From the director of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program:
It is a very important time regarding Florida-Friendly Landscaping and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program!
Governor Crist signed the SB2080 relating to Water Resources last week. A few higlights:
The new bill deletes references to “xeriscape”; requires water management districts to provide model Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM ordinances to local governments; each district shall use the materials developed by the FDEP, UF/IFAS and Center for Landscape Conservation & Ecology/ Florida Friendly LandscapingTM Program, including but not limited to Florida Yards & Neighborhoods (FYN) Home Owners, FYN Builder & Developers & the Green Industries Best Management Practices Program; the districts shall coordinate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) & UF/IFAS if revisions to the educational materials are needed; a deed restriction or covenant may not prohibit or be enforce to prohibit any property owner from implementing FFL on his or her land; a local government ordinance may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing FFL on his or her land; local governments shall use the standards and guidelines when developing landscape irrigation and Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM ordinances.
Please see the link for the SB2080 for further info:
Another important bill is SB494 which relates to water conservation that Governor Crist signed last month. This bill requires that all commercial fertilizer applicators will be required by law to have a FDACS license by January 1, 2014. Passing the GI-BMP training, or an approved equivalent, is mandatory to obtain that license. The FDEP, in cooperation with the IFAS shall provide training and testing programs in urban landscape management practices and may issue certificates demonstrating satisfactory completion of the training; after receiving a certificate of completion a person may apply to the FDACS to receive a limited certification for urban landscape commercial fertilizer application under s. 482.1562. A person possessing such certification is not subject to additional local testing. Beginning January 2014, any person applying fertilizer to an urban landscape must be certified under S 482.1562, Florida Statues. A limited certification expires 4 years after the date of issuance. Before applying for recertification, the applicant must complete 4 classroom hours of acceptable continuing education, of which at least 2 hours of fertilizer best management practices.
Please see the link for SB494 for further info:
Esen Momol, Ph.D., Director
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program
University of Florida, IFAS
Environmental Horticulture Department,
114 Mehrhof Hall, P.O.Box 110675, Gainesville, FL 32611-0670
Tel:(352 392-1831 ext 330 Fax: (352) 392-1413
So now you can Take Out the Grass legally and put something in the space between the curb and sidewalk that needs no water, spray or fertilizer like Perennial Peanut or Beach Sunflower. This would be a good start to improve the environment and increase awareness of what happens when you spread fertilizer on and near the sidewalk, driveway and street. You can just imagine how much fertilizer is misdirected and bounces or is washed with the first irrigation or rain into the street and down the drain to the wetlands.
Get familiar with the 9 Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping here and make a plan to save water, improve the environment. Click the Pass it on Florida tab at the top of this page and share the good news with neighbors, family and friends.
Frequently Asked Questions about Landscape Irrigation for Florida-Friendly Landscaping Ordinances
This FAQ link answers many questions but there is still more research being done by the U of F to get the best answers for protecting our environment.
State bill 494 is important since it will require BMP training for all lawn companies that apply fertilizer. In addition, it may ease watering restrictions for those who incorporate moisture or rain sensors as part of their irrigation system. Research shows that watering twice a week with less water improves turf and reduces water usage. U of F research also shows that there is little difference in water requirements between the different turf grasses. Turf uses more water in the spring when coming out of dormancy and then again in the fall when establishing roots
Phosphorus leaching from turf fertilizers is a big problem for our water supply. St Augustine turf uses and holds phosphorous, the P in N-P-K on your fertilizer bag, 30 times better than highly promoted Empire Zoysia. That also holds true for nitrogen recycling making St. Augustine more environmentally friendly than Zoysia.
The best thing you can do with your St. Augustine lawn is to only fertilize in the fall and only use a slow release N-P-K formula. Lawns overgrow and become thatched if you fertilize in the growing season when they do not need it. Overfertilized lawns are more prone to disease and insects and then require properly timed pesticide sprays to prevent decline. If you want a greener lawn in the summer you should just use iron fertilizer.
Empire Zoysia has shallow roots and goes dormant faster than St. Augustine. It is susceptible to brown patch and requires no less water than St. Augustine turf. It is slow to spread and slow to come out of winter dormancy.
The governor has not to signed the into law the bill that ties Florida Friendly Landscaping principles to protect homeowners rights if they employ them in their communities that may have laws or deed restrictions requiring turf. According to a story in the Bradenton Herald, Manasota 88 objected to late amendment language that lessens permitting requirements. See also Florida-Friendly Landscapes Pass the Legislature
With the New Proven Winners® WaterWise Easy Container Watering Kit your worries are over. Our easy-to-use, self-contained kit makes it simple to water container plants, hanging baskets, flower boxes, and landscape beds automatically. In fact, you can water up to ten containers or 30 feet of landscape beds from a single faucet. And, if your garden is larger than that, additional kits can be easily attached to water even more plants from the same faucet. Just set it and forget it.
Waterwise Easy Installation Video
The site says no products available but follow this link (Waterwise Kit) to buy the kits online or find components or something similar at your local Home Depot.
The Home Depot 2 for $3.00 6 inch annual sale ends Sunday May 3rd. Limit 10 per customer on these great Florida friendly annuals for summer color.
1 Gallon Annuals at 2 for $3.00! This sale runs through Sunday May 3rd while supplies last limit 10 per customer. This is a Home Depot national ad as 6 inch Annuals - Black Pot Only - SKU 600008. Time to stock up on summer annuals like Cora Vinca which is disease resistant and guaranteed to last through the summer rains unlike other vinca you have grown in the past.
Click the Pass it on Florida Tab at the top of the page and tell your family, friend and neighbors today.
Now is the time to try our Pot-in-Pot concept for containers and planting in the ground. It saves water, fertilizer and time while giving you better results. Enjoy the benefits of these methods and your gardening will be easier and more rewarding for you in the future.
Pot-in-Pot in the ground with or without drip irrigation has many advantages but saves water as you focus your watering and fertilizing in the pot without loosing it to surrounding dry soils and competing roots.
Pot-in-Pot-in-Pots works equally well with container gardens with the same advantages.
A new web site that has the information for making wise decisions has been published by Toro at http://www.dripirrigation.org/landscape.html
Drip irrigation tubes can focus the water to each plant. Using the Pot-in-Pot method you can focus less water directly into the pot with very little waste and optimize the performance of your plants.
Roses do particularly well with drip irrigation since they are less prone to disease if the foliage stays dry.
Drip irrigation in raised planter beds makes watering easy and efficient.
Our container production benefits from drip tape irrigation by keeping the foliage dry, saving water and fertilizer and allowing us to water all the plants only when they need it.
- Saturday, April 25, all day
- Hillsborough County Extension Office, 5339 County Road 579 in Seffner
Despite a few rain dances in the backyard, the drought continues to be a topic of concern.
Residents are invited to learn how to manage their lawns and landscaping at the next Florida-Friendly 101 gardening conference at the Hillsborough County Extension Office on April 25.
For a mere $30 registration fee, residents will hear the best and the latest from University of Florida specialists and local Hillsborough County Extension horticulturists:
- How plants deal with drought
- How to choose the most drought-tolerant plants
- Smart landscape and irrigation technologies
The conference also includes a “goodie” bag with resources to take home, lunch and refreshments.
Space is limited, so register early!
The detailed agenda and link to the online registration can be found on the Hillsborough County Extension website at:
Still have questions? Call the Extension Office at (813) 744-5519 or visit http://hillsborough.extension.ufl.edu
We Provide Answers
Hillsborough County Extension Service offers the educational resources of the University of Florida to Hillsborough County residents. Programs include 4-H and youth development, agriculture, natural resources education, and the Master Gardener volunteer program. In addition, training and resources are available in the areas of parenting, food and nutrition, and money management.
Lynn Barber, Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Agent