Summer Landscaping in North Central Florida: Mulch Matters
Even when not hitting record temperatures the hot summer sun in North Florida can be really tough on the plants in your landscape. That, paired with the heavy rain, can easily make summer in the southeast the hardest season for your plants.
All hope is not lost, though, as there is a simple solution that keeps your plants moist, protects their roots from the heat, and helps them retain nutrients that would otherwise be washed away with heavy rain. That solution is mulch.
Mulching For Summer
If you’ve recently installed a new landscape and haven’t mulched it, there’s no better time than now. When temperatures are in the nineties on a daily basis, the summer heat will quickly dry out your plants and cause them to wilt. A few days of this will cause your more sensitive plants to perish and prolonged exposure can take down even some of the more hardy plants in your garden.
While there are many recommended varieties of heat-tolerant plants for your Florida landscape, we recommend you give your plants a fighting chance by mulching them as well.
Proper mulching will provide a few benefits during the summer. First, it acts as a protective cover over your soil, effectively shading your plant’s roots and keeping them several degrees cooler than the surrounding non-mulched soil. If you’ve ever stepped barefoot on Florida’s sandy soil during the summer you know how much of a difference a little cover can make. If the bare soil burns your skin, you’d better believe it will burn your plants too.
Second, mulch retains moisture. While rain is something we typically don’t have to worry about during the summer, it isn’t consistent. During the summer months, it’s not uncommon for it to rain for two weeks straight and then, seemingly, take a week off. During this dry spell, whether it’s a week or just a few days, the added heat can dehydrate even the hardiest plants. A good mulch will act like a sponge, collecting moisture during the rainy times and distributing it to the plant’s root zone during breaks. While you shouldn’t have to worry about irrigating as much during the summer, a dry spell can often catch us off guard and cause us to forget to water our plants. Think of mulch as irrigation insurance, you might not always need it during the summer, but when you do it can make all the difference.
Lastly, mulch provides beneficial nutrients to the soil. The intense rain we get during the summer months, while great for keeping your plants moist and cool, can actually cause nutrients in the soil to be diluted or washed away. You’ll often see an even yellowing of leaves during this time of year, indicating the loss of key nutrients, like nitrogen. Mulch helps combat this by helping to reduce erosion of the nutrient-rich topsoil and, as the mulch breaks down, it helps to fertilize the plants it surrounds.
If you haven’t mulched before the summer temperatures set in, we highly recommend that you do. Alternatively, if you already have mulch in your landscape that is thinning out, summer is a great time to re-mulch. With all the added rain and heat, the summer months are sure to break down the existing mulch in your landscape. Adding fresh mulch now can be a great preventative measure that will serve your garden for the rest of the year.
Can’t decide on what type of mulch to use in your landscape? We offer a variety of types and colors to match every need. Our mulch is not only attractive and long-lasting, but it’s also all natural and made from recycled tree debris. Contact the professionals at Griffis for expert mulch advice and a quote based on your location.