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Landscaping Tips for Drought

You probably have observed over the last weeks that even the most drought resistant of plants are beginning to wilt and not looking at their best. In West Central Florida and other regions in the State the dry season is upon us and landscapes begin to show the lack of rainfall.

Here are some tips for managing your landscape during drought:

Reduce Mowing
Turf that is already under stress will be even more stressed if mowed.  If you mow, always mow at the highest setting to encourage deeper root growth, which increases drought tolerance. And remember to keep your mower blade(s) sharp. Turf heals faster and loses less water when cut by a sharp blade.

Don’t Fertilize
Fertilizing will increase the plant’s need for water. Fertilization stimulates plant growth and increases water needs.

Waster Wisely
Trees & Shrubs: Only irrigate your landscape trees and shrubs when they start wilting and have not “perked up” again in the morning. Many trees and shrubs can withstand drought when well established. Use drip irrigation and hand water to minimize evaporation and wind drift.

Turfgrass: Only use irrigation when grass shows signs of drought, such as leaf blades folded in half, turfgrass turns into a bluish-greyish color, and footprints remain in the ground. Watering turfgrass only as needed encourages a deeper root system which increases drought tolerance.  Water ½ to ¾ inch of water each time you water your lawn.

Remove Weeds
Weeds compete with plants for water and nutrients. Hand-pull rather than applying herbicides. Herbicides are not as effective when plants are stressed and not actively growing.

Use Mulch
Mulch helps retain the moisture in the ground and helps to moderate the soil temperature. Mulch also suppresses weed growth.

Make use of shade
Move containerized plants into the shade to reduce their water needs.

For more tips visit:
Improving Your Lawns Drought Tolerance
https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/lawns/lawn-care/improving-your-lawns-drought-tolerance.html

To learn more about the UF/IFAS Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program contact Doris Heitzmann at dheitzmann@pinellascounty.org or visit our event calendar https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/events/?location=pinellas