June Newsletter: Citrus & Fruit, Vegetables & Herbs

Citrus & Fruit

Your citrus trees should have flowered and set some fruit by now. As your citrus tree grows you are sure to experience “leaf miners”- little grey squiggly lines in the leaves. These little critters are harmless for the most part- just causing cosmetic damage however, if you are plagued with them try using to Spinosad to control them.

Your trees will start to drop some of the small fruit they have set if they haven’t already done so. This will help reduce the amount of fruit on the tree so you have less fruit but juicy delicious pieces as opposed to more fruit that are “bullets”!

First year trees should be allowed to thrive “fruitless” to develop and mature for the following years. Dropping fruit allows the tree to use the available nutrients for the remaining fruit production as well.

Do not mulch around citrus trees. If you need to kill weeds around the tree hand pull them. Citrus roots do not like to be covered with mulch as the grafted rootstock can be sensitive to foot rot. Keeping grass and weeds away are equally important for the same reason.

Most deciduous fruit trees should be progressing now too. Peaches, nectarines and blueberries should be ripe by now and your figs and persimmons fruit should be set.

Scout your fruit trees regularly to ward off potential problems early. If you suspect a problem, bring in a sample to our staff to help diagnose the problem and assist with finding a solution.

Vegetables & Herbs

Crops that can still be planted in June include lima beans, okra, peas and sweet potatoes. Most tomatoes will be ripening rapidly now and peppers and squash should be continuing to progress. Be vigilant for pests as summer rains often bring more pests.

Herbs can handle the summer heat, but the heavy summer rain can prove challenging. If you have the option of moving your herbs (in containers) to an area where they are less likely to get flattened by heavy rain it would be better for them. Otherwise, just make sure that your beds drain well.

Problems with Turf

As the summer rains approach we start to see more issues with grass in people’s yards.  One problematic fungal disease is Take-All Root Rot. This fungal disease is usually triggered by high rainfall and stressed turf areas.  Stresses can be mowing too short (no more than 1/3 of the grass should be cut and only as needed); over fertilizing; and over watering.  Of course, we can not control the amount of rain we get but we can control the other factors. First symptoms are irregular yellow or light green patches with isolated black lesions.  Roots will also be short, black and rotted. If this is something you have experienced in your yard previously now is the time to take action.  Fungicides are best used preventively, meaning they must be applied prior to symptom development.  Fungicides can be applied at least one month prior to the time when above ground symptoms are normally observed.  Application should continue once a month until the weather is no long conducive to disease development. Fungicides should be lightly watered into the root zone after application.

Watch for brown patch fungus in wet weather and chinch bugs in dry weather on St. Augustine grass. Also be vigilant for sod web worms- the first clue will be swarms of moths when you walk through your yard.  Seek advice if you see these.

Likewise, if you have plants that have had bad fungus issues in the high heat, humidity and rains of the summer previously- now is the time to start using fungicides to keep the problems at bay.