A Gardening Newsletter for Santa Rosa
Green Garden News
Volume 2, Issue 3
Flowers four times during the growing season
• Annual flowers that can be planted in beginning in March and ending in Sep- Inside this issue:
March include: ageratum, alyssum, tember. Broadcast the fertilizer under
amaranthus, asters, baby’s breath, be- the canopy of the palm.
gonia, calendula, celosia, cosmos, • Last opportunity to spray shrubs with Wait Until After 2
Danger of Frost to
dahlia, dusty miller, gaillardia, geranium, a dormant horticultural oil.
Fertilize Your Lawn
hollyhock, impatiens, marigold, nico- • Pick up all fallen camellia blossoms
tiana, ornamental pepper, pentas, phlox, and remove them from your property. Bed Preparation 2
rudbeckia, salvia, sweet william, torenia, This practice helps to prevent petal and Maintenance of
verbena, vinca and zinnia. blight next season.
• Caladium bulbs are extremely sensi- • Prune ornamental grasses. Proper Timing of 3
tive to cold soil. There is no advantage Lawn Preemergent
to planting early. Purchase caladium Vegetable Garden Herbicide
bulbs while there is a good selection, • This is the month for establishing a Upcoming Events 4
but wait until late March or April before spring vegetable garden. Early March
planting them in shady beds. plantings have about an even chance Questions & 5
of avoiding a late frost.
Trees and Shrubs • The warm season vegetables that
• Finish pruning summer flowering can be planted this month are: bush
shrubs such as althea, hibiscus, abelia, beans, pole beans, lima beans, canta-
oakleaf hydrangea and oleander. loupes, sweet corn, cucumbers, egg- The Institute of Food and Agricul-
• Delay the pruning of azaleas, camel- plant, okra, southern peas, peppers, tural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal
E mp loyment Opportun ity -
lias, spiraeas, gardenias and other sweet potatoes, pumpkins, summer Affirmative Action Employer
authorized to provide research,
spring flowering shrubs until after flow- squash, winter squash, tomatoes and educational information and other
ering is complete. watermelon. services only to individuals and
institutions that function without
• Prune any cold weather-damaged • The cool season vegetables that can regard to race, color, age, handi-
cap or national origin.
plants after new growth appears. be planted this month are: beets, car- U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRI-
• If needed, fertilize shrubs and small rots, celery, collards, endive, kohlrabi, CU LT URE , C O O P E RATIVE
EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVER-
trees with a slow release fertilizer. A leek, lettuce, mustard, bunching on- SITY OF FLORIDA, IFAS. FLOR-
IDA A.&M. UNIVERSITY COOP-
good general-purpose landscape fertil- ions, parsley, English peas, Irish pota- ERATIVE EXTENSION PRO-
GRAM, AND BOARDS OF
izer is a 15-0-15. toes, radish and turnips. COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
• Mature palms should receive a com- Lawns COOPERATING
plete granular fertilizer especially formu- • Rake dead grass to allow new grass The use of trade names is solely
for the purpose of providing
lated for palms ("palm special") three to specific information. It is not a
(Continued on page 6) guarantee, warranty, or endorse-
ment of the product names.
Wait Until After Danger of Freeze to Fertilize Lawn
It's best to wait until your lawn has uniformly fertilizing a home lawn.
greened up before applying fertilizer. Fertilizing too When to fertilize? With our warm-season
soon can cause more problems than good. grasses (centipede, St. Augustine, Bahia, Ber-
There are a number of reasons why it's best to muda, zoysia and carpet grasses), it is best to wait
wait to fertilize your lawn. First, the soil temperature until the grass has completely greened up in the
is too cool for the grass roots to have access to spring before applying any fertilizer. Most years, I
some fertilizer elements. Certain elements such as don't fertilize my centipede lawn until well into the
iron and potassium are poorly available to the roots month of April.
until the soil warms up in the spring. Some of the nu- Waiting allows for more efficient use of fertilizer.
trients may leach below the grass roots because the Centipede, Bahia and carpet are low-fertility
grass can't use them yet. This results in a waste of grasses. They will grow at their best with fewer
fertilizer and money. problems when fertilized only once or twice per
Second, the new, tender grass roots are easily year - once after green-up and possibly a second
burned by fertilizer. application during the summer.
And third, fertilizing too soon can result in tender St. Augustine might also get by on one spring
top growth, which can easily be burned by a late application; however, it is more common to apply a
frost. The average date for the last killing frost in this second application during the summer. Bermuda
area of Florida is mid-March. I'm not saying we will and zoysia will require fertilizer applications two to
have another frost, just encouraging you to be cau- three times over the growing season. Over-
tious. Waiting until after the danger of a killing frost fertilization promotes thatch, turf decline and pest
will not damage your lawn. problems.
Some people want to jump-start their lawns be-
fore our weather will allow our grasses to grow. The -by Larry Williams, Extension Agent, Okaloosa County
following information provides basic guidelines on
Bed Preparation and Maintenance of Annuals
The time spent preparing the planting bed is im- grow much better with a continuous nutrient supply
portant if you are to be successful with annual flow- and labor is reduced since controlled release fertil-
ers. Flowerbeds should be spaded or tilled at least izer application frequency is less than for rapid re-
six inches deep several weeks before planting. Flor- lease fertilizers. Controlled release fertilizers can
ida's sandy soils have very low capacities for hold- be incorporated uniformly throughout the soil be-
ing nutrients and water. Incorporation of 2 to 3 fore planting and applied on the soil surface of es-
inches of organic matter into planting beds will in- tablished plantings.
crease the nutrient and water retention of these Annuals purchased in
soils. Organic materials such as leaf mold or peat compartmentalized plastic
should be thoroughly mixed into the soil. flats usually have pot bound
Garden soils, especially in recently developed root systems. If planted in-
areas, are frequently infertile. Flowerbeds should be tact, the root system will be
fertilized prior to planting or at planting time and re- slow to establish in the sur-
peated on a monthly basis. Apply 6-6-6 or a similar rounding soil and plants will
complete fertilizer at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 suffer moisture stress. A
square feet of bed area. Controlled release fertiliz- preferred method is to
ers are ideal for Florida's sandy soils. Plants usually (Continued on page 4)
Green Garden News
Proper Timing of Lawn Preemergent Herbicides
What “weed-n-feed” do I buy and when do I put it that time. Therefore, a weed-n-feed applied in early
out? This is a common question and a difficult question March may be effective for weed control but the fertilizer
to answer. The proper timing of weed control measures will not be utilized by the grass. The fertilizer will either
can be confusing but, as we know, timing is everything be used by the existing winter weeds or leached through
when it comes to gardening. the soil and could end up in our groundwater. If the
To sort through the confusion of weed control, re- weed-n-feed product is applied appropriately for the fer-
member that we have two broad classes of weeds-- tilizer effect (when the grass has totally greened up)
summer and winter weeds. The weeds you see in your then the preemergent herbicide was applied too late to
lawns in February are winter weeds. They actually ger- be effective against the weeds. If you have the time, it
minated last fall. To control existing winter weeds with a is best to apply fertilizers and herbicides separately and
herbicides would require a postemergent type herbi- at the time appropriate for each.
cide. Most weed-n-feed products contain a preemer- Of course, no article on weed
gent type herbicide and would have little, or no, effect control would be complete with-
on winter weeds if applied now. Preemergent herbi- out emphasizing that the first
cides are those that are effective in preventing weeds. and best method of weed con-
Preemergent herbicides are applied BEFORE the trol begins with proper manage-
weed seed germinates. We have two windows in which ment practices that encourage a
to apply preemergent herbicides. To reduce summer dense, healthy turf. Weeds are
weeds, apply the herbicide when day temperatures nature’s way of filling a void. If
reach 65° to 70°F for 4 to 5 consecutive days. If you there is no void, you are less
tend not to monitor temperatures, a good rule of thumb likely to have weeds. Before
is early March. This generally is around the time the deciding to use any weed con-
azaleas and dogwoods bloom. For winter weeds, apply trol, first try to find out why the
the herbicide when nighttime temperatures drop to 55° turf has thinned, allowing weeds to invade.
to 60°F for several consecutive days, which is going to There are several management tools to consider
occur in early October in North Florida. when attempting to grow a healthy, weed-free lawn.
Now that we know when to apply a preemergent her-
bicide, the question is which one to use. In order to de- 1 Select the Right Turf Species: Select the right
termine the correct herbicide, you must know a couple turfgrass for your particular area. Be especially
of things. First, it is very important to know the type of aware of the light conditions. Areas that are shaded
turfgrass you have. Turfgrasses have varying toler- will support only a few turfgrass species.
ances to preemergent herbicides. For example, 2 Practice Proper Cultural Practices: Ensure that
Atrazine is safe to use on centipedegrass but is not reg- your lawn is properly fertilized, watered, and
istered for use on bahiagrass or bermudagrass. The mowed.
second thing you must know is the class of weed you 3 Control Traffic: Foot and vehicle traffic compacts
expect based upon past growing seasons. There are the soil. Turfgrasses will struggle to survive in com-
about 100 weeds that are common in lawns but they pacted areas but certain weeds, especially
can be grouped into three classes—broadleaved weeds, goosegrass and certain sedges, will grow well in
grassy weeds and sedges. Once you know the class of compacted areas.
weed you have and your type of turfgrass, then you can 4 Control Problems: Turf that has been damaged by
determine which preemergent herbicide to use. Just insects and/or disease may not always recuperate
look in the UF/IFAS publication titled “ Weed Control quickly enough to out compete the weeds. If you
Guide for Florida Lawns” (Fact Sheet ENH-84) available notice a problem, be sure to get an accurate diag-
at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu//pdffiles/LH/LH03300.pdf or call nosis and implement the appropriate treatment.
your Extension Office.
So how effective is a “weed-n-feed” product? A Many people I talk with routinely apply herbicides.
weed-n-feed product enables a fertilizer/herbicide mix- This is not a recommended practice. Only apply herbi-
ture to be applied in a single application. While this is a cides if you have experienced a weed problem that can-
very convenient product, proper timing of the application not be controlled by other methods. And as always,
is difficult. Here in the Panhandle, we know that read and follow label instructions!
preemergent herbicides should be applied in early
March. However, our grass is usually still dormant at -by Theresa Friday, Extension Agent, Santa Rosa County
Green Garden News
March 8, 2004: What Can You Do With One swers. Space is limited, so arrive early. For more
Bunch? (Ways to use a single bunch of flowers). information call 623-3868.
A “hands on” floral design program hosted by The
Pensacola Federation of Garden Clubs. Classes March 25-28, 2004: Festival of Flowers. Mobile,
will be held at the Garden Center, 1850 N. 9th Ave. AL. For more information call (251) 639-2050 or
from 9:00 AM to noon. Pre-registration and pay- visit http://www.festivalofflowers.com/.
ment required 10 days prior to class. Call 850-
432-6095 to register. March 27, 2004: “Weed Identification,” by Deila
Hiebert, a Santa Rosa County Master Gardener.
March 11, 2004: “Ornamental Vegetables for Bring a bouquet of your weeds for identification. It
Northwest Florida” presented by Dr. Jamie Gib- will be held at the Navarre Library on James M.
son, Assistant Professor, University of Florida. Dr. Harvell Road. Registration begins at 9:00 AM.
Gibson will provide this program as part of the next Classes run from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM, with addi-
meeting of the “Friends of the Milton Gardens.” tional time available for questions and answers.
The meeting is scheduled for 6:00 PM on the UF/ Space is limited, so arrive early.
PJC Milton Campus in the main PJC Administra-
tive Building. This quarterly meeting and program April 2,3 and 4, 2004: Emerald Coast Flower
are open to the public and everyone from north- and Garden Festival. The PJC/UF-Milton Cam-
west Florida with an interest in gardening is en- pus hosts the 7th Annual Emerald Coast Flower
couraged to attend. For more information call 983- and Garden Festival the first weekend of April. The
5216. festival includes an indoor flower show competi-
tion, vendors that sell plants and garden related
March 13, 2004: “Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs items, and educational displays.
and Roses for the Gulf Coast” Sally Menk, a
Santa Rosa County Master Gardener and Consult-
ing Rosarian, will give this presentation on flower- For persons with disabilities requiring special accommodations, please contact the
ing plants. It will be held at the Navarre Library on SRC Extension Office at least 5 working days prior to the program so that proper
James M. Harvell Road. Registration begins at consideration may be given to the request.
9:00 AM. Classes run from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM,
with additional time available for questions and an-
Annual Bed Preparation (continued)
(Continued from page 2) black plastic mulches. The addition of organic mat-
loosen and untangle the root system without break- ter over the plastic reduces heat absorption and
ing the soil ball. Plants recover rapidly and estab- masks the artificial appearance of black plastic.
lish quickly. Tall and spindly plants should be Mulching materials should not come in contact
pruned to half their original size to produce more with plant stems. The high moisture environment
attractive plants with more flowers. created by mulch increases the chances of stem
Weeds should be controlled either by hand rot which can result in plant death.
weeding or mulching. Black plastic mulches should Annual flowers require more maintenance than
never be used except when a layer of organic most other landscape plants. However, their bril-
mulch (woodchips, pine bark, etc.) is added on top liant colors add an atmosphere of warmth and life
of the black plastic. Temperatures of 117-119°F to a landscape which more than justifies the addi-
have been recorded 1 to 3 inches above uncovered tional maintenance.
-by Dr. Bob Black, Dr. Bob’s Gardening Tips
Green Garden News
Questions and Answers
Q: I've been smelling something awful in my 934-5278. This is only a single line, so you may
mulched rose garden near my front door, and get a busy signal at times.
now I'm seeing a bunch of pinkish-red things
that look like some kind of weird mushroom/ Q: I plan to establish a centipedegrass lawn
fungus sort of thing, and I'm pretty sure that's from seed this spring. When is the best time to
what's causing the smell. Could you please do this?
help me identify it and tell me how to get rid of A: Seeding is an acceptable method of starting a
it? centipede lawn, but don’t get in a hurry. This grass
A: What you describe is probably what is com- doesn’t germinate well until the soil warms up. The
monly called a “stinkhorn”. This is a common recommended planting time is April through June.
name for a family of mushrooms, the Phallaceae. Follow soil preparation and seeding instructions
They come in many shapes, sizes and colors but carefully and be patient. Even under good condi-
they all have one thing in common—a horrible tions it takes about 3 weeks for seedlings to germi-
smell. The smell attracts insects. When insects nate.
visit the stinkhorn, they bathe in the mushroom’s
spore “ooze”. They then fly away and disperse the Q: When is the best time to put lawn dressing
mushroom spores. out? Also, what type of lawn dressing is best
The stinkhorn emerges from a structure just be- to use? Does it need to be aerated? If so, be-
low the soil surface known as a “witch’s egg”. fore or after putting out the lawn dressing?
These are more common in rich, moist soil or
mulch where they live on decaying organic matter.
A: Aerification and topdressing are usually used
to control thatch. Thatch is a collection of plant
The good news is that the stinkhorn is short-
matter that makes the turf feel “spongy”. Thatch
lived and they do not cause plant damage.
usually develops in highly managed (over fertilized)
There is no treatment for this problem other
than quick removal as soon as it is observed, or
Aerification decreases thatch by allowing better
smelled. Be sure to remove all parts of the mush-
penetration of air, water, fertilizer, etc. Topdress-
room, including the witch’s egg and place the en-
ing decreases thatch by bringing soil microbes and
tire structure in a sealed bag for disposal. Do not
moisture into contact with the thatch and speeds
attempt to compost or bag them for plant recycling
up the decomposition process. Topdressing can
pickup because they will create problem for others.
also be used to level out an uneven, bumpy lawn.
As with other mushrooms, they live on decaying
Topdressing should begin in early spring after
organic matter in the soil so tilling the soil may
the grass has come out of dormancy and is ac-
speed up the decomposition process. However,
tively growing. Light, frequent topdressing pro-
the mushrooms will return each spring and fall,
vides quicker results compared to heavier applica-
when the weather is cool and there is sufficient
tions. Topdressing should not exceed 1/2 inch per
rainfall, until their food source is depleted. Some-
times they are imported into a landscape with
Topdressing material should be weed and
mulch so be sure to purchase mulch from a reliable
nematode-free soil of the same type on which the
source to avoid these smelly homesteaders.
turf is growing.
For more information review the UF/IFAS publi-
Q: I live in the Navarre area and calling 623- cation titled “Thatch and Its Control in Florida
3868 is long distance for me. Do you have a Lawns.” It’s available online at http://edis.ifas.ufl.
toll free phone number? edu/LH029, or call you local Extension Office for a
A: Yes, we just had a new toll free line installed copy.
for the Holley/Navarre/Gulf Breeze residents. It’s
Volume 2, Issue 3
(Continued from page 1)
to grow. This will also increase the effective-
ness of fertilizers and pesticides applied to the
lawn. Santa Rosa County Cooperative
• If a pre-emergent lawn herbicide is needed to
control summer weeds it should be applied in
early March. Make certain to choose one that is 6263 Dogwood Drive
safe on your kind of grass. Milton, FL. 32570-3500
• Keep lawn herbicides away from the root
Newsletter compiled by:
zones of desirable flowers, shrubs and other
• Fertilize the lawn only after the danger of frost
has passed and when the grass has greened Theresa Friday
up. Fertilize using a complete fertilizer applied Extension Agent I
at 0.5 lb nitrogen per 1000 sq ft 50% slow- Environmental Horticulture
release nitrogen. Phone: 850-623-3868 or 934-5278
• Service the lawn mower: include a sharpening E-mail: email@example.com
of the blade and adjusting of the cutting height Website: http://www.co.santa-rosa.fl.us/
for your type of grass. santa_rosa/extension/index.html
• Anyone considering establishment of centi-
pedegrass from seed should hold off until the
soil warms up and stabilizes above 70°F.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY EXTENSION SERVICE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
6263 DOGWOOD DRIVE US POSTAGE PAID
MILTON, FL 32570-3500 MILTON, FL
PERMIT NO. 68
THIRD CLASS BULK RATE
PENALTY FOR PRIVATE USE $300
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER