal as plants slow growth. Look for scale, whitefly, and aphids. For color, plant salvia, dusty miller, begonias, impatiens, geraniums. Plant cool-season vegetables (beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collards, lettuce, mustard, onions, radish, turnips, snap peas, and spinach)

Lawns

Fertilize early November with weed and feed. After this month it’s usually too cool. Look for white grubs, mole crickets. Treat with insecticide. If you have been using insecticides, water properly and still get brown patches and dying off lawn areas, have your lawn tested for disease or fungus by the County Cooperative Extension Service. Good time to resod. Overseed with ryegrass, if desired. Reduce watering to twice weekly (adjust for rain—don’t overwater).

Palms

Fertilize now (final fall feeding) with slow-release granular fertilizer containing minor trace elements. Remove damaged fronds. Check for disease.

 

DECEMBER

Tropical Fruit/Citrus

Light pruning OK. Citrus fruit should be good quality because of lower temperatures. If not, don’t pick until late this month or January to allow cool weather to sweeten fruit. Inspect for disease. Thick peel and dry pulp may indicate your citrus is over-watered and under-fertilized.

Ornamentals

Don’t fertilize until cool weather passes. Provide cold protection for orchids and other sensitive tropicals.

Lawns

Overseed with ryegrass, if desired. Weed killers can be applied safely through mid-December. After that it is too cool—wait until February. Check for mole crickets and white grubs. If you have been using insecticides, water properly and still get brown patches and dying off lawn areas, have your lawn tested for disease or fungus by the County Cooperative Extension Service. Water twice a week. Over-watering, over-fertilizing and infrequent mowing may cause thatch buildup.

Insecticide now. Also - beware of weeds. Spot treat only: above 80 degrees is too got for general application. Chinch bugs still a threat. If you have been using insecticides, water properly and still get brown patches and dying off lawn areas, have your lawn tested for disease or fungus by the County Cooperative Extension Service. Water three times a week or less (adjust for rain—don’t overwater). When mowing, no more than one-third of the height of the grass blades should be removed.

Palms

Don’t fertilize until early March (unless signs of nutritional deficiencies - see January/February/March). Check for nutritional problems, insects and diseases—treat quickly, if necessary.

 

 


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Helpful Pdf's and Links
 

Florida Watering Restrictions & Water Information: South Florida Water Management District .

Selection and Adaptabilty: Bahia Grass for Florida Lawns (548KB pdf) , St. Augustine Grass for Florida Lawns (1MB pdf) .

Maintenance: How to Calibrate Your Fertilizer Spreader (391KB pdf), Watering Your Florida Lawn (639KB pdf) , Water Requirements of Florida Turfgrasses (312KB pdf).

Insect Problems: Southern Chinch Bug Management on St. Augustine Grass (495KB pdf) , Pest Mole Cricket Management (1.4MB pdf).

Hurricane Tree Repair: Can These Trees be Saved (Page 1, 4.9MB pdf) , Can These Trees be Saved (Page 2, 2.9MB pdf) , Staking, Pruning, Planting Coconut Seed (Page 3, 4.9MB pdf) , Hurricane Frances Human Interest Tree Stories (Page 4, 5.0MB pdf) , Growing Tropical Trees for Shade and Strength (Page 5, 2.6MB).

Click here for Connie B's Cool Links: Florida Lawn, Garden, Citrus and General Interest Sites .

 

 

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