IT’S HARD to believe that the holiday season is here and Florida’s fall right along with it. It’s only a short matter of time before we’ll be officially in our Florida winter, so there are some important things to think about when it comes to your lawn and garden.
Feed your lawn; it’s the most important feeding of the year. You will want to fertilize now to ensure a healthy lawn this winter and a good start next spring. If your lawn is dealing with weeds after our wet summer, it is not a surprise. Utilizing a combination weed-and-feed fertilizer might be necessary. If you have a lawn that needs more help and you decide to overseed with rye grass, fertilize every six to eight weeks. The frequency is needed because you’re feeding two grasses — a very hungry and thirsty rye grass and the semi-dormant permanent grass.
The old saying “Timing is everything” couldn’t be more true than on the following: It’s time to plant your winter vegetables in the garden, and for a really good-looking yard going into the holidays, it’s a good idea to plant hardy annuals like petunias, snap dragons, and pansies. Fertilize lightly every two weeks with feed that includes minor elements. These tend to be depleted rather quickly in garden beds.
It’s time to reinvigorate your soils with the following: Bone meal, potash, and other nutrients. All of these were washed out with the heavy rains we experienced this summer.
Be aware that fungus and insects still are potential problems. Use a good-quality insecticide and fungicide at least every two weeks. Put some built-up clean soil around young and tender plants. We call this “banking,” and it really helps.
Finally, keep in mind that starving plants that are underfertilized, lacking in essential minor elements, weedy or weakened by disease or insects are more susceptible to cold damage.
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.