Summer Landscape Tips in Orlando
Summer landscaping in Orlando is both a challenge and an opportunity. It’s challenging because of the heat, humidity, and drenching rains. It’s an opportunity because the heat, humidity and drenching rains help plants thrive. So don’t wilt in the heat, use it to your advantage with these tips to help you landscape like a pro.
Work with the Climate and Soil
Central Florida’s climate is “humid subtropical.” Translation: we have hot, wet summers and cool, mild winters. Much of the soil here is sandy, so it dries out quickly and doesn’t contain a lot of nutrients. That means you’ll have to amend your soil to help retain moisture and add nutrients.
Know-How to Fertilize
If you’re planning to fertilize in the summer, take a close look at Orlando’s fertilizer ordinance. Fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus are banned from June 1-September 30… unless you’ve taken the online fertilizer application course. This is because Florida’s summer downpours strip fertilizers from lawns and deposit them in storm drains. From there, they get into springs, rivers, and lakes. Other cities and towns in Florida have banned fertilizers completely during the summer.
Know When to Mow
Bermudagrass is by far the most popular type of grass in Orlando. It grows quickly during the summer months. So, most homeowners find they need to mow every two weeks at a minimum, and sometimes every week. When you mow, make sure your lawnmower blades are sharp. Adjust the height to remove only the top one-third of the grass blades.
Choose a Florida-Friendly Landscape
A “Florida-Friendly Landscape” is more than a catchy phrase. It’s a trademarked campaign to promote landscapes that will naturally thrive. In addition to complying with Orlando’s watering restrictions, you can do your part by choosing native, low-maintenance plants for your yard. Natives need less water, fertilizer, and maintenance. You can also save water by turning off your sprinkler system during Florida’s rainy season (June 1-September 30). If that’s too drastic, consider a device that will automatically shut off your sprinklers when it starts raining.
Plant for Color
Florida’s long growing season enables you to have colorful blooms and foliage in your yard year-round. Perennials like black-eyed Susans and annuals like celosia and pentas stand up well to the summer sun and heat. You can also add heat-tolerant color by using colorful planters and containers on your patio or deck.
Plant Edible Gardens with Care
Any experienced Orlando gardener can tell you not to expect a summer harvest of large tomatoes. You need to plant those in late August or early September. You can, however, grow cherry tomatoes in the summer. Sweet potatoes, southern peas, and okra will also do well. If you want pumpkins by October, plant those seeds in July. Summer is also a great time to plant a heat-loving herb garden with basil, Mexican tarragon, and rosemary.
If you can deal with the sweltering summer weather, you can maintain and even add to your Orlando landscape. A little smart planning and you’ll be able to enjoy the results of your labor far beyond the summer season.
About the author: Kelly Holland is a gardening and landscape design writer who loves experimenting in her kitchen. Her quirky nature loves a bright color palette so naturally, her coveted garden is covered in a rainbow of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.