Your Lawn & Landscape Will Miss You

For those of you that haven’t committed to staying in Florida for our steamy Florida summers with frequent rain and lots of bugs, your lawn and landscape will miss you. There are things you should do to prepare your lawn and landscape for your extended absence. You should get to know your neighbors. Ensure yoru lawn and landscape is maintained while your out of town. Check on your irrigation system and rain sensor to save water and money, and eliminate water collecting in your landscape to prevent mosquitoes.

Keep up with your lawn and landscape when gone so an overgrown lawn doesn’t send red flags to criminals.
Get to Know Your Neighbors

Form good relationships with your neighbors. Exchange your phone numbers and/or emails with them so you may contact each other. While often it is said that fences make good neighbors, several things can go awry when you are not at your Florida home, and good neighbors can help to notify you when those landscape calamities happen. Palms, landscape plants and turf can have several issues from nutrient deficiencies to diseases to water problems. Your neighbors can notify you of landscape issues letting you contact UF/IFAS Extension in your county if needed, or your landscape professional to visit and determine the problem.

Your Landscape Professional

If you are using a landscape professional who maintains your lawn and landscape, ensure that maintenance continues during your absence. If for some reason your lawn becomes overgrown, your neighbor can contact you. You don’t want to have the appearance of an overgrown lawn, and even more do not want to have the appearance of a home not lived in. That will be a sign to intruders that you are out of town.

Checking on your Irrigation
Purpose is to recommend checking irrigation systems.
Before leaving inspect your irrigation and your rain sensor before leaving to save water and money!

Another issue with landscapes which can pose problems is the irrigation system. Ensure that before you go out of town for an extended period you inspect your system. Run each zone looking for leaks, geysers, clogged or dribbling heads. You will want to ensure that you are getting good head-to-head coverage which means that the water from each head will reach the other heads it is intended to reach. Consider calibrating your system to deliver one-half to three-quarters inch of water per irrigation application (up to two times per week). Never water your lawn more than two times per week. Test your rain sensor annually so that you can depend on your irrigation not running after an adequate rain. If you find that it is not working, ensure that it is replaced before you head out of town. This saves water and saves you money. Checking your irrigation and rain sensor earlier in the Spring allows time for repairs before you leave.

Standing Water Leads to Mosquitoes
Image shows managing water in the landscape.
Use “feet” on your potted plants so they don’t collect water, and empty and take in pet water bowls.

You should eliminate the mosquitoes that will descend upon your neighbors’ blood supplies by managing any water “catchers” that collect water in your landscape. The places that you look for water in your landscape can be birdbaths, plant containers that don’t have drainage holes or dishes below potted plants, pet dishes that are left out, bromeliads, leafy-filled gutters, leaky faucets or anything that holds only one tablespoon of water which is enough for a mosquito to lay eggs. A rice-sized mosquito egg raft can hold 200 eggs, and most eggs are smaller than a grain of ground pepper. Mosquitoes in Florida are vectors for many diseases including dengue and chikungunya viruses, St. Louis encephalitis virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis, West Nile virus, Zika and dog heartworm (dogs and cats). For protecting yourself when you are out and about, you may use repellants which include DEET, Picardin, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and IR3535. Wear on your skin and on top of your clothing, but not under your clothing. Follow the product label.

For More Information

For information on best management practices for your lawn and landscape, check with your county’s Extension agent. In Sumter County, contact Lisa Sanderson, Residential Horticulture Agent, or Norma Samuel, Ph.D., the Urban Horticulture/Florida-Friendly Landscaping Agent.

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Posted: April 28, 2020


Category: Agriculture, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Lawn, Pests & Disease, Turf, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching, , Water
Tags: Calibrate, Checking Irrigation System, Irrrigatin System, Landscape, Lawn, Lawn Irrigation, Mosquitoes, Rain Sensor, Standing Water, Sumter County Extension, UF/IFAS Extension


Comments:

Lynne Henderson
June 23, 2022

Thank you for all the interesting information! I would love to learn more about Central Florida gardening.

Shayna Chewning

May 5, 2022

Thank you!

hammerstonemarkets
March 1, 2022

Nice post. I learn something more challenging on different blogs every day.

Lisa Sanderson

January 7, 2022

Hi Raymond, We planted it in our garden December of 2020 - the temps that December were at 29 in the morning for 5 days and again some in Jan. and the Aster did great! So, I'm assuming it would be fine to plant it now. It bloomed like gangbusters this fall - one grow much more than the others, but all bloomed. Lisa Sanderson

Jeff Rogers
December 31, 2021

great article thanks

Raymond Day
December 22, 2021

Can I plant the Aster now in zone 9a or wait till spring?

Jim Davis

January 21, 2021

Hi Chuck! I am teaching some classes at The Villages Enrichment Academy- Meet Your Local Wildlife. Hope to see you there or maybe one of our upcoming Hikes. 2/5 and 2/19. If interested on the Hikes, email me dvisshdn@ufl.edu Best, Jim

Chuck Windle, M D
January 17, 2021

Liked your notes on whistling ducks. We have some in the Bridgeport Lake Sumter neighborhood on Buena Vista. We enjoy their daily flights over our yard nightly. You can hear who they are. Best wishes, have not seen you for while but none of us have really seen anyone for a while.

laduncan

December 9, 2020

If you use overnight oats, be sure to heat them to steaming before eating them. Technically, it is most safe to cook them before putting them in the refrigerator, but cooked oats get very thick and may need extra liquid.

Lisa Sanderson

December 9, 2020

Hi Shirley, Crape myrtles are typically pruned mid-February and then tips and fruits can be removed rather than heading back to one spot. You can always prune dead, diseased and damaged limbs at any time. Thanks for your question! Lisa

Lisa Sanderson

December 9, 2020

Hi Steve, I'm not sure there is a magic date of dormancy. Dormancy can be on many plants due to lower temperature or a change in the photoperiod or short day length. Even though crape myrtles may have held onto their leaves perhaps longer than they may have in northern states, they too are going dormant. Many hold onto It's best not to prune them unti mid-February and then only doing small pruning of tips or fruit. Thanks for your question! Lisa

Lisa Sanderson

December 9, 2020

Hi Patrick - I believe that this is a duplicate, but if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at lsanderson@ufl.edu. Thank you for your questions! Lisa

Lisa Sanderson

December 9, 2020

Hi Patrick, This is a great question. Ideally, you don't prune your crape myrtles until mid-February rather than a winter pruning. Often folks think they should have their crape myrtles topped each year, but the February pruning should not be a topping sort of cut, but a cut that may remove smaller selected limbs or fruit if needed. Thanks for your question! Lisa

Evelyn Hill
December 8, 2020

I’m a fan of overnight oats that contain the oats as well as almond milk a bit of cinnamon and berries. I usually just heat it a bit in the microwave about 2 minutes the next morning. Is that enough heat or just stop with the overnight oats?

Patrick S Jurgens
November 15, 2020

Looking for somebody experienced with crepe myrtle trees cutting them back for winter time

Patrick S Jurgens
November 15, 2020

Looking for a person experienced in cutting back crepe myrtle trees for winter

Steve
October 27, 2020

When is dormant session in Florida? Thank you,

Shirley Anderson
October 25, 2020

Hello. I live in Apopka, FL. I have 2 Crape Myrtle trees in poor shape. When and where on the trees should I prune? I have a photo. Thanks. Shirley Anderson

Jim Davis

June 10, 2020

Hi Gary, Thanks for attending! Here is the link to the What is Biting Me Webinar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqi3-0EqR0M If you click the UrbanEnt icon, that is my page and you can view or subscribe to look at other recorded webinars. Here is the link to the IFAS Bookstore with info on snakes http://ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu/c-15-natural-resources-and-wildlife.aspx?pagenum=4 Look forward to seeing you in upcoming webinars! Email me at dvisshdn@ufl.edu for any more questions. Thanks! Jim

Gary
June 8, 2020

Jim, Thanks for such an informative session about poisonous snakes last Friday! It was my first Zoom experience. Will that session and What's Biting Me? be on YouTube? Also, I did not receive the additional resources in my email (address in field below). And where can I purchase the snake playing cards? Thanks again for a phenomenal presentation!

Jim Davis

May 22, 2020

Hi Ron, Eastern Time; Here are upcoming webinars. You can view YouTube webinars at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhmmmlFbJG8&t=3s My channel is UrbanEnt to view more videos May 26 at 1:00 pm Dr. Faith Oi and myself will be presenting on Keeping Bugs and Rats out of your house. Dr. Oi is a world-renowned urban entomologist and the director of UF/IFAS Pest Management University. We will cover rats, cockroaches, ants and simple exclusion techniques. Throughout Florida and the U.S., we are seeing a resurgence of these pests during this time. Is your landscape rat proof? Find out! Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/97733306825 May 29 at 1:00 pm I will be presenting on Common Mammals in the Landscape. I will be going over raccoons, opossums, armadillos, squirrels and more! I will share some interesting facts about some of these critters. Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92369361489 June 2 at 11:00 am, Brooke Moffis (UF/IFAS Extension Lake County agent) and I will be presenting on “What’s Biting Me?”. Brooke and I will go over some common biting/stinging insects and arthropods and teach you what to look out for. Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92053892707 We look forward to having you. Please log on early. Webinars max out at 100 attendees.

Jim Davis

May 22, 2020

Hi Wanda, Hi Barbara, Here are upcoming webinars. You can view YouTube webinars at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhmmmlFbJG8&t=3s My channel is UrbanEnt to view more videos May 26 at 1:00 pm Dr. Faith Oi and myself will be presenting on Keeping Bugs and Rats out of your house. Dr. Oi is a world-renowned urban entomologist and the director of UF/IFAS Pest Management University. We will cover rats, cockroaches, ants and simple exclusion techniques. Throughout Florida and the U.S., we are seeing a resurgence of these pests during this time. Is your landscape rat proof? Find out! Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/97733306825 May 29 at 1:00 pm I will be presenting on Common Mammals in the Landscape. I will be going over raccoons, opossums, armadillos, squirrels and more! I will share some interesting facts about some of these critters. Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92369361489 June 2 at 11:00 am, Brooke Moffis (UF/IFAS Extension Lake County agent) and I will be presenting on “What’s Biting Me?”. Brooke and I will go over some common biting/stinging insects and arthropods and teach you what to look out for. Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92053892707 We look forward to having you. Please log on early. Webinars max out at 100 attendees.

Jim Davis

May 22, 2020

Hi Barbara, Here are upcoming webinars. You can view YouTube webinars at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhmmmlFbJG8&t=3s My channel is UrbanEnt to view more videos May 26 at 1:00 pm Dr. Faith Oi and myself will be presenting on Keeping Bugs and Rats out of your house. Dr. Oi is a world-renowned urban entomologist and the director of UF/IFAS Pest Management University. We will cover rats, cockroaches, ants and simple exclusion techniques. Throughout Florida and the U.S., we are seeing a resurgence of these pests during this time. Is your landscape rat proof? Find out! Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/97733306825 May 29 at 1:00 pm I will be presenting on Common Mammals in the Landscape. I will be going over raccoons, opossums, armadillos, squirrels and more! I will share some interesting facts about some of these critters. Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92369361489 June 2 at 11:00 am, Brooke Moffis (UF/IFAS Extension Lake County agent) and I will be presenting on “What’s Biting Me?”. Brooke and I will go over some common biting/stinging insects and arthropods and teach you what to look out for. Zoom Webinar link: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/92053892707 We look forward to having you. Please log on early. Webinars max out at 100 attendees.

Ron Houser
May 8, 2020

Is the 1pm time Eastern or Central time? Please specify. Some of us ar on Central time.

Wanda
May 3, 2020

UF IFAS Sumter County Master Gardeners Chat Conversation Start Jim Davis, I have been watching the zoom webinars by UF on Fridays at 1 p.m. and really wanted to see the one on birds this past Friday but could not connect. You had promoted these on April 6 on the Entomology FB page. I know they changed the zoom meeting account number the Friday before but neither the new or the old meeting number worked. Can you help me? Also is there as way to still watch what I missed on the bird program? Anyone's assistance would be be appreciated! The new zoom meeting number I had was 441950330 The original number was 92836621685

Tim Momol
April 29, 2020

good job! thanks

Lisa Sanderson

April 17, 2020

Hi Sylvia, Yes, suckers that are coming from the base of a crape myrtle can be removed. Sometimes they may come up due to topping the crape myrtle in the fall, and some varieties that are shrub-like tend to try to return to their previous growth habit.

Barbara Wertz
April 15, 2020

Did you record these Zoom events? Are they posted on Youtube?

Sylvia
April 9, 2020

I too am new to the area and was told by my neighbor that the huge tree in the yard is a white crape myrtle. There are many thin branches coming up from the base. Are they considered to be suckers -and should they be removed? Thank you

Kathryn Lujano
March 11, 2020

I have a small crepe Myrtle tree and all the tiny branches look dead. It has dead looking berries on the top also. Should I cut that off? It’s here in California months of early March.

Lisa Sanderson

November 30, 2019

Hi Gail, You can prune dead, diseased or crossing limbs at any time, but its best to do pruning during the dormant season. You may notice some people have their crape myrtles topped which is an undesirable method of pruning. It can result in excessive sprouts from the base and a plant that takes longer to flower. Topping results in many sprouts emerging out of the cut limbs. Often crape myrtles don't need any pruning but you can remove the seed clusters. Crape myrtles may flower from perhaps late spring/early summer to late summer depending on the cultivar. They will not flower again until next year, and the leaves should drop so the structure of the crape myrtle should be more apparent. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Gail
November 28, 2019

We’re new to FL and crepe Myrtle trees. Do I prune heavy branches where it appears little flowers or berries are brown. They look dried up. How far back do you prune? Thank you

Jim Davis

November 10, 2018

Hi Linda, Try http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/managed/gopher-tortoise/rules-and-regulations/ Best, Jim

Linda Phipps
October 31, 2018

Hi Jim...we have a home at 17743 Lake Lucy Lane in Groveland Florida. The land above us has been sold for development of 500 to 700 homes. There are dozens maybe a hundred gopher tortoises on that property that will be bulldozed under unless someone steps in. There are also pileated woodpeckers and our octagenerian neighbor now deceased told us a small Indian burial ground is located by a pecan grove next to the Lake. I just need some contacts and I thank you for your affection for beautiful gopher tortoises. Keep up the good work. Linda Phipps 561 289 3478 master gardener.

Jim Davis

September 19, 2018

Hi Joyce, I would contact FWC http://myfwc.com/ to see what you can do with the collapse burrow. With the female, I would let nature take its course. Hopefully, the little ones will do ok. Best, Jim Davis dvisshdn@ufl.edu

Joyce Olcott
September 16, 2018

What do I do if the gopher tortoise’s burrough has caused my ground to collapse? I had three small gardens and with the rain, and the burrough directly below, it has caused my grass and ground to collapse...also I had a female lay eggs that should be hatching in the next few weeks. Is there anything I need to do for the little ones?

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