June’s Tips & Tricks for South Florida Landscapes

As we started off the first week of June, with the beginning of hurricane season, we were greeted with our first tropical storm Andrea. Fort Lauderdale received 9 inches of rain, Aventura 12 inches, South Florida being hit with tornado’s all within 24 hours. We are now officially, in the beginning of our rainy season along with our growing season.

June is a perfect time to start your landscape projects. Prime growing conditions combined with warm weather, supplemental watering’s from Mother Nature and a little planning, make it an ideal time to get outside and get started! I would like to share a few ways for you to take advantage of this growing opportunity, by implementing your very own landscaping project.

First, always start out with a plan.  Whether your just changing out your annual beds for the summer season or doing a complete landscape installation, always measure the area to be landscaped.

Second, it is important to determine the total amount of direct sunlight the subject area will be receiving. In doing so you will be able to determine which plants will thrive  in these conditions (full sunlight, filter sunlight, shade). Soil inspection is necessary to determine the conditions that your plant material will be grown in. Example, if soil is sandy, fertilizer will easily leak through the plants’ root systems, requiring more frequent fertilizing. The opposite is true with muck soils which will hold up the fertilizer in the root zones and will require less fertilizer.

Third, the irrigation system or lack of one is an important decision in determining what types of  plant material should be installed. All sprinkler systems should have rain sensors installed to prevent them from coming during rain, helping to conserve water. South Florida Water Management water restrictions are still in effect. New landscape installations come with a 30 day waiver. This waiver only applies to the landscaped area and not the property as a whole.

Lastly, it is at this time we apply “the 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping  to our landscape decisions: 1)Right Plant, Right Place (which types of plants require full sun, partial, shade) 2)Water Efficiently (grass requires more irrigation than plants, and should have a separate sprinkler zone than plants if possible), 3)Fertilize Appropriately(only fertilize grass, tree & plant root zones keeping away from lakes & canals) 4)Mulch ( helps to prevent weeds, retains water & enriches soil), 5)Attract Wildlife (butterflies, birds) 6)Manage Yard Pests Responsibly(Integrated Pest Management Principles) , 7)Recycle (mulch lawn cuttings and compost cuttings), 8)Reduce Storm Water Runoff (Recycle rain in barrels) , 9) Protect The Waterfront (no fertilizer or chemicals within 10 feet of canals or lakes) .

Important Summer Landscaping Tips:

– This month is also a good time to start producing more plants by grafting, air layering or by cuttings from existing plants that you may already have.

– Annuals to be planted for the summer months include: coleus, portulaca, vinca, caladiums and torenia

– Herbs that withstand the summer heat  include: basil, cumin, rosemary, ginger, Mexican tarragon

– Vegetables to be planted: okra, sweet potato, southern pea and tomatoes by plant and not seed.

– Summer’s rainy warm whether make a perfect time to install that favorite palm or hardwood tree. Just remember to stake it for the first six months after installation to prevent from falling over during a storm.

– Pruning of summer flowering bushes like ixora, hibiscus, and oleander helps to initiate more blooms when pruned lightly during summer months.

– Lawns should be inspected regularly for damaged areas and keep insects in check with early treatment. Brown or yellow spots or patches in lawns must first be determined the possible cause of fungus (too much water), lack of water, disease or insects. Then a treatment should done as a soon possible to eliminate the problem. If  your not sure, hire a Florida licensed pest control applicator.

– I would truly ask everyone that’s working, playing or enjoying the outside please be safe during this summers storm season!

I hope the above insights help with properly designing your own landscapes. If you need help regarding your landscape, we at Garden Services are fully licensed & insured to handle all of your irrigation, landscaping, maintenance and tree service needs whether it’s a residential, commercial or homeowner association property!

Additional Resources To Utilize:

Some books of interest to help you to decide on which best plants and trees to use in South Florida Landscapes are…

– Betrock’s Florida Plant Guide Edward Gilman, PH.D

– Trees for Urban and Suburban Landscape by Edward Gilman, PH.D.

– Florida My Eden by Frederic B Stresau F.A.S.L.A.

– Florida Fabulous Trees by Winston Williams