Winter sets in this month and a freeze is possible. Forecasts can vary greatly from the coast to the inland suburbs. I remember a time back in the early 1980s when it was 35 degrees at the Fort Lauderdale airport (about a mile from the coast), 27 degrees in Davie at the IFAS Research Center (about 10 miles from the coast) and 19 degrees along Highway 27 (about 20 miles west of the coast).
Stay with the hardier type plants in inland locations such as wax myrtle, dahoon holly or native red maple. If a freeze threatens, cover tender plants with a sheet, box or blanket. Do not use clear plastic. Water heavily the night the freeze is expected and pull mulch away from the plants. The warm soil will release heat and raise the temperature around the low plantings and could save them.
This is a good month to plant roses, or transplant anything hardy. Any woody plant can be installed now if you have an adequate water supply to irrigate until the wet season begins in June. When transplanting trees: Water first, then dig the root ball 18 inches deep and 1 foot wide per inch of trunk. Citrus: Leave unripened fruit on the tree. Flavor does not improve once it is picked. Succulents: Guard against overwatering. This is their dormant season and overwatering can induce rot
Check irrigation systems frequently. Water about twice a week if there is no rain.
New growth has slowed down or is hardened off and some pests may go dormant. But keep alert for spider mites and thrips, which can do a lot of damage to crotons, avocados, mangoes, copperleaf and some citrus. These sucking insects attack the leaves, causing a stippling pattern and a brown spot in the center of the leaves.
PLANT OF THE MONTH
The yellow elder is bright and cheerful from October to December. It
sometimes blooms in the spring with showy yellow trumpets up to 2 inches
long that are borne in big clusters. Yellow elder is drought-and neglect-tolerant
and makes a bushy tree that grows to 20 feet. However, there's one drawback:
The long seed pods carried through the winter are somewhat messy. Dr. Derek
Burch, a horticultural consultant from Plantation that consults with commercial
nurseries, introduced a tree, Tecoma stans (`Burchii'), that blooms
throughout the year.
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