Plumbago

To do lists—either you love them or hate them. Personally, I love lists. I have lists in my work office, in my home office, in my car, on the nightstand and on the kitchen counter. I find writing down things I need to take care of calming. If it’s not written down, chances are I won’t remember it, at least not on a timely basis.

Water less: Decrease landscape irrigation frequency based on rain events and temperature. Consider turning off your irrigation system at the time clock and watering only when plants need water.

Mulch more: Mulch should be two to three inches deep after it settles. Be sure to pull it away from the stems of plants and decrease the depth to one inch over root balls. Mulch retains moisture, adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes and regulates soil temperature.

Feed: Fertilize citrus and avocado trees with citrus and avocado fertilizer. This is the last time of the year to fertilize bahiagrass and St. Augustine grass. If you haven’t taken a soil test indicating the need for phosphorus, choose a fertilizer that has minimal or no phosphorus.

Lawn weeds: Preemergent herbicides suppress weed seed growth above the ground. This herbicide has to be applied when nighttime temperatures are 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit for four to five days. Read the label. Timing is everything, and there is a big difference between preemergence and postemergence products and application times of the year.

Insect control: Check for pests and correctly identify the alleged pest. Many good bugs look similar to bad bugs. When we kill good bugs, we have to take on their job of helping rid our landscapes of bad bugs. There are many environmentally safe pest solutions available.

Divide and conquer your perennials: Dig and replant in your own landscape or dig and gift them to a friend or neighbor. Examples include bromeliads, flax lily, blue daze whirling butterflies, beach sunflower, scorpion tail, liriope, firespike, walking iris, plumbago, porterweed, pine cone ginger…and the list goes on.

Plant: You can plant fall vegetables (beets, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, collards, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips and more). It’s a great time to plant shrubs and trees that are cold-hardy. If you like bedding plants/annuals, you may want to consider seasonal plants like petunia, dianthus and pansy. Refer to the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021.

Walk around your landscape and admire what you have accomplished. Take a few photos and relax.

So, for those of you who love lists too, here’s my list of fall gardening to do’s adapted from the Central Florida Gardening Calendar: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep450.

For horticultural assistance, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County at 744-5519 or visit at 5339 CR 579 in Seffner. Stroll through the Bette S. Walker Discovery Garden, our perennial garden and Girl Scout Troop-created Pollinator Garden.