Gardening: Resolve to have a better yard

Eileen Ward

Monday brings a new year and for some this means changes or New Year resolutions. Following are a few resolutions you can adopt for the New Year when maintaining your yard.

A  properly installed and functional rain sensor prevents unnecessary watering, which conserves our drinking water resources.

Do …

  • learn to identify beneficial insects so you can practice integrated pest management.
  • remove rose leaves infested with black spot fungus from the rose garden to avoid spreading the disease.
  • spray insecticides during the cooler times of the day, morning or evening, to avoid burning the plants.
  • run your sprinkler system once in a while to be sure that coverage is correct
  • keep your pruning tools sharp to avoid ragged cuts which could lead to disease.
  • disinfect your pruning tools with a bleach solution after pruning diseased wood to avoid spreading the disease to healthy wood.
  • install a rain sensor on your sprinkler system for automatic shut off during rains.
  • plant a few perennials in your annual flower gardens for a spot of color through the hot, summer months.
  • inoculate your coconut palms against lethal yellowing.
  • harvest all of last years citrus crop so the tree can use its energy for the new crop.
Don't mow wet grass. It can be unsafe and spread disease.

Don’t …

  • apply more water to your entire lawn in an attempt to green up those brown spots. Adjust or repair your sprinklers for uniform coverage.
  • fertilize flowering citrus trees. Wait for small fruit to set as nitrogen can cause flowers to drop, thus lowering your crop.
  • operate power equipment around pedestrians, especially children. Stop until the pedestrian has passed or ask them to leave the area until the job is completed.
  • cut your St Augustine grass shorter than 3 inches to avoid unnecessary stress, watering, etc.
  • plant a shrub or tree with its roots wrapped in a ball. Straighten and spread the root ball to help the roots develop outwards.
  • water your lawn more than twice a week.
  • mow wet grass. It can be unsafe and spread disease.
  • trim palm trees severely. If the frond is green and not interfering with anything leave it for the tree to use.
  • put mulch against the stems and trunks of plants. The constant moisture will rot the bark eventually killing the plant.
  • mulch citrus trees. They are susceptible to foot rot which is not curable and will kill the tree.

Happy New Year to all and best wishes for the lawns and gardens of Marco Island. May they flourish to give Marco Island that tropical ambiance we all love so much.

Eileen and Peter Ward have owned a landscape and lawn maintenance company for 35 years. Eileen can be reached at or 239-394-1413.