March was a good time to fertilize your lawn and shrubs. If you did not do so, April is just as good a time as any to get started. Remember, following the Marion County Ordinance, you cannot apply more than one pound of slow-release nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, and no more than 0.7 pounds of nitrogen if using a water-soluble or fast-release nitrogen source. Most fertilizers you find at Lowe's or Home Depot will be a slow release source. If you're following the On Top of the World Home Maintenance calendar on www.otowinfo.com, the recommended is the 12-2-14 available at Lesco/John Deer in Ocala. This locally owned store carries an assortment of fertilizers to suit your needs.
Hopefully, April will produce some rain showers to help reduce the need of irrigation. The start of Daylight Savings now allows On Top of the World homeowners to irrigate twice per week. You can find out what time you need to have your irrigation controller set to start by going to www.otowinfo.com. The website indicates the times to start your irrigation based on the last number in your house address. On Top of the World will be holding an irrigation controller class at Master the Possibilities Education Center on June 12th if you are still not able to figure things out.
Insects and fungus will become more prevalent in April. The mild winter may lend to higher insect populations and fungal growth in the spring months. Be on the lookout for stressed grass or plants that appear to be struggling. Brown Patch Fungus will show up in lawns as a "yellowish halo" with a dead or weak interior. Grass that does not respond to fertilizer treatments resulting in yellow spots in your lawn may be Take All Root Rot. Both of these need to be identified and treated immediately to minimize further damage.
Phillip Hisey is the Landscape Superintendent for On Top of the World Communities.