Florida is known for its intense heat—and while that may mean you spend more time indoors in the comforts of your air conditioning, your landscape may be out there struggling from water-stress and solar radiation. This added stress on your lawn and landscape can have a negative aesthetic impact on the overall look of your property.
But it doesn’t have to. With a little bit of extra care, you can keep your landscape vibrant—even in the hottest weather conditions.
Watch out for Your New Plants
When it comes to intense heat, it’s your new plants that you need to watch out for most. New plants are the least likely to survive the heat. Frequent watering is a must for any new plants on your property—at least two times a day. That’s because plants require at least one full growing season to extend their roots into the surrounding soil where they can extract additional moisture. New plants have not yet had that opportunity.
Mulching can help play a role in maintaining soil moisture and also protecting delicate plant roots from intense sun rays that could dry them up.
Stay on Top of Your Watering Routine
Of course, even though you should pay close attention to new plants, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t also be watering your established landscape—it just won’t require watering quite as frequently. Aim to water early in the morning when the sun is not as hot, and you have less chance of water being lost to evaporation. Apply water near your plants’ roots, where it’s needed most.
Be careful that you aren’t overwatering as this can also cause problems. Plants need oxygen in the soil and too much water can actually “drown” your plants. Interestingly, a plant that has been overwatered tends to look quite like a plant that has been under-watered (generally turning yellow and then brown). This can make it difficult to know the difference.
To ensure that you’re watering the right amount, dig slightly into the soil a day after watering and observe the soil condition. If it’s dry, you may need to water more. If it’s still soggy, you’re watering too much and need to back off.
Consider an Irrigation System
Better yet—have a professional irrigation system installed that can ensure the amount of watering your landscape is receiving is exactly where it ought to be. It’s difficult to accurately predict your lawn and landscape’s exact watering needs but a properly installed smart irrigation system can take the guesswork out of it. That means that even when you aren’t home, you can ensure that your lawn and landscape are receiving just what they need.
Install Drought-Tolerant Plants
Incorporating drought-tolerant plants that can handle harsh weather (and less water) is another option to consider. In Florida, there are quite a few plants that can tolerate drought stress and still look nice on your property. A couple of options include Buttonwood, Firebush, and Beautyberry but you can talk to your landscape professional about what will work best for your landscape. There is no reason that your landscape can’t continue to look great, even as the summer heats up.