Spring is here, or so it seems. The weather is warming and plants seem to be picking up on cues to start blooming. Now is a great time to take stock of your yard or garden before the heat of the summer sets in. Having trees and shrubs around your house not only adds aesthetic benefits to your property, but it also adds to the overall health of the Phillippi Creek ecosystem.

Trees provide shade and habitat for birds, insects, animals, and even fish!

In the hot summer, shallow areas in creeks like Phillippi can really heat up, especially if they are in direct sunlight. When a tree overhangs the creek, it shades the water and lowers the temperature, making it tolerable for fish. Ever see a fallen tree in the creek? Young fish can hide in the crevices of decaying trees to escape larger fish.

Plants clean and store rainwater and prevent erosion.

As dirty rainwater travels over, around, and under trees and shrubs, it gets filtered by the soils and plants. Those same roots and shoots also help hold the soil together, reducing erosion along creeks and waterways.

With so many plants and trees that can grow in this climate, where should you start?

We suggest going native as a first step in narrowing down your options. Trees, shrubs, and bushes that are native to Florida are better suited for the hot temperature, sandy soil, salty air, and rain patterns our region experiences throughout the year. Here are five Florida Friendly plants.

 

Firebush – perennial shrub that can be planted in the late Spring or Summer. It blooms beautiful red flowers and attracts birds and butterflies.

Firebush    

 

Christmas Berry – perennial shrub that is wind/hurricane resistant and highly salt tolerant. Blooms with purple flowers and bright red berries.

    

 

Live Oak Tree – Who doesn’t appreciate the beauty and hardiness of an oak tree? Besides being incredibly resilient to heat and drought in South Florida, they provide homes for squirrels, birds, and insects. They can act as a wind break during hurricanes. They provide shade, which helps reduce localized air temperatures. Plus, they add to the value of your home, up to $30,000 for a single live oak.

   

 

American Beautyberry – with its lavender-pink flowers and fuchsia berries, it can really add color to your yard. This shrub is not only drought tolerant, but it can also handle standing water.

   

 

Paurotis Palm – these trees can grow to about 25 feet and are characterized by a thin trunk and fan like leaves. They are quite hardy and can withstand salty soils.

    

 

Read more about designing your yard with nature and Florida Friendly Landscaping practices.