2003 Central Florida - Major Gardening Chores by Month
Source: Tom MacCubbin, Orange County Extension Service


January - Average temperatures high/low 72/50 - Expected rainfall 2.43 inches.
Resolve to save water; irrigate home plantings only when needed.
Groom indoor foliage plants, removing declining and pest-infected leaves.
Add a plant to your landscape for Florida Arbor Day Jan. 17.
Begin pruning cold-hardy trees and shrubs.
Start seeds of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant for the spring garden.
Repair gardening equipment.
Place catalog orders for spring seeds.

February - Average temperatures high/low 74/51 - Expected rainfall 2.35 inches.
Trim crape myrtles by removing only the ends of limbs with seedpods.
Begin applying a pre-emergence crab-grass control in lawns.
Average last frost date is Feb. 15; begin warm-season plantings.
Divide and transplant perennials.
Plant bare-root and container-grown trees, shrubs and vines.
Prune ornamental grasses to within a foot of the ground.
Clean birdhouses to prepare for spring nesting.

March - Average temperatures high/low 79/56 - Expected rainfall 3.54 inches.
Apply a weed and feed or turf fertilizer to lawns.
Feed citrus, palms, shrubs and vines.
Adjust sprinklers and trim limbs of shrubs that might effect watering.
Spring arrives March 20; fill flower beds with warm-season color.
Move cold-sensitive foliage plants outdoors.
Design the landscape with a majority of drought tolerant plants.
Establish a new lawn or repair a damaged lawn with sod, plugs or seed.

April - Average temperatures high/low 83/60 - Expected rainfall 2.42 inches.
Remove flower heads from poinsettias; trim established plants to 18 inches.
Daylight-saving begins at 2 a.m. April 6; plan chores for evenings.
Feed hungry palms lightly but monthly through fall.
National Arbor Day April 25; plant a tree or shrub.
Complete pruning azaleas, camellias and other spring flowering plants.
Regreen yellowing bahia lawns with an iron-only application.
Feed vegetable plantings lightly every three to four weeks.

May - Average temperatures high/low 88/66 - Expected rainfall 3.74 inches.
Add low-maintenance perennials to the landscape.
Transplant palms and sagos.
Feed citrus trees a second time this year.
Plant heat-tolerant vegetables and herbs.
Fill the bare spots in lawns with new grass to prevent a weed invasion.
Clean and adjust sprinklers to water the dry spots.
Repot foliage plants that have outgrown their containers.

June - Average temperatures high/low 91/71 - Expected rainfall 7.35 inches.
Hurricane season begins June 1; trim trees and remove weak limbs.
Feed orchids every other week.
Check lawns for chinch-bug and mole-cricket activity.
Summer arrives June 21; water only when rains don't provide needed moisture.
Replace declining cool-season flowers with drought-tolerant summer color.
Loosen ties on trees and shrubs to prevent girdling of stems.
Pinch the tips of lanky shoots to cause branching.

July - Average temperatures high/low 92/73 - Expected rainfall 7.15 inches.
Independence Day July 4; create a patriotic red, white and blue garden.
Finish transplanting palms and sagos.
Start transplants of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
Fill problem landscape sites with ground covers that can take abuse.
Pull weeds or use herbicides to spot-treat unwanted vegetation in lawns.
Operate irrigation systems manually only as needed to avoid over watering.
Till gardens to prepare for late summer warm-season plantings.

August - Average temperatures high/low 92/73 - Expected rainfall 6.25 inches.
Complete summer pruning of bougainvillea, crape myrtle and poinsettia.
Feed citrus trees for the third time this year.
Begin a warm-season garden with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
Fill hanging baskets and planters with warm-season flowers.
Check outdoor foliage plants for pests and repot if needed.
Learn to identify the good bugs to help reduce pesticide use.
Reshape trees and shrubs, removing lanky or unsightly limbs.

September - Average temperatures high/low 90/72 - Expected rainfall 5.76 inches.
Labor Day Sep. 1; weed, edge and trim the landscape.
Complete seeding of bahia lawns.
Renew mulches to conserve water.
Start seeds of cool-season flowers.
Autumn arrives Sep. 23; begin fall herb plantings.
Apply a turf fertilizer or weed and feed products to lawns.
Water citrus during dry weather to prevent fruit cracking.

October - Average temperatures high/low 85/65 - Expected rainfall 2.73 inches.
Begin cool-season vegetable and flower plantings.
Feed citrus a final time this year.
Keep holiday plants in the dark at night to encourage blooms.
Feed landscape plantings for fall.
Daylight-saving time ends at 2 a.m. Oct. 26; do outdoor chores on weekends.
Apply liquid and granular weed control products if needed.
Install soaker hoses or micro sprinklers in gardens to conserve water.

November - Average temperatures high/low 79/59 - Expected rainfall 2.32 inches.
Bring cold-sensitive plants indoors for fall and winter.
Continue mowing lawns to control grass height and weeds.
Toughen lawns for winter with a potassium-only feeding.
Improve sandy planting sites with compost, peat moss and manures.
Harvest ripening citrus.
Pot narcissus and amaryllis bulbs to begin growth for holiday blooms.
Hurricane season ends Nov. 30; check for wind-damaged limbs.

December - Average temperatures high/low 73/53 - Expected rainfall 2.31 inches.
Feed active flowers and vegetables monthly during the cooler weather.
Create holiday wreaths and swags with Florida greenery and fruits.
Average first frost date is Dec. 18; locate protective plant covers.
Winter arrives Dec. 20; plant only cold-tolerant shrubs and flowers.
Organize tools and repair equipment to prepare for the new year.
Add a bird feeder and bath to the landscape.
Wash indoor foliage with a mild soap solution to remove dust and pests.

Jean Thomsin - From the Orlando Sentinel, Saturday January 4, 2003.