COLUMN: New year’s gardening resolutions | News –

COLUMN: New year’s gardening resolutions | News –

It has been an interesting 2022 gardening year, beginning with a hard freeze and finishing up with a hurricane, but 2023 is ready for cultivation and planting.

Take time for some personal horticultural reflection and goal setting in the gardening department.

The New Year is a great time to make some horticultural resolutions that will benefit any landscape.

Let’s look at some tips, techniques and strategies that will make your landscaping experience in Southwest Florida the best in 2023 – we can help.


This year is an ideal time to take that blank slate of a yard after the devastation of Hurricane Ian and turn it into a Florida-Friendly Landscaping work of art.

All of the horticultural information that we provide revolves around the best management practices of Florida-Friendly Landscaping.

For instance, a low-maintenance home landscape starts with putting the right plant in the right place. Analyze your site so that you pick Florida-Friendly plants and turfgrass that match your local conditions.

Keep in mind mature plant size when you make your purchases, and aim for a mix of trees, shrubs and groundcovers.

Properly selected and installed, and once these plants are established, they can be sustained with minimal amounts of supplemental water, fertilizer, or pesticides, saving you time and money. Attention to this detail will pay off big dividends in your future landscape.

People often ask us, “What is one resource that I could use to familiarize myself with recommended local landscape planting materials?”

This online guide not only has pictures of the plants, but also hardiness, sun or shade requirements, salt and drought-tolerance, size, etc. to help with your selections.

Everyone with a Florida yard needs to see it.

Every time we have a large hurricane, home gardeners reevaluate their tree canopy (or what, if any, is left of it) and begin to rebuild their landscapes. The success of your trees involves proper site selection, tree species evaluation, and seemingly simple tasks such as planting the tree and aftercare.

Thereafter, proper pruning can help the future tree perform better in windstorms — a must in our area. A properly situated and managed tree pays off in shade, beauty and landscape diversity.

Part of Florida-Friendly Landscaping is proper pest identification before applying any type of pesticide Positive identification is so important to help solve a plant pest problem. The problem could be an insect or a non-insect.

The issue could be a disease — a virus, fungi or bacteria.

The problem could be a weed which is really just a plant out of place.

It could even be a nematode or something totally unrelated such as a nutritional deficiency, an environmental factor — a freeze or heat issue, flood or drought, lightning strike – or even an off-target herbicide application.

Once identified, then we can make the best recommendation whether it is cultural, biological, mechanical or even chemical — it all depends.

The answer may as simple as hand-picking, but we will always begin with the least-toxic option first.


I say this every year – practically all of the research-based, unbiased information that UF/IFAS …….