Florida is known for its beaches and its sunshine. Plenty of people move here every year, dreaming of eternal vacation. However, after they arrive, things are a little different. Lawn care is now a chore. Everything is different compared to other parts of the country. Are you struggling to maintain your lawn in Florida? If so, this article has some tips that might help.
Top Tips for Maintaining a Lawn in the Sunshine State
Not all areas of Florida are made equally. Taking care of your lawn on the coast will be a much different experience than taking care of it in the swampy interior. Depending on where you live, you might need to create an entirely different approach.
How to Properly Nourish Your Lawn
No matter where you live in the state, all plants require the same essential nutrients.
The following nutrients can be provided with fertilizers and organic compost. Later, we will show you the most common signs to look for to detect deficiencies.
Six Essential Nutrients
Three-Number Fertilizer System
All fertilizers have a label with three numbers. These represent nitrogen, phosphate, and potash. Each number is the percentage of the solution composed of that compound by weight. You can use fertilizers with specific ratios to treat nutritional deficiencies. That way, you can target key nutrients without over-fertilizing the soil.
Everything You Need to Know About Soil
Florida is home to a diverse range of habitats. Depending on where you live within the state, the type of soil underneath your feet will vary. Each of these soils will require particular care. They also produce a more suitable environment for particular species of plant. Knowing the soil in your lawn will help you select the right flora.
Erosion is a constant threat throughout many of Florida’s beautiful habitats. As a result of tropical weather, many of Florida’s coastlines are constantly changing. Refer to local guidelines to see if there are any particular concerns regarding erosion in your area.
Common Soil Types in Florida
The soil will determine what you can plant. There are four common soil types found throughout the state of Florida. Each type is found more commonly in certain parts of the state. The coastlines are composed of a mixture of sandy and silty soil. The interior of the state is typically either clay or loam.
Sandy soils are found all along the coast of Florida. It is characterized by its coarseness and the large size of the soil grains. It does not retain water well, so it must be watered often.
Silty soil can be found in the interior of the state. It’s most common along dry riverbeds. It retains water better than sandy soil, but not as well as clay. Silty soil can be incredibly nutrient-dense. The only problem is that it holds on to water too well. Only swampy plants can survive in it, typically.
If you are lucky, you might have loamy soil. This is the perfect mixture of sand, clay, and silt for gardening and agricultural purposes. When you are looking at properties, test the soil to see if it is loamy. Then, you will know that it is the perfect spot for your vegetable garden.
Clay is the thickest of all the soils. It can hold onto a lot of water. However, when it dries, it becomes rock-solid. Only the hardiest of plants can survive in this soil. Luckily, it is the least common type found in Florida.
Fertilizers and Pesticides
Fertilizing the soil allows you to provide key nutrients. When you have well-nourished plans, they flourish. As long as you supply the correct ingredients, you can create a beautiful garden anywhere in the state. There are some common concerns people have, though.
Bats can be a Great Asset
Did you know that the state of Florida is home to several species of bat? Do not be alarmed if you see them flying overhead at night. They can often be a great asset during the summertime. They eat many of the bugs we find a nuisance. Plus, they rarely approach humans.
Chemicals Have a Place
Chemical pesticides have a place. You do not want to overuse them. When you apply too many pesticides to your plants, it can harm them. Not only can it harm the plants, but it can also produce pesticide-resistant superbugs. Then, pest control becomes even more difficult over time.
Fertilizers are made out of salts. When the roots of the plant touch these salts, they drain water from the plant. Excessive fertilizer can contaminate the water supply as well. If you suspect that your plants are deficient in nutrients, inspect them for specific signs. Most nutrient deficiencies can be determined by simply looking at the plant. Then, supply the plant with an appropriate fertilizer.
Irrigation and Watering
Irrigation is a big deal in Florida. Despite being surrounded by water, most of the water is not suitable for crops. For that reason, sprinkler systems are popular throughout the state. We recommend hand watering individual plants that need extra water. That way, you do not waste any water unnecessarily.
Looks for Signs of Wilting
An easy way to determine when you should water your plants is to keep an eye out for signs of wilting. Wilting is easily seen on the leaves of most plants. The leaves will start to curl inward slightly. You also might see the colors of the plant begin to lighten slightly.
Skip the Water After it Rains
Once you figure out a good schedule to water your plants, it is easy to get stuck in a rhythm. During the summer months, Florida is known for having a lot of rain. You can skip watering your plants after a summer shower. They do not need the water, and it could end up harming them.
Does Florida Have Any Seasonal Concerns?
Florida does not experience drastic differences between the seasons like other states. For that reason, preparing for seasonal changes is not as huge of a deal here. On the other hand, certain parts of the state do reach below freezing. It would be best if you were prepared to winterize your lawn.
Winterizing Your Lawn
Keep an eye out for bark splitting in younger trees. This can occur in Florida because it fluctuates drastically between daytime and night. Because of the rapid temperature change, the bark on trees can explode. You can prevent this by wrapping the trees with a cloth.
Leaves as Fertilizer
If you are interested in natural fertilizers, leaves make a great choice. Every year many of Florida’s trees will shed their leaves. Rake these up and turn them into a compost pile. After they are done composting, use the remaining matter as a fertilizer. It should supply all of your plants with their essential nutrients.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies and Their Symptoms
Nitrogen: Yellowing of the Leaves. They could also appear as a shade of lighter green.
Sulfur: New leaves will turn yellow.
Potassium: Yellowing between leaf veins. Wilting and brown leaf edges.
Phosphorus: Brown or purple leaves. Reduced flowering activity
Calcium: Poorly shaped leaves and flowers.
Magnesium: Yellowing leaf edges. Inhibited seed production.