As spring begins and flowers start to bloom, we look to spruce up the seasonal landscaping at our open-air centers. Recently, Weingarten Realty renovated the landscaping at the Pembroke Commons Shopping Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida. One of the main goals of this project was to introduce native landscaping to the center, in addition to other sustainable measures.
Native landscaping is important, because once established, native plants do not need as much fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide or watering, thus benefiting the environment and reducing maintenance costs. By working closely with the city and our landscape architect, Weingarten Realty was able to complete the project using 75% native plant material.
In addition to utilizing native landscaping, Weingarten Realty also investigated alternative mulching applications. The native cypress tree is a common choice to use as mulch in Florida. However, on this project we decided to use melaleuca mulch instead. According to the Polk County Florida-Friendly Landscaping program, the melaleuca tree is now a threat to the Everglades since it was introduced to Florida over 100 years ago, and has taken over parts of South Florida. The dense stands of melaleuca are developed quickly by wind-dispersed seed and form thick, massive areas of growth that damage the ecosystems by displacing native flora and fauna. The native wildlife are then pushed out of the area that depend on native vegetation for survival, and migrating birds suffer.1
Benefits of the melaleuca mulch according to University of Florida research2
- Retains its beneficial qualities for a longer period than other mulches
- Does not need to be replenished as often as other mulches
- Created from a potential waste product, making it environmentally-friendly
- Termites do not prefer to eat Melaleuca mulch
This is the first use of melaleuca mulch at a Weingarten property and we will continue to evaluate its effectiveness and longevity. The highly successful landscaping project at Pembroke Commons is a great example of sustainability in landscape.