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Preparing your plants and lawn for hot, dry conditions

Posted at 10:11 PM, Mar 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-20 14:35:27-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The hot, dry heat is causing impacts on people's lawns and landscaping.

Sal Ceraulo with Universal Landscape, Inc. says the trick is all in the roots to keep plants from drying out.

"This is the time of year when we get the least rain," said Ceraulo.

"If we're not getting a lot of rainfall, then I would maybe increase how much water I'm putting on."

Ceraulo says during the dry season. It's best to water your plants heavier for extended periods but less frequently.

He recommends zero scaping, which Ceraulo says trains plants to live off of nature than assistance.

"Is it good to do 5 minutes every day? No, cause it's just a sprinkle. It will make the roots lazy, and they'll be shallow," said Ceraulo.

"You want the roots to go into the ground for water."

The grass is usually one of the first victims of the dry season as it has shallower roots, which makes it difficult to retain water.

He recommends watering the lawn early in the morning before the sun rises and after the sun goes down for a couple of hours.

"When the sun is out, it's going to evaporate a lot of the water, so you could lose 40-60% of the water being sprayed even though it's getting wet, it evaporates, and it's wasted," said Ceraulo.

Ceraulo says for foliage, if the older leaves are turning dry, that's not exactly a bad sign, but if they're turning brown towards the center with the new growth, that's usually a sign that the plant does need more water.

"You can see if there are any drought restrictions right now, look at South Florida Water Management, go on there, check out Mounts Botanical, the University of Florida has an extension program with Palm Beach County," said Ceraulo.

"So you check with them if you're unsure of a drought."

Cerulo says curling leaves are a sign it needs more water and recommends a good layer of mulch as it helps retain moisture for plants.

If your plants are dying off, he also recommends checking to see if there are any pests and fertilizing your plants four times a year.