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Healthy Plants

With a little knowledge and a little effort, a beautiful lawn and healthy landscape is within reach. Plants need the same things people need: water, a place to live, occasional doctoring and food:

  • Water
    • Florida is tropical, with sandy soils, making irrigation a requirement. Irrigate to prevent drought and to prevent wasting this precious resource. Do annual preventative maintenance on your irrigation system, irrigate for the season (plants need less water in cooler temperatures), turn off systems during the rainy season and turn on when plants show signs of wilt, keep lawns and landscape on separate zones.
  • Home Maintenance
    • Put the right plants in the right place and maintain their home. Mow lawns weekly spring through fall and as needed in the winter; never mow when wet or when hot/dry. Use a sharp blade and mow at the correct height: St. Augustine requires more grass blade (4 “average) than Zoysia (2.5”-3” average) for health. Prune plants less often and taper at the top for sun penetration. Weekly or monthly pruning removes new growth leaving shrubs skeletonized and unhealthy. Keep mower blades and pruners clean to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Doctoring
    • Use pesticides sparingly and properly. Investigate and identify problems before treatment. For example, brown spots may be caused by many things (chinch bugs, sodworms, disease, drought). If treatment is necessary, follow the label instructions carefully.
  • Food
    • Since plants do not get nutrients from Florida’s sandy soils, fertilizer is necessary for plant health. Apply the correct type, and amount of fertilizer and only when plants are growing to prevent leaching. Do not apply fertilizer in the late fall or during the winter months. Follow the Best Management Practices to protect our waterways. Only hire a reputable, professional company that follows BMPs to apply fertilizer and pesticides.

What to do in February

Give cold damaged plants proper care to ensure their survival and success. February is unpredictable. Normally we are clear of freezes and cold weather after February 15th, but just incase – leave damaged plants alone. Trim back damaged material once warm weather is consistently on the horizon.

Plant cool weather tolerant color such as Petunias, Dusty Miller, Violas, Dianthus, and Pansies.

It is still a great time to plant trees or shrubs in the landscape. By planting now, materials will get established quicker and require less water. Typically foliage production is slower this time of year, while the roots are still growing.

Cut back ornamental grasses if you have not already. Grasses like Red Fountain Grass should be cut down to about 6″ from the ground in late winter/ early spring.

Color Tips

Choosing colors for your yard should be easy… start with the colors you like! There are no right and wrong answers. However, try some of these tried and true color schemes to ensure beauty and harmony in your yard.

The Monochromatic color scheme is most frequently seen using whites. It can be done using your favorite color such as red, or yellow. You can create contrast by using different size, variegation, textures, and hues in foliage.

The Complimentary color scheme is achieved by using colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. For example, blue and orange, purple and yellow, & green and red. Try using different hues of one color to create a harmonious contrast in your yard that will be sure to catch the attention of your neighbors and local pollinators!

Analogous color schemes may be the easiest to execute because there little room for misstep. Gardens can be drawn from anywhere on the color wheel so you may create a nice warm feeling yard by using reds yellow and oranges, or a cool effect when blues and purples are combined.

Why Landscaping Should be one of your New Years Resolutions

It is no secret that 2020 was hard for everyone. Why not secure a session with the cheapest therapist around? Mother Nature. Research has continuously proven that gardening has a positive effect on our mental health and overall wellbeing.

  1. It’s Easy. You don’t need to have a green thumb, a huge yard, or a plethora of plants to feel the effects of gardening. A few pots on your patio, plants in your window, or a small bed will do the trick. Try using low maintenance plants like Succulents, Pothos, Sanseveria, or ZZ Plant to get started.
  2. Release Anger & Frustration. Give your pillow a break from the beating and grab a shovel, machete, or clippers. There’s nothing like hacking away at that overgrown shrub or breaking the ground to plant something new. Ten minutes in and you are sure to feel better!
  3. Exercise. Those twenty minutes you just spent trimming or digging helped your body release feel good hormones which are great for both mental and physical health. Dopamine and Serotonin- the feel good hormones are realeased, and Cortisol – a hormone associated with stress is lowered with physical activity. Say adios to the gym membership!
  4. Relax. Working in the yard can be tiring, which leads to better sleep at night. It also helps calm those thoughts about your bills, work, drama, etc. Not to mention you can sit back and just enjoy being outside in the area that you have created and tend to. Studies show that nature doesn’t only assist in improving your state of mind, but improves blood pressure and heart rate.
  5. Create a space you love. Personalize your home with your favorite color flowers, add some fragrant plants to enjoy, plant herbs and vegetables that you can enjoy in your meals, add privacy shrubs to enclose your space and have privacy. There are no right and wrong answers when it comes to gardening – and if you have questions on what plants will do well – we can help!
  6. Increase the value of your home. Adding plants, trees, and palms can help increase your curb appeal and house worth!

How to Treat Cold-Damaged Plants

December and January are typically the coldest months in Florida and occasionally, sensitive plants need to be protected either using fabric or plastic. If your plants suffer from cold damage, there still may be hope! Follow these tips to help spring life back into your yard!

Water. Even injured plants need water. Drenching the soil will provide nourishment for the plant and additionally help thaw the soil around it.

Pruning. We know that having brown lifeless foliage is not ideal in your landscape, but it is important not to prune too early. This foliage will help insulate the plant from further damage. If you do decide to prune right away, be aware that the new growth is vulnerable to cool temperatures. Herbaceous plants like begonias that die down to the ground should be removed so that fungal and bacterial issues do not arise.

Fertilizing. It is best to wait until spring to fertilize your damaged plants. You do not want to encourage new growth before the winter season is over. Once we are in the clear of freezing temperatures, go ahead and give your plants a boost of nutrients. We recommend fertilizing three times a year, March June and September.

What material should you use to cover plants?

Plastic – Plastic is typically lightweight and easy to use while covering your plant materials. However, if it is laid directly on top of plants, there is no insulation and this is where damage can occur. In addition, heat can build up under plastic if the temperature rises and the sun is out. It is important to remove the plastic at that point, or ventilate. You can use stakes to prevent both of these issues while using plastic to protect plants during cold snaps.

Fabric – Using things that you already have on hand like old blankets, sheets, or landscape fabric can also be used to protect sensitive plants. The advantage of this is that air is trapped in the fibers and provides better insulation so plants are less likely to be damaged. If rain is on the forecast, this can weigh down the fabric and potentially cause damage, you can prevent this by using stakes to hold the fabrics up or removing beforehand.

 

Any material used should go down to the ground and held by rocks, pots, etc. The heat from the earth is what helps protect your plants. You may also layer materials for extra protection during particularly cold days and nights.

Transplanting Tips

There are many reasons you may want to move a plant that is in you yard. Perhaps it needs more sun, or the opposite, needs more shade. Maybe you are tired of trimming the Viburnum your builder put next to your window and you rather have it in the backyard where it can grow and give you some privacy. No matter the reason, there are a few simple tricks to help ensure your plant thrives in years to come.

  1. Water the day before you plan on transplanting. This will make sure the plant is hydrated before the stress, that the roots will adhere to the soil, and will make it easier to dig!
  2. Dig the hole in the spot where you wish your plan to be moved to, making sure it is at least double the size of the existing root system. This will allow the roots to move easily through the loosened soil and have an easier time establishing.
  3. Push your shovel into the ground around the entire plant’s root system and gently lift it out of the soil, trying to preserve as much of the roots as possible. Never leave the root system exposed for too long as the sun, wind, and heat can cause damage quickly.
  4. Place the plant in the hole. The soil level of the plant should be slightly higher than the ground level. Planting the tree or shrub to low in the ground is one of the main causes of root rot and disease.
  5. Water daily (unless there is rain) to ensure a successful transplant!

Things to do in October

As a previous northerner, it always makes me chuckle when talking about the cooler fall temperatures in Florida. (Really? 75 is now cool for me?) BUT you couldn’t ask for better weather to get outside and spruce up your yard before the holidays.

Now is a great time to plant some cool weather annuals like Snapdragons, Petunias, Coleus, and Dusty Miller. Purchase a pumpkin or two to add some Autumn vibes!

Adding mulch to your yard will create a fresh and clean look just in time for the holidays! It will also minimize weeds, help with water retention, and protect your root systems.

Begin thinking about any transplants you may want to make. Things like Crape Myrtles or Drake Elms will begin dropping their leaves and going dormant. This will be the best time to transplant items to a different spot in your yard.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your installation prices?

Installation prices go down per tree based on quantity.

Field grown trees: $125 (subject to change depending on tree size)

30 gallon: $75

15 gallon: $50

How much area does your bulk materials cover?

Approximately 100 square feet at a 2″ depth

How many bags of mulch make up a yard?

14 bags

How many bags of topsoil to make up a ton?

36 bags