CENTRAL FLORIDA has experienced a very wet summer, and with it the insects are very active this year, so you need to create your “most-wanted” list of pests to look out for and manage, if necessary. Check your lawns and gardens for mole crickets, chinch bugs, sod webworms, azalea caterpillars, white flies, and more.
In addition to any pesticides you require, you’ll want to use nutritional sprays to keep your plants as healthy as possible. These sprays are as important as regular fertilizers because zinc and manganese are not very effective when they’re applied through the soil. The leaves, on the other hand, can easily take in these nutrients important to your plants’ health. If you’ve fertilized in the past month or so, it’s time to do it again because all of this rain has washed out any nutrients that already have been provided.
Now is also the time to plan for and begin planting fall vegetable gardens. Clean the garden site, then add compost, manure, or peat moss to hold moisture and fertilizer until the plants can use it.
Other gardening to-do items for late summer:
• Give your poinsettias that last pruning before September 1.
• Feed azaleas and camellias with a good-quality acid fertilizer. If you bring in a soil sample, we’ll check it for free. A soil pH of 4.5 to 5.5 is needed for azaleas, camellias, ixoras, and gardenias. Water them well and keep them properly mulched.
• Continue to feed and spray roses. Thrips are usually a problem on light-colored roses now. You can control them with Malathion or Acephate.
• Plant and replant lawns. Check out our Palmetto grass plugs.
• Watch for fungus and treat as necessary.
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 Central Florida Ag News monthly.