Killer Palm Trees… Lawn Care in the South
If you are a smart cookie, and have the means to do it, hire someone to do all of your yard work for you! Then you don’t even have to read this blog post, you can find something else to do, like take a nap or watch TV. But for MANY like myself, we slave for our yards because we simply choose to take it on ourselves, which in the end seems nicer because you are indeed proud of the work you put in. Here are a few things I have learned about taking care of my southern Florida lawn, enjoy!
We’re not in Kansas anymore…oh the grass here. When I was in WI last month, I simply HAD to step on this grass with my bare feet. Yes, silly, but I missed it. The grass here is either very hard and stick like, or long weeds with lots of sand. Most people in my area have redone their lawns with several different types of the “nicer” grass, but I won’t put that kind of money in until we are owners. When it rains, the grass isn’t as clumpy and sporadic, but when it’s dry, it looks like a desert with weeds.
When you move here, they should hand you a guide book at the state border that reads “How to take care of a Palm tree.” Yes, this Midwestern family had no clue. Now, you do learn as you go, but it took a lot of asking around to see just what the heck I was supposed to be doing to these things. I have learned that when they start to go yellow and brown on the ends, to prune them off. Their branches are constantly growing up and out, so you can remove quite a bit on the outside of them, leaving the few to grow on and so forth. We have three in the front and three in the back, and once Spring had hit, if you can call it that here, they grow these pods. The pods contain yellow soft seeds, they almost look like wheat, but feel plastic, and those eventually fall out of the pods. These make a WONDERFUL mess on white stones, so a heads up if you have landscaping around the bottom. I was told you shouldn’t remove them, to let them fall off, but I would up pruning a bunch because the mess wasn’t worth it. Also when removing a palm branch, USE CARE. These branches WILL bite you back, in the form of VERY SHARP NEEDLES that are at the end of each stalk. To look at these trees, you would never even think they are as lethal as rose bushes, but indeed, they are! I am talking 3-4 inch needles, and they DO HURT.
WEAR GLOVES AT ALL TIMES. I know, roll your eyes, it seems so easy. But when it’s over 90 degrees here, your hands get very sweaty and it’s enticing to just slip those bad babies off. Don’t! First off, the killer palm tree may bite you, secondly that dirt you are digging in may or may not have poisonous bugs in it, avoid getting bit. And lastly, it keeps the dirt from getting on your hands and under your nails- that is such a horrible feeling to have once it dries, and in the heat… ick.
Mowing the lawn was so easy in WI, you did it whenever there wasn’t snow. Here, you have basically from 8 am – 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. at night. Yes, what I found out is that it can be LETHAL to try and do in the hot FL sun in the late morning to early afternoon. I had water, I had cold washcloths, I had a bucket of water nearby for my washcloth, and even at one point I was taking it and dumping it over my head. No, this was no music video, I just got so hot mowing this past week that anything helped. At one point I had to stop, get inside, get cold fast, and try to stop my heart from racing. Oh, and put on your sunscreen when doing ANY yard work, especially here. I thought with my tan already in place I need not worry, nope, the sun found every spot on the back of my neck that was still as white as a ghost to burn. Needless to say, I now wear sunscreen for all outdoor activities.
Wear tennis shoes or some type of closed toe shoe, NEVER sandals or flip-flops. First off, you should never wear them when mowing because you are constantly walking through the grass. Many bugs live here, and I don’t want to encourage them to bite me while I am not paying attention. The ant hills are quite large, so walking through one with any open toed shoe will most likely get you bit, several times. I know when I was mowing I saw several hills, so it did make me feel better to have tennis shoes on. Kyra had to come home last year after standing near an ant hill during a fire drill outside school- her feet were bitten so bad because she had flip-flops on. So, heads up.
I learned that spiders like bushes, as I found several webs while pulling them out in front of my home this past week. I decided to get rid of the bushes because apparently not only did the wasps like them, so did the spiders! They were a nuisance, so I got my courage on and worked for 2 days straight to get those suckers out of there. Eventually my neighbors did it “southern style” and pulled it out with their truck and a chain- I am truly a Southern now. LOL
Lastly, the garbage pick-up won’t take them unless you cut them down and bundle each pile for them to pick up easily. Don’t leave any piles lying around for a long period of time, as I have heard snakes and other animals will make them their homes.
In conclusion, any yard work is easier when someone else does it, but I did take great pride in it once I was all done. I still have to fill in the mulch and decide on something cute and Disney for the front yard, but until then, I feel I was as close to Martha freakin’ Stewart as I could be this week. God bless your day!