How To

Info from a Beekeeper

How long have you had bees? I’ve been keeping bees for a little over 2 years, I’m a third-generation beekeeper 🙂
What kind of plants do you keep in your yard? I keep a plethora of pollinator plants in my garden not only for bees but for other pollinators such as butterflies and birds.
-Lantana
-Lavender
-Lion’s ear
-Jatropha
-Salvia
-Mexican Heather
-Bat Face Cuphea
-Echinacea
-Sunflowers
-Pentas
-Passion Vine
-Gaillardia
What are some of your biggest challenges? Some of the biggest challenges of backyard beekeeping are pesticides from neighboring homes. Protecting the hive from Varroa Mites, Hive Beetles and Wax Moths which can lead to (CCD) Colony Collapse Disorder. Make sure to stay protected especially if you are new to beekeeping (I was stung 18 times!). When doing a hive inspection, make sure it is a clear sunny day with not a lot of wind. Bees can be more aggressive when the weather is cloudy, rainy or windy and will affect the bees temperament. It can be a harm to your pets and neighbors and even yourself.
Any interesting facts you’d like to add?
-Honeybees have 5 eyes
-They can fly up to 20MPH
-There is only 1 queen in the hive, and she can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day
-We need honeybees for survival to produce food
-Honey bees love color, so make sure to plant lots of color in your garden. They are most attracted to red and Purple.

Maia Waldroff

How to Treat Cold-Damaged Plants

December and January are typically the coldest months in Florida and occasionally, sensitive plants need to be protected either using fabric or plastic. If your plants suffer from cold damage, there still may be hope! Follow these tips to help spring life back into your yard!

Water. Even injured plants need water. Drenching the soil will provide nourishment for the plant and additionally help thaw the soil around it.

Pruning. We know that having brown lifeless foliage is not ideal in your landscape, but it is important not to prune too early. This foliage will help insulate the plant from further damage. If you do decide to prune right away, be aware that the new growth is vulnerable to cool temperatures. Herbaceous plants like begonias that die down to the ground should be removed so that fungal and bacterial issues do not arise.

Fertilizing. It is best to wait until spring to fertilize your damaged plants. You do not want to encourage new growth before the winter season is over. Once we are in the clear of freezing temperatures, go ahead and give your plants a boost of nutrients. We recommend fertilizing three times a year, March June and September.

What material should you use to cover plants?

Plastic – Plastic is typically lightweight and easy to use while covering your plant materials. However, if it is laid directly on top of plants, there is no insulation and this is where damage can occur. In addition, heat can build up under plastic if the temperature rises and the sun is out. It is important to remove the plastic at that point, or ventilate. You can use stakes to prevent both of these issues while using plastic to protect plants during cold snaps.

Fabric – Using things that you already have on hand like old blankets, sheets, or landscape fabric can also be used to protect sensitive plants. The advantage of this is that air is trapped in the fibers and provides better insulation so plants are less likely to be damaged. If rain is on the forecast, this can weigh down the fabric and potentially cause damage, you can prevent this by using stakes to hold the fabrics up or removing beforehand.

 

Any material used should go down to the ground and held by rocks, pots, etc. The heat from the earth is what helps protect your plants. You may also layer materials for extra protection during particularly cold days and nights.

Transplanting Tips

There are many reasons you may want to move a plant that is in you yard. Perhaps it needs more sun, or the opposite, needs more shade. Maybe you are tired of trimming the Viburnum your builder put next to your window and you rather have it in the backyard where it can grow and give you some privacy. No matter the reason, there are a few simple tricks to help ensure your plant thrives in years to come.

  1. Water the day before you plan on transplanting. This will make sure the plant is hydrated before the stress, that the roots will adhere to the soil, and will make it easier to dig!
  2. Dig the hole in the spot where you wish your plan to be moved to, making sure it is at least double the size of the existing root system. This will allow the roots to move easily through the loosened soil and have an easier time establishing.
  3. Push your shovel into the ground around the entire plant’s root system and gently lift it out of the soil, trying to preserve as much of the roots as possible. Never leave the root system exposed for too long as the sun, wind, and heat can cause damage quickly.
  4. Place the plant in the hole. The soil level of the plant should be slightly higher than the ground level. Planting the tree or shrub to low in the ground is one of the main causes of root rot and disease.
  5. Water daily (unless there is rain) to ensure a successful transplant!

Tips on Fertilizing Your Yard

  • Use the right fertilizer. Many plants (especially palms) benefit from having the correct blend of nutrients & micro-nutrients. A blend high in nitrogen might cause your plant to have beautiful green bushy growth, but may not help with blooms and fruiting if that is what you are looking to encourage.
    • Quick tip! How the numbers effect plants here.
  • Know when to apply. We recommend fertilizing three times a year, March June and September.
  • Use the correct amount. *When it comes to fertilizer, more is not better.* You can overload the plant and cause it to go into shock which will negatively effect it’s look and growth.
  • Respect wildlife. No fertilizer should be applied within 10 ft of a wetland, water body, or sea wall. The chemicals can have negative effects to the critters nearby.
  • Try composting. Some of the best fertilizer you can use comes from your own household! Add things like banana peels, coffee grounds, potato skins, and more to a dirt pile in the backyard to start a compost pile.
  • Slow release or water soluble? Slow release fertilizers benefit your plant for a longer period of time. Water soluble or fast acting fertilizers may give your plants a quick burst of energy, but need to be applied more frequently.

Have more questions on fertilization? Ask your local sales associate!

 

Storm Season

1. Choose the right plants.

We always promote using the right plant for the right place. Using Florida friendly plants is always important, but even more so when it comes to storm season. See a list of trees here that are deemed appopropriate and somewhat hurricane resistant by the University of Florida.

2. Inspect your trees and shrubs.

Cut off any dead limbs or branches. If you have dead trees, get these removed before storm season so they do not fall. Do not remove healthy material from the trees & shrubs and keep wounds to a minimum.

3. Clear drainage areas.

Remove debris from storm drains. If it is blocked and water cannot flow through, worse flooding may occur.

4. Decor.

Remove decorative materials, pots, and hanging baskets.

5. Irrigation.

Make sure irrigation is turned off during hurricane waters.

6. Tie down.

Secure any lawn furniture or other items outside that may get blown during high winds.

7. Stay informed, stay safe.

Make sure you are listening to reliable information, have a plan to evacuate if mandatory, and keep you and your family safe.

 

 

Taking care of cold damaged plants

Water

After a freeze, check the soil around your plants. Plants may not be getting the water they need if the soil has dried out or if the water in the soil is frozen.

Watering the area can help defrost the soil and provide your plants with an available source of moisture. Even injured plants need water.

Fertilizer

While you may be tempted to add a little fertilizer to your plants to help speed their recovery hold off. If you fertilize too early you could encourage new growth before cold weather has gone. It’s best to wait until spring to begin fertilizer application. Once the danger of frost has passed, an application of fertilizer can help speed recovery.

Pruning

Don’t prune cold-damaged plants right away. The dead foliage looks bad, but will help insulate plants from further injury. In the spring, assess the extent of the damage by scraping the bark with your fingernail. Cold-injured wood will be black or brown under the bark. To be certain where to prune, wait until plants begin to sprout new growth.

Herbaceous plants like impatiens and begonias that are damaged by the cold may collapse. If this happens, it’s best to cut them down and remove the plants to prevent fungal or bacterial problems from arising as they decay.

source: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/weather/treating-cold-damage.html

TIPS FOR REMOVING AND LAYING SOD

1. Remove Old Sod
2. Spread Milorganite Over Soil
Mixing Milorganite (10lb available for purchase) can help establish the lawn faster and yield a lush lawn. Follow directions on the label for spreading recommendations. This would also be a good time to fill any holes or low areas with soil.
3. Saturate Soil Prior to Planting
Wetting the soil prior to planting gives it a head start to rooting itself.
4. Cut the First Piece of Sod in Half
When you start the second row, cut that piece a third of the way, and the third row should start with a whole piece. It’s like staggering tile, it will eliminate straight lines for water run off.
5. Avoid Pillowing
Pillowing is when the sod edges butt up together; they almost lift each other up at the corners. The edges will dry. To avoid pillowing do not push sod firmly together, instead lay sod in place. If pillowing occurs, continue to water and it will green up.
6. Leave a Quarter inch of Space against Hard Edges such as Pavers, Sidewalks, etc…putting it too close can burn immediately and it will die back anyway
7. Lastly, Water, Water, Water 
Water daily for 45 minutes for a minimum of one week in the summer time. In winter water 3 times a week.  This will vary depending on amount of shade or sun your yard gets. During the second week you may want to cut it back to 3-4 days in summer and 2 days  a week in winter. Tug on the sod, if it resist a bit, than new roots are starting to break ground and establish. New roots will be white. If it rains, take that into consideration and adjust your water schedule appropriately.

This homeowner wanted a shorter grass so we went with Zosia. This took two pallets of sod and was laid in May during the rainy season

For general lawn care tips, check out the recommendations by the  University of Florida Nassau County Extension Office