Advice from Buck’s Backyard
Three Rules for a Healthy Florida Landscape
Americans spend millions of dollars on trees and shrubs to enhance their landscapes. Trees and shrubs are the visual backbone of a landscape. Here in Florida we use trees, shrubs and the beautiful palm tree to enhance and provide character to our homes and increase home values. Numerous factors come into play when caring for your landscape – especially when it comes to trees and shrubs.
Rule #1: Plant the right plant in the right place:
This is probably most common mistake in landscape. A homeowner buys a shrub that looks good and simply plants it – but it was a partial shade plant. Now it is on the south side of the house where it gets blasted from full sun and heat, along with the house reflecting even more heat on to the plant. The plant is doomed from the start. So before buying and planting any shrub, be sure to read all the info on the tags, or go to the links provided for additional information.
Sometime the nursery or store will just put the plants on display, in no particular grouping or order, confusing the homeowner even further. Read the label and do some quick research before investing in a set of plants. For instance, you can put a young palm right next to the house when it is 3 feet tall, but that same palm tree can grow to 50 feet high and reach a diameter of 36 inches! This can actually damage your house. Take some time and draw up a plan based on the plants growth and nutritional needs, as well as your yard’s layout (e.g. sun vs. shade).
Rule #2: Give the plant adequate water to get established
Newly installed plants need more water until they are fully established. Some newly installed trees may need up to six months of additional water. Here is where the label on the plant gets confusing. It will tell you the plant’s ongoing water requirements but not water requirements to get the plant established. Even a plant that says drought tolerant can and will die if not watered correctly until it becomes established. Get adequate water on those newly installed trees and shrubs. Every plant suffers some degree of transplant shock. The plants can drop all their leaves when it is in shock or even worse it can die. As soon as the plant is in the ground get water on those roots.
Rule #3: Be sure to properly fertilize with the correct formulation
This is one of the most important factors for a plant’s continued growth and health. It’s not just important to provide the right nutrition, but also to know what goes into the fertilizer — the composition. When you look at a bag of fertilizer you will see three big numbers (e.g. 10-10-10.) Here’s how they breakout…
- Nitrogen – in simple terms it makes the plant green and grow up.
- Phosphorus – this enables the plant to bloom or produce fruit.
- Potassium – This helps to feed and establish a healthy root system.
In addition to the big three, you have your minor elements such as iron, magnesium just to name a few. These are also very important and should be on the ingredients section on the label. In total there are sixteen elements that you need to grow a healthy plant and most homeowners do not have the time to read that label, that’s where we come in. Our Tree and Shrub fertilizer is custom blended for all of our plants here in Central and Southwest Florida. This blend went through rigorous testing before we put it on our customer’s landscapes. Our soil is very sandy and does not hold on to the ingredients the plant needs to grow big and strong. Our fertilizer is specially coated to slowly release over a period of a few months, so the plant is constantly fed. Our Tree and Shrub Care Program is a four time a year service to feed them so they get the proper amount of nutrients to live.
In closing there is so much more I could go into about growing a healthy and vibrant landscape. There is much more science to it such as the soil Ph level, respiration and proper pruning. Other factors can come into play, like insects, diseases, freezing cold temps, etc. Your landscape is a living breathing life form and is also very important in many ways to our environment and needs proper care. Let us take the stress off you. We are all trained and qualified here at Harmony in caring for your lawn, trees and landscape. Call us for a free consultation on your lawn and landscape.
Buck Moon serves as the Certified Pest Control Operator for Harmony Care. In this role, he supervises field personnel and ensures all operations proceed in a safe and effective manner. He writes regularly on best practices for maintaining a healthy vibrant lawn in his home state of Florida.
Got a question? Just ask one of our experts! Need a free lawn care quote? Just call Harmony Care at (941) 840-1491.