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Tips for Native Landscapes Heading into the Rainy Season

March 19, 2024
Watering At BHP 1600

As you prepare your yard for the upcoming summer and rainy season, SCCF’s Native Landscapes & Garden Center Manager Becca Grotrian shares some tips to consider.

“This time of year, we hear a lot of the same questions, so we put together some answers on planting establishment timelines and preparing your landscape for summer,” said Grotrian.

Native Landscapes & Garden Center Manager Becca Grotrian

If you are a seasonal resident, do you have enough time to install plants to get them well established before leaving?

Most of our seasonal residents leave between April – June. If you are on the early side of that, the answer would be no. While we’ll be moving closer to the rainy months of summer, it’s never a guarantee that we’ll get enough rain often enough to supplement watering newly planted plants.

When installing plants — even though they are native species — they still require anywhere from a month up to a year to get fully established depending on what you’re planting and the size you’re starting with.

Many of our smaller, more herbaceous plants like wildflowers establish quickly within a few weeks. Shrubs and trees will take much longer and require more water to get established. The smaller the sizes you install, the quicker they get established.

Are there any larger, open areas of your property that you didn’t get to planting yet?

Consider mulching unplanted areas. The mulch will help suppress unwanted weedy plants from coming up. Mulch with also help give the soil nutrients as it breaks down. Fallen leaves make a great mulch that also adds great nutrients to your soil, and it’s free!!

This time of year, many of our trees, like seagrapes (Coccoloba uvifera), strangler figs (Ficus aurea), and gumbo limbos (Bursera simaruba) are shedding older leaves, so can be a great time to utilize what nature is giving you. If you have areas that flood, take into consideration that mulching isn’t recommended — it will just wash away in heavy downpours.

Do you need to prune to prepare for hurricane season?

We encourage you to let your native plants grow as naturally as possible in order to be beneficial for our wildlife. However, there are certain cases where pruning/trimming might be needed. One example is monitoring your large trees. Do you notice any dead or broken branches that might be problematic in a storm?

You may want to consider having a tree company or arborist come out to examine your large trees, especially since many of our trees are still recovering from Hurricane Ian. We do not recommend pruning of palms as it’s good habitat for wildlife. If you do prune your palms, consider only removing the older, brown fronds. Cutting off green fronds can be harmful to the palms’ health, so please avoid the “hurricane prune.”

Click here to download our planting guide, which includes specific guidelines on watering to establish plants, best practices for planting, and more tips!


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