February Newsletter: Things to Do in the Garden

Things to Do in the Garden

Fertilizing:

Wait until the end of February/ early March before fertilizing your plants, palms and trees. We recommend Nurserymen SureGro slow release granular Palm Fertilizer 8-4-12, 6-8-10 for blooming trees and flowering plants.

Citrus and fruit trees need to be fertilized this month to ensure an abundance of blooms and growth. If you have had previous problems with scab disease or fungus disease, now is the time to apply Copper Fungicide when the new leaves are appearing and again when two-thirds of the flower blossoms have fallen.

If you have had a problem in the past with a small amount of blooms producing fruit here are some things to check:

1. Nutrition – are you using the right product in sufficient quantities?

2. Irrigation – do you have spray heads that hit your tree directly? This will knock flowers and small fruit off- hence no or little fruit.

3. Spraying – never spray trees when they are in bloom!

4. Bees – have flower sources to attract bees to your yard- bees pollinate citrus.

Often we are asked why fruit is not as sweet as previous years. Cold temperatures will make the fruit sweeter but more importantly, how much fruit is on your tree plays a large role. If you have a bumper crop of fruit the sugar has to get distributed farther-thus getting diluted. Thin out the fruit to have larger tastier fruit.

We recommend Nurserymen SureGro Fertilizer 8-8-8 with all the micronutrients that your fruit trees will require. Fertilize middle to the end of February for Citrus trees. Regular fertilizer and water of 1” per week are also important. See fertilizing guide on our website – Click Here!

Blueberries should be fertilized now too with an acid-loving fertilizer such as Nurserymen SureGro 14-14-12. Blueberries prefer frequent light fertilizations.

Citrus becoming ripe this month will be Temple Oranges, Dancy tangerines, Honey Murcott Tangerine, Minneola (Honeybell) Tangelo.

Trimming:

Deciduous trees (like elms and crape myrtles) and some shrubs may be pruned now with some exceptions such as azaleas, gardenias and hydrangeas and any other spring bloomers. Trim camellias only if they are done blooming. Reshape your hedges now as there will be a large flush of growth happening in another 3-4 weeks and you won’t have to look at twigs quite as long when they flush out.

Trim Crape Myrtles toward the end of the month if necessary. Trim lightly to shape, remove crossing branches and suckers. Topping Crape Myrtles will not only shorten the life of the tree, create fewer flowers it will result in long, leggy weak growth that will bow over when flowering especially in heavy summer rains.

Pruning Citrus is not required however it can be done in late February or early March. Selectively prune the citrus tree- no shearing! Find a growth bud and make an angled cut just above it. Do not be afraid to keep the tree shorter to make picking easier.

Citrus is not completely cold hardy and young trees (under 5 years) should be protected whenever temperatures are below freezing. Cover the graft as well as the top of the tree. Water the tree well the day before to assist with moisture aspiration from the freeze. In addition, trees that has a large amount of fruit on them as less cold hardy as most of the nutrition goes into the fruit which makes the trees weaker.

Click here for an article on the proper pruning techniques!

As mentioned citrus trees are grafted with the top of the tree being the scion that are added to a variety of rootstocks. NEVER allow rootstock (below the graft) to grow! This will cause your tree to get taken over by the rootstock and you will no longer have an orange or grapefruit or whatever. If you are unsure if it is coming from the rootstock you can tell from the leaves- leaves on the main tree will be single whereas leaves on the rootstock are trifoliate (or three grouped together). If in doubt, ask us!