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Old 01-13-2013, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Port St Lucie Florida
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I just recently bought a house in South Florida. I came from New Orleans where termites are a big problem. The previous owner planted a lot of shrubs around the perimeter of the house, within 3 feet. There are giant criniums, travelers palms, large lillies, mock orange, crotons and thorny blooming plants that look like a Crown of Thorns plant, plus Ixoria and mulch !!. I know in New Orleans this would be a NO NO but in South Florida maybe not so much. I would appreciate any guidance that forum can help with. The mulch is above the slab grade.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
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I don't know about FL, but here in GA we have tons of termites, but still have foundation plantings. The termites don't care if you have plants or just dirt. Unless you intend to replace the dirt with cement, it shouldn't make much difference.
We are careful to not crowd plants, so you can see what's in the beds.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:31 PM
 
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Most south Florida construction is CBS (concrete block, covered with stucco). Termites are not the issue that they are in stick-built houses, although they can occur. Unless I saw wings or sawdust pile droppings, I wouldn't worry too much.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:47 PM
 
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The safe zone for healthy foundation plants is usually given as 18 inches to 2 feet, so anything over sounds like they paid attention to proper planting. Termites live on the wood fibers called cellulose found in trees and shrubs (woody stems). Plants and bulbs (you mention crinum) generally are not cellulose heavy enough to be an attraction and as long as the shrubs are kept pruned of any dead and damaged branches and stems they won't easily be attacked either. Wood mulches tend to be the one thing in termite rich areas that should be avoided. The other concern is any areas that stay damp (dripping sprinkler and over watering in the landscaped areas for example) because that attracts them as well. Spacing out any over grown plants and shrubs would be a good idea to aid in drying the surface. As Gentlearts said it will also allow you to spot any above ground activities and possible termite tubes.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,794 posts, read 4,472,175 times
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Alsidw,
I keep all mulch and any plantings a good foot away from my concrete foundation.
I have plantings, it is just sand up against the foundation.
I also have an inspection by a professional exterminator once a year.
You said that the mulch is above the slab grade? Does it come up above the slab
on your foundation? Do you have siding there?
I don't know, did u have an inspectin when you bought the home?
If you didn't, mabey you should have one.
The mulch should be a foot away from the foundation, the slab, not above the grade.
See what the inspector says when he sees it.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Port St Lucie Florida
1,278 posts, read 3,349,851 times
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Yes, the mulch is piled up against the side of the house. Although the house is stucco over concrete block there is wood inside used to frame doors, hang sheet rock, etc. It was inspected 2 mos. ago when I bought the house and no problems But they commented about the mulch and said to treat the house as a preventive measure they need an open area around the house of 18 inches. On the other hand instead of that method I could use DIY termite traps like I did in New Orleans. Still I am not comfortable with the situation. The elephant in the room is the large oak in the back yard about 3 feet from the house. I am doubting myself because I do not know if I am becoming worrying to much or if in my 68 years of living I have learned a few things. Today the mulch is getting removed and inspected and if good I will use in my front yard around some of my palms but not too close. I had mulched a lemon tree in New Orleans to help it especially during cold weather But in the spring I pulled the mulch back away and saw where the termites were attacking the trunk at ground level adjacent to the mulch. I used to plant tomatoes in the yard in New Orleans and found by the end of the season the plants falling over because the termites had eaten the wooden stakes.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,794 posts, read 4,472,175 times
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Alsidw,
You aren't being paronoid, it's better to be safe than sorry. You know that.
Having the mulch removed off of the slab and using it away from your foundation
is a good idea.
You ahve a stick built house, like me.
Termites CAN get into your foundation even though it's cement, there are tiny
cracks they can get into, and sometimes they can climb up the cement and get into
the home that way.
Jsut keep an eye on the foundation.
My neighbor put up a fence between our two homes about a year and a half ago,
and now it is falling down on my shrubs, the termites have eaten it.
We have them real bad here in South Carolina, so I understand how you feel.
You are doing the right thing, listen to your exterminator.
Every year we get the home inspected.
OMG they ate your wooden stakes, LOL! SOrry, I never thought of that.
I use the cages that are metal, but thanks for the heads up, I won't use wooden stakes.
I hope you enjoy your home in Florida, I am sure the weather will be similar. And the soil,
sandy.
Why are you upset about the tree? 3 feet I guess is close, but it will provide sooo much shade.
Are you afraid it will send roots under the house?
Termites usually don't attack live trees, just dead ones.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Port St Lucie Florida
1,278 posts, read 3,349,851 times
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Default termites in PSL

South Carolina, thank you for your comments. I will go after the buggers. Dont believe that termites dont attack live trees, they attacked my lemon trees and killed two river birch trees.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:38 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
740 posts, read 1,864,427 times
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Termites, as a general rule, should not attack live trees. I see nests everywhere here in Ecuador and the trees in the area are untouched, especially the tree supporting the termite nest.

Did you know that termite nests make a wonderful addition to your soil? The indians here in the Amazon use it frequently to amazing effect and I tried it myself. Find a nest, mash it up into a powder and mix it with your soil. Only do this after killing off the termites though.(put the nest with the termites in an airtight jar).
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