While everyone loves the cooler temps and sunny-all-day weather we enjoy during the fall and winter months in Sarasota, the dramatic weather changes from summer require adjustment for optimum landscape maintenance.
During the Florida summer, landscapes are usually blessed with plenty of water and optimum growing conditions for the tropical plants Southwest Floridians love. But with fall, it’s as if a switch is thrown and just like that the rains nearly stop. For many it would seem the solution is simple – just increase your landscape irrigation or water your turf more, however while that is part of the solution it’s not the whole story. Coupled with the dryer conditions is cooler temps, and an almost guaranteed cold snap or two. The somewhat unpredictable temperatures of our area during the winter months can make applying the correct amount of water to your landscape more challenging.
With cooler temperatures the need for watering is greatly reduced even with the dryer conditions – so be very careful not to over do it or your lawn could suffer a host of problems from over-watering. Over-watering during the cool season can cause root-rot, mildew problems, attract insect pests and is also less than ideal considering more often than not, by winter Florida is in a drought and under water restrictions.
To keep your plants healthy and your water use down be sure to have your irrigation system checked for problems. Check that the amount of run-time, and time of day that the system turns on is correct. Any good system with an electronic controller should be accounting for the change in seasons and daylight savings time, but even so, it should be checked to make sure it is running correctly.
Proper preparation for the Florida dry season actually begins in the summer. Your lawn maintenance company should have a sustainable and ecologically- friendly fertilizer program up and running well in advance. This will ensure your plants have good strong and deep roots that are better able to find the moisture they need. Over-watering combined with a poor fertilizer program can cause the plant to have shallow roots and thus be more susceptible to problems during the dry season.
Mulching is also something that should be done through the summer ahead of the dry season. Keeping your plants mulched when all of that summer storm rain is coming down will help add organic matter the soil. When the mulch and soil are wet the mulch will breakdown much faster and transfer the organic nutrients into the soil. This process certainly takes time so by having a properly mulched landscape during the rainy season you are improving the soil for the dry season. The added organic matter will help the sandy Florida soils retain water longer as well as offer more nutrition for growing plants.
Other adjustments that should be made by your lawn maintenance company is the grass should not be cut as short during the dry months. Having the slightly longer turf will help the grass conserve water and not dry out as fast.
If you are looking to keep your landscape and irrigation system in top shape over this year’s dry season contact Grants Garden’s. In Addition to being a full-service landscape maintenance, design and irrigation company we also offer a seasonal irrigation tuneup to make sure your home irrigation system will be in top shape all year round.