Thursday, May 24, 2018
Home and Garden

Timely Tendings: Fertilizer restrictions and hurricane prep

Make note of restrictions

Pinellas County's seasonal fertilizer restrictions began Saturday and run through Sept. 30. During this time, you cannot apply fertilizer containing nitrogen and/or phosphorous to your lawn and/or landscape plants. Please also remember that grass clippings and other yard waste should never be swept or blown into stormwater drains, ditches, drainage conveyances, roads or surface waters. It is an irresponsible practice and a violation of the ordinance to do so, because this organic material contains nutrients that can contribute to poor water quality. It is important that we do everything we can to protect our water.

For more information, refer to the ordinance brochure online at

Hurricane season is here

June also ushers in hurricane season. If you have large trees that have the potential to damage structures, you may want to contact an arborist certified by ISA to evaluate the damage potential and to do any pruning to open the canopy or remove dead branches.

Always ask for references and proof of liability insurance from any contractor. You can find a list of certified arborists in your area at findtreeservices/TCSHome.aspx.

Never give palms "hurricane cuts." Pruning all but the top several fronds from a palm is very damaging to the plant. Removing many live green fronds starves the palm and leaves the growing bud (the top most part of the palm) vulnerable to breaking in the wind. All those mature fronds actually protect the bud from damage. If you must prune, do not remove any fronds above the horizontal plane, or 9 and 3 on a clock face.

Look around your landscape before a storm is approaching and determine what your plan will be for patio furniture, plants in pots, hanging baskets, yard art, tools and toys. Hurricane winds can turn just about anything in your yard into a damaging missile. You can turn patio tables top side down and bring chairs inside. If you do not have room to bring in container plants, consider securing them between a dense hedge and a wall of your house or a fence.

By Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to