December Newsletter: Citrus, Trimming & Pests

Citrus

We recommend that you wait until spring now to plant any citrus. However, you can keep it in the container until spring to make it easier to protect. Even though Citrus are much cold hardier than a hibiscus, a hard freeze (when temperatures fall below 32 degrees for more than 6 hours) may cause freeze damage to the tree.

Newly planted trees that have not even begun to root in will suffer much more than a well rooted tree. The cost on citrus is also much more than basic shrubs and trees because a lot more work has gone into the growing process. At the start the plant is grafted onto a hardy citrus root stock. Florida citrus growers are required to follow strict, state guidelines during the growing and shipping process and are subject to many inspections throughout the year.

If you wish to prune citrus November to January is the best time to do this. It is not necessary however, some homeowners like to do so.

Trimming>

Now that plants and trees (like crape myrtles) are going dormant, many people get the urge to run out and trim. Delay pruning until late January or February, when plants are completely dormant. Then you may begin to trim crape myrtles, shade trees, deciduous fruit trees and hardy shrubs.

You should wait to prune winter or spring blooming plants like azaleas, gardenias and camellias until after they bloom.

Palm trees should only be trimmed when the frond is 80% brown. Trimming green fronds will remove food source from the tree which can put them in distress. Palms like Sylvesters, Pindos, and Robellinis should all have a rounded look – with the fronds being parallel to the ground. Sabals and queens should never be trimmed to look like giant carrot tops!

Clean up- take some time to clean up dead leaves and debris from around summer plants. If you plant a few winter annuals around the perennials it won’t be so obvious when the perennials get hit by frost. The annuals will look beautiful until spring and then the perennials will be returning!!

Pests

While pests will become fewer with the approaching cooler weather, scale and particularly mites are active. Mites enjoy the dry weather so be vigilant for damage from them- especially on junipers or cypress.

Continue to “scout” your garden for problems and stop by the Garden Center for advice on any issues that may arise.