William "Bill" Doty

Enjoy the birds’ spring song as you tend to your landscaping

SPRING’S ARRIVAL to Central Florida brings not only happily chirping birds and new buds and blooms, but also delightful weather to lure us outside for beautifying work in the lawn and garden.

Now’s the time to apply weed-and-feed to your lawn. Most lawn problems are the result of food deficiencies. A quality 16-4-8 (nitrogen-phosphate-potash) fertilizer is best if your grass is free of fungus. Be sure to protect your grass by mowing with sharp blades.

While you’re feeding, tend to any azaleas, camellias, palms, woody shrubs, and trees (especially fruit trees) you have in your landscaping. Feed azaleas and camellias after they bloom with a special acid fertilizer and then prune and shape your azaleas. For a nice green color, give palms extra manganese, magnesium, and potash. For healthy growth and appearance, shrubs and trees should be well fed with fertilizer and sprayed with a good nutritional spray. Control aphids on new shrub and fruit tree growth before the leaves are distorted.

With the end of winter, it’s time to replace old mulch and plant tender annuals and vegetables. You can reduce watering needs by adding organic material (like peat, manure, or compost) to the soil before planting. The organics retain moisture and nutrients until the plants need them.

For your roses, use a product like Triple Action to control thrips. A mixture of Thiomyl and Daconil or Dithane M-45 will control black spot and powdery mildew.

Early spring also is a good time to air layer, graft, or bud plants. If your lawn has bare spots, try filling them with Palmetto grass plugs.


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.

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