October Tips & Tricks for South Florida Landscapes

The hot days of summer are now gone and the first cool (not cold) front to reach South Florida, has been delivered. Cooler temperatures brings with it the opportunity for us to go outside and enjoy our landscape & garden areas. This month we will be discussing several ways to help improve these environments.

Grass: to control winter weeds in lawns it is best to apply a time released pre-emergent fertilizer to your grass before they first appear. Most pre-emergent’s work best when the nighttime temperatures drop to 60 degrees for several consecutive nights. With Centipede grass and Bahia grass, use only a fertilizer and NOT a weed-n-feed. This will be the last fertilization on the turf area for the year. Whether you’re using a weed-n-feed or a time released granular product, it is important to get it in the grass’ root system before it shuts down or goes semi-dormant.

Ornamental shrubs & trees: October is also the last month of the year to make sure all plants, shrubs and trees are fertilize. After fertilization is completed, a good two-inch-layer of mulch, using any type, will help enhance the look of your landscape for the upcoming holiday seasons. Mulch also adds value by retarding weeds from germinating & keeping moisture in the root zones.

Palm trees: Palms should be fertilized this month with a granular time release 8-2-12 with minor elements added in.

Bedding plants & bulbs:    Even though temperatures are still warm, preparation for our bedding plants should begin. Adding a new well draining potting soil, and incorporating 6 month granular time release fertilizer into it is recommended. Top soil holds water while potting soil has better drainage, which in turn allows annuals to thrive. To get the longest life out of your annuals, it is recommended planting annuals when the temperatures are consistently in the mid 80’s daytime, 70’s at night. If planted when it is still to hot out, they will grow too fast and not last as long. Bulbs should be planted as soon as possible.

Vegetables, Herbs, & Strawberries
Preparing your vegetable garden is a must for October. Top off your vegetable garden with additional soil as well as compost, prior to planting. A wide variety of vegetables, herbs & even strawberries from seed or from starter trays can be grown to produce crops throughout the winter months. Strawberries can also make a colorful and tasty container planting. All should be watered daily until there root system has been established.

Water conservation is still in effect in South Florida allowing for watering only twice per week. Irrigation should be based on the rainfall. Too often with sprinklers being automated, they go on even when it isn’t necessary. Excessive watering will only promote winter weeds such as dollar weed (a fungus) to grow in the turf and look unsightly.

Proper recommended heights for mowing turf is essential for keeping it free of weeds, bugs and disease. St. Augustine & Bahia should be 3″-4″, Centipede 1.5″-2″, Dwarf St. Augustine 2.5″, Zoysia grass 2″

Now that we’ve supplied you with some useful  information, get out there and make your landscape look beautiful. Once again “Thank-You” for stopping in to check out our monthly post.

I hope the above helps you with tips to improve your landscaping. If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Special thanks to UF IFAS extension for some helpful information provided to this post. If you need help regarding your landscape, we at Garden Services are fully licensed & insured to handle all of your irrigation, landscaping, maintenance and tree service needs whether it’s a residential, commercial or homeowner association property .