Those toasty brown leaves are the result of leaf scorch. But don't panic, the Darwinian Gardener says all it needs is a little first aid.

Pipe gunk, leaf scorch, when to fertilize in Florida

4 minutes, 7 seconds Read

The Darwinian Gardener adjusted a drain snake and fed it rigorously right into a PVC pipe jutting out of his home’s basis, a pipe that removes the condensation from his A/C unit. He used a respectably massive snake for the duty. No garden snake, no less than 25 ft of coiled, albeit rusty metal. He retains it on standby for summer season emergencies.

However let’s pause right here in mid-motion. Who is that this Darwinian Gardener, and what’s he doing exterior on this warmth?

Extra Mark Lane:

The Darwinian Gardener is Florida’s foremost exponent of survival-of-the-fittest lawn-and-garden care. He’s not a way of life coach for thirsty turfgrass and fussy unique flowers. No, he’s the assistant monitor coach who makes everybody run further laps whereas he retires to the workplace to chill off.

And in nowadays of record-breaking warmth, you would possibly need to pause in your out of doors labors to Ask the Darwinian Gardener:

Q: Why have been you poking round a drainage pipe on this warmth?

A: The Darwinian Gardener is a do-it-yourself advocate for each garden and residential. His straining air conditioner unit was chugging away till it abruptly shut off. It appeared that the pipe that carried off the condensation from scorching, soggy air had clogged with a micro organism colony. Yuck. Water backed up into the unit’s condenser pan and sensors responded by placing a halt to that form of nonsense.

Mark Lane

He twirled the snake round a number of occasions then pulled it out. This launched a substance that seemed like vanilla pudding. A stream of water rapidly pushed out extra gunk. He was again in enterprise. The compressor responded by compressing contentedly.

Normally, the gunk-in-the-pipe drawback doesn’t get away till August, however this has been a scorching early summer season. June’s excessive temperature of 101 got here inside one diploma of breaking the all-time highest temperature formally recorded in Daytona Seashore — 102 levels, first set in 1926 and final matched in 1984.

Q: What on earth does that need to do with gardening?

A: The Darwinian Gardener’s air conditioner drains off into this facet yard, a lot to the delight of every kind of volunteer crops: Lantanas, that are invasive however appreciated by butterflies and birds; pokeweed, appreciated by birds, and air-potato vines, ultra-invasive and hated by all right-thinking gardeners. All are completely satisfied to absorb the drippings from the overworked air conditioner on this dry summer season.

This meant that his plumbing chore needed to be adopted by chopping and hacking to maintain this unruly crowd from swallowing up the air conditioner unit. He was sweating and winded by the point he made it again into the kitchen to face awhile in entrance of an open fridge.

Leaf scorch strikes!

Q: Had been you so winded and sweaty that you just didn’t discover the lifeless tree in your entrance yard?

A: It’s not lifeless, solely resting. You might be referring to the Darwinian Gardener’s purple maple planted final winter. It’s additionally known as a swamp maple, which hints at its watering preferences. This June was particularly scorching and dry, sunny and windy. One thing that sucks the moisture proper out of a leaf. The result’s leaf scorch. The poor factor remains to be engaged on its root system and was having bother getting sufficient water upstairs.

The brown leaves are goners, however there are nonetheless sufficient inexperienced leaves to maintain up operations. Just a few extra cloudy, wet afternoons and a few average watering will hold issues going till temperatures get extra average and the foundation system grows some extra. He added slightly mulch across the base whereas he was at it so the bottom gained’t dry off so quick.

The Darwinian Gardener believes individuals are far too fast to put in writing off crops which are merely going by a tough patch.  

Q: What sort of fertilizing routine ought to I keep on with in the summertime months.

A: In summer season you must rigorously lug your fertilizer bag to the again of your storage and place it subsequent to the half-empty paint cans you retain since you declare you would possibly contact up the partitions sometime. Then put one in all your hurricane tarps over it, lest it provides anybody concepts.

 Volusia and different counties have a fertilizer blackout interval from June by September. No dumping fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorous on the garden all summer season. Actually, with the occasional afternoon thunderstorm and downpour, loads of that costly garden chemistry results in storm sewers and rivers anyway.

Fertilizer shouldn’t be for lawns; it’s for pet crops, ornamentals, fruit timber and crops that different individuals assume is likely to be lifeless however simply want some encouragement. The Darwinian Gardener’s fertilizer blackout interval is predicted to increase to someday within the 2030s.

Mark Lane is a Information-Journal columnist. His e mail is


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