August 2014 newsletter
Our favorite Garys
Florida gardener's almanac
is a way of showing
you believe in tomorrow!
monthly timetable of gardening chores:
Height of Summer! Here’s a list of things to do in your
Suncoast Garden this month.
Trees and Ornamentals. Shop for a fertilizer that contains
or timed-release nitrogen. To determine the correct amount of
fertilizer to use, simply divide the first number on the fertilizer bag
(which represents nitrogen) into 100. Apply this amount per 1,000
square feet of lawn and landscape area. Broadcast the fertilizer over
the soil or mulch and water. The nutrient and water absorbing roots of
trees and shrubs are concentrated in the upper 6 to 12 inches of soil
so there is no need to punch holes in the soil--simply water the
lacebug infestations. Examine plants weekly. These
sucking insects attack azalea, pyracantha, and sycamore producing
whitish speckling on the upper leaf surface. Shiny black spots of
excrement can be found on the underside. Treat when necessary with an
insecticide or horticultural oil.
Spray roses to
prevent black spot and powdery mildew disease.
Symptoms of black spot are dark, round spots with yellow halos followed
by dropping leaves. Purchase a fungicide labeled for the control of
these diseases and follow label directions.
muscadine grapes after harvest. Mature, producing vines
should receive 4 to 6 pounds per year of 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 with 25% to 30%
of the nitrogen from slow release sources. Split applications are more
efficient than a single application so use 1 1/4 to 2 pounds per
application and apply three times per year (recommended times are late
March, May and just after harvest).
outdoor potted plants. Soluble fertilizers should be
applied frequently during the spring and summer months. Or a slow
release fertilizer, such as Osmocote can be applied once or twice
during the season.
and cycad deficiencies. Queen palm, paurotis palm,
and king sago frequently develop manganese deficiencies. Look for
yellow, brown, or distorted growth on new leaves. Foliar sprays of
manganese sulfate (not to be confused with magnesium sulfate) at a rate
of 1 teaspoon per gallon along with one pound of manganese sulfate
applied to soil will correct this deficiency on the next flush of
matter to garden soil. Grass clippings, leaves,
manure or compost are all suitable as soil amendments. Till it in, wait
two weeks and have soil pH tested. County Cooperative Extension offices
offer soil-testing services.
vegetable seeds directly in the garden or seed bed. Sow
watermelon seeds by the 10th, but delay planting others until
mid-month. Sow seed no deeper than twice its diameter.
flower and seed heads from annuals, perennials and crape myrtle.
Prune off old flowers to encourage blooming.
Groom roses to
enhance fall bloom. Remove dead and dying twigs
and reduce length of excessively long canes. This is a neatening, not a
poinsettias for the last time. Flower buds initiate
in October. Pruning after September 10 results in small bracts
(flowers) or none at all.
Take 4 to 6 inch cuttings of tip growth. Remove
lower leaves. Dip cut ends in rooting hormone and stick cuttings in a
sterile, moist soil mix. Cover soil and cuttings with a clear plastic
bag. Place in strong, indirect light.
plants during the rainy season. June through September
are usually rainy months. New plants require frequent irrigation to get
established, but you can reduce work and water by taking advantage of
according to the needs of plants. Lawn grasses and
vegetables may need 1/2 to 3/4 inch of water twice a week in summer.
Water the lawn when 30 to 50% of the lawn shows signs of wilt
(blue-gray color, folded blades). Place a few shallow cans or glasses
in the irrigated zones and measure how much your sprinklers apply.
Adjust your timer schedule accordingly. Landscape and fruiting plants
will suffice with 1 inch of water per week. A rain shut-off device will
override an automatic irrigation system in the event of rain.
Sources: Florida Home Grown; Florida Gardening Month by Month
Our next meeting is on Sunday,
August 17th at 5pm. We will be in South St. Pete, at Phil's
house in Maximo. He warns that his patio is usually very hot, but
his pool is always inviting! If you plan to swim, please remember
to bring a towel. He will be giving a talk on own of his specialties,
either palms, crotons, bromeliads, bamboo, or whatever strikes his
fancy this time. I'm sure he will be giving an update on the Dr.
Young/Gizella Kopsick Palm garden transplant. 700 cycads don't
cross the bay by themselves, unless you are in a sci-fi movie (think
Day of the Triffids).
You will need to bring a chair this month. Water and
ice will be provided. We will have our usual pot-luck, so try
cooking skills on this appreciative audience. Don't forget to
bring a plant for the raffle and maybe a few dollars for the 50/50
Baseball raffle - the pot is up in the $50's.
If you plan to
bring a guest, please email
Joe so he can make your guest a nametag.
to Members page
This month I am going to talk about what is probably my least favorite
plant in my garden - the Sea Grape (Coccoloba uvifera
When we bought our house 42 years ago, it came with a 5 foot tall Sea
Grape tree just outside the kitchen window. The previous owners
told us it was the first thing they planted when the house was built,
so it was already 17 years old and still a small tree, so we had no
reason to find fault - it was the Spring and the tree was all pretty
large round green shiny leaves. The leaves are large,
approximately 8 - 12 inches in diameter.
Before I go on, I should tell you that the Sea Grape is a tropical,
flowering member of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae
It gets its Grape name because it produces fruit at the end of
summer in a cluster of 2" green fruit like grapes, that is mostly seed,
but makes a nice tasting jam. This fruit is rare in that the
seeds cannot be saved for later planting. They must be planted soon
Sea Grape trees are very salt tolerant so they are used along most
tropical coastlines to help with sand retention. They are at home
in full sun, though they can tolerate partial shade. They can
withstand temperatures down to about 38 degrees, although they cannot
tolerate frost for any length of time. Ours is still going strong
over all these years.
They make great ornamental plants as they are little care. The
DOT has been planting them along the interstate in the past few years
as they are hardy, grow quickly to 25 feet tall, and are good sound
barriers. Interestingly, they are also quite popular in Bonsai.
So why is this the least favorite plant of mine? Well, we have a
circular driveway that is adjacent to the tree. When the leaves
wither, they turn brown and get very leathery before they fall off the
tree. In the winter, these large dry leaves get blown across the
driveway and sound like someone kicking a tin can! It can be a
very noisy tree!
future meeting locations
I am very
pleased to announce that we have a full schedule of meeting locations
for the rest of the year. Now the chore is to find speakers
willing to give us gardening presentations. If you are
interested in giving a 30 minute presentation contact me.
June - Frank G.
July - Gary and Gary in Seminole Heights
August - Phil Stager in Maximo
September - Dan B. in Sarasota
October - Jesse and Don in Sarasota
November - John and Norm in Palm
December - open
Spring - Island's Bamboo in
*** special announcement