Identifying Water Stress on Florida Landscape Plants

Helpful Tips from Buck’s Backyard

Know your seasons and keep a watchful eye

Water stress on our landscape plants can be damaging here in Florida. Water stress is usually caused by not enough water to our landscape. This usually happens during our dry season starting in February and lasting until the rains come in June. When we reach temps around 80 degrees and our air is very dry that you may start seeing the signs. It can also happen in the rainy season when we go over 4 days without rain and the home owner shuts there irrigation system off.

Water stressed Viburnum shrub in Florida

Water stressed Viburnum shrub in Florida

One of the first signs is the plant starts to wilt in the heat of day. This is called transpiration, when the plant is putting off more moisture (sweating) than it is taking in through the root system. This is also a normal occurrence and will happen even if the plant is getting enough water. It’s when the plant wilts constantly and then the plant starts dropping leaves as a survival measure. It is usually the older leaves or the bottom leaves. They will start turning yellow and then just drop off. The plant drops them so it does not have to provide water to them thus protecting it. This can go on for a short time, but if there’s no water, damage then death can happen, depending on how healthy and strong the plant is.

Now all that being said the plant can have another type of water stress. Usually when our rains stop in the fall it is all of the sudden. The plant has adjusted (adapted) itself to all that water on almost daily basis and has become used to it. Then no water for three or four days until irrigation comes on. This is not fatal but can look like it is very bad. The plant

Yellowing leaves can inidcate water stress

then can and will start dropping its leaves again. This is short lived and the plants will recover or adjust back to 2 times a week of irrigation. The key here is to know what time of year it is. If you see this, look at the plant because insects and disease can have the same effect but by examining the you will see the insects or disease. Always contact us and we will come out and take a look. Most of the time we can solve and correct the problem with one visit. If you are a customer and do not have our Tree and Shrub service call us and we can come out and give you a complete landscape analysis of you landscape.

Buck Moon serves as the Certified Pest Control Operator for Harmony Care. In this role, he supervises field personnelBuck Moon 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