Saturday, June 23, 2018
Home and Garden

Timely Tendings: Pinellas fertilizer restrictions, hurricane preparations, more

Pinellas fertilizer ordinance seasonal restriction begins

The restricted season began June 1 and runs 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 your grass clippings and other yard waste may not be swept or blown into stormwater drains, ditches, drainage conveyances, roads or surface waters. It is a violation of the new ordinance to do so. This organic material contains nutrients that can contribute to poor water quality.

Hurricane season is here: Prepare your yard accordingly

June also ushers in another hurricane season. If you have large trees in your landscape that have the potential to damage structures, you may want to contact an ISA-certified arborist 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

Palms do not need "hurricane cuts." In fact, 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 of 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 plants in containers inside, consider securing them between a dense hedge and a wall of your house or a fence.

Keep an eye on that vegetable garden

Vegetable gardening is winding down except for crops that like hot weather, such as sweet potatoes, black-eyed (southern) peas, okra and watermelon.

While most tomato production slows down or even stops as night temperatures reach 70 degrees and higher, there are some varieties that will produce most of the summer. Those best suited for Florida summers are Florida Basket, Florida Petite, Florida lanai, Patio, Cherry and Sweet 100's.

Harvest vegetables as they ripen. Warm weather brings many insects and diseases, so check your plants frequently.

Be sure to check the number of days you have to wait before harvest if using a pesticide. Many have a week or more waiting time, and if your vegetables are almost ready to harvest, either be careful not to get the chemical on them or pick before spraying. Systemic pesticides are not suitable for vegetables since they not only get on the plant, but also inside it.