Native Florida Trees

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Native Florida Trees are being planted more and more today in residential landscapes. This is not only for their natural beauty, but because their low maintenance makes them practical to use in landscaping. In recent years native trees in Florida have been torn down from massive development. Unfortunately, since this began thousands of native Florida trees have been lost. This is why the State Of Florida now encourages homeowners to use them when planting new trees in their landscape.

Since popularity and demand for native trees has increased, homeowners will find more selections at nurseries than ever before. Varieties available will depend on the location where you live. Not all types of native trees will do well in every area of Florida. However, some native trees can grow in more than one region. It all depends upon the adaptability of each species. Contact your local county extension service, for information on types of native trees that are adaptable and grow well in your location.

Planting Native Florida Trees

Planting Native Florida Trees is not any different than planting other types of trees. The guidelines and requirements to be followed are the same. However, it may be necessary to reduce some of the top growth by “thinning” (removing one or more branches at the point of origin). This will preserve it’s natural shape. Do Not cut back all the top growth to the same level, which will ruin it’s shape.

When planting Native Florida Trees the top of the “root ball” needs to be placed in the ground at the same depth or level as it is grown in the field or container. If there is any circling of roots (root bound) in the “root ball” cut them vertically before planting, so the root system can grow laterally for good growth and establishment.

Plant large growing trees (over 40ft. in height) at least 30 ft. away from a home or building to avoid roof damage from falling limbs during bad storms, and damage done to the foundation from the spreading of roots. Plant small trees (up to 25ft.) and medium size trees (25-40ft.) at a distance of 10-20ft. from a home.

Care Of Newly Planted Native Trees

After Native Florida Trees have been planted proper care is needed for them to grow successfully. Newly planted trees should be watered weekly or several times a week during the first 3 months. Regular watering is done according to the amount of rainfall that occurs , and the drainage of the soil (water holding capacity).

After planting, a top dressing of a “complete” (contains essential and micro nutrients) slow-release granular tree fertilizer can be applied within the drop line around the tree. Do Not place it up against the trunk of the tree. Amount of fertilizer to be used is determined by the size of the tree planted. This information should be listed in the fertilizer label on the product. Fertilize again after 6 months of planting. No more than 2 times during the first year of establishment is needed.

Adding mulch of organic material at a depth of 2-4 inches is also recommended leaving a space around the trunk for air circulation. Do Not pile mulch up against the trunk.

Newly planted large growing Native Florida Trees may take up to a year to become fully established. Production of new growth during the first year is an indication that the tree is being well established. This also applies to any size tree that is new.

Planting native trees improves the natural setting around a home, and preserves the environment by restoring the land. Using native trees in landscaping helps retain our natural resources. We can all benefit and enjoy having attractive beautiful Native Florida Trees in our landscape.

Author, Kurt Kmetz

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