December Newsletter: FAQ’s & Lawn Care

Frequently Asked Questions???

1. I tried the fruit on my citrus tree and it was sour! How do I know when my fruit is ripe?

All citrus trees have a suggested time period of maturation. First know what type of tree you have and when you might expect it to be ripe.

• Early Season (October to January): Naval Orange, Marsh Grapefruit, Hamlin Oranage, Ruby Red Grapefruit

• Mid Season (December to February): Pineapple Orange, Star Ruby Grapefruit, Minneola Tangelo, Murcott (honey) tangerine, Dancy Tangerine

• Late Season (March to June): Valencia Oranges

• Meyer lemons- November to March

• Keylimequat- September to spring in this area or mild years- Year-round

The best “rule of thumb” is the taste test. Once your fruit is “in season”, take one off and try it. If it is too sour or not ripe enough, leave it for another couple of weeks and try again. Remember, your dooryard fruit may not be the color of the grocery store fruit to be ripe and it will not ripen off the tree.

2. I put Weed & Feed on my grass three to four weeks ago and it did nothing for my weeds! Why not?

There are two types of weed products available to the homeowner: one is pre-emergent weed control and the second is post-emergent weed control. Products like weed and feed are pre-emergent. If you can see the weed in your grass- it will not change that. Pre-emergent herbicides control the seeds in the ground that will become weeds. Post emergent weed control are products like Round Up ® or Weed B Gone ® These will kill existing weeds but use with caution- these products do not know the difference between weeds and grass or plants. Look for a product that is a post emergence that works well on dollar weed and other annoying lawn weeds. “Dollar Weed Control” (Fertilome)- is a product that is a post-emergence control of a variety of annual and perennial broadleaf weeds. The 17lb bag covers 5000 sq ft and may be applied at any time of the year. This product is suitable for St. Augustine, Zoysia, Centipede (except in winter) and Bermuda. Not appropriate for Bahia grass.

3. Can I move plants/trees now?

In December to January many plants and shrubs will be dormant and can safely be transplanted. To prepare a very large plant for transplanting, use a shovel to cut a deep circle around it about a month before moving. By cutting the wide roots like this you are encouraging a new series of roots closer to the plant to grow. This will help get it re-established. When ready to move, be sure to dig a few inches in from the circle you cut. Make sure to have the hole ready where the plant is to go in advance. Water well once replanted to keep the roots moist until well established. Do not put fertilizer in the hole or on the plant when re-planted- this can burn the roots. Fertilize when well established again.

4. What do I need to do to protect my plants from the cold?

Plan ahead for freezing temperatures if you have plants that you know will suffer damage. Bring plants that are in containers inside for the night. Cover plants with frost cloth to help keep them warmer. We at VerdeGo offer a heavy weight frost cloth that is what professional growers use. When covering plants, remember that frost damage on foliage may still happen when the cloth sits on the foliage but keeping the plant and roots warm so there is a better chance of recovery, is your goal. The morning of a predicted freeze, water your sensitive plants with the garden hose to help assist with the moisture loss that will happen with the freeze.

Lastly, if your plant gets nipped with frost at all- do not run out and trim it! As hard as it may be to look at it for a couple of months- trimming it will expose more of the plant to freezing. Wait until spring to trim!

Palm Issues to Watch for:

There are number of issues that can cause problems to Palm Trees and being vigilant is definitely the first step in taking corrective measures.

1. Fusarium Wilt: Fusarium Wilt is primarily observed on Queen Palms and Washingtonia Palms. This disease is caused by a fungus. The fronds will have a distinctive look in that one side of the frond dies off leaving the other side intact. There is also a distinct reddish brown or dark brown stripe on the frond itself. The disease starts on the oldest living leaves and progresses upward until the palm is killed. This can happen within two to three months. Due to the fast decline the dead fronds do not droop or break, giving the palm a “freeze dried” appearance. This is a serious problem and if you suspect this, please have it looked into immediately as it can transfer to other palms and there is no cure. Not disinfecting tools prior to and post trimming are thought to be an issue for transfer of this disease.

2. Lethal Bronzing: is another disease that has been making an appearance in our area now. This disease has been seen in sabals, sylvesters, and queens. Similar to Fusarium Wilt, this disease also will start with the oldest fronds causing them to die and eventually making it up the new growth (or spear) at the top which kills the tree. The first distinctive symptom though is fruit dropping prematurely. This is also a very serious problem and again, if you suspect this to be the case, getting the tree diagnosed immediately is recommended. This tree would have to be removed quickly as well to avoid transfer. Not disinfecting tools likewise is known to be an issue for this disease.

3. Ganoderma or Butt Rot: is also a very serious problem that can attack any palm tree. The classic symptom of this disease is not only the decline of the palm but a noticeable fungus or shelf type mushroom growing at the base of the palm. The trunk will often be quite soft as well. This palm would have to be removed very carefully and all equipment sterilized after so as not to spread spores.

With all of these problems, it is not recommended that palms be planted back in the same areas ever. If you ever suspect you have any of these issues, call us for an opinion and we will recommend a certified arborist who can do a sample for testing to confirm.

Lawn Care for December

St. Augustine, Zoysia Grass and Bahia don’t require any products for the month of December.

You can relax and enjoy the Holiday season!