What to Expect in Your Gardens During La Nina

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has been saying since October, that weak La Nina conditions are in place, and there is a better than 50% chance that it will remain through April 2018. Typically La Nina means we have warmer than average temperatures and less than average rainfall. It’s likely we’ll have a winter similar to last year. What should we expect as gardeners? Probably fewer disease issues with certain plants (i.e. tomatoes, especially that spring-early summer crop), that is some good news. But with dry conditions, we can expect more spider mite problems, especially on junipers. So monitor those plants by checking weekly for problems. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in307
What about lawns? Warm-dry conditions will mean that if you have St. Augustinegrass (i.e. ‘Floratam’, etc.) it will need some supplemental irrigation during the winter, but not necessarily once-a-week. Why less? Simply, the days are short, and the nights do cool down, promoting the grass to go into a semi-dormant state. Overwatering especially in the winter is a common reason for disease issues. Things to watch for: if the leaf blades roll lengthwise, the turf turns a “dull green” color, or footprints remain after you walk across the lawn, you need to water the lawn on your next watering day. http://bay.ifas.ufl.edu/lng/files/2014/03/Let-Your-Lawn-Tell-You-When-to-Water.pdf
J. Moll, FFL Program Manager, Pasco Extension

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