Florida Gardening Questions: Ask Toffer

Hands Holding Grass Florida Gardening Questions
Do you have questions about gardening in Florida? Send them our way and we’ll get answers!

This week, readers chime in with questions about gardening in Florida.

Florida Gardening Question: Is Red Cedar OK?

Ask: I have a key lime tree that recently died after 30+ years. When I remove it, I’m thinking of planting a red cedar, which I currently have in a pot, about 6 feet tall. The place is in full sun and without hanging power lines. I know there are few of these cedars left and I want to leave them as a legacy for our home and Gulfport. Any advice? Do you make home visits to provide information? —David Kincaid, Gulfport

toffer says: That sounds like a good plan, Mr. Kincaid. Our red cedars are dying and it would be wonderful if some could be reintroduced. The only additional care a red cedar could benefit from would be supplemental watering in times of drought. They adapt well to low water conditions, but do not show signs of dehydration unless they are in trouble. Therefore, I advise soaking them in times of prolonged drought, once or twice a week (after they are well established), if there is no automatic irrigation system. Yes to a site visit! Send me a text to my work cell, 727-338-8103, and we’ll set up a day and time.

carbon chewing trees

Ask: Which trees are best for carbon sequestration? We don’t want something “dirty”, but we want to replace the bay oaks on the Hell Strip. We also don’t want something that will break up the brick streets.

toffer says: In this area, oaks are best, but most other trees do the same. Regarding replanting: The current practice used by Florida municipalities is to plant the plant on the homeowners side, giving the roots more room to spread. For example, take a look at the tree plantings the City of St. Petersburg has done on 30th Avenue North between approximately 49th Street and 28th Street South.

A current favorite with a manageable root system and controllable crown height are the Natchez or Muskogee varieties of crape myrtle. If purchased with a single trunk, they can reach the size of a medium canopy tree. Also, consider any tropical tree. Your problem, of course, is your behavior after a cold or possible frost.

Have a question about gardening and landscaping, or new landscaping in Gulfport? Send them to Toffer at [email protected].

Have a question about gardening and landscaping, or new landscaping in Gulfport? Send them to Toffer at [email protected].

Read Toffer’s Fear of Florida Gardening column, and for more Florida-friendly gardening tips, check out Florida Cooperative Extension’s Florida Gardening Calendar.

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