CLS Preferred Affiliate Member Article

Tree & Shrub Care In South Florida: Fertilization And Pest Control 101

by Claude B. Kershner IV, of Reef Tropical • Pool • Landscape


             The attractive, vibrant plants we grow in South Florida thrive in the tropical climate here. But the reality is, many of the ornamental trees and shrubs in our landscapes are commercially grown and not native plants. This means they require fertilization and pest control to stay healthy and beautiful.

             You might be tempted to cut back on lawn care services because fertilization and pest control add cost to overall landscape maintenance. But it’s easy to spot properties that neglect tree and shrub care. How do you know? Foliar damage. Browning out. Dead or dying branches. All of this can develop quickly.

             It doesn’t take long for pests to find and feed on compromised plants. And disease naturally sets in when plants do not have the nutrients to fight back.

             If you think about it, fertilizing trees and shrubs is a lot like making sure you eat your vegetables and get proper nutrients. When we are healthy, we are less likely to get sick. When our plants are strong, they too stand up to pests and disease.

What Is A Typical Tree And Shrub Care Program In South Florida?

Foliar liquid fertilizer. This is applied monthly. Foliar products enter the plant through leaves, which take up the nutrients.

Granular fertilizer. Every quarter, apply a granular product to landscape beds. Granular fertilizers are taken up through plants’ root systems, and they have a longer residual. So, they’re slower to act and longer lasting vs. foliar fertilizers.

Foliar + granular = healthy plants. Why apply both granular and foliar fertilizer to trees and shrubs? Some plants feed more readily through their leaves. On the other hand, some plants prefer to feed through their roots. A broad-spectrum approach ensures that all trees and shrubs in the landscape receive necessary nutrients.

Pest control. Aside from fertilization, our trees and shrubs need protection against pests—because with year-long temperate weather comes a pest population that is always active. Monthly pest control applications are recommended for South Florida trees and shrubs.

Fungicide applications. Fungicides are critical, especially considering our humid, wet, hot climate. These conditions create a breeding ground for fungal plant diseases if proper protection is not in place.

At Reef Tropical, we partner with licensed professionals to create customized tree and shrub care programs based on properties’ needs. Let’s talk more about how to improve the appearance and health of your South Florida landscape with monthly or quarterly tree and shrub care services. Contact us anytime at 305.367.2005 or