Major restoration plantings at Lemon Creek Wildflower Preserver were done from September 2020 through January 2021. In the summer of 2022, an additional 340 plantings were added. This summer 2023, another 277 plantings are being added. The 2023 plantings target relatively small areas that lack sufficient vegetation. We time the planting to the start of the rainy season in an attempt to minimize watering needs. Lemon Bay Conservancy volunteer, Dana Houkal reviewed our previous plantings and suggested that a number of different native species should be included in this most recent cycle of plantings.
Terrestrial species were selected that are adapted for planting on dry sites and sites that have relatively wetter soil conditions. The new plants are all native to the region and were obtained from the Sandhill Native Growers Inc. in Arcadia, FL. The selected plants will help to increase diversity in the preserve and allow us to assess the plants survival rates in our habitats over time. Plants will be planted in 7 different predetermined sites. Some of the locations were chosen because of vegetative loss due to Hurricane Ian, others to add vegetation to higher, drier mound sites that have had limited post-restoration plant growth, and a third group closer to the ponds in areas that currently have few shrubs/trees.
The diagram below is an example of one of these areas:
Potted plants are being held in a shaded staging area and are irrigated every 2-3 days using pond water that has been pumped into a 275 gallon tote. During planting, the planting holes are initially filled with water from the tote that is moved to each planting area using the trailer and UTV. Additional irrigation of plantings will occur every 3 to 4 days as needed using the same setup. Planting will be completed by August 1, 2023.