Like Valentine’s Day and red roses, humans and plants are symbiotic. That is, they rely on one other.
Humans breath air that is about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. When we breathe in, nitrogen builds up proteins in our muscles, skin, blood, hair, and nails and oxygen fuels our cells, enabling us to think, feel, and move. When we breathe out, we release carbon dioxide— exactly what plants need to stay alive.
Plants greedily take in the carbon dioxide, combine it with water from their roots, then use photosynthesis to convert it into oxygen before releasing it back into the atmosphere for humans to breathe.
This symbiotic relationship between plants that provide us with life-giving oxygen, and humans that provide plants with essential carbon dioxide is a perfect example of different species living together and depending on the other to live and survive.
Landscapes that are lush with lawns, plants, and trees are simply good for us. The rich oxygen that living landscapes give off enhances our mood and makes us happy.
Footnote: February celebrates love. On Valentine’s Day, long-stemmed red roses will fly off the shelves and into the hearts of lucky recipients everywhere. The tradition of giving flowers on St. Valentine’s Day dates back to late 17th century Sweden where a popular fad of associating flower types with their meaning. For instance, giving a yellow carnation meant someone disappointed you, a purple hyacinth meant you wanted to be forgiven, and the red rose represented deep love.
So in February, add plants to your landscape, send flowers to your loved ones, and to assure that you choose just the right color of flowers this Valentine’s Day, learn about the meaning of flower colors.
Florida ranks 4th among the U.S. states with the highest number of landscaping companies. No surprise here, considering our mild climate, rainfall amounts, and an ever-growing population. It is more important than ever that landscaping companies, like us, educate ourselves about fertilization practices in South Florida in order to conserve and protect our vital ground and surface water resources for future generations.
In 2018 the University of Florida IFAS Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology hired a professional survey company to talk with Floridians who hire professionals like Jenkins Landscape Co. and others in order to determine “best practices” for fertilization.
Over 3,500 homeowners and HOAs were randomly surveyed about their a) neighborhood characteristics, b) what processes and products were used to fertilize their lawns and/or common areas, and c) how they were currently being informed about the issues of fertilizer use and best practices. The results of that survey formed a 2020 report entitled Floridians’ Engagement in Landscape Best Practices to Protect Water Resources.
We believe that our customers, suppliers, designers and employees will benefit from the survey results, so here’s a brief summation. We’ve rounded the percentages to make is easier to read and understand.
Almost half of Floridians live in an HOA-controlled community, and 75% of HOAs have policies related to landscaping. About 64% of HOAs have landscape-related penalties, but only 20% of HOAs reward or recognize landscapers or homeowners who use best practices in the look of their landscape.
Common Features in Florida Yards
The majority of Floridians (52%) have lawns, 40% of which have shade trees, and 36% have palm trees. About one-third (33%) have mulched beds, 24% use drought-tolerant plants, 28% have vegetable gardens, 17% use pollinator plants, and 17% have fruit trees.
When it comes to hiring landscape professionals, Florida landscape companies employ people for Lawn Maintenance 34%, Pest maintenance 25%, Fertilizer application 24%, Tree pruning 23%, Weed management 20%, Irrigation services 14%, and Landscape design/installation 11%.
Floridians appear to be conscientious about water conservation. Over 65% use low-water plants, seasonally adjust irrigation times (50%), use high efficiency sprinklers (45%), and have replaced high water plants with drought tolerant plants (44%). About 30% say they calibrate sprinklers or use rain sensors. Fewer people convert lawns to landscaped beds (32%), install low-volume irrigation (27%), and turn off irrigation for established plants or use recycled water (25%). Fewer than 25% use a rain gauge (23%) or leave portions of a landscape not irrigated (20%). The least used methods of water conservation are smart irrigation (18%), use rain barrels (17%), or drip irrigation (15%).
Fertilizer Best Practices
When asked whether they use specific fertilizer best practices, Floridians are least likely to hire a GI-BMP certified professional (27.7% ) or inquire about a professional’s training in the application of fertilizer (28%). Only 28% test their soil to see whether fertilizer is needed!
Jenkins’ certified professionals are Florida Water Star Accredited in landscape and irrigation. See FNGLA Florida Water Star.
The above statistics represent a 2018 statewide survey of Florida citizen’s landscapes and landscape management practices. They are not meant to represent practices of the Jenkins Landscape Co. or our associates or customers. Our focus is, and always has been, on Florida-friendly landscape practices, association with vendors who reflect our values, and exceptional professional development within the ranks of our family of employees.