The Joys of Zone 10a

This February, our northern neighbors anxiously gathered around Punxsutawney Phil hoping he’d see his shadow…he didn’t. So the country will resign itself to six more weeks of winter, except in southeast Florida: here, it’s springtime!

Recent social media selfies of Floridians in shorts complaining about the frigid temperatures should be about over — but we may be surprised. February is traditionally the coldest and driest month of the year with March following February’s example.

The majority of Martin County is in Zone 10a of the plant hardiness zones, giving us long growing seasons, mild dry winters, and hot wet summers.

The plant hardiness zone maps, officially called the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, divides North America into separate planting zones with each zone being 10 degrees warmer or colder than it’s neighboring zone. The first map was published in 1927 with 8 hardiness zones. Today, the US Department of Agriculture and the US National Arboretum work together using data from almost 15,000 weather stations.

Recently, we had some very cool temps in the 30s. There are many plants that can survive freezing temperatures for a couple of hours without experiencing cellular damage and if the temperatures quickly rise after a freeze.

A great way to protect plants from extreme weather, specifically cold here in Zone 10b is to create microclimates to reduce exposure to the potential damaging weather. These are areas with good wind protection; near ponds, between structures, among rock gardens, or even in courtyards and lanais. 

Over the next few weeks you may discover some cold damage on your turf, plants and palms. Signs of cold damage can be dark purple leaves, leaves turning yellow and dropping, or leaves turning brown. UF/IFAS offers information on how cold temperatures affect palms and how to treat them after a cold weather event.

According to the National Weather Service in Melbourne, it looks like the worst is behind us. Predictions are for a weak La Niña with below normal rainfall and storminess. It’s time to clean out the beds and prepare for another glorious landscape for the warm months of 2021. Oh, and did we mention… our landscape crews are experts at cleaning out beds, planting or moving trees, and sprucing up lawns and gardens!

Right Plants in the Right Space

The land you live on and the plants that beautify your landscape have a natural connection to the water you drink. Land catches the runoff from rain and irrigation; it passes it along to lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands where it slowly seeps into groundwater aquifers, the source of our drinking water. 

The right plants are those well-suited to our humid subtropical climate and rainy seasons and the right spaces are those with proper drainage during rainy season to allow rainwater the time to slowly seep into the ground. 

Different types of plants require different types of fertilizer ingredients to be effective. This is why we sample your soil before recommending the kind of plants that are best for your yard’s soil and runoff conditions, and participate in the Florida Water Star℠ Accreditation program.

Photo: © 2018 Jenkins Landscape.

Licensed Pros Only For These Services

Jenkins Landscape works closely with the University of Florida Extension to provide solutions in agricultural science that make life better for Floridians, especially at the county level. We offer our expertise and advice to both lay and professional gardeners, and we educate our employees and customers about Florida-friendly landscaping practices and gardening solutions.

We are currently working with UF/IFAS to educate Florida homeowners and businesses about the value of using only licensed professionals for the application of pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. 

For starters, it’s State Law. Chapter 482 of the Florida Statutes states that commercial (for-hire) fertilizer applicators must have a valid certificate issued by the Fla. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and must either work under the supervision of a licensed Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control Operator, or they must be certified themselves.

Why is it important to hire a licensed applicator? Quality, safety, and the environment: 

  • Compliance with the law prevents violations and protects people, pets, and the environment.
  • Trust that your provider is trained to apply products safely.
  • Assurance that they will minimize harm to protect the environment.
  • Confidence that potential threats to the landscape are prevented or treated.
  • Benefit of knowing that water sources will be protected.

At Jenkins Landscape Company, we practice what we preach with education, certification, and licensing so that our customers enjoy a meaningful, positive impact on their landscape’s health and pest levels.


From UF/IFAS about the importance of hiring a licensed pesticide/herbicide or fertilizer application professional here.

Find out whether your landscape workers are licensed.