Why you Should NOT Fertilize in Winter

We understand Florida winters can be pretty mild at times and will vary year to year. On the warm days you feel like wearing flip flops and short sleeve shirts, you may be tempted to fertilize to give your plants an extra boost during this time of lull. It feels like a lull because your lawn and ornamental plants are not actively growing and are not as lush as they would be in spring and summer.

During this time of year, most plants are actually dropping their leaves to conserve their energy during dormancy. The roots are not taking up water and nutrition as fast as they would be during the rest of the year.
Fertilizing now would be a waste of money and material and would not benefit your plants (unless of course, it is a cool season annual then none of this applies). In fact, if you fertilized now and the weather warms up for a few days, you may promote new growth which would be damaged by colder weather in late January and February. This could set back your plant’s biological clock several weeks.

Instead of fertilizing now, continue to remove leaf litter away from the trunks of plants to prevent infection and improve air flow. Some yellowing and browning of the older leaves are a normal part of winter leaf drop. When only a portion of the plant is changing color then it may have an infection that you can treat with fungicides and insecticides. If you need help identifying what is wrong with your plant, give us a call and our team of experienced horticulturists can help you choose an appropriate chemical and recommend preventative measures as well.

-Vanneza Stubbs
Landscape Horticulturist