Category Archives: Garden Tips

January Lawn and Garden Tips 2023

January Lawn and Garden Tips 2023

The January Lawn and Garden Tips focus on opportunities to improve your landscape after Jacksonville’s six freeze days from Winter Storm Elliott and early winter chores and preparations for Spring.

Landscaping Impacts of Winter Storm Elliott
Ten days into winter 2022, Winter Storm Elliott caused widespread plant damage in Northeast Florida resulting from six days below freezing between December 23 through 28 of 2022, one of the Top 10 coldest 5 days in 151 years of Jacksonville history.

The record low was officially 20F for Jacksonville on Christmas day, 21 degrees below average and the coldest in 12 years. While many residents were traveling over the holidays, their landscapes froze some days for 12 or more hours. Although the low temperatures were within our USDA hardiness zone ranges for 8b at 15-20F and coastal 9a at 20-25F many landscapes include plants with ideal growing conditions found in warmer climates.

Native plants along with many varieties of hardy shrubs, fruit trees, and palms were unaffected by the cold weather. Many property owners will gain a greater appreciation for the relevance of cold hardiness in adjusting their landscape design. Some treat winter dieback as an opportunity to remove and replace damaged plants with those lush tropical plants. Regardless of your position, Earth Works Landscape Design & Gardens has the plant material and design expertise to deliver your vision in 2023.

Winter 2023 Forecast
Meteorologists project our third La Nina Winter with a waning of La Nina as the associated lower-than-average sea surface temperatures are rising. “La Niña is the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (“ENSO” for short) climate pattern,” according to Climate.gov. “La Niña is expected to continue into the Winter, with equal chances of La Niña and ENSO-neutral during January-March 2023. In February-April 2023, there is a 71% chance of ENSO-neutral.”

The better our understanding of our climate and weather conditions, the better we can plan and care for the long-term success of our landscape designs.

January lawn and garden tips 2023 1
Pollen Season

 

Tree Pollen Coming Soon to Northeast Florida
February is the month pollen typically is at its worst in Northeast Florida. However, warm winters bring pollen as early as December. In 2022 Jacksonville ranked 31st worst city for Spring allergies by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. This is the time of year that our stately oak trees shed their leaves and pollen filled catkins and immediately replace the leaves with new.

Pollen allergy symptoms include itchy throat, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and headaches. As of the first week of January, pollen from trees, grass, and ragweed is low, but mold particulates are high. “During peak season for tree pollen, keep your windows and doors closed, especially on windy days,” according to Accuweather.com. Avoid outdoor activities in the early morning, and be sure to shower and change clothes after coming indoors.”

January Plant Pruning In Jacksonville and Northeast Florida
Many of your woody stemmed plants that suffered dieback from the December freezes won’t need pruning. Still, January is the time to prune roses and deciduous plants, including crape myrtles, pears, and plums. Your Double Knock Out roses that bloom every 5-6 weeks from Spring to Frost have likely stopped blooming and are ready now through early Spring for annual pruning. Evergreens, in general, can be pruned any time of year.

Prune your azaleas after they bloom, which can vary widely depending on the variety. “Bloom times are divided into three flowering groups of early, mid, and late or fall flowering varieties,” wrote Lorna King for Garden’s Path. “The early group starts to flower in late Winter to early Spring, roughly from February to April. Midseason is comprised of late Spring and early summer or May and June. And the late or fall group flowers from midsummer and into fall, mid-July to October.” Reblooming azaleas should be pruned after the Spring bloom only. If pruned after the Fall blooms, that could stimulate growth put at risk by Winter cold.

Pruning
Planting

Planting Choices for January
Offset the drab look of plantings that have died back with Winter annuals, including Pansies, petunias, snapdragons, violas, and dusty millers. We still got a good selection of Camellias, the Queens of Winter, with many still putting out blooms heading into Spring. The Earth Works greenhouse is full of houseplant options suitable for your unique lighting, humidity, and temperature conditions. And planting shade trees, fruit trees, and palms are less stressful, with less shock potential during these cooler months. Visit Earth Works Gardens or set up a landscape design consultation with one of our designers to bring your vision to life in your landscape.

Prep Soil In Winter For Beautiful Spring Turf
Please take steps to ensure a beautiful Spring lawn by planning to complete your soil AERATION & TOP DRESSING, or schedule it with Earth Works Lawn Care before Spring. Our naturally sandy soil requires nutrient replenishment for your best Spring & Summer lawn. Proper care of your lawn during dormancy will make for a healthy, vigorously growing lawn turf that holds up to threats from pests and pathogens. Schedule a visit by Earth Works Lawn Care for an AERATION & TOP DRESSING quote. Our lawn service, including lawn pest & fertilization spraying quotes, is free online.

Schedule Your Pond Clean Out In Winter
For Aquascape ecosystem pond owners, we recommend an annual winter pond cleanout. Earth Works designs and builds low-maintenance ecosystem ponds that collect the majority of debris in the skimmer basket. Still, some waste settles to the pond bottom, requiring a periodic cleanout. Unserviced pond debris buildup is a water quality concern, particularly as the water temperature warms up, fish grow larger, and feeding increases. Thus, Earth Works recommends that you schedule your annual winter pond cleanout service be completed before Spring. Don’t wait. Contact us to book today!

Get Your Landscape Design Scheduled In Time for Spring Outdoor Living

Our January Lawn and Garden tips would not be complete without encouraging you to book your landscape design consultation sooner than later, as it will be a busy Spring! Then spend some time gathering the pertinent documents and photos of landscapes you like that represent the vision you create with your designer. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to get your choice of project completion dates. Check out our landscape design consultation video to better understand our process.

.ctct-inline-form { color: #fff!important; } .ctct-inline-form input { width: 100%!important; margin-bottom: 15px!important; color: #fff!important; } .ctct-inline-form label { margin-top: 15px!important; }

Services

  • Landscape Design & Installation
  • Paver Patios, Paver Walkways, Paver Driveways
  • Firepits, Retaining Walls , Seat Walls,
  • Landscape Lighting, Drainage design & Installation,
  • Lawn Care Services, Lawn Maintenance, Lawn Fertilization
  • Lawn Pest Control, Lawn Weed Control
  • Aeration and Top Dressing
  • Water Features, Koi Ponds,
  • Waterfalls, Bubbling Fountains
  • Garden Center & Pond Supply Store

General Services Areas

Jacksonville (Jax), Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Ponte Vedra, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Orange Park, St. Johns, Nocatee

Location

GARDEN CENTER
12501 Beach Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32246

LANDSCAPE OPERATIONS
(not open to the public)
St. Johns Bluff
1057 St. Johns Bluff Rd. N.
Jacksonville, FL 32225

Hours

Monday-Saturday 9-5
Sunday 10-5

HOLIDAY CLOSINGS
New Year’s Day • Easter • Memorial Day
July 4th • Labor Day • Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Eve • Christmas Day

Best Practice Tips for Maintaining Milkweed for Monarchs

Best Practice Tips for Maintaining Milkweed for Monarchs

Monarch butterfly caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed, which Earth Works garden center provides along with best practice tips for maintaining milkweed for Monarchs. As one of the most recognized and beloved of North American native insects, thousands of people provide them habitat and feed them along their migratory path. This is only possible with large amounts of milkweed being available for planting. However, Earth Works also encourages awareness of the benefits of cutting back milkweed in Fall and warm winters to prevent Monarchs from overwintering here rather than joining more healthy populations that migrate back to Mexico.

Monarch Population Decline
Scientists point to a variety of reasons for a decline in Monarch populations, including deforestation, changing agricultural practices, weather extremes, unregulated eco-tourism, fire, and disease.

The good news is that our efforts at providing food and habitat help.
“It is likely that monarch numbers would be even lower without the efforts of dedicated individuals throughout North America, but current numbers show us that we need to increase our efforts,” according to Karen Oberhauser, UW-Madison Arboretum.

 

monarch butterfly
MBBR Monarch Chart

How the Monarchs are Counted
Monarch population numbers have been assessed yearly since 1994 at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR) of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) in Mexico.
Scientists at the MBBR estimate Monarch numbers based on the amount of land the butterflies are roosting on each winter. Since the Mexican overwintering count began, the population estimate of Mexican overwintering Monarchs peaked at one billion in 1996, with the lowest count being 20 million in 2013/2014.

 

The population numbers have bounced up and down, but mostly down. For instance, the Mexican overwintering Monarch population estimate was up 35% for Winter 2021/2022, but down 26% the prior year. “Scientists estimate that at least 6 hectares is necessary for a sustainable population of eastern monarchs,” according to Monarch Joint Venture. Monarch populations have only met that threshold for sustainability approximately four times in the past twenty years. However, there are growing numbers of Monarchs overwintering in North America that has proved to be unhealthy for them.

Monarchs Milkweed Choices and Preferences
Even though there are over 100 native milkweed species in North America, we are typically only able to supply one or two native species, such as Swamp milkweed, Asclepius perennis due to a lack of commercial growers. The most commonly available species is the Mexican Tropical Milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, as it’s easy to propagate and fast-growing. We encourage homeowners maintaining milkweed for monarchs to provide as much diversity of milkweed species as possible.

A 2018 USDA-funded study found that Monarchs will lay more eggs where they have more milkweed species choices. “It is important to note that monarchs use multiple different milkweed hosts each year throughout their annual cycle,” according to Ecosphere. “Although these milkweed species appear on the landscape in different proportions, monarchs do not specialize on one milkweed species even when both have co-evolved within a smaller region (e.g., eastern vs. western North America). Monarchs from both the eastern and western populations exhibited the same oviposition preferences when given access to milkweed species from both eastern and western North America.”

Mexican Tropical Milkweed
monarch caterpillar

Milkweed Routine Maintenance in the Fall
Native North American milkweed species are more likely to die back in Fall than the Mexican Tropical Milkweed variety that, during warm winters, can continue to produce foliage and blooms.
“Jim Edson, a geology professor at the University of Arkansas, said, “one research project offered five kinds of milkweed to monarchs,” according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “Butterfly weed was least liked and tropical was preferred. But scientists fear that what the monarchs like the most may be bad for them.”

Since the Monarchs enjoy Mexican Tropical milkweed found here, it’s become challenging to get them to migrate back to Mexico. Scientists are concerned that the suitable areas where Tropical milkweed can survive the winter from the Carolinas to California keep Monarchs here year-round. The problem with this is that Monarch populations that don’t return to Mexico have higher infection rates of the naturally occurring protozoan Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE), which causes deformities and death.

Rate of Infection & Impacts
According to a University of Georgia study, in the wild, in the western US, about 30% of all wild Monarch butterflies have HEAVY OE spore loads,” wrote Butterfly Fun Facts. “In the eastern US, less than 8% of Monarch butterflies have a HEAVY spore load. In the southern tip of Florida, where Monarchs fly and lay eggs all year, more than 70% have HEAVY OE. Experts estimate that nearly 100% of wild Monarchs in the Miami/Dade area of Florida are infected with OE, from mild to heavy infection. If OE was super deadly in the wild, the southern tip of Florida would not continue to have a large population of Monarch butterflies.”

overwintering locations for monarchs in north america

Scientists Are Seeking Solutions
And although infected Monarchs can spread OE’s spores via any milkweed species, there is still little progress in finding a cure, although, for those rearing them, there are recommendations for reducing the spread. “We have worked out a way to control this parasite that we hope will not be too difficult,” according to Scientists at MonarchWatch.org. “Our method requires cleaning up your rearing operation; we have not yet found a way to “cure” a larva once it has eaten the spores, although at the University of Kansas we are continuing to look for such a solution using drugs that have been shown to work on related organisms. We have had limited success with attempts to surface-decontaminate eggs once they have been laid, although this does lower the incidence of the disease. Thus, the only way to solve the problem, and to prevent more releases of contaminated butterflies, is to make sure that the larvae you rear are never exposed to the parasite. There are four steps you will need to take. ” Learn more at Monarch Watch.

Scientists have found OE to be transmitted in three ways: infected females spreading spores onto their eggs, by contact with milkweed that infects others Monarchs, and during mating. “Monarchs that acquire spores as adults are temporary carriers, and themselves do not experience detrimental effects of the parasite,” according to their research published at the National Library of Medicine.

monarch Lifecycle source USDA

We at Earth Works hope this information benefits your understanding of best practices for maintaining milkweed for monarchs. Visit our garden center and speak to staff about the availability of milkweed and the many nectar plants available for them and other pollinators in Northeast Florida.

Happy Gardening!

.ctct-inline-form { color: #fff!important; } .ctct-inline-form input { width: 100%!important; margin-bottom: 15px!important; color: #fff!important; } .ctct-inline-form label { margin-top: 15px!important; }

Services

  • Landscape Design & Installation
  • Paver Patios, Paver Walkways, Paver Driveways
  • Firepits, Retaining Walls , Seat Walls,
  • Landscape Lighting, Drainage design & Installation,
  • Lawn Care Services, Lawn Maintenance, Lawn Fertilization
  • Lawn Pest Control, Lawn Weed Control
  • Aeration and Top Dressing
  • Water Features, Koi Ponds,
  • Waterfalls, Bubbling Fountains
  • Garden Center & Pond Supply Store

General Services Areas

Jacksonville (Jax), Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Ponte Vedra, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Orange Park, St. Johns, Nocatee

Location

GARDEN CENTER
12501 Beach Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32246

LANDSCAPE OPERATIONS
(not open to the public)
St. Johns Bluff
1057 St. Johns Bluff Rd. N.
Jacksonville, FL 32225

Hours

Monday-Saturday 9-5
Sunday 10-5

HOLIDAY CLOSINGS
New Year’s Day • Easter • Memorial Day
July 4th • Labor Day • Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Eve • Christmas Day

December Lawn & Garden Tips 2022

December  1, 2022

December Lawn & Garden Tips

December lawn & garden tips begin with recognition that this is a predictably cool & dry weather month that’s great for planting large shrubs and palms and for working on landscape designs and projects.  As the weather can change rapidly keep up to date with weather forecasts and be prepared to protect your tender plants and pets well ahead of frost and freezing temperatures. 

The National Weather Service predicts below-average precipitation throughout the Southern United States in December. While drying out is suitable for reducing the threat of lawn fungus that’s at its worst on cool, humid nights, too little water and watering at the wrong time of day can also cause problems.

December 2022 NOAA Precipitation Prediction

BE PREPARED TO SUPPLEMENT WITH ADDITIONAL WATERING IN DECEMBER

Earth Works recommends two lawn watering events per week in December. If you don’t get two rain events per week supplement with irrigation and hand watering. New lawns and landscapes require daily watering the first month to get established. Irrigation is restricted to once per week in Jacksonville, coinciding with a return to Standard Time that began on November 6.
Duval County watering ordinance includes:
1) No watering from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2) Odd number addresses, or addresses ending with letters N-Z, or no address may water only on Saturday.
3) Even number addresses or those ending with A-M may water only on Sunday.
4) Non-residential addresses may water only on Tuesday and
5) Apply up to ¾-inch or less of water one time per week.

DECEMBER TURF NEEDS

Proper care of your lawn during dormancy will directly impact its health in Spring and Summer.

The three macro-nutrients listed on the label of all fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, abbreviated as NPK. 

NPK

If choosing a Winterizing lawn fertilizer, we only recommend an NPK with phosphorus and potassium. “Adding phosphorus to soil low in available phosphorus promotes root growth and winter hardiness, stimulates tillering, and often hastens maturity,” according to University of Nebraska Plant & Soil elibrary. “Potassium is a vital component of numerous plant functions, including nutrient absorption, respiration, transpiration, and enzyme activity.” Both phosphurus and potassium are essential for plant maintenance and support, according to the Noble Research Institute. For Winter we only recommend nitrogen-free formulations.

It’s also essential to know your soil pH when supplementing with fertilizers. These macro-nutrients are only fully bioavailable at a pH of 6.5 or above and decreasingly available below. “In a very acid soil of pH 5.0 only 40% of the nitrogen is available, 35% of the phosphorus and 50% of the potassium,” according to Allotment Garden.org. “Increasing to an average plot’s pH 5.5 takes the nitrogen and potassium up to 70% availability but the phosphorus is still only at 45% availability. It’s not until the pH hits 6.5 that all the big 3 nutrients are fully available to fuel the plants.”

Now is an excellent time to consider BOOKING soil AERATION & TOP DRESSING service for your lawn ahead of Spring with the Earth Works Lawn Care department. Contact us to get you scheduled.

WHICH VEGETABLES CAN I PLANT IN DECEMBER?
December vegetable planting recommendations are the same for November and December, with a few additional veggies added to the soil in January. University of Florida IFAS Gardening Solutions recommendations for December include Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Celery, Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Onions, Radish, Spinach, Strawberry, & Turnips.

Vegetables to Plant in Northeast Florida in December 2022

Stop in and shop our herbs and veggies that our buyers selected especially for your Winter garden. If looking for the latest seed varieties to hit the market consider subscribing to some of our listed 60+ Free Seed Catalogs.

GARDENING SOIL PREPARATION
Whether you have plans to use existing beds or containers we recommend turning your soil and mixing in a few amendments including Wild Earth Soil Mix for your raised beds or container gardening, a rich, light-weight compost mix available by the bag and yard. Plus, supplement with Espoma Organic Biotone Starter an excellent planting fertilizer with mycorrhizal fungi root enhancers. Visit Earth Works Gardens and speak with a staff member about your specific needs.  We carry everything from earthworm castings to bat guano for your specific planting soil amendment needs.

December Lawn & Garden Tips promoting Earth Works Annuals

DECEMBER IS A TERRIFIC TIME TO PLANT TREES & ANNUALS
As previously mentioned December’s cold and dry weather is perfect here in Northeast Florida for planting palms, citrus, and other trees. December and throughout the Winter months is also the time of year to introduce colorful annuals in an otherwise often dormant and bland landscape. Earth Works has a large selection of annuals for your garden beds including petunias, violas, snapdragons, lambs ear, decorative kale, and Dusty Miller. For December we also have beautiful varieties of poinsettias and Anthurium with their long-lasting, heart-shaped flowers in stock.

PREPARE YOUR TENDER PLANTS TO BRING INDOORS
Become familiar with the cold tolerance of your plants and the threat of chilling temperatures above freezing for each. Learn more. Getting your plants acclimated to indoor living after being brought inside requires extra attention to their light and watering needs along with pest management. Our heating systems create far different conditions from those our outdoor plants are accustomed to. Inspect your plants from soil up through the leaves before bringing indoors. You don’t want a pest or disease problem with one plant to damage others by placing together indoors in tight quarters. Be prepared to adjust your plants watering needs, rotating to assure adequate lighting and away from drafts throughout the Winter period.

CONSIDER TAKING UP BONSAI OR ADDING TO YOUR BONSAI COLLECTION THIS WINTER
Bonsai is the Japanese art of growing dwarf trees in pots that can start anytime and last for generations. These potted plants can be started indoors or out with as little as soil, a container, and plant. Earth Works Garden Center Manager Matthew Barlow has decades of experience growing, training, and caring for bonsai plants and is available to answer your specific questions about bonsai. Earth Works likewise has bonsai plants ready to add to your collection or share as gifts and all your specialty products required to start and florish within the bonsai hobby.

December lawn & Garden Tips promoting bonsai

POND CARE CONCERNS FOR DECEMBER
The main concerns involving koi in December revolve around water temperature. Rhonda King, Earth Works Garden Manager, discusses cold water concerns for koi ponds. 

Helpful Cool Weather Tips for Pond Owners:
-Keep a pond thermometer on hand. .
-Switch to cold water food for koi as their digestive system slows down with cooler temperatures.
-Now is the time to schedule your pond clean out before Spring.

SCHEDULE YOUR LANDSCAPE DESIGN CONSULTATION BEFORE SPRING
Winter is the best time to schedule your landscape design consultation to prepare and plan and schedule your installation ahead of the busy Spring and Summer season. With a landscape design consultation and drawing you are better able to budget all or phases of your landscaping wants and needs from improved curb appeal to new plantings, water features and all that goes into making your yard perfect for your vision of high quality outdoor living. It can take weeks, even months, to schedule and implement your plan especially if you wait until the busiest times for the landscaping industry. Don’t wait too late to get your project designed and scheduled to meet your desired completion date.

December Lawn & Garden tips would not be complete without mentioning the availability of gift cards available in any denomination and to note that during the month of December 25% of gift card sales are donated to our local charity a downtown Jacksonville youth learning center the Sanctuary on 8th Street. 

December Lawn & Garden Tips Promoting Gift Cards

Oh I love Earth Works! If you need plants, Pond supplies, Koi fish, yard art, pots/ containers, stautes…this is a great place. Helpful, friendly employees & great variety. Sarah Cantor

.ctct-inline-form { color: #fff!important; } .ctct-inline-form input { width: 100%!important; margin-bottom: 15px!important; color: #fff!important; } .ctct-inline-form label { margin-top: 15px!important; }

Services

  • Landscape Design & Installation
  • Paver Patios, Paver Walkways, Paver Driveways
  • Firepits, Retaining Walls , Seat Walls,
  • Landscape Lighting, Drainage design & Installation,
  • Lawn Care Services, Lawn Maintenance, Lawn Fertilization
  • Lawn Pest Control, Lawn Weed Control
  • Aeration and Top Dressing
  • Water Features, Koi Ponds,
  • Waterfalls, Bubbling Fountains
  • Garden Center & Pond Supply Store

General Services Areas

Jacksonville (Jax), Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Ponte Vedra, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Orange Park, St. Johns, Nocatee

Location

GARDEN CENTER
12501 Beach Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32246

LANDSCAPE OPERATIONS
(not open to the public)
St. Johns Bluff
1057 St. Johns Bluff Rd. N.
Jacksonville, FL 32225

Hours

Monday-Saturday 9-5
Sunday 10-5

HOLIDAY CLOSINGS
New Year’s Day • Easter • Memorial Day
July 4th • Labor Day • Thanksgiving Day
Christmas Eve • Christmas Day

Help Save our Pollinators-Plant a Garden!

What is Pollination?

Pollination diagram

When a pollen grain moves from the anther (male part) of a flower to the stigma (female part), pollination happens. This is the first step in a process that produces seeds, fruits, and the next generation of plants. This can happen through self-pollination, wind and water pollination, or through the work of vectors that move pollen within the flower and from bloom to bloom.

Why do we need pollinators?

Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce.

Pollinating animals travel from plant to plant carrying pollen on their bodies in a vital interaction that allows the transfer of genetic material critical to the reproductive system of most flowering plants – the very plants that

  • bring us countless fruits, vegetables, and nuts,
  • ½ of the world’s oils, fibers, and raw materials;
  • prevent soil erosion,
  • and increase carbon sequestration

This nearly invisible ecosystem service is a precious resource that requires attention and support – – and in disturbing evidence found around the globe, is increasingly in jeopardy.  Pollinator Partnership, 2021. “Pollinators need you. You need Pollinators.”

Published by Pollinator Partnership, San Francisco, USA. pollinators.org

Pollinator facts:

Our pollinators are in trouble with declining numbers worldwide. There are multiple causes including, habitat loss, pesticide use, invasive plants, climate change, and diseases.

In Florida, we have 300 native bees, 160 butterfly species that breed here and about 200 species that migrate through the state, and 3 commonly seen hummingbird species.

Bees are our most efficient pollinators. Practicing “flower Constancy,” searching for certain plants on their foraging trips. They go to and from the same species of flower. Pollinating a third of the world’s food supply.

Searching for nectar, butterflies pick up pollen and accidentally pollinate, not quite as efficient as the honeybee. Yet, several plant species, like milkweed and other wildflowers, depend on butterflies to transfer their pollen.

Hummingbirds are hungry creatures feeding most of the day. This makes them perfect pollinators for many flowers. Certain flower varieties have evolved to become even more appealing to these tiny birds.

Gardening for Pollinators in your own yard can help! As natural habitats are being destroyed to accommodate new development, the importance of gardening to assist bee and butterfly populations is growing. Planting a pollinator garden in your yard helps combat this loss of natural habitats.

Selecting the right plants for your Pollinator Garden

BEES: Honeybees prefer white, yellow, purple, and blue flowers — they can’t even see the color red! Bees also need a nice-sized landing pad, so broad petal, daisy-like flowers are best. Finally, they need both pollen and nectar to feed the hive. So fruit-producing trees and shrubs, as well as native plants, fill the bill.

BUTTERFLIES: If you want a well-attended butterfly party in your yard, invite your local butterfly species by planting their favorite host plants! Butterflies require specific host plant species to lay their eggs on, along with food and shelter. Then add some nectar plants, preferably with red, orange, yellow, and pink trumpet-shaped flowers, to feed your guest.

HUMMINGBIRDS: Brightly colored, preferably red, tubular flowers that hold the most nectar are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. Plant these sugar-rich plants near and around your home and patio areas for the best opportunity to view these elusive and amazing birds.

Bees on gaillardia
Bees on gaillardia

Black-Eyed Susan

Coral Honeysuckle

Marigolds

Lavender

Purple Coneflower

Milkweed

Coreopsis

Gaillardia

Dune Sunflower

Blue-Eyed Grass

Liatris

Alyssum

Agastache Bee Balm

Monarch Butterfly on flowers 1
Monarch Butterfly on flowers 1

Lantana

Penta

Buddleia

Firebush

Salvia

Porterweed

Sweet Almond Bush

Firespike

Black-Eyed Susan

Purple Coneflower

Milkweed

Coreopsis

Gaillardia Dune Sunflower

Hummingbird drinking from cigar plant
Hummingbird drinking from cigar plant

Firebush

Coral honeysuckle

Coralbean

Tropical Sage

Crossvine

Cardinal flower

Necklace Pod

Cigar Plant

Bat face Cuphea

Salvia

Jatropha

Bottlebrush

Shrimp plant Soap Aloe

Important Tips:

Avoid using insecticides and other harmful chemicals in your garden.

Shop the garden centers at different times to select plants that bloom in different seasons.

Fertilize with organic plant foods, like compost and fish fertilizer.

Choose plants for butterflies that will provide food for caterpillars.

Common caterpillar host plants: Milkweed, Parsley, Dill, Fennel, Dutchman’s Pipevine, Passion Vine, Azalea, Cassia/Senna Trees

Butterfly adults need more than nectar from flowers. Try setting out a dish full of fruit scraps. Fill the bottom with a very shallow layer of water mixed with sea salt and watch which butterflies hang around for a snack.

 

 

 

Useful Links:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/AttractingPollinatorsEasternUS_V1.pdf

https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/types-of-gardens/butterfly-gardens.html

Know Your Plant’s Cold Tolerance

Maintaining a lush tropical landscape requires learning about your plant’s cold tolerance and the threat of chilling temperatures above freezing. When purchasing plants for your landscape, it is essential to know which USDA hardiness zone they’re growing in and each variety’s cold hardiness rating. For instance, the large geographic area of Jacksonville, Florida, is USDA Hardiness Zone 9a (20F- 25F) and borders 8a (15-20F) to the West. If the plants in your landscape and collection cannot tolerate temperatures as low as the minimum temperatures then they aren’t considered hardy for Jacksonville’s zone. View USDA Hardiness zones from around the country and find yours by zip code at USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Source UF/IFAS

Avoid planting your most cold-sensitive plants with northern exposure and consider other more hardy plantings around them as wind blocks if you must. It’s common knowledge that houseplants and tropicals won’t survive freezing temperatures. However, there is less appreciation for the fact that chilling temperatures within specific ranges above freezing can also result in plant stress, damage, and death.

“A chilling temperature is any temperature that is cold enough to cause plant injury but not cold enough to freeze the plant,” according to the University of Florida/IFAS. “These temperatures usually range from just above 32°F to about 59°F. Chilling injury to tropical foliage plants is also dependent on the duration of exposure to a chilling temperature.”

Plants are triggered to begin acclimation or hardening in Autumn as daylight hours, and temperatures decline. Non-native plants in Jacksonville’s humid subtropical gardens face more significant fluctuations of temperature in the chilling temperature range than our neighbors in Central and South Florida’s tropical hardiness zones. While Jacksonville has an average October temperature between 81F- 66F, forecasts call for a low of 46F with 10-15mph wind on October 18, 2022. Chilling temperature plant damage can appear as wilting, yellowing, reddish-brown spots, and even mushiness.

“Tropical and subtropical crops such as ageratum, alternanthera, angelonia, basil, celosia, cleome, coleus, cosmos, lantana, pentas, poinsettia, portulaca, sweet potato vine, vinca and zinnia are classified as cold-sensitive because their development stops at a base temperature of 46 F or higher,” according to Michigan State University. “Another group of greenhouse crops is classified as cold-intermediate (or cold-temperate) crops as their development stops at moderately low temperatures of 40 to 45 F. These crops include calendula, dahlia, geranium, impatiens, lobelia, some petunia cultivars, verbena and wax begonia.” Many of our local gardens contain a mix of these plants and others with varied cold sensitivity.

Consider our Overwintering and Indoor Propagation article if you are preparing to protect your houseplants and tropicals during a cold spell and before freezing temperatures are forecast for your area. If chilling temperature damage occurs, ensure the affected plants are watered and avoid the temptation of fertilization, which can stimulate new growth and further stress the plant.

For more information on your plant’s cold tolerance how to protect your plants every season and for comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden and landscaping needs contact Earth Works of Jacksonville at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.

October Gardening Tips For Florida

Consider these October Gardening tips for improved lawn and garden enjoyment during the cooler months ahead of next Spring. These tips are specifically for Northeast Florida gardeners and are heavily influenced by weather changes, including the end of the rainy season, fewer daylight hours, and a 10F degree drop in temperature.

-Pay attention to your plants watering needs as October’s monthly rainfall averages 4′”, a significant drop from rainy season averages between June and September. Although it’s chillier with fewer hours of sunlight, October can still register highs in the 80s, accompanied by windy conditions that rapidly dry out the soil. And remember irrigation schedule water restrictions fall from twice to once per week watering when Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday, November 5, per the City of Jacksonville Ordinance Code Chapter 366.

-You can fertilize your perennials, bulbs, citrus, palms, and other select trees and shrubs during October. However, how often and what time of year to fertilize for maximum benefit can depend on the type of plant and type of fertilizer NPK assay and whether it’s a liquid, powder, or granular. Even though Florida county Fertilizer blackout periods around the state are typically lifted by the end of September, continue being careful to overuse fertilizers and apply them correctly, as they can harm your plants and cause environmental damage.

-If applying a Winterizer fertilizer on our Florida warm-season grasses, do so with a nitrogen-free product and apply before dormancy.

-Consider applying organic mulch to your gardening beds to protect bare roots and soil from falling temperatures and nutrient runoff. Earth Works Lawn Care can provide you a mulching quote.

-Tender warm-season bulbs and tubers such as caladiums and gladiolus can be dug up, inspected for fungus, cleaned of dirt, and stored in peat moss, perlite, or vermiculite in a cool location until Spring planting season.

-Overseeding with ryegrass can be done in October to add Winter color to your dormant warm-season grass lawn. Both perennial and annual ryegrass is available for those considering these October Gardening Tips.

-Houseplants kept outside during the warmer months should be examined for pests and treated accordingly. Continue with your fertilization requirements for your houseplants and prepare to move them and other tender tropicals indoors ahead of any air temperature drops below their healthy growing requirements.

-Prepare the ground for Fall herbs and vegetable garden beds, perennials, and Spring bulbs. Add compost and soil amendments specifically formulated for the growing requirements of your plantings. For the veggie beds, consider planting beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, endive, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, onions, radishes, summer squash, and turnips.

-Continue weeding warm-season weeds, and if considering using a pre-emergent herbicide, apply ahead of the seed germination of cold-season weeds. “Regardless of where you live, the application window for fall pre-emergents should be when temperatures are below 70 degrees and dropping,” according to Sod Solutions. “It should be noted that a pre-emergent herbicide that is applied before you overseed in the fall will keep your seed from growing.”

-Avoid trimming your trees and shrubs except for instances of dieback, disease, and damage. Trimming your trees and shrubs at the wrong time can jeopardize leaf and flower buds that have already been set, resulting in poorer growth and blooms in Spring depending on whether they set their blooms on old or new wood.

-October is a terrific time to plant trees and shrubs as the cooler temperatures reduce stress and facilitate faster acclimation.

-Monitor the water temperature in your koi pond and reduce the amount of food they are fed and consider lower protein formulations available at the Earth Works garden center.

-Aeration and Top Dressing renews your lawn soil with beneficial microbes, and the required micro-nutrients improve oxygen supply to plant roots, and reduce soil erosion and runoff. Earth Works’ lawn care division provides this service. Our garden center likewise has many varieties of high quality soils for your gardening needs.

-This is a good time to begin planning any landscaping projects on your mind with a member of our landscape design team at Earth Works. Along with being a good time to plant it can reduce wait times for ordering products and beats the Spring rush.

For more specific October gardening tips speak directly with a member of our Earth Works Garden Center staff. And for comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden and landscaping needs contact Earth Works of Jacksonville at 904-996-0712. Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, drainage solutions, water features, lawn care service, and lawn spraying.

Earth Works proudly serves clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.

May Lawn And Garden Tips 2022

MAY LAWN AND GARDEN TIPS: WEATHER

We open May Lawn and Garden Tips recognizing that Mothers Day arrives on the second Sunday of this month the second and final month of Spring before the heat and showers of Summer arrive. Daily high and low temperatures increase 5-10 degrees, typically averaging between 70°F and 87°F. As traffic at the neighborhood garden center suggests, May is prime time for working in your yard, and tending to the lawn and garden ahead of Summer. While April rainfall was 5.22 inches and on paper exceeding the 2.93 inch average for the month, 4.5 inches of it came down in only today’s, April 7 & 17. Heavy rain for a few hours followed by days of drought conditions results in soil erosion and stormwater runoff that isn’t optimum for landscapes or the environment. The other four days of rain in April were clustered together with long dry spells most of the month. Our lawns and gardens do better with three weekly rain events that for best results require supplemental irrigation and hand watering during dry periods. Don’t wait until after the damage is done. Look for signs of heat stress and supplement your plant’s water supply, which besides hydration reduces their susceptibility to pests and disease. May is normally slightly drier than April ahead of nearly tripling the rainfall during June and July, when monthly rainfall averages are 6.5 inches. Hurricane Season starts June 1.


MAY LAWN AND GARDEN TIPS: PLANTINGS
Suppose you didn’t get your pollinator-attracting flowering perennials and annuals planted in April. May is a good time in the middle of Spring to keep planting. A few of the long list of bloomers ready to pick out and plant from the Earth Works garden center include Begonias, bougainvillea, coleus, coral honeysuckle, cuphea, hibiscus, lantana, mandevilla, milkweed, passion vines, roses, and salvia. Did we mention palm trees? Yes, we have a wide selection of both small and large, container and field-grown palm trees in stock with designers and staff that can pair you up with the right variety. How about houseplants? Did you make it to our Houseplant Social? Lots of great houseplants are in stock.

It’s not too late to grow herbs and vegetables. While it can be a little late for tomatoes that don’t like the oppressive heat of summer switch from planting seeds to growing seedlings that already have a good start in their growing cycle. Container gardening is a terrific option for starting a wide variety of plants. It allows you to move them to varied light positions and see where they are best suited for your landscape design. Earth Works garden center, landscape designers, and lawn care staff are available to assist you in developing a beautiful, healthy, and manageable lawn and garden.


MAY LAWN AND GARDEN TIPS: PRUNING

In May, your plants should already be putting out new growth, and for ones that aren’t, look for Winter cold, disease, or parasite damage. Prune your spring flowering plants and hedge plants such as azaleas and oleander back after blooming to allow maximum growth ahead of their next bloom cycle on new growth. Remove dead, damaged, and diseased growth. Consider sterilizing your lawn and garden equipment with diluted chlorine/bleach solution to avoid transferring fungus, disease, pests, and parasites from one shrub or plant to another.


MAY LAWN AND GARDEN TIPS: FERTILIZATION

Your fertilization needs are going to depend on the nutrient requirements of your specific plants, soil composition, and fertility. Native plants are adapted to local soil conditions and need less fertilization than plants categorized as moderate and heavy feeders. Heavy feeders such as fruits, vegetables and flowering ornamentals benefit from weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly fertilization that can include a combination of foliar sprays, teas, and time-release granular. We recommend Espoma Organic’s full line of products enriched with beneficial mycorrhizae fungi for improving root function. We stock Espoma Organics Biotone for new plantings planting and other formulations to fertilize established plants.

“Macronutrients are essential for plant growth and a good overall state of the plant,” according to AGQ Labs. “The primary macronutrients are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Of the 60 chemical elements that comprise plants, 16 of them are essential. Of those 16, some are extracted from the air in the form of CO2 or water. These are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. If for now we set aside leaf fertilization and the three above-mentioned elements, the remaining 13 are extracted from the soil. These are divided into macronutrients and micronutrients, all of which are essential for crops.”

Soil pH can bind up nutrients, making them unavailable in slow-release granular. In contrast, foliar sprays deliver those same micronutrients to the plant. Thus, it’s also essential to know your soil pH, a free test with recommendations for amendments where necessary by the University of Florida is encouraged. For more information, read “Soil Testing in Northeast Florida.”


MAY LAWN & GARDEN TIPS: PEST CONTROL

If your soil forms crusts and pools water, it’s compacted and not allowing proper percolation or nutrient absorption. Consider doing core aeration and top dressing to increase the organic matter in your soil and improve soil retention and the bioavailability of micro-nutrients. Be on the lookout for signs of weeds, insects, mold, and fungus in the lawn and garden. We recommend treating Leaf miners and other varieties of sapsuckers with Spinosad, a derivative of the soil bacterium Saccharopolyspora available in Capt. Jacks Deadbug Brew.
Protect pollinators and other beneficial insects by reducing reliance on synthetic controls with spot treatments of organic solutions of neem oil and the beneficial bacteria strain Bacillus thuringiensis sold by Bonide as BT. Be on the lookout for pests and address their potential threats in advance of infestations.

When using weed and feed products in May avoid those with a pre-emergent herbicide and opt instead for the post-emergent as temperatures are above 55F. Reduce plant stress and susceptibility to pests by planting in the best light position and fertilizing appropriately for that specific plant variety. Get a quote for Earth Works Lawn Fertilization and Pest Control service.

For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden, and landscaping needs, contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online or at 904-996-0712.
Earth Works operates a retail Garden Center/Plant Nursery in Jacksonville and provides landscaping, hardscaping, water features, lawn care service, lawn spraying, and drainage solutions.
Proudly serving clients in Northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach, Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Nocatee, St. Johns, Fleming Island, Orange Park,  Middleburg, Green Cove Springs, Amelia Island, Fernandina, and St. Augustine.

 

 

Share Your Story!

Skip to content