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When to sod St. Augustinegrass

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If you wait until late summer or fall, the gamble at that time is getting the sod established before cold weather. In the long run, you’re better off getting a good root system established early.

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Q. I want to plant St. Augustinegrass but was told that since it has been so wet a lot of the sod is full of fungus. Should I go ahead and sod and treat the fungus or should I wait until fall to sod?

A. It could go either way. It‘s true that leaf spot diseases are more common during wet weather. Gray leaf spot is a common fungus of St. Augustinegrass. It’s more prevalent during wet periods but it’s not uncommon to have to treat for gray leaf spot and other foliage diseases during the 4 to 6 week establishment period when you have to water on a regular basis to get the grass established anyway. You could sod and take advantage of the “free” water in the form of rain and spray if necessary. If you wait until late summer or fall, the gamble at that time is getting the sod established before cold weather. In the long run, you’re better off getting a good root system established early.

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Q. What bushes like shade, are fast growers and will make a good privacy fence?

A. A few shrubs to consider include: Wax Myrtle, Cleyera, Lusterleaf Holly, Sandankwa Viburnum, Anise (Illicium parviflorum) and Florida Anise (Illicium floridanum). The below link to a UF/IFAS Extension website includes a wealth of information on shrubs Florida.

http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody

Q. I was planting blueberries and had the nursery pots spaced out where I wanted the plants to grow. One pot was in an area where I had a pine tree removed and stump ground last November. I noticed there was an abundance of small mushrooms growing on the ground around the pot. I suspect these mushrooms belong to the wood-decaying class of fungi. Will these fungi affect blueberry plants and other plants I have in this bed. I realize there is probably little I can do about them as they are merely breaking down the stump and roots of the removed pine.

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A. You are correct. There are many organisms in nature whose job is to breakdown or decompose dead plant material. Many of these organisms are fungi of various sorts. Some of these organisms can move into live plant tissue, though. The best thing to do is to try and remove as much of the roots from the previous plant, which is in close proximity to the planting hole before planting the blueberry plant. And try not to wound the blueberry plant in the process of planting it. Make sure to not plant too deep.
The below link to a UF/IFAS Extension publication titled Blueberry Gardener’s Guide provides much info on growing blueberries, including how to plant them.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg359

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@myokaloosa.com.

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