Tampa Landscape Design always recommends watering all new landscaping daily for a month, unless it rains hard, then use a moisture meter or tuna cans to determine how much water will need to be added. Trees require watering twice/day upon installation for 2 weeks to a month. Download the University of Florida's advice on watering a new landscape.
Even native plants will die in a drought. Provide 1" of water per week as a rule. Use a tuna can to determine how long to run your irrigation or buy a $10 moisture meter from a home center.
Micro-irrigation systems are not subject to watering restrictions. A timer on a hose bib, a hose and some nozzles will save your landscape investment.
Don't bother with weed cloth; use 3" of mulch and replenish as it breaks down, usually every 6 months until it builds up a dense layer.
When you get plants from a nursery, don't plant their weeds. Getting someone's torpedo grass will take a lot of money and effort to get rid of. And stinging nettles are no fun, either.
Fertilize with household vegetable wastes (no meat or cheese). Pile and rotate it if you're ambitious or bury it directly near the roots of needy plants. Be aware that critters might welcome your generosity.
If you have a deer problem, it's best to avoid certain plants like indian hawthorn, but usually it's just best to consider that you have adopted a herd of deer and feed them like a bunch of big dogs. If they're eating your kibble, they're not eating your plants.
At water's edge, leave a 6' plant margin for wildlife. You will be amply rewarded by butterflies, hummingbirds, ducks, otters and other wildlife. And you will stay in compliance with SWFWMD, the County EPA and everyone else who has control over water elements.
Use Neem Oil late in the day to fend off annoying pests on your plants. If you spray the bees during the day, they will die, but not if you spray after bees have gone home at dusk.
Plant only perennials and save your back.
Trim your shrubs in a timely manner. Azaleas are best trimmed during July or August for maximum Spring blooms.
Pine bark is a renewable resource mulch, cypress is not. Eucalyptus, though more expensive, is the best mulch.
Get joy from your pond by adding a solar powered fountain spitter.
Plant old garden roses by the common entry or patio and remind yourself of your grandmother.
Put out tuna cans as rain gauges and low-tech ways to determine how well your irrigation system is covering your plants, especially in areas where your plants are failing.
Yes, you can water too much. Plant leaves will turn yellow without a brown tip.
If your tree is on its last legs and you have to decide between cutting it down, or using a nasty pesticide, use it as a drench, not a spray. Less terrible on the pollinators.
Plant Florida natives.
Plant two-fer plants. If you can plant a plant that is hardy, but also flowers, great. If you can plant a tree that provides food, too, good. If you can plant a plant that flowers, is perennial and has a wonderful scent--awesome.
Don't plan on a Mediterranean landscape if you live in the middle of a swamp. Don't attempt a tropical landscape if you live in the desert. Seems like it should be common sense. Tampa Landscape Design can create a compromise if you really want a particular style.
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