April is the time to prepare for summer growth in your lawn and garden


IT’S MID-APRIL, and for our Florida lawns, the preparations for summer growth are a little different this month.

Now is the time to prune branches damaged by the winter cold and prepare for the growing season. When flowering shrubs finish blooming, it’s time to shape them.

Mulch your garden now to control weeds, retain moisture, and protect roots from that hot summer sun. Plant summer annuals to bring color to your flower garden and plant vegetables to eat, using plenty of compost, peat, and manure.

You’ll also want to fertilize and use pesticide sprays. Feed azaleas with special acid fertilizer after they bloom. Remember to feed your lawn and shrubs, if you haven’t already, and palms. Those palms need to be fed three times a year with a fertilizer containing manganese. Spray fruit trees with a nutritional spray to protect the fruit and control melanose, a fungal disease.

Monitor for whiteflies, spider mites, and powdery mildew and treat promptly. Acephate will control thrips, insects that are very damaging to roses, gladiolas, gardenias, and other spring flowers. Use Thuricide to control caterpillars; it won’t harm beneficial insects.

You’ll need to monitor your lawn and plants and water as needed. April also is the best time to sod, plug, or seed your lawn. Be sure to power rake Bahia and verticut St. Augustine, if necessary.

CREDIT

column by BILL DOTY

BIO: William R. “Bill” Doty is owner of Doty Farm and Garden Supply Inc., founded in Winter Haven in 1954. Bill graduated from Winter Haven High School and Florida State University. Growing up, he learned valuable lessons in listening and asking questions and was a student of the family business. Bill shares his knowledge with his customers daily and with the readers of Central Florida Ag News monthly.

Posted April 8, 2016