Published: November 9, 2018, 10:08am | Modified: June 19, 2019, 11:52am
Fertilizer is one of the most important aspects of gardening in south Florida. Here we will go over some of the basics around fertilizing your garden.
The nutritional elements needed by plants can be divided into two categories: macroelements and microelements. Macro elements are needed in larger quantities than micros; however, both types are needed in order for the plants to thrive. Macro element deficiencies manifest in all leaves of a plant while microelement deficiencies generally show up in new growth only. The microelements are iron, zinc, manganese, copper, boron, molybdenum and chloride. In South Florida, microelements are not usually available to plants when applied in granular form due to a high soil ph. Micros should, therefore, be applied in a foliar spray that can be readily absorbed by the leaves.
A proper fertilizer schedule is one that makes nutrition available to the plants when needed and is tailored to the seasons. South Florida has a marked wet (late May to early October) and dry season (late October to early May). More fertilizer is needed in the warm, wet season and less fertilizer is needed in the dry, cool months. A standard fertilizer program would apply fertilizer three times a year. Applications should be done in late May or early June, just as the summer rains begin. The second and third applications would be in mid-August and in mid-October. The June and August applications should be the slightly heavier as this is the height of the growing season.
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