From Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida
by Gene Joyner, Extension Agent
Monthly Garden Calendar
month could prove to be cold especially towards the middle of the month
and also February might see some cold temperatures or at least low
enough to do some damage. Make sure that you’re not doing
anything to push new growth on tropical fruits. Hold back on
fertilization and don’t water excessively and keep plants in a
Some discoloration and dropping of leaves
this time of year is normal on many tropical fruits and it will get
worse if we get lower temperatures. Most plants will not start
doing any type of strong new growth until mid to late February. The
exception would be things like mangoes, which are putting out flowers
now and in fact some have been blooming since December. If we get
temperatures down into the upper thirties through, the bloom which is
coming out now will not hold fruit or if fruit is already set it will
abort in many cases.
Insect and disease problems should be
minimal this time of year because of our cooler temperatures, but you
still need to inspect plants at least weekly to check for potential
problems. Some people are doing installation of fruit trees this time
of year and if you are planting them from containers and not disturbing
the roots this is OK.
Make sure newly installed trees though are
watered frequently until they become well established, There’s no
need to fertilize new trees for at least four to six weeks after
month low temperatures might still occur so watch tropical fruits
carefully and protect sensitive ones if cold temperatures
threaten. Many people cover small plants with such things as
sheets, bedspreads, or blankets and this provides fairly good
Large trees though can’t be covered easily and
it’s always a good idea to water these thoroughly before cold
weather threatens and if you have the ability to have overhead
irrigation, turn that on when temperatures get down to around 34
degrees and provide sprinklers as cold protection. Once started
through sprinklers must run continuously until the next day until
temperatures get back up above 34 degrees.
Many tropical fruits
that were damaged last month have shed a lot of leaves now and in some
cases may be putting forth replacement leaves. Don’t do
anything though to encourage too much growth this time of year.
Wait until the end of the month to fertilize until we’re sure
most cold temperatures are not going to be a problem.
you have things that you want to plant you might wait until the end of
the month to put these into the ground just to be sure because
sometimes freezes occur as late as the first week in March.
month we should be free of any damaging cold temperatures and most
tropical fruits are putting out large amounts of spring growth.
Lychees, longans, mangoes, avocados and many other spring flowering
tropical fruits are also putting out their blooms now.
haven’t already fertilized, do so immediately to insure that the
new growth coming out on most tropical fruits has adequate amounts of
nutrients for proper growth. Use a good quality complete
fertilizer with all secondary or micronutrients, especially iron,
manganese and magnesium.
If you have container plants that have
been sitting around and waiting to go into the ground, now is a good
time for the installation of any types of container tropical fruit or
ornamentals. Make sure they are put in areas that have adequate
light and good drainage and there’s no need to fertilize for at
least three to four weeks following installation.
restrictions on in many areas make sure that plants are watered
adequately on the days you’re allowed to water. Trees,
which become dry or stressed from lack of moisture, will drop flowers,
developing fruit and leaves.
Some insect activity might be
noticed on new emerging growth so inspect plantings at least weekly and
look for sighs of potential problems.
Tropical fruits now are putting out a lot of new growth and flowers,
and if you forgot to fertilize last month, do so as soon as possible.
When plants are growing rapidly they good amounts of nutrients for
proper growth and if you haven’t fertilized since last fall trees
may not have enough for normal growth.
Check new growth, too,
for insect activity since some buildups of aphids, whitefly and scales
are being reported. This is a good time for plant propagation; so if
you want to root cuttings, do air layering or grafting, don’t put
it off. Also if you have seeds that haven’t been planted, plant
them immediately so that they will come up quickly and get off to a
If you’re installing new plants into the
landscape, make sure they are watered regularly for the first several
weeks until they are well established and there’s no need to
fertilize newly planted tropical fruits until at least four weeks after
they have been planted.
Trees that have completed their
flowering earlier in the year are now dropping large amounts of newly
set fruit, particularly mangoes and avocados. This is normal as
the trees thin out and reduce fruit down to a level they can safely
carry. Make sure though that the trees are not allowed to get dry
or stressed since this will increase fruit loss.
of our tropical fruits that bloomed earlier in the year are now finally
starting to mature their fruit and this marks the beginning of our
heavy spring and early summer fruiting for many tropical fruits. Some
tropical fruits are still not growing as good as they could be because
of our dry conditions, but hopefully at the end of this month
we’ll start our summer rains. Make sure that trees are
being watered at least once or twice a week if we are not getting
sufficient rainfall in your area.
This is a great time for
propagation of all types of tropical fruits and grafting, air layering,
or rooting cuttings shouldn’t be that difficult for 6he nest
several months. If you have trees that you haven’t pruned
yet, remember hurricane season starts next month and it might be size
to thin out and reduce the size especially of bigger trees to avoid
them getting uprooted should high winds threaten.
activity, particularly chewing insects is on the increase, but a few
products are labeled for use legally on most tropical fruits. Chewing
insects usually won’t kill plants, but they do make the
appearance unsightly until the plant can have time to regrow
If you’re looking to add new tropical
fruits to your landscape, this is an excellent time for buying and
planting any types of new plants. Area nurseries that deal in tropical
fruits have good inventories at this time of year so you should be able
to find that special fruit you’re looking for.
month officially starts our rainy season, which will be welcome since
we've had such an unusually dry spring with several inches less than
our normal rainfall in most areas. This is also a time of year that
many plants need their summer fertilization. Any good quality
complete fruit tree fertilizers are acceptable. Follow manufacturer's
directions as to application rates.
If you have young trees or
newly transplanted older ones, these can be fertilized every other
month for the first year to help get them well established. Hopefully,
with the regular rainfall that should be occurring soon as we now are
in our summer rainy season, trees will grow a lot better for the next
Weeds can be a problem with all the extra
moisture, and if you aren't using mulches, mulches help keep weeds from
competing with trees. This is a great time for doing many forms of
propagation, too, such as grafting, air layering, rooting cuttings or
planting seeds from fruits that are maturing at this time of year.
you're doing grafting, you may have to put newly grafted seedlings in
protected areas so they don't get too much rain. In some cases
this could affect the graft unions if they are not well wrapped.
tropical fruits now are probably looking as good as they have all year
with our regular summer rains now. If you forgot to fertilize
last month, do so this month with good quality fruit tree fertilizers
containing all micro-nutrients.
If you have new trees that have
been planted recently, fertilize them every six to eight weeks for the
remainder of the year. Larger trees that have been established need to
be fertilized every three to four months. Make sure fertilizers
are watered in following application unless it rains quickly. If
you have mulch around trees, simply scatter the fertilizer over the
mulch and let it be washed through by rain or irrigation.
is an ideal time of year for continued propagation of tropical fruits
and all forms of grafting, budding, air layering or rooting cuttings
should be successful. Also if you’re planting seed this
time of year they should germinate quickly with the warmer soil
temperatures. Make sure seeds are kept lightly watered so they
don’t dry out during the germination process.
splitting is occurring on certain tropical fruits and this is due to
heavy localized rains. Make sure you’re not contributing to
the problem by heavy irrigation practices with frequent
sprinkling. Often this problem resolves itself as we get later
into the summer, but there’s nothing you can do about it except
possibly harvest the fruit earlier and ripen it off the tree.
we’re in hurricane season, too, if you have trees that are
getting too big for their assigned landscape space, it wouldn’t
hurt to reduce the size of these that if we should get a storm later in
the year you wouldn’t suffer the risk of large limbs being broken
off or the entire tree being uprooted.
Some increases in insect
activity has been reported on certain tropical fruits, but normally
pests don’t reach high enough levels to do serious damage during
the summer months. Most dooryard trees certainly can withstand having a
few leaves damaged without having to resort to the use of chemical
If you do have enough pest buildup that spraying is
required, use insecticidal soap or other similar safe products that
don’t run a risk of injuring the host and yet still will control
the insect problem.
time of year tropical fruits should be growing well because of our warm
temperatures and frequent rainfall. If you have plants in
containers that you haven't set out into the landscape yet, don't put
it off any longer. We don't have but about another two months of
rainy season left, and after that you will have to give newly installed
plants much more attention.
If you're doing propagation, this is
a good time for budding, grafting, air layering, rooting cuttings, or
planting seeds, and many of our fruits that have matured earlier in the
year have supplied abundant seeds for your use now. If you haven't
completed all your summer pruning, do so as soon as possible so plants
have the benefit of our warm temperatures and frequent rainfall to make
a rapid recovery.
Weeds are reported to be a major headache in
many properties, so wherever practical, mulch fruit trees out several
feet from the trunk to keep weeds from becoming major competitors for
water and fertilizer. Mulches also break down and form additional
nutrients over time, and during the dry season help keep soil moisture
from evaporating as quickly.
Fruit splitting of thin skinned
tropical fruits is still happening due to our frequent rainfall, but
there's little that can be done to stop that. Make sure the trees
that are having fruit splitting problems are not being irrigated by
lawn sprinklers which will add to the problem.
month traditionally has been the worst so far as hurricanes and
tropical storms, and we may get some strong winds and heavy rainfall.
Trees that are heavily laden with fruit run a high risk of having fruit
strippedby high winds or having limbs broken because of the wind's
effects. If you have pruning that needs to be done on tropical fruit
trees to make them more wind safe, do so as soon as possible.
expect thin-skinned fruits to have more problems with fruit splitting
this month, which is our rainiest of the year. Little can be done to
stop that, but don't aggravate the problem by having trees get
irrigation from sprinkling systems. Usually there's more than enough
natural rainfall to supply a tree's needs for moisture this month. If
you live in areas away from the coast that are low lying and have high
water tables or standing water during periods of heavy rain, you may
have problems with fruit trees in those locations that don't like root
systems kept too wet. Many tropical fruits are very sensitive to being
flooded even for a single day. A good example would be papaya, which
will die if standing water is around it for more than one day. Avocado
is also known to be highly sensitive to wet feet. If you have areas
that do periodically have standing water or high water tables, choose
tropical fruits that are known to have high tolerance to moist soils.
Such examples as sea grape, mango, sapodilla, and rose apple will take
standing water without any ill effects.
This is a good time of
year for plant propagation, and if you have seeds from summer fruits
that you wish to plant they should germinate readily. Remember, don't
cover seeds too deeply since they germinate best with only a quarter to
a half inch of soil or potting media over the top of them. Grafting,
air layering and other forms of propagation also work well this time of
year, so this is a good time to get new plants ready for planting out
this fall or next spring.
month we officially begin our dry season, although often the first week
or two in October still sees a lot of typical afternoon thunderstorms.
This month is the time for the fall fertilization of all your
landscaping, including fruit trees. Use a good quality complete
fertilizer and don't put this off because many trees after this month
will start their slowdown for the upcoming winter season.
are doing propagation such as grafting or air layering, that's okay,
too, but after this month it may take a lot longer for these practices
to be successful. Seed can still be planted pretty much anytime, but as
we go later into the fall months, seeds will be a little bit slower to
If you haven't finished pruning damaged trees the way
you'd like, that should be completed this month. Pruning very late into
the fall often will encourage a lot of tender new growth to occur and
this could be injured during early winter cold fronts.
If you have
plants in containers that need to be planted, don't put that off. Get
them into the ground now so they have plenty of time to get established
before cold weather arrives.
tropical fruit trees now are starting a slowdown of growth, which is
normal for the upcoming winter season. Don’t encourage a
lot of heavy growth after this month since we can get frosts or freezes
in December, which could do damage if the trees are in a strong flush
Complete pruning activities if not done earlier in
the year and check trees regularly for signs of any pest or disease
problems. You can still install trees into the landscape even through
next month if they are still in containers. Make sure newly
planted trees are watered faithfully for the first several weeks to
help promote speedy establishment. Some staking may also be
required on larger newly planted trees to insure that they are not
tipped over or blown over by strong winds.
You can still do
propagation this time of year such as grafting, air layering, or
rooting cuttings, but it will take a little bit more time since plants
are in a slowdown of growth. Now that we are getting drier
conditions, too, some plants are starting to thin out their foliage and
drop older leaves. As long as it’s only older leaves that
are dropping, not new fresh ones, there’s no cause for concern.
Sometimes excessive drying out will accelerate leaf drip so make sure
trees are getting watered if it’s not raining at least once or
twice a week.
month many plants are going into a dormant period and you’ll see
little new growth coming out from now through probably mid to late
February. It’s not necessary to do a whole lot at this time
of year in the garden either, just check plants regularly and make sure
they are not getting too dry because of our lack of rainfall.
activity and disease problems should also be minimal because of the
time of year, but it’s still OK if you wish to plant tropical
fruits. If you buy container tropical fruits, they can be planted
virtually any time of the year. However, this season of the year they
are slower to establish and might need more watering and watching. If
it’s the type fruit tree that’s sensitive to cold weather,
you may wish to cover small newly planted trees on cold nights.
time of year leaf loss of older leaves on many tropical fruits is
increasing and some may completely become dormant by the end of this
month with all leaves off, particularly some to the annonas, spondias
and other favorites.
If you wish to do propagation, remember
that because of lowered temperatures cuttings will be slower to root
and seeds that are planted may not come up for several weeks longer
than you would expect because of the lowered soil temperatures.