5/26/2009 7:28 PM
It is great that Florida has been receiving all of this rain to lift us out of the drought we have been experiencing. But, do not get too excited because as of May 19, 2009, major areas of the state are STILL experiencing "Abnormally Dry" to "Extreme Drought" conditions -- Sources: US Drought Monitor, Florida and Florida Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI). Hopefully, if this rain continues our lakes, ponds and aquifers will be back to a normal level shortly.
Do not forget that because of Florida's mostly sandy soil when it rains as much as it has been lately the nutrients in the soil get leached or washed away from your plants' roots. This is especially true in the case of heavy feeding plants such as palm and fruit trees. If every grocery store and garden center is not yet doing it you will probably soon be seeing them offering bags of Epsom Salt for sale to feed your plants with. Now you might think that buying a few bags of Epsom Salt (Magnesium sulfate
) is a cheap and convenient way to give your plants the nutrition that they need, but the Magnesium sulfate in Epsom Salt is only one nutrient in a complex range of nutrients that your plants need to look their best. In this case regarding Vigoro Palm Food, which I use to feed my palms, the label shows 8-4-8 (the NPK value for percent Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potash) plus minor nutrients such as magnesium, sulfur, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. If you would like to know more about what these chemicals do for plants, read this article
I also use Vigoro Citrus and Avocado Plant Food 12-5-8 (plus minors) for my citrus trees. As you may know from reading my other articles, I am not a big proponent of chemical fertilizers, but sometimes laziness and convenience win out over using the organics such as composted manures to feed my plants. What is very important though is that if you do use the chemical fertilizers to be sure to read the application directions on the label and be especially carefully when using these products near bodies of water or where they may be carried into bodies of water via storm drains so that you can minimize the risk of runoff and the pollution that results from it.
If you garden in containers please remember that soil in the plants' pots can become depleted of nutrients over time. Be sure to also feed your potted plants now.
Copyright ©2009 Paul J. Erdek, FloridaGardener.com