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.