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Timely tendings: Plant some spring annual flowers now

Because October is like spring in other parts of the country, we can plant some of the same spring annual flowers now. Impatiens, geraniums, petunias, pansies (above) and snapdragons can be planted as soon as the plants are available. Seeds of calendula and nasturtium can also be planted directly in the ground. Prepare bed by spading in compost or other organic matter along with some slow-release fertilizer (no phosphorous is needed without a soil test showing a deficiency) just before planting. Mulch the bed well after planting to conserve moisture and reduce weeds. Keep the mulch 2 to 3 inches away from the base of each plant.

. Fertilize citrus trees this month using a special formulation of 6-0-6 or 8-0-8. This is adjusted from the normal recommendation of 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 because of the Pinellas County Fertilizer Ordinance that bans the use of phosphorous unless a soil test indicates a need. This formulation may be difficult to find, but 15-0-15 should be available. If using 15-0-15, be sure to adjust the application rate. The amount applied would be approximately half of that used for an 8-8-8. Apply fertilizer to the entire rooting area, which usually extends well beyond the drip line of the tree. However, if the tree is surrounded by turf and the turf is fertilized, this additional fertilizer is not needed. The amount of fertilizer varies according to the age of the tree. Fertilizer should be applied three times a year, in February, June (if permitted) and October. For additional information, read "Your Dooryard Citrus Guide" at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS120.

Information from Carol Suggs and Theresa Badurek of the Pinellas County Extension Service and from the Hillsborough County Extension Gardening Almanac. Go to the extension websites at pinellascountyextension.org and hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu.

Timely tendings: Plant some spring annual flowers now 10/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 8, 2010 5:30am]
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