The beginning of a New Year is a great time to evaluate your lawn, landscape and garden and to formulate resolutions for the New Year that will lead to improvements. Otherwise, you’re likely to move well into 2016 making the same old mistakes that resulted in failures and frustrations with your lawn, landscape and garden.
To help with this, I will offer a seminar titled New Year’s Resolutions for your Landscape that will identify common areas where homeowners make mistakes and help you with ideas for improvements.
Now is a good time to do a walkthrough of your grounds and see if you can identify areas for improvement before the 2016 growing season begins. Make notes if necessary and visually inspect your lawn and landscape plants.
Make decisions on which plants to do away with, which to keep and which that might benefit from being moved to a more appropriate location.
Identify problem areas in the lawn and attempt to determine why those areas aren’t doing so well. Decide if renovating and replanting with grass is your best option. Or, something other than grass may be the best option, particularly if there is a history of problems with grass in a specific location.
Many people water too much and fertilize too early in spring. Correcting these practices can improve your lawn next year.
We should water our lawns, landscapes and gardens on an as-needed basis. Cutting the irrigation timer off and operating the system manually would solve many problems.
It’s best to wait until your lawn is completely green before fertilizing. This will not be until around mid-April. Fertilizing a North Florida lawn earlier than this wastes fertilizer and may injury your lawn.
A good resolution might be to start composting. Converting yard debris to compost has many benefits, including reducing the amount of solid waste that must be disposed of and it provides an excellent soil amendment that improves our sandy soils.
Learning how to avoid unnecessary pesticide use by following proper cultural techniques would be a terrific resolution. And, when pests do show up, learn how to use the most environmentally friendly techniques to manage them.
I will cover these topics during the presentation on New Year’s Resolutions for your Landscape at the Crestview Library’s First Tuesday Series program on January 5, 2016.
The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and there is no cost to attend. The library is located at 1445 Commerce Drive (behind the Post Office). Call the library at 682-4432 or the Okaloosa County Extension Office at 689-5850 for more information.
Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent, Okaloosa County, December 21, 2015
The Northwest Florida Gulf Coast Beekeepers Association is hosting its first annual workshop on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at Florosa Elementary School, 1700 Highway 98, Mary Esther. Open to the public, the eight hour event will feature hands-on demonstrations of how to raise bees, collect honey, and build beehives. Guest speakers will include Doug Corbin, retired state apiary inspector; Andrew Finch, Florida State Apiary Inspector, Dorothy Lee, Escambia County Extension Office, Dr. Russell Mizell, Professor of Entomology at the University of Florida; Dr. David Westervelt, Apiary Inspection Assistant Chief of the Florida Department of Agriculture, as well as speakers from the NWF GC Beekeepers Association. The topics will include introduction of beekeeping, honey and the cottage food industry law in Florida, and understanding bee behavior.
Registration for the 8:00 am - 4:00 pm event begins at 7:00 am. $30 registration fee per person includes up to two members per household. $10 per child age 10 and under. Register before March 21, 2015 and receive a $10 discount. Registration fee also includes a lunch fish fry. Contact Tracy Tucker at 850-292-4530 or Lessie Hostillo at 850-830-0468 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also visit The NWF Gulf Coast Beekeepers Association website at www.nwfgcba.com.
With cold temperatures again in our forecast here in North Florida, be prepared to cover the more cold sensitive landscape plants. But remember that covering a plant without additional heat is primarily a method of protecting against frosts rather than freezes. Drape the covering to the ground to trap heat under the covering. It’s best to use cloth rather than plastic. Heat from an ordinary light bulb placed under the covering will provide additional cold protection.
Leave cloth-type covers such as sheets and blankets over plants as long as temperatures are dropping to freezing at night and are rising to no more than the 50s during the day. But remove plastic covers when temperatures rise above freezing. Remove all covers when night temperatures are consistently above freezing. Leaving plants covered day after day may cause them to break dormancy under the warm covering. They will then be more susceptible to cold injury during the next freeze.
Cold weather will come and go throughout our North Florida winters. Be prepared to protect your prized plants each time freezing weather is predicted. Resist the urge to prune and fertilize too soon. As spring approaches, you’ll have a better idea of what survived and what did not.
How Dead Trees Benefit Wildlife
One of the management issues that any landowner will face at some point is what to do when a tree dies in the landscape. The logical response is “cut it down,” but the Wildlife ask that you reconsider.
Start the Year Off Right - Plant a Tree!
Most of us begin a new year with resolutions–to exercise more, to eat right, to spend our time more productively–but few things have as many lasting impacts for the future as the simple act of planting a tree.
The Chinese privet, Ligustrum sinense, is a plant that is well known to many people as a great nuisance in the landscape. It is also a Florida noxious weed because of its invasive nature.
Panhandle Ag Update 1/16/15
Panhandle Ag e-News is brought to you each week by the UF/IFAS County Agents and Extension Specialists serving Agriculture in Northwest Florida.