Wild Florida Weather: How to Care For Your Landscape
Keeping up a beautiful, immaculate, and impressive landscape is hard enough, right? There’s so much responsibility, so many different tasks, so much to keep up with.
Now, tack all that on to living in Florida – the land of the temperamental and unpredictable weather — and you’ve got yourself a whole new set of demanding, high-maintenance (definitely not infuriating) challenges.
Listen, we’ve been around for a long time (over two decades, in fact), and we know a lot (A LOT) about keeping up a successful landscape in Florida, so believe us when we say we know it’s no walk in the park.
The first step to maintaining the ultimate landscape in Florida? Ditching the rainbows and unicorns outlook and knowing, full well and without a doubt, that landscaping in Florida is hard work! We don’t mean you need to be a “my wine-glass is half-empty” kind of person (we’re just assuming wine because you’re dealing with landscape issues and it doesn’t hurt to take the edge off…), just that the first step is admitting that you’re embarking on some hard work!
The next step?
Reading this guide! Like we said, we’re experienced – we know the landscaping laws of the land in Florida and we’ve been committed to honing our landscaping practices for decades to best cater to Florida’s unpredictable weather. So, we’ve done you guys a little bit of a favor and wrote up a Florida weather guide with some super basic tips to keep in mind during your landscaping difficulties.
Read on for all the funky – and frankly freaky – Florida weather you might deal with when working on your landscape (and for tips on how to deal with it!)
This is the big, bad topic that everyone in Florida hears about – the hurricanes. Yes, it’s what we’re known for, and you know what? That’s okay! We’ve never let hurricanes get us totally down and over the years, we’ve prepared a ton of tips and hurricane preparedness ideas that help keep our landscapes pretty protected.
For starters, one of the best hurricane weather preparedness tips is to take a look at those trees! Trim ‘em up before season hits, lest you ruin your landscape (and possibly your house, car, etc.) with scatter limbs and canopies flying about.
Another great way to get your landscape ready for the severe hurricane season is to help your fruiting trees along by picking off the fruits, nuts, and more. Even if it’s not time to get all those oranges off the tree, this is a great way to help give your landscape a fighting chance and prevent further damage.
Want more details on this? You’re in luck, we have a whole hurricane guide we published to help you get your landscape as prepared as possible! Check it out here. Want more info? You’re in luck again, we have a handy-dandy little tip sheet right here, too. This should help you check some things off your list in a snap!
Droughts Aren’t a Joke
Everyone knows that Florida can be rain-central, but what they don’t know is that sometimes we can get pretty intense droughts!
Water is scarce during droughts (you know that) and often, that can mean that your poor lawn (and the rest of your landscape can suffer. If restrictions are in place, you’re not going to be able to water more to make up for the lack of precipitation, so, here are a few tips to help you get through a drought in Florida.
For starters, be prepared early. Have you ever tried collecting rainwater? If not, give it a go! We suggest doing this all the time so you’re prepared in the event of drought. Grab some barrels — or some special irrigation barrels — set them out, and get to collecting – this way, you’re not using precious water from your irrigation system (and you’re saving money, too!).
It helps to update your watering techniques, too. You don’t need to water more, you just need to water better and more efficiently. Try to get down to the roots of the plants, trees, flowers, and shrubs instead of wastefully just watering around the area and hoping the H20 will absorb.
Another note? Don’t fertilize during a drought. Fertilizer requires water to help really absorb those nutrients in the plants, and unfortunately, if the water isn’t there, your plants and trees are going to be pushing out extra energy in order to absorb that – this is often a fatal move during droughts!
The Random Cold Snaps
We’re not kidding, guys, sometimes we get cold snaps in Florida, and before you do a whole mocking thing where you ask if it really dips below 90 degrees in the winter, you should know that Florida can get pretty chilly during the coldest months (not like snow-chilly, of course, but what do you expect? It’s not like we’re buying parkas down here, okay).
Even though these cold snaps don’t happen all that often, it’s important to be prepared, because one surprise, hard freeze can totally kill off the prized landscape you’ve been working on.
We don’t have too many tips for a Florida freeze, but if it does pop up on your radar, we suggest following some of these guidelines.
If you have potted plants that are easy to move, there’s no harm in taking them inside for the night (if a freeze is scheduled!) Otherwise, invest in a frost cover. Overall, you want to make sure frost doesn’t actually touch the plant, so if you can’t swing a frost cloth but have a thick blanket or a quilt, that could work just fine. Cover up your plants the night before and then remove the frost cloths – or blankets – in the morning. We don’t recommend using plastic covers on your plants, this can often make it colder under the cloth than the actual freeze.
Another tip? Water your plant in the morning before a predicted freeze in order to let the soil absorb the water and trap warmth in it all day. Watering the night of a frost can be tricky, so we suggest doing this early in the day to allow the sun to provide some warmth to the soil to absorb.
Beat the Heat
It goes without saying that when you’re in Florida, you’re going to be dealing with some serious heat.
Before we go any further in our basic advice category, we want to offer you some health advice, first. We know how hot it gets, which is why when summer rolls around, we are extra (extra) careful when it comes to working outside, so, our number one tip to you is always make sure you’re hydrating, protecting your skin, staying out of the sun, and taking plenty of breaks. Wear shaded hats, long sleeves, and tons of sunscreen, and most of all, be careful not to overheat. In Florida, heat stroke is no joke!
As long as you’re prepared to deal with the heat in a healthy way (and protect your body!) then you should be ready to work on your landscape.
Our best advice? Water twice. Yes, it’s a catchy little rhyme, but if you hand water (or don’t have a smart, adjustable irrigation system) we recommend watering your landscape’s plants, trees, shrubs, hedges, ground cover, etc. twice to ensure that they’re being thoroughly soaked. The reason behind this? Often times, dry soil is going to shed water on its first watering, which can end up hurting the younger roots by leaving them thirsty — these roots need the water the most (to grow!) and if you dry them out, they won’t survive. Ensure you’re not violating any watering laws before doing this. Overall, we recommend watering deeply – if that means you have to water a second time, that’s great, but if you can just strengthen your strategies to water more deeply, that’s even better (smart irrigation and smart strategies can help you accomplish this!)
Another great tip for a hot, dry summer is to add mulch to your beds! Mulch is a great, and relatively inexpensive way, to keep your soil cool and moist when the summer sun seeks to dry that bad boy out! With mulch, you can cool down that soil heat and help to prevent evaporation from the water you’ve already used.
The most valuable advice we can give, though? Don’t panic! In hot months – okay, that’s most months in Florida, but you get the picture – your plants are going to wilt, it’s just a fact of life. Often, plants do this at peak heat hours because they’re conserving their water. If they don’t perk back up at night, then it’s probably time to adjust the care. Otherwise, chill – literally, if you can, it’s hot out! – and let nature do its thing!
Did you enjoy our Florida weather guide? We hope so! We like to think that we’re the Florida landscaping gurus gifting our knowledge to the good people of our wacky little state, and we find that writing out our thoughts tends to help people out. Want to read up on a few more of these helpful little tidbits? We thought you might, and good news, we have a whole blog full of them. Check out our tips, tricks, advice, and even get some inspiration for your landscape on our Landcrafters Blog. Have a question you want to ask us directly? Looking for a quote on your landscape? No matter what it is, we’re happy to help! Give our office a call at (727)-201-3947.
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