Sweet peas can be a chal­lenge in Florida

Orlando Sentinel - - STYLE & HOME -

cut back to within a few feet of the ground or you can se­lec­tively re­move limb por­tions and do a lit­tle thin­ning. Win­ter weather stresses hibis­cus plants and they are usu­ally slow to re­sume growth, but with good care, they should be in bloom by sum­mer. Ap­ply a slow-re­lease fer­til­izer af­ter prun­ing and keep the soil moist. mulch, and this should help re­duce the soil acid­ity. You could also use pine bark fine as mulch, which is ground pine bark, to re­duce the pH even faster. If your plants ap­pear healthy, this may be all you need to do along with the use of an aza­lea fer­til­izer three times a year.

Where needed, the soil acid­ity could be re­duced even quicker with an ap­pli­ca­tion of soil or agri­cul­tural sul­fur at the rate of one pound for each 100 square feet of gar­den site. Wa­ter af­ter the ap­pli­ca­tion to ac­ti­vate and move the sul­fur into con­tact with the soil.

New poin­set­tia va­ri­eties have be­come tough and long-last­ing in re­cent years. Mois­t­en­ing the soil when the sur­face starts to dry and keep­ing the plants in bright light is all you need to do un­til early Jan­uary.

Af­ter the new year, be­gin feed­ings to keep the fo­liage at­trac­tive. Make fer­til­iz­ing the plants easy by us­ing one of the slow-re­lease prod­ucts found at local gar­den cen­ters. You might also move the plants to the pa­tio when the weather is warm. If you plan to keep the poin­set­tias an­other year, give them a size larger con­tainer and cut them back to within 12 inches of

It’s true, these brown patches are go­ing to be with you for a while no mat­ter what you do. Now, the good news is if the lawn is treated, the de­cline prob­a­bly won’t get much worst. Brown patch, also called large patch, is a warmish weather dis­ease that can af­fect all lawn types but nor­mally se­lects St. Au­gus­tine and zoysia yards.

When lawns have yearly brown patch prob­lems, three treat­ments are rec­om­mended. Many prod­ucts are avail­able for brown patch con­trol at local gar­den cen­ters. Se­lect one to use now, then make an­other ap­pli­ca­tion in 30 days and one in late win­ter. Pest con­trol com­pa­nies can make these treat­ments for you and may of­fer new ad­vanced fungi­cides not found at gar­den cen­ters.

TOM MACCUBBIN

The best plant­ing time for sweet peas is from Novem­ber through early Fe­bru­ary.

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