If you’ve been gardening for more than a few years, you may be confused by UF/IFAS recommendations that conflict with practices you’ve used for years. You aren’t imagining things, we do change recommendations based on the most current research available to help you with your agricultural endeavors.
I want to share a few common mistakes that gardeners make based on old recommendations but that research has shown are not the best choices. Check out the list below to see if you can break an old habit or two!
|Old Habit||Current Recommendation|
|Throw a little “starter fertilizer” in the hole (or under new sod, seed, etc.)||It is not beneficial to add fertilizer to plantinghole or under newly installed sod.Quick release (soluble) fertilizer may burn roots if added to planting hole.If applied properly, a slow release fertilizer may be applied to trees and shrubs but should be applied to the top of root ball or mulch following label instructions.Turfgrass grown from seed, sprig, or sod does not use fertilizer efficiently at planting. Wait 30 days to apply fertilizer – after roots have been established.|
|Dig the hole twice as deep and wide as the root ball for trees and shrubs||1.5 times the width of the root ball is good, but planting too deep can be a death sentence.Planting depth should be 10% shallower than the distance from the topmost root to the base of the root ball.|
|Mulch 3-5 inches deep||2-3 inches with a very thin layer directly over the rootball (less than 1 inch) and none touching trunk. This is the ideal amount to conserve water and suppress weeds.|
|Native and drought tolerant plants don’t need water||All plants need water until established – depending on the type and size of the plant, weather, and soil conditions this may take months.Always plan to give a little TLC to newly installed plants no matter how tough they are supposed to be.|
For more information, including great illustrations on proper planting techniques please visit Specifications for Planting Trees and Shrubs in the Southeastern U.S. and Establishing Your Florida Lawn.