It’s been a dry winter and spring in Florida. This resulted in about 88 percent of the state having abnormally dry conditions. With very little rainfall in the last few months, about 55 percent of Florida is now experiencing drought, according to the US Drought Monitor.
During such extreme conditions, communities will have water shortages, and restrictions will be implemented. As a result, there may likely be crop losses. And if you have a landscaped yard or garden, you are likely affected. Not to worry, there are a few steps that you can take to protect your grounds against the effects of this drought.
Essential Tips for Drought-Proofing Your Garden
There are simple things and minor adjustments that you can make to improve the drought tolerance of the plants and grasses on your garden and lawn.
Manage Your Mowing
It’s terrible to mow your lawn during the dry and hot season because the grass are already under much stress. But if you must trim, do it in the highest setting. This process encourages more profound root growth and increases leaf area. The latter allows for more photosynthesis and makes carbohydrates that help the grass survive stressful conditions like drought.
Also, remember that you have used a lawn mower with sharp blades. This will ensure the grass heals faster and won’t need a lot of water to recover. Mow during the early morning hours so your freshly chopped grass has the day to recover before the sun sets for the evening. Even better if you can cut and immediately water the grass thereafter. Our apologies in advance go out to your neighbors whom likely wont be fans of how early you’ll need to mow to achieve this.
Manage Irrigation and Watering Wisely
Usually, the use of sprinklers is prohibited during times like this. But, less frequent and more prolonged irrigations will be more beneficial since this will help promote a deeper root system on the grass and plants.
For lawns, ensure to water the grass only when it shows signs of wilting. For shrubs and trees, water only when the plants start wilting, and you notice them not perked up in the morning. If the soil in your grounds is heavier clay, you can water less because the excess water will run off on the ground.
Manage Your Fertilization
When there’s drought, reducing or postponing fertilization is more advisable. Think about this; fertilizer encourages plant growth. And when that happens, the plant will need more water. The grass will also grow more leaves and will not develop a deep root system.
However, if you must apply fertilizer, use one with a slow-release nitrogen and phosphorus source. You should also use a fertilizer with a high potassium level to help plants, and grass have high tolerance to the effects of drought.
Weed and Pest Control
Weeds are not just annoying, but they also compete with the grass for nutrients and water. And during a drought, you don’t want that to happen. So, make sure to hand-pull the weeds in your lawn and garden. Hand-pulling is more effective than applying herbicide, as the latter will add to the stress of the plants.
For pest control, check your homeowner association’s best lawn management practices. Make sure to check the labels so you don’t further harm the plants that are already experiencing the effects of a drought.
Use Mulch and Take Advantage of Shade
It is standard knowledge mulch helps retain moisture in the soil and moderate the temperature. That’s aside from the fact that mulch is used to suppress weed growth. Thus, mulch should be a part of your landscaping or gardening when there’s drought.
If you have potted plants or plants in containers, move them into the shade. Like adding mulch, the shade will help reduce the plant’s water needs.
The Bottom Line
The tips above will help your plants thrive even in arid conditions and also help your neighborhood conserve water. Improving the drought tolerance of your grass and all the other plants in your landscaping will ensure good-quality and beautiful lawns and gardens all year round.
If you need professional help with your landscaping, contact Lawns & Palms. Our team of landscaping experts specializes in premium lawn care solutions and property landscaping in Largo & Seminole. Contact us for any questions!