Fall into Florida Landscaping this Season
As our hotter Florida summer temperatures finally begin to wane and bring cooler days, it is a perfect time to assess your landscaping needs and prepare for the spring season ahead. By planning and making a little extra effort during the fall months, you can ensure that your landscape looks its best for the rest of the year.
One essential part of fall landscaping is deciding what to plant or replant during the fall months. A few climate-appropriate plants that will bloom for you in springtime include:
However, some flowers, such as pansies, should only be planted when our temperatures are at their coldest.
When cool but not too cold, fall weather is also perfect for planting vegetables and herbs that will produce for you during the winter. Late September and October are ideal times to add shrubs, while strawberry plants can be set in October. The following herbs and vegetables can also be added to your fall garden:
- Green onions
- Lettuce and kale
Maintain Your Fall Landscape
In addition to routinely testing and aerating your soil and continuing to mow during the fall months as our area’s turfgrass finishes up its growing cycle in September, October, and November, there are some more easy steps you can take to prepare your landscape for spring, including weeding, fertilizing, preventative pest control, and irrigation.
*For the sake of your property and the surrounding environment, be very careful when applying herbicide, pesticide, and fertilizer. If you have any concerns, please consult a professional.
Some weeds thrive in our cooler weather and appear even in the early fall months. Applying the appropriate preemergence herbicide during the fall – but only until late September or October – helps prevent weed growth before it starts. For application, it’s best to wait until the temperature stays at 60 degrees or lower for 4 straight nights. The herbicide you apply to fight weeds will last for anywhere from 6-12 weeks. If a few weeds crop up after treating, they can be hand-picked, but if weeds begin rampant, a professional landscaping company may be needed.
Florida’s soil is generally sandy and lacking sufficient nutrients. To allow for the proper growth of what you have planted, it’s crucial to ensure that your soil is sufficiently fertilized. The last fertilization of the year should be applied during the fall with chemicals consisting of 2% or less phosphorus to comply with Florida law. The fertilizer should also contain slow-release nitrogen and potassium, and the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ratio should ideally be 16-4-8.
Yard insects can still lead to infestations even in the cooler months. A few pests to watch out for include:
- Fall Armyworms
- Mole Crickets
- Sod webworms
- Southern Chinch Bugs
These pests should be treated and prevented before they cause lasting damage to your lawn. If your lawn has discoloration or brown patches, these are good indicators that you have an issue. Make sure you use specially formulated pesticides for these particular pests, because the incorrect pesticide can be ineffective against our native pests and also damage your soil.
Most lawns need an inch of water a week to stay healthy, so relying on summer showers to have provided enough moisture to continue into fall and sustain your landscape is unwise. Regularly check your irrigation systems and soil moisture during the fall months to ensure all areas of your lawn receive the proper coverage while the rainfall diminishes. Plan to use your irrigation system to water your lawn at the very least through October.
Fall is the perfect time to refresh your mulch to encourage healthy, vibrant growth in the spring. Mulching helps protect your plants through our harsher, but short-lived, cold months of the year cost-effectively and easily. Mulch acts as a protective layer for your plants and trees’ root systems in addition to complementing the beauty of your landscape.
To refresh your mulch, it may be necessary to replace. Mulch should be kept to 3 inches to be effective. Well-placed and new mulch helps prevent weeds, reduce unnecessary irrigation, control erosion, and sediment runoff, and allow your landscape to retain the moisture it needs.
The Gaston’s Mulch and Soil Difference
While landscaping and lawn maintenance go a long way, using poor quality mulch for your efforts can do more harm than good. And, purchasing your mulch from a big box store often equates to paying more money for reduced quality. Gaston’s Mulch and Soil offers a large selection of mulch that can be bought in bulk for your convenience, and we use tree debris recycled from our tree service to aid in sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Our Gaston’s mulch is made of the highest quality, so you get the most benefits possible from your mulching efforts. Contact us today and we can help you determine what types of mulch – and soil – best suit your landscaping needs.