Make Your Yard Florida-Friendly

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Make Your Yard Florida-Friendly

You can save water, time and money by taking steps now to make your yard Florida-friendly.

A properly maintained Florida-friendly yard can help homeowners conserve water and reduce pollution of water resources. A Florida-friendly yard can be beautiful and an asset to the environment, conserving water, protecting natural resources and preserving Florida’s unique beauty.


The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension publishes a monthly garden planning calendar that can help west-central Florida residents plant the right plant in the right place at the right time.

John Korycki is the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods coordinator with the Hernando County Extension.

“Now is a good time to plant cold-tolerant annual flowers to spice up the landscape,” said Korycki. “Carnations, petunias, and snapdragons are some of the varieties that work well in Central Florida this time of year. But be ready to cover tender plants, as frost or freezes are likely in January and February.”

This is also a good time of year to plant trees. Florida Arbor Day is celebrated the third Friday in January each year, instead of April, taking into account the state’s earlier end to winter.

Plants may need water if temperatures remain higher than normal and rainfall is scarce. But during the cooler months, lawns don’t need watering every week. Applying three-quarters of an inch of water every 10 to 14 days should be sufficient.


As the Florida winter begins to give way to spring, more plants can go into the ground.

“Many bulbs can be planted in February,” said Korycki. “You’ll want to water the bulbs well to establish them, and protect them from cold weather with mulch.”

Weeds can rob desirable plants of water and nutrients. A little work in February can save water, time and money later in the year.

“If you keep weeds from growing in the first place, they won’t be wasting your water and time later,” said Korycki. “February is the time to apply pre-emergent herbicides. These products work by preventing weed germination. You’ll want to use them early in the month, and follow the label directions.” Korycki warned that warm weather could speed up weed germination, rendering the herbicides ineffective. “If you accidentally wait too long to put down the pre-emergent herbicide, then it won’t work the way it’s designed. Follow the label directions carefully.”

With a little planning and some work when it’s still cool outside, you can enjoy a beautiful yard that uses less water and takes less time to maintain. For more information on Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, check out the District’s website at Click the “Get expert advice” link to find the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods coordinator in your county.