May Lawn And Garden Tips For Northeast Florida
MAY WEATHER IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
May lawn and garden tips starts with recognition that this is the second and final full month of Spring as temperature increases heading to Summer. “Daily high temperatures increase by 5°F, from 82°F to 87°F, rarely falling below 74°F or exceeding 93°F,” according to weatherspark.com. “Daily low temperatures increase by 7°F, from 62°F to 70°F, rarely falling below 53°F or exceeding 74°F.” This is the peak plant production period for many plants before some stifling in the coming Summer months. Average Jacksonville rainfall for May is 2.5 inches, which is slightly lower than April but much less than the approximate 6.5 inches June and July averages.
MAY PLANTINGS IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
May is prime time for planting pollinator-friendly flowering plants in Northeast Florida. Lantana, milkweed, salvia, begonia, coleus, cuphea, and passion vines are but a few of the long lists that bloom and are ready to plant from your neighborhood garden center. In addition, consider warm-season herbs and vegetables, including basil, okra, peas, rosemary, and sweet potatoes for growing in May. It is wide open season on getting started with container gardening, potted plants, and houseplants. Earth Works garden center, landscape designers, and lawn care are available to assist you in developing a beautiful, healthy, and manageable lawn and garden.
MAY PRUNING IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
Our May pruning tips for Northeast, Florida start with the recognition that April and May are times when most of your trees and shrubs are putting out new growth. Consider replacing the deciduous trees and shrubs that don’t appear to be coming back from the Winter cold, disease, or parasites. If plants including crape myrtles, hibiscus, and roses aren’t showing signs of budding with new growth on bare branches, prune back judiciously, looking for live wood before removal and replacement. Prune your Spring flowering plants and hedge plants such as azaleas and oleander back shortly after blooms subside to allow maximum growth ahead of their next bloom cycle on new growth. Plants with dead growth that are damaged, diseased can cut out at any time.
MAY FERTILIZATION & SOIL AMENDMENTS IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
May lawn and garden tips emphasizes fertilization schedules that vary greatly among ornamental plants, fruits, and vegetables. Fertilization needs depend on the soil fertility for starters and the nutrient requirements of the specific plants. Native plants are adapted to local soil conditions and need less fertilization than plants categorized as moderate to heavy feeders. A benefit to consults with a landscape designer is their horticultural knowledge in assisting you to devise a plan that takes plant care and fertilization into consideration. Heavy feeders such as Bird of Paradise can benefit from biweekly fertilization during their growing season. In contrast, Florida native plants require very little fertilization, although mulch and composted soil amendments will more closely mimic their native soil constituents than not.
“Of the 17 elements essential for plant growth, eight are micronutrients: boron (B), chlorine (CI), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn) and nickel (Ni),” according to Ohio State University. “Micronutrients are essential plant nutrients that are found in trace amounts in tissue, but play an imperative role in plant growth and development. Without these nutrients, plant nutrition would be compromised leading to potential declines in plant productivity.” In addition, foliar fertilization helps deliver micronutrients otherwise unavailable by broadcast methods of slow-release fertilizers in high pH soils. Thus, it’s also important 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 CARE IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
If suffering from soil compaction, consider doing core aeration and top dressing with soil amendments that will facilitate the bio availability of micro-nutrients and provide better water retention ahead of extreme Summer conditions.
“Keep your St. Augustine between two to four inches in height,” according to Sod Solutions. “These heights slightly vary for different brand names of St. Augustine. For example, Palmetto should be maintained at a height of 1.5–2.5 inches whereas CitraBlue should be kept at a height of 2.5–3.5 inches during the spring.” Although St. Augustine grass is the most common turf in Florida there are numerous other varieties that do best if not scalped too short. Keep your mower blades sharp and water adequately.
MAY LAWN & GARDEN PEST CONTROL IN NORTHEAST FLORIDA
As part of May lawn and garden tips be on the lookout for any signs of weeds, insects, mold, and fungus in the lawn and garden. Good weather for the lawn and garden is likewise suitable for insects and other pests. Chinch bugs, sod webworms, grubs, and mole crickets are a few that begin successive life cycles in untreated lawn turf in Spring ahead of Summer rains. Meanwhile, many other pests will feast on the roots, stems, leaves, and fruit of ornamental plants, citrus, and vegetables in the garden. Aphids, lace bugs, mealybugs, nematodes, scale, and whiteflies are a few of the common pests that can devastate the garden.
Know that the insects, both beneficial and otherwise, outnumber us. “In the world, some 900 thousand different kinds of living insects are known,” according to the Smithsonian. “Most authorities agree that there are more insect species that have not been described (named by science) than there are insect species that have been previously named. Conservative estimates suggest that this figure is 2 million, but estimates extend to 30 million. “
A healthy lawn and garden are best not left to chance but better managed with a proactive insect management plan. Address the potential threats in advance of infestations and be vigilant in inspecting the landscape for signs of new arrivals.
May is too late for best results with pre-emergent herbicides as soil temperatures are above 55F, at which point seeds began bursting onto the scene. However, pre-emergents can continue to be a useful though less practical part of your insect management plan. May is prime time for post-emergent herbicide applications on the weed seedlings, vegetative & flower stages when average temperatures are between 65F and 85F. Biologic controls such as the bacteria bacillus thuringiensis are an organic resource for pest control. In addition, good cultural practices are a good starting point for nurturing healthy populations of beneficial insects that lower pest levels in an ecologically friendly manner.
The healthier the plant with proper nutrition and planted in the proper location for its needs, the less susceptible the plant will be to pests and subsequent decline. A few examples include June-drop in Florida citrus beginning in May. Don’t worry so much about the flower drop that won’t hold fruit as the more significant the flowering, the lower the percentage of flowers producing fruit to harvest. Stress from insufficient water and nutrients and other environmental conditions, including pests, can increase the adverse impact of June-drop. There is a myriad of interactions between plants and insects in the landscape, with most being benign while others can cause great harm. For example, the bronzing of leaves on recently bloomed-out azaleas results from lace bugs that can cause tremendous damage if not controlled with biological controls such as green lacewings, lady beetles, or insecticides.
For comprehensive solutions to your specific lawn, garden and landscaping need contact Earth Works of Jacksonville online and at 904-996-0712.
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