South Florida’s Trifecta: Summer Rain, Yard Pests, and Mulch

Jenkins Landscape has always been deeply connected to the 9 Principals of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ as defined by the University of Florida | IFAS Extension

Right plant, right place
Water efficiently
Fertilize appropriately
Attract wildlife
Manage yard pests responsibly
Recycle yard waste
Reduce stormwater runoff
Protect the waterfront

South Florida’s sandy soil and torrential summer rainstorms require a measured approach to landscape design. We prioritize native Florida plants that adapt well to specific locations to balance the even distribution of sunlight, soil, and water. When we install an irrigation system, we prioritize water conservation to make sure that plant fertilizers will not flow into ponds, lakes or other bodies of water. We also employ smart fertilization that won’t damage plants or the environment. 

The job of mulch is to retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds, and also give the landscape an orderly, neat look. Adding mulch just before a major rainfall can cause some of that mulch to run off or in high winds, blow away. In south Florida, that’s why we may recommend stone-lined paths or brooks that guide rainwater away from turf and toward proper drainage systems. 

South Florida’s rainy season also brings on the yard pests…all sorts of critters, some good (like butterflies) and some not good (like grub worms, mole crickets, and chinch bugs). Did you know that Florida-Friendly Landscaping offers a free Mobile App so anyone can identify common landscape pests?

Our design philosophy is… Design Innovation Meets Sustainable Landscapes. When stormwater is an issue, we contract with landscape architects that are licensed by the state of Florida to design walkways, walls, softscapes, swales, and other systems that use natural depressions and rocks to slow water flow, prevent flooding, and protect a landscape investment. Please call us if your landscape needs the “right plant in the right place” to sustain efficient movement of water. 

It’s Tabebuia Time!

The Fabulous Trumpet Trees

New England is famous its glorious autumn color, but even the most stately oak or maple is able to rival Florida’s burst of color when the Trumpet trees are in full bloom.

For years the horticulture industry categorized/named these blooming trees as the genus Tabebuia under the common name Trumpet Tree (followed by a specified color), but in 2007 a DNA study proved that they don’t all share a common ancestor. Today, what was previously called a Tabebuia tree may be from the genus Handroanthus (read more about this discovery).

Regardless of their scientific name, these medium-sized, lawn-friendly trees are big on personality. Each genus has its own flower and leaf color and a slightly different-shaped bark.

Give a tabebuia tree a little space and good sunlight, and every spring it will give back a show to remember!

The Tabebuia family of trees are excellent for South Florida. They produce a magnificent show each spring, provide pollen for hummingbirds and butterflies, and have a moderate growth rate, resist serious pests and diseases, provide a lovely shade-friendly spread, are fairly drought tolerant, and love the sun. 

Tabebuia impetiginosa is a tall tree with an often sparse canopy. Hummingbirds often prefer this tree over flowers.

Tabebuia aurea is a beautiful blooming evergreen tree 15- to 25-feet tall, deeply furrowed, picturesque and easy to grow.
Tabebuia heterophylla is native to the Caribbean and is widely cultivated for timber. The pink manjack variety is often used for shade in yards and along streets.
Tabebuia roseoablais native to Brazil and cultivated here for its pinkish white flowers that last only about four days, leaving a dense, bluish-green foliage for shade.

Learn more about the Trumpet Trees from UF|IFAS Gardening Solutions.

Living Walls

Living walls are vertical spaces of living plants. In recent years they have become quite popular as an eco-friendly way to add color to a landscape; provide cooling shade and privacy to a courtyard, patio, or outdoor shower; or camouflage utility boxes, pool equipment, refuse cans or any outdoor eyesore. 

living wall installation panel
Jenkins technician installing a living wall

These vertical gardens use a system of panels on which selected plant species are hung from hooks or placed in pockets and receive water and nutrition from specially installed irrigation systems hidden behind the greenery. Our living walls are installed by our trained technicians and lovingly maintained by our Maintenance Technician and Living Wall Specialist, Beth Williams. 

Beth focuses on creating vertical gardens in adherence to her mantra: “the right plant in the right place for coverage and color in all seasons.”

living wall plant collage
Some of Beth’s favorite living wall plants