Florida is famous for its humid subtropical climate. Historically speaking, however, the months between November and May often receive very little precipitation. This lack of rain may precipitate drought-like conditions throughout the peninsula.
Many areas in the state consist of a series of sand dunes on top of compressed, highly porous limestone. During the hot, wet months from May to October, the copious rain is stored in the rock. Many of the native trees rely on this naturally occurring water storage to replenish freshwater supplies.
Florida generally receives approximately 54 inches of precipitation per year.
How to cope with the dry season
To ensure the integrity of the trees on your property, it’s advisable to take certain precautions during the dry season. Here are some simple measures to maintain the health of your beloved trees during a drought.
It’s prudent to stop all fertilization of your trees in the drier months, as it stimulates growth while simultaneously increasing the need for water.
Cut back on irrigation
Many trees with a well-established root system can easily withstand a drought. However, even the healthiest tree requires some irrigation in times of little to no rainfall. During the dry months, only water your trees if they appear to be wilting. Hand watering and drip irrigation are excellent options, as they minimize both wind drift and evaporation. Additionally, during the cooler months, trees require less irrigation.
Weed removal is a must
Removing weeds on your property guarantees that they will not be competing with your trees for essential nutrients and moisture. It’s wise to hand-pull weeds and avoid herbicides when trees are stressed and not growing. These toxic compounds are not nearly as effective during this non-growth period.
Adding a layer of mulch around the base of your trees is highly advisable. The mulch reduces weed growth, moderates the ground temperature, and most importantly, retains the moisture content of the surrounding soil.
Make use of shade
If you have some smaller trees growing in containers, move them all into the shady areas to reduce water consumption.
Trees indigenous to the Tampa-Bay area tend NOT to lose their leaves, so there’s no need to prune during the dry-season
Here are three gorgeous drought-resistant trees for your Florida landscaping needs:
This soft-textured southwestern cypress is extremely heat and drought tolerant. They boast beautiful gray-green foliage and deep, gray-brown bark. This beauty makes an excellent windbreak and is cherished for its erosion control. It’s also highly decorative and makes a beautiful Christmas tree.
This hardy, drought-resistant tree produces beautiful black canes up to 3 inches in diameter and can reach up to 50 feet in height. It does well in full sun, although it flourishes in partial shade. It can also survive in cold snaps and can withstand temperatures down to 28 F.
This elegant slender tree tends to have a columnar structure and doesn’t get very wide. They can adapt to almost any climate and soil type and require very little irrigation.
Some other attractive drought-resistant options for your central-Florida landscape include pine, live oak, all types of palm trees, cedar, elm, loquat, seagrape, mangrove and bottlebrush.
By following these very basic rules, homeowners will ensure the health and beauty of their property’s trees.
However, for all other tree-related needs, such as trimming, pruning, and removal, for safety’s sake, it’s important to enlist the help of a professional arborist. Give us a call today at (813) 404-0944 or email us at Kokamo65@gmail.com.