Before Florida became the landmass it is today, it was covered by ocean. This is why most of the plants and animals found in Florida now are not originally native to the region. However, there are many plants that are now considered native to Florida that were brought to the area long ago by winds, see, birds, and animals. Many exotic plants make up the natural Florida landscape, brought in either on purpose or by accident.
Although exotic plants can spoil native habitats, many native plants and exotics work well together in the Florida climate. It’s always good to base your garden around native plants, however, because certain exotic plants require too much maintenance, including watering and fertilization. It pays to do some research and find out which varieties work best in Florida.
Several cities in Florida require that a certain percentage of the plants used in your landscaping be of the native variety. In particular areas where the ecosystem is most fragile, this type of requirement is put in place to preserve the local environment and conserve water.
If you want the plants and shrubs you have carefully selected to grow and thrive, it’s important to water them properly, especially during the initial stages after planting. Here are some tips concerning how to water new grass and shrubs with care for the plants and the environment.
For lawns that have just been planted, a moist soil is essential. Water the lawn thoroughly and don’t give it a chance to dry out. To keep the soil very moist you may have to deep water the grass every day for the first little while, especially if the soil is sandy and porous, as it often is in new developments in the state of Florida. Proper watering entails thoroughly moistening the top 6-12 inches of the soil to encourage deep root growth.
Thorough watering consists of sessions lasting 3-4 hours each time for the most root penetration. Aim for 3/4″ of water. Keep your watering consistent, only varying the frequency in accordance with the time of year and the amount of rainfall that occurs. If you keep up with the watering you will be rewarded with a healthy and lush lawn within 3-4 weeks. After the initial period of thorough watering, it’s only necessary to water the lawn when it starts to wilt (you can tell when this is happening by the bluish-gray color the blades become when on the brink of wilting).
For shrubs, both for new plants and transplanted ones, thorough watering at the beginning is also important. Expect to carry out thorough watering for about 6 weeks. You can leave lawn sprinklers on for 3-4 hours for each session, or if you prefer watering by hand, fill a basin around the plant twice, allowing the soil to drain fully each time. How often you end up watering does change depending on the type of soil in your yard, weather conditions, and the shape of the land.