New Year’s Resolutions are a time when you reflect on the past and set goals for personal improvement. The Florida Gardener has a great opportunity to make some resolutions that can benefit any landscape. I’ve often been asked “What are some suggestions for all residents in this coming year?” Here are some of my practical resolutions.
Your first resolution should be to tend to the weeds. This one is best kept when you focus on small area that you can manage then slowly expand to include adjacent beds. Over time, you will have maintained a considerable area without it overwhelming you.
Your second resolution should be to learn the names and needs of the plants in your landscape. By learning a few plants each year for example trees one year, shrubs the next, you are better able to identify the invasive weeds from the needs of desirable plants. If you need help, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Volusia County https://www.volusia.org/services/community-services/extension/ office for more assistance.
Your third resolution should be to test your soil before you begin planting any vegetables or flowers by taking your soil to a laboratory and learn what your lime and fertilizer needs are—eliminate the guessing.
Your fourth resolution would be to enhance understory areas with mulch to conserve water, and keep areas cool while minimizing weed growth. This practice is great to use around young trees to keep the lawn mowers from damaging newly formed bark, which leads to canker later. Limit your turf plantings to areas that you can manage. To prevent your turf from being stressed, I’d recommend removing no more than one third of the leaf blade at any one time. Bahia and St. Augustine requires 3 ½ – 4” in mowed height. Avoid mowing the grass when it is wet and slippery. It can encourage turf disease. Finally, leave the clippings on the lawn. They help to bring nutrients back to the lawn.
Your fifth resolution would be to scout regularly for insect pests and diseases in the landscape. Identifying the good bugs from bad bugs. By acting early, you can assess whether good bugs are doing their job or if you need to act further by applying alternative chemicals. This holds true for any disease or nutrient deficiency.
Finally, I’d like to suggest enrolling a Horticulture class or become a master gardener and teach others about the fun of growing and maintaining plants. Stick to the following resolutions and suggestions or go to http://www.solutionsforlife.com and you can enjoy healthy and wonderful plants all year long.