Know how to manage your microclimates

In Florida, we all understand the importance of irrigation in creating a great landscape experience. We are entering what we call “dry season” as temperatures begin to rise and stabilize, but our rainfall historically slows. If your irrigation isn’t operating or optimized properly, very soon you will begin to see large dry patches.

Within every landscape are microclimates. Simply put, microclimates are localized areas which experience different temperatures, precipitation, and wind protection from the overall landscape. They are produced by structures (in between homes), topography (hills, berms and even low spots in your yard) and plants (such as large trees).

Microclimates can be intentionally made, but most arise over time as properties develop and the landscape matures. Most irrigation systems are designed for the greater landscape needs so the systems are rarely adjusted for microclimates as they appear. Here are a few things your team at Mainscape can do to optimize irrigation, reduce waste and produce healthy landscapes:

  • Utilize “cycle and soak” (learn more here)
  • Correct areas of insufficient irrigation (also called “distribution uniformity”)
  • Reconfigure zones in microclimates by
    • Breaking up zones into smaller zones
    • Re-nozzle spray heads to increase/decrease application rates
    • Utilize water migration on sloped landscapes
    • Improve landscape plants or turf for specific microclimates

If you want to learn more for your own home, we recommend consulting with a local University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) extension agent or visit the IFAS website. We welcome commercial, hospitality and homeowners’ associations to have a conversation with us about managing water application on your property. To fully understand your landscape’s needs and generate a plan to correct any insufficiencies, we recommend an irrigation audit. Contact our knowledgeable team today.

Plant Profile: Powderpuff

Calling it that isn’t an insult. The powderpuff is an excellent evergreen shrub for central to south Florida. The beautiful, flagrant bloom is a main reason for its popularity and becomes a magnet for hummingbirds. Native to Bolivia, the powderpuff has become a staple in Florida landscapes.

Growing 12 to 15 feet in height, the powderpuff tree or bush can grow in full sun to partial shade. Drought tolerant, it grows best in clay, sand or loam and prefers well-drained, slightly alkaline soils. It also is usually pest-free and not prone to any diseases of major concern. Powderpuff will be damaged by freezing temperatures (not usually an issue in Florida) but grows back in the spring in USDA hardiness zone 9.

Its flowers bloom in pink, red and white. Powderpuff grows rapidly in full sun and sandy soils. Once established, it has few supplemental watering requirements and is low maintenance. So bring some color to your landscape (and attract hummingbirds) with this wonderful tree.

Transform Your Landscape

Did you know that aside from location, curb appeal is one of the greatest contributors to your home’s value? In fact, a study carried out by the Virginia Cooperative Extension of Virginia State University stated the perceived value of a home with and without landscaping varied from 5% to 12% attractiveness.

Whether you have a big yard with room to grow or a small yard, there are numerous ways to transform it. Start the process by creating a plan to help spruce up your landscaping, find resources to help you with the process if needed, and set a budget to help you plan financially. Below are a few tips to help you transform your landscape this spring.

Spruce it up

Basic lawn care maintenance such as mowing the lawn, weeding and pruning the bushes can make all the difference in your home’s curb appeal. If you plan on turning your home into a showpiece by planting flowers, it’s important to determine what zone you reside in. To help you locate your zone, use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. A plant hardiness map is beneficial to help determine which plants will most likely thrive in different environments.

Once you have an idea of what flowers are best suited for your zone, it’s time to consider a bigger landscaping project, such as an irrigation system. Water irrigation systems are an artificial application of water to the soil through various systems of tubes, pumps, and sprays. Irrigation management is beneficial to the environment because it ensures the soil is always at the perfect moisture level, especially if you live in an area where rainfall is irregular or drought is expected. Although irrigation management services can be pricey, they are highly recommended to help meet your landscape’s expectations.

Hire a professional

If you’re a beginner or just don’t have the time to take care of your lawn, don’t stress. The good news is, there are various resources to help you. First, try finding a landscaping professional near you who offers the services needed to help with your landscaping plans. Hiring a company to help is beneficial, especially if you are not familiar with how to care for your lawn. Along with getting help from a professional, try finding inspirational landscaping ideas to transform your yard. For example, adding in a stone path throughout the landscape or a new fence are great ideas you may want to incorporate into your landscaping plans.

Set a budget

There are many ways to finance your landscape dreams, whether you think you have room in the budget or not. If you want to go all-in on a larger, more costly landscaping project right away, consider looking into a home equity loan when researching funding options. A home equity loan is tax-deductible when using the money on a home improvement project, and you can get the cash in one lump sum. Because you get the money all at once, this will allow you to get started on the project right away.

If you’re not ready to use the benefits of a home equity loan, consider factoring in the costs of the landscaping tools needed to help with the project. Even if you decide to hire a professional, it’s always smart to have a lawnmower handy along with other gardening tools, just in case. Try finding discounts on tools during the off-season, so you can save a bit of money.

Remember—nothing is permanent when it comes to your landscape, so feel free to try planting different types of flowers, bushes and any other appealing foliage you like. By having a budget and options to help improve your home’s curb appeal, the opportunities are endless for your landscaping plans.

Take every storm seriously

Everyone here at Mainscape wants to ensure you and your team are safe and prepared for this week’s winter event.

Below are quick tips to get you ready:

  • Share latest weather updates with your team. At Mainscape, we utilize WeatherWorks, a detailed weather tracking service with real-time updates.
  • Perform an outdoor risk assessment. Examples include identifying potential hazards, high traffic areas, possible icy or slick spots and more.
  • Have your “winter storm” plan ready to communicate out to your team and customers. Examples include work from home day, delayed start time, rescheduling outside meetings and more.
  • Provide emergency contacts / suggest proper footwear and clothing / communicate safety measures for weather conditions and temperatures.

I hope these tips help continue your preparation and keep you safe. If you have additional questions or concerns in regard to this week’s winter storm, please reach out to us and we’ll get you connected with one of our Account Executives.