WaterMatters

DEFINING MOMENT

Gardening.

What’s in a Name?

In an effort to make conservation more “user-friendly,” the Governing Board has adopted the term “Florida-friendly” to use in the District’s landscape management outreach and education projects.

Florida-friendly will replace the terms “Xeriscape™” and “water-wise.”

Why the change?

Two reasons: concept and consistency.

While Xeriscape landscapes are defined as landscaping that conserves water and protects the environment, some people still tie the term to “rocks and cactus” landscaping.

“Instead of trying to change some people’s negative concept of Xeriscape, we are presenting the idea in a new format,” said Communications Director Linda McBride.

The District’s Governing Board also wanted to use a consistent term to unify its conservation and education programs.

“Florida-friendly reflects the objective of water-efficient landscaping,” said Governing Board Chair Tom Dabney.

“The key element in Florida-friendly is ‘water-wise,’ which encourages the use of separate ‘low volume’ irrigation zones for plants, shrubs and trees.” Dabney continued, “Under this concept, the low volume zones deliver irrigation water directly to the root zone for each plant, shrub or tree. Turf areas are watered by separate zones using traditional pop-up heads or rotors that only cover turf areas. The result is up to a 50% reduction in the amount of water required to irrigate a typical suburban home. In addition, we have seen dramatic reductions in plant disease caused by overwatering!”

A key component to the District’s “Florida-friendly” campaign is the landscaping workshops, which are conducted in conjunction with the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods programs. Workshop attendees are taught how to plant the right plants in the right places, efficient irrigation techniques and more. Workshops are currently being scheduled for this spring. Look for the dates on the District’s Web site at www.WaterMatters.org or contact the Communications Department at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4757 for more information.

The Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping

1. Right Plant, Right Place
Plants selected to suit a specific site will require minimal amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides. Group plants according to their maintenance needs.

2. Water Efficiently
Irrigate only when your lawn and landscape need water. Efficient watering is the key to a healthy Florida yard and conservation of limited resources.

3. Fertilize Appropriately
Less is often best. Over-using fertilizers can be hazardous to your yard and the environment. Use a slow-release product to avoid washing away nutrients.

4. Mulch
Maintaining a 3-inch layer of mulch will help maintain soil moisture, prevent erosion and suppress weeds.

5. Attract Wildlife
Plants in your yard that provide food, water and shelter can conserve Florida’s diverse wildlife.

6. Manage Yard Pests Responsibly
Unwise use of pesticides can harm people, pets, beneficial organisms and the environment.

7. Recycle
Grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings recycled on site provide nutrients to the soil and reduce waste disposal.

8. Reduce Stormwater Runoff
Water running off your yard can carry pollutants such as soil, debris, fertilizer and pesticides that can adversely impact water quality. Reduction of this runoff will help prevent nonpoint-source pollution.

9. Protect the Waterfront
Waterfront property, whether on a river, stream, pond, bay or beach is very fragile and should be carefully protected to maintain freshwater and marine ecosystems.

QUARTER 1, 2004
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