Because South Florida offers ample sunshine throughout the year – and typically warm temperatures – it is not uncommon for many of our plants and trees to grow year-round. Still, depending on the type of plant, there are adverse conditions which may occur and result in damage to them. Even if your landscaping is exhibiting wilting flowers and dead shrubs, can these be revitalized and brought back to health?
Thankfully, the answer is often yes. Whether they were damaged in a drought or a hard overnight freeze, most regional trees, shrubs and flowers can be nursed back to vitality – if you know how.
When considering how to bring your shrubs back to life, it is important to determine the cause of the blight. Here are a few of the more common problems our landscaping can experience in the Tampa and Sarasota area.
Note: If there are obviously dead branches, prune them away. This will help the remainder of the shrub to bounce back more quickly, as nutrients, sunlight and water are then channeled to healthier portions of the plant.
Dying Roots: There are several reasons why roots may die, but the two most common are “drowning” and freezing. If there is an overabundance of rain – or if you irrigate too aggressively – roots which are not properly draining can begin to drown. It won’t be long before the effects are manifest on the entirety of the shrub. Although rain is uncommon in our cooler seasons, if these occur together it can be completely devastating to the plant. Also, roots which are not used to freezing temperatures can also suffer if a cold snap lasts too long. All of these situations can be remedied by exposing the roots and covering with fresh soil to absorb water and surround roots. Applying an additional layer of mulch on the surface once the roots are dried out will help to keep the heat in the soil and allow the plant to recover.
Insect Attacks: Infestation can cause defoliation and the appearance of dead shrubs – but again, if you catch the problem in time, you should be able to revive the plants. If you notice defoliation and yellowing, check the shrub’s leaves for insects or honeydew, the sticky substance many aphids leave behind. First, prune all affected branches completely, and dispose of them away from the plant. use pruning shears which are disinfected, and make sure that you disinfect again after pruning so as not to inadvertently pass along insect larva upon next use. Spray the remaining shrub thoroughly with a mix of water and insecticidal soap, coating both leaves and stems. After a couple of hours, rinse the shrub with plain water. If you are treating the plant during winter months, it is best to do so when the sun is the strongest, so the leaves to not get “freezer burn” if still wet when the overnight cold temperatures arrive.
Poor Nutrition: Dead shrubs (or at least those which appear dead) are often victims of iron chlorosis, which can be caused by a variety of conditions. You can test the soil pH to determine if it is between 6.0 and 6.5, the most common ideal range for shrubs. If the pH is too high in the soil, shrubs may have a difficult time absorbing nutrients. By balancing the soil and feeding the root system the proper nutrients, you should see positive results. Check out Plant Nutrition products here.
One of the best aspects of living in paradise is being surrounded by beauty all year long. If you have dead shrubs, brown grass, or struggling palms, come to Big Earth Landscape Supply. We have all the nutritional and herbicidal products you will need to bring your landscaping back to life.