Author: Ashley Roberts

Ashley Roberts Tampa Police Captain

Lawn Care for the Tampa Climate

Ashley Roberts of Tampa Bay, Florida

Tampa Bay’s intense sunny summers can be a real challenge for homeowners hoping to keep their lawns green, verdant, and healthy throughout the year. However, by sensibly choosing turf that can withstand the heat, Tampa residents can maintain their properties’ curb appeal without wasting water or harming the local environment.

From there, it’s as simple as following local watering and mowing mandates and taking time to focus on the finer details. So, Ashley Roberts of Tampa Bay, Florida explains that for the careful homeowner looking to care for their Tampa Bay lawn, there are several tips you need.

Finding the Best Grass for Tampa’s Climate

Native species of grass will always do better in Tampa’s hot, wet climate compared to non-native species. For example, St. Augustine, Bahia, and Centipede turf are all local to the South Florida environment and they’ll thrive in the heat and rain of Tampa summers.

Most locals prefer St. Augustine turf for its deep bluish-green color and thick density that capture the picturesque look of a golf course green. It’s also ideal for a wide variety of soil types, of which Florida has many.

Plant Florida Natives

There’s more to sustaining a beautiful lawn than caring for the grass. The added fauna a homeowner chooses can add details and improve the overall curb value of their property. Again, as with grass, native fauna will also thrive in the South Florida sun compared to non-native species. Some of the best examples include:

  • Butterfly milkweed
  • Seaside goldenrod
  • Sea grapes
  • Swamp lilies
  • Bald cypress
  • Sabal palm
  • Sea-oxeye daises

Whether in winter, spring, summer, or fall, these plants can add a splash of color to a property and thrive no matter the weather and with very little maintenance.

Ashley Roberts of Tampa Bay, Florida

Don’t Over Water

The beauty of planting native species of grass is that they’ve evolved to thrive in the Tampa climate without much intervention. This means that they won’t need as much water as other non-native grasses. This is ideal considering that much of Florida has strict watering regulations.

For example, Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County specifically bar homeowners from watering their lawns between the hours of 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Additionally, homeowners may only water their lawns once a day, twice a week. This is to conserve water during the particularly hot months of summer.

Follow Mowing Guidelines

Depending on the species of grass a homeowner chooses, they should be careful to avoid over-mowing it. If certain species are cut too short, it can welcome invasive weeds and pests into the lawn, ruining an otherwise healthy patch of turf. For the three most common native species of grass, we recommend adhering to these mowing lengths:

  • Centipede: 1.5 – 2.5 inches
  • Bahia: 3 – 4 inches
  • St. Augustine: 3.5 – 4 inches

By keeping their grass within these ranges, homeowners will find it easier to keep their lawns healthy and green during the intense sunny months of summer.

The Bottom Line

Caring for a lawn in the Tampa Bay area isn’t as challenging as it seems. Despite the heat of summer, native plants will thrive and maintain their bright colors without needing as much water. For this reason, it’s best that Tampa residents read up on the local fauna and plant species that are made for the climate.

What It Takes to Get a Full Softball Scholarship

Ashley Roberts Tampa Bay Florida

As of 2021, roughly 1,678 schools across the United States of America offer full or partial softball scholarships, allowing talented athletes to receive at least a portion of their tuition for free.

Naturally, obtaining a full-ride softball scholarship is incredibly difficult and competitive, but Ashley Roberts of Tampa Bay, Florida did exactly that. Below, she shares her prestigious experiences with fellow athletes – believing that gaining an edge in competition requires a team effort.

Practice Is Critical

While it may seem like a no-brainer, athletes with an impeccable technical prowess in softball have a better chance of achieving the full scholarship. These role models practice and train hard to get ahead of the curve, increasing their likelihood of success.

Having athletic goals in mind is also helpful, allowing athletes to set benchmarks and develop training routines to help reach them. Many scholarship-wannabes should consistently participate in repetitive practice to hone their skills and show colleges what they’re made of. 

List The Schools

Lists are helpful in all walks of life, and that includes obtaining a college softball scholarship. Players should research their top schools, compiling a list of their dream choices. However, their options may need to be more plentiful than they think. 

According to the NCSA, athletes should apply to a high number of colleges to increase their odds of success. The college recruitment agency recommends a list of between 20 to 30 schools, breaking it up into three smaller groupings that include:

  • five dream schools
  • ten appropriate matches for academic and athletic abilities or interests 
  • five safety net schools the athlete is almost guaranteed to get. 

Networking Proves Vital

Attending events hosted by colleges to meet potential coaches and those on the school board is highly recommended. Sending introductory emails to coaches with an attached skills video (more on that next) puts these dedicated athletes ahead of the rest. 

Going to off-season camp is another favored method of developing skills and improving adaptability to different playing conditions and team members. However, preemptive research is essential in order to ensure that schools utilize athletes’ time effectively. 

Softball travel or club teams are also a great choice as they give players a chance to gain exposure and experience. 

Ashley Roberts Tampa Bay Florida

Showing Skills Via Video Boosts Players’ Chances

Skills videos give softball players a chance to display their athletic prowess, stand out from competitors, and show coaches their specific skills. Those who take time to shoot eye-catching skills videos reap the rewards of their efforts. 

Create a YouTube channel as a “video portfolio.” Uploading compilation videos of skills, work ethic, and practice regimes shows athletes’ commitment to potential coaches and colleges. 

It’s important to keep skills videos short though — coaches don’t have the time to watch 20-minute recaps of a potential recruit’s skills – keep the videos to around 3-5 minutes, and even assemble various highlights or skills clips together – its also best to avoid intros, music, and sound effects. 

Softball Scholarships: The Bottom Line

Even though obtaining a full-ride scholarship to play college softball can be tricky, the above advice can help student athletes increase their odds. Casting a wide net and even diversifying by applying for smaller scholarships can further boost the chances of getting a full (or even partial) subsidy to the college or university of choice. Work hard, dream big, and good luck!

The Jaw-Dropping Sunsets of Florida are Out-of-This-World

Ashley Roberts Tampa Bay Florida

With the heat of the day slowly fading as the evening approaches, the Florida sun begins its descent below the horizon. As it dips lower toward the ground, the day’s remaining clouds explode into a vibrant burst of fiery oranges, majestic purples, and simmering reds. Warm winds blow out across the shoreline, seemingly extinguishing the last remaining beams of light before the sun disappears into the night.

Ashley Roberts of Tampa Bay, Florida says it’s an extraordinary event that happens every day along the coast—in a state famously nicknamed the sunshine state. But to understand what makes the United States’ southernmost peninsula such a hotspot for stunningly beautiful sunsets, we first have to analyze its climate, air quality, and infrastructure.

Come for the Tropical Weather, Stay for the Stellar Skies

Looking at it on a map, Florida might not seem very large, but from north to south, the state runs more than 500 miles into the Gulf of Mexico. From its southernmost tip, visitors are technically closer to Cuba and the Bahamas than they are to Alabama or Georgia. This undoubtedly has an impact on the state’s daily weather and seasonal climate.

Unlike the rest of the country, parts of Florida fall within the tropical belt where seasons fluctuate not between hot and cold, but wet and dry. This means that, for several months of the year, Florida receives almost daily rain before slipping into a drier period during the traditional “winter” months.

Visitors and locals alike know from firsthand experience that the wet months are guaranteed to produce jaw-dropping sunsets. Thanks to the extra moisture in the air, the light of a setting sun refracts into a dazzling light show of reds, pinks, purples, and oranges. On truly magical nights, the sky will even turn an amber gold before fading into cotton candy hues.

Less Pollution Contributes to Clearer Sunsets

Florida isn’t exactly a rural state, considering that Orlando, Miami, and Jacksonville attract so many visitors from around the world. That said, though, it is far less urban than, say, California or New York. This supplements the low amount of air pollution, especially along the coasts where visitors and locals flock to witness nightly sunsets.

Thanks to its cleaner environment and clearer skies, Florida natives are able to make the most of the state’s natural beauty. Of course, as developments continue to expand across the state, it’s uncertain whether this will remain the case forever. If the locals have anything to say about it, though, Florida’s picturesque environment won’t be going anywhere.

Ashley Roberts Tampa Bay Florida

Skylines Built with Sunsets in Mind

Last but not least, it wouldn’t be right to avoid mentioning Florida’s skylines. While it’s true that Miami is home to the nation’s third-tallest skyline, the majority of the state has opted for a more reserved approach to building skyscrapers. This way, visitors can continue to enjoy the sunset without buildings blocking their view.

The Bottom Line

Whatever the reason for a visit may be, all anyone needs to know is that Florida is home to some of the most stunning sunsets in the world. Thanks to the perfect balance of moisture, warmth, clean air, and an expansive, open shoreline, locals and tourists alike can enjoy nature’s own work of art.

Florida’s Climate – The Tropics of America

Ashley Roberts Tampa Bay Florida

With its rebellious spring-break spirit, diverse yet dangerous wildlife, and a unique blend of Hispanic, Southern, and Caribbean cultures, Florida has a reputation for being the odd state out. Yet, it’s not just the attitude of the state that sets it apart. Ashley Roberts of Tampa Bay, Florida states that it is one of the few places in the U.S. that could truly qualify as a tropical paradise.

While it may not be Hawaii, Florida extends roughly 500 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, and is within 120 miles of both Cuba and the Bahamas. Thanks to its geography, the state has a warm climate that rarely dips below 40° Fahrenheit. This does vary by location, though, and in the following article, more is discussed on Florida’s climate and when it’s best to visit the sunshine state.

From North to South – Tropics vs. Subtropics

Florida is the sixth longest state in the nation, stretching further south than both Texas and California. Yet, from its northernmost to southernmost points, the climate can change by a considerable amount. For example, Miami and Key West are both considered tropical, thanks to their locations within the Tropic of Cancer. This means that they rarely experience temperatures below 65° Fahrenheit, and instead have wet and dry seasons.

Further north are Jacksonville and Tallahassee, where the subtropical climate experiences wild swings from winter to summer with temperatures soaring into the 100s before dropping back down into the upper 30s in the changing seasons. Winter is generally short here, though, lasting from late November to mid-February. Summers are quite humid and swampy, with frequent rain.

Ashley Roberts Tampa Bay Florida

Florida’s Hurricane Season

Florida’s year-round sun may make it seem like a paradise, but it’s not without its downsides. As monsoon rains beat down on the west coast of Africa, drier winds from the Sahara can push these storms into the Atlantic where they’re fed by the warmth of summer. As the storms continue to push westward, they grow in the heat of the Gulf and Caribbean, transforming them into fierce hurricanes.

By the time they reach Florida, they’re often supercharged, bringing 150 mph winds, 17-foot storm surges, and enough rain to flood an entire city. Locals are well aware of the power of these storms, as demonstrated by the destruction of Mexico Beach in 2018 and Fort Myers in 2022.

For this reason, travelers to Florida should be cautious during the hurricane season—June to November. It’s wise to keep an eye on the weather report and evacuate if a hurricane is approaching the state. Most inland areas, such as Orlando and Tallahassee, are usually safe, but coastal cities, such as Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Panama City, are easy targets for hurricane destruction.

The Bottom Line

Florida can be a place of extremes—extreme fun, extreme beauty, and extreme weather. Thanks to its geographical location near the Tropic of Cancer, much of the state receives warm and mild weather for most of the year. However, come summer, be cautious and check the weather to avoid the full force of a category 4 or 5 hurricane.