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Timely tendings: Choose trees wisely

Trees are a large part of any landscape and should be selected carefully. Shade trees should have moderate to dense foliage and should not have large or objectionable fruits, flowers or seeds. They should have the ability to withstand high winds and be relatively free from insects and disease pests, and they should be of a size suitable for the location. You may want to use both deciduous and evergreen trees in your landscape. Some deciduous shade trees for our area are red maple, pecan, sweet gum, sycamore, water oak and elm. Evergreen trees include live oak, pine, magnolia and red cedar.

Growth of lawn grasses has slowed as the weather cools and the days become short. Mowing and watering can be reduced to once every two weeks until the weather warms in the spring. Lawns do not need to be fertilized during the winter.

Vines such as wisteria, ivy, coral, honeysuckle and Confederate jasmine can be pruned now. Cut off excess tangled growth. Prune back a third to a half and remove rooted suckers.


There is still time to spray your citrus trees for the fall. Use horticultural oil, fish oil or neem oil for aphids, whitefly and spider mites. Follow label directions carefully. Citrus leaves that are yellowing around the edge and distorted may be lacking a trace element. Apply minor elements to your citrus trees either as a foliage spray or as a drench to the soil. Carefully mix sprays to apply only the recommended amount as stated on the product label. Minor elements will correct yellowing due to deficiencies of iron, magnesium and manganese, and will also supply copper, zinc, boron and other needed elements. Always refer to any local fertilizer ordinance before fertilizing.

Citrus fruit splitting and fruit drop may be a problem that could be more pronounced just after a period of moisture stress followed by heavy rains. Splitting and drop should not be a serious problem if the trees are well cared for and furnished with adequate nutrition and irrigation.

Sources: Carol Suggs and Theresa Badurek, Pinellas County Extension Service. Learn more at or

Timely tendings: Choose trees wisely 12/03/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 3, 2011 3:31am]
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