To-Do List: Central Florida

R. L. Rhodes
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Summer is finally here, and with it comes a long checklist of garden chores! Although the pace has slowed a bit from our spring planting, there is never a shortage of gardening tasks. Follow this checklist to keep your summer garden looking great in the heat.

  • Plant heat-tolerant annuals and vegetables. Annuals such as celosia, portulaca, vinca and some varieties of coleus thrive in the heat. Good vegetables to plant in June include sweet potatoes, okra and southern peas.
  • Plant palm trees. The warm, rainy season is also a great time to plant palms—try cabbage palm, Canary Island date palm, dwarf palmetto, needle palm, windmill palm and pindo palm. Check with your local Cooperative Extension office for a more complete list of suggested plants and palms.
  • Fertilize annual flowers. Annuals are heavy feeders; use a slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy foliage and an abundance of blooms. Follow package directions to avoid overfertilizing.
  • Prune trees and shrubs. Lightly prune summer-flowering shrubs and trees such as oleander, crape myrtle and hibiscus. Be careful to prune only for shape; avoid “topping” shrubs and trees, which can permanently damage their form. Prune to maintain an attractive shape, or to remove unusual growth and dead or diseased limbs.
  • Mow the lawn frequently. Warm-season grasses such as St. Augustine, zoysia and Bermuda grass should be mowed to 2 inches height. Keep a regular mowing and watering schedule for best lawn growth and appearance.
  • Water lawns, container gardens and the landscape. Irrigate lawns less frequently but more deeply to promote deep roots. June is typically the start of the rainy season in Central Florida, so be sure to monitor the garden and lawn if rainfall has been spotty, and water as needed.
  • Treat pest and disease problems. Lawn pests and diseases are very active during the warm summer months—be aware of brown spots and grass that pulls up easily due to pest-damaged roots. Keep pests and diseases managed with early intervention, using the appropriate products and following package directions. If you are unsure what pest or disease you have, consult with your outdoor garden experts at The Home Depot for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
  • Fertilize orchids. Many orchids are actively growing now, and will benefit from a diluted liquid fertilizer treatment in June.

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