Plant Care Guide

Now that I have my new plants how do I care for them?

If this is a question you have asked, then you’re not alone. Proper care for your landscaping is the best way to protect your new investment. Just like your personal health, the better you take care of plants, the happier and longer they will live. Plants are alive like us, and react the same way to good care.

4 Main Components to Having a Great Looking Landscape

Plant Care Guide - Lombardo Landscaping

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1) Maintenance

Maintenance is the proper cutting, edging, and trimming of your lawn, and proper trimming and pruning techniques of your garden (trees and shrubs). This component alone is only one piece of the puzzle.

2) Fertilization

Proper fertilization of both your lawn and garden are crucial to a great looking lawn and garden. Florida soil has very little nutrients and often times additional elements must be added to help ornamental lawns and gardens flourish. When fertilizing plants, always place fertilizer at the drip line of the plant away from the trunk. The drip line is the area on the ground lining up with the outside edge of the foliage. This is where the feeder roots are and where the plant absorbs the most food.

Blooming Plants: For plants known for their blooms (gardenia, hibiscus, bougainvillea, ixora, jasmine and many more) we recommend a Bloom Special Fertilizer. Look for numbers on the bag like 6-8-10 or that state “blooming fertilizer”. We recommend fertilizing every 3 months with a granular fertilizer unless the manufacturer states otherwise. Liquid fertilizers like Miracle Grow are fine for annuals (plants that are replaced seasonally), but should only be used as a SUPPLEMENT and not as the main source of nutrients for large flowering plants.

Non-blooming Plants: Plants (trees and shrubs) in your landscape that are not known for their flowering abilities need different fertilizers than those that bloom. Tree and Shrub Fertilizers focus mainly on the plant’s root development, growth, and overall color and do not try to make the plant flower. The number on a bag of fertilizer for tree and shrub may read 8-2-10 or state “all-purpose tree and shrub”. Examples of plants that use this are ornamental grasses, black olive trees, oak trees, viburnum bushes, arboricola, coco-plum, Indian hawthorn and ferns. Non-blooming plants should be fertilized every 3 months, but can go for a long as six months unless the manufacturer suggests otherwise.

Palm tree fertilizer: Palm trees and plants in the palm family can also get by with an all-purpose tree and shrub fertilizer but will fare better with a palm fertilizer. Palm trees prefer fertilizers with higher level of minor elements (the “other numbers” on the back of the bag of fertilizer) such as magnesium, iron, copper, and more. Use the fertilizer the same way you would a tree and shrub fertilizer unless the product states otherwise. Examples of plants are, all palm trees, bird-of-paradise, and ixora.

3) Irrigation

When your lawn and garden do not have enough irrigation, nutrients in the soil along with added elements (i.e. fertilizers) have no way to get down to the roots. This process is what can make or break the look of your lawn and garden. Plants are alive just like you and me, they like to DRINK (water) too!

New Plants: On new plants water every day for the first 1-2 weeks for about 20-30 mins per zone. For large plants or trees that have a ring of dirt around them fill the ring of dirt up twice a day for 1-2 weeks. If at any time you notice the plants are wilting due to being dry either increase the length of the interval or water more frequently. If the ground seems saturated with water due to rain or over watering, space out the watering to every other day. In the first 2 weeks watering every day is recommended.

Established plants: Once plants are established typically 2-3 times a week for 20-30 minutes is a good cycle time. Start with less time and if you need more then add more time per cycle or more days per the week. Always follow local laws and ordinances in regards to proper water use.

4) Pest/Fungus Control

Well, all of the above are great but there is one last problem living here in Florida, Pests! Both your lawn and garden are prone to many different infestations of pests that can have a devastating effect on your lawn or plants if not treated (sometimes it only takes a couple days for the devastation to occur).

Recommendation: Have a pest control company come on a routine visit to spray and check for insect problems. If you notice black coloring or small insects on your plant leaves, or leaves that look like they’re being eaten, call for a plant and pest inspection and treatment ASAP.

Sprays: For most insects such as scale, aphids, mealy bugs there are all purpose over the counter insect sprays that will kill the insects on contact. We recommend treating as needed when you see in issue.

Systemic: To help prevent insect issues we recommend using a systemic treatment on plants that you are having problems with or are prone to insect issues. Most systemic products are applied at the base of the plant like fertilizer and come in both liquid and granular form.

For questions or an estimate to help maintain your property call 239-634-5477 or contact us today.

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