Tom's Monthly Gotta-Do's
We have to take better care of
our citrus trees starting this month. Sick citrus trees have been the
topic of a lot of email, letters and neighborhood discussions.
Gradually the leaves turn yellow, the foliage drops and the branches turn
brown. Citrus trees young and old are starting to decline. Most gardeners
with this problem are simply saying their trees are sick. Citrus trees
have always declined but not seeming as such a fast pace.
It appears no one knows for sure what is causing the decline. Contact with
the local University of Florida Extension Agents produced a whole list of
possibilities that included new diseases, insects, cultural problems and a
lack of good care. But they too admit the decline seems to be more than
One thing for sure, many home trees need help so here is what you might
do. First cut out all dead or declining portions. You might even think or
pruning the trees way back into the thicker limbs. This is an old drastic
technique grove owners have used to revive their declining trees. Often
after this type of pruning the trees are down to thick bare limbs. Yes, it
is drastic but it might save your trees. Next, get on a good care program.
Feed citrus trees once in March, May, August and early October with a
citrus fertilizer. Then keep the soil moist by watering once or twice a
week during the dry times. Also keep a minor nutrient spray handy and use
it as instructed on the label to give the trees a little extra boost
throughout the year. Finally keep the pests in check. Use either a spray
or soil insecticide treatment with a product made for use with citrus
following label instructions.
Well-pruned and cared for citrus trees should bounce back with lots of new
growths. Production is likely to be limited for a few years but you have
saved your trees.
Now, how about a few more Gotta Do's for the month of March?
Flowers: African daisy, ageratum, alyssum, bacopa, balsam,
begonia, black-eyed Susan, blue daze, bush-daisy, celosia, cleome,
coreopsis, cosmos, dahlia, dahlberg daisy, diascia, dusty miller,
four o'clock, gaillardia, geranium, goldenrod, impatiens, Joseph's
coat, licorice plant, marigold, melampodium, million bells, moon
vine, morning glory, nierembergia, salvia, strawflower, torenia,
verbena, vinca and zinnia.
Vegetables: Beans, calabaza, cantaloupe, cassava, chayote, corn,
cucumbers, dasheen, eggplant, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, luffa,
malanga, New Zealand spinach, okra, pepper, pumpkin, southern
peas, squash, tamarillo, tomato, and watermelon.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, borage, cardamon, chervil,
chives, coriander, costmary, dill, fennel, ginger, lemon balm,
sweet marjoram, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage,
thyme and watercress.
Bulbs: Achimenes, African iris, African-lily, amaryllis, blood
lily, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, crocosmia, dahlia,
daylily, eucharis lily, gingers, gladiolus, gloriosa lily,
Louisiana iris, rain lily, tuberose and walking iris.