President's Letter: October is here!

October 20, 2023

After some of the hottest few months I can remember here in Southwest Florida, we’ve finally reached October, a month when there are normally some lower temperatures.

October has always been a favorite month for me. College football is well underway and the normal Monday morning banter around the office is in full swing as my coworkers express their opinions on how their team faired -- and rib me about the latest results of the Clemson Tigers' season.

It’s also the start of three months of holiday festivities, as lights are being installed, stores are full of decorations and families and communities prepare for the holidays ahead.

For many of us in the Green Industry, October is also time for an annual rebirth as landscapes are revitalized and enhanced in preparation for the return of seasonal residents.

Summer rains are beginning to subside, fertilizer “blackout periods” are rolled back, colorful winter annuals are planted and mulches are spread as a cover in ornamental beds.

When it comes to turf and plants, the reality of summertime in Florida is that the intense heat and waterlogged soils create harsh growing conditions as insects and diseases thrive and nutrients are leached from the soil.

October is the time of year when those of us in the landscape maintenance sector begin to correct and undo the accumulated negative affects of the Florida summer.

Because herbicides are rarely applied due to the heat index, turf weeds are targeted in the fall, fertilizers are applied throughout the landscapes, pruning is performed and struggling trees and shrubs are removed and replaced.

In a recent interview, FNGLA CEO Tal Coley encourages Florida residents to plant in the fall. Coley explains cooler temperatures put less stress on newly planted shrubs and trees, and allows them to thrive and become better established before facing next summer’s heat.

One of the few states which encompasses four different Climate Hardiness zones, Florida has a very diverse climate. Because of that, Floridians are lucky to have a huge selection of plant varieties available to them through our nursery operations across the state.

It's most important to ensure plants selected for landscapes are compatible with the soil and water conditions in your landscape.

It's never a bad idea to contact an FNGLA Certified Professional for advice on what to plant and where to plant it! And, remember…………….PLANT IN THE FALL!


Phil Buck sig

Phil Buck
FNGLA 2023-24 President

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