Florida Friendly Landscapes
There is a popular movement gaining momentum across the state. Florida Friendly Landscapes are a smart and attractive way to deal with rising costs of more traditional yards. The recent droughts have shown the increased demands St. Augustine grass have placed on out water supply. If you add the ever adapting chinch bugs and Nitrogen heavy turf fertilizer, not only are you affecting your pocketbook, but the environment as well. Go Native when possible. At least 36 states are anticipating local, state, or regional water shortages in the next three years. (EPA)
Here are the principles behind Florida Friendly Landscaping:
- Reduce the need for water, fertilizer, pesticides and pruning by using low-maintenance plants suited to the site conditions in your yard.
- Group plants according to their water maintenance needs (for example, group drought-tolerant plants with low-water needs apart from lawn areas).
- Determine how much grass you need for children, pets, recreation, swales, right-of-way areas, etc. Use low-maintenance ground covers, shrubs, mulch or other porous surfaces where possible.
- Save energy by using trees and shrubs to shade the air conditioner compressor and eastern and western walls of your home.
- In North Florida, use deciduous trees or shrubs on southern exposures to allow sun to passively heat your home in the winter.
- Help stop the spread of invasive exotic plants by removing them from your yard (for example, Brazilian pepper, melaleuca, Australian pine and Chinese tallow). See http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment for more details.
- Reduce yard waste by choosing plants that will not require frequent pruning when they reach maturity.
- Preserve native plants, especially trees, when building on a new site. Maintain a protective “do not disturb” barrier under the dripline of trees.