What Grows: Florida-Friendly Landscaping

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) — You see it in all the commercials. Everyone wants a lush green yard, especially during the summer months.

But green grass may not be as useful to your property as you think.

Senior Environmental Specialist Hollie Greer of the Alachua County Department of Environmental Protection points out that “we want to move away from this idea of ​​a green, resource-intensive lawn to something more natural”.

The department emphasizes nine principles for having a Florida-friendly landscape, and all of them are aimed at reducing the number of resources we use and bringing habitats for animals to our yards.

Alachua County has adopted Florida’s Code for Environmentally Friendly Landscaping and provides assistance in the event of misunderstandings about this code between homeowner associations and landlords.

For example, neighborhoods that have turf needs may not have realistic expectations for certain homes.

Hollie says sometimes weed “works because it’s the right plant in the right place. But if trees shade these areas over time and HOAs still require homeowners to try to keep the grass alive, it may no longer be the right plant in the right place.

This is where the nine principles of Florida-friendly landscaping come into play.

One of them uses mulch rather than sod or sod.

Cynthia Leary is an IFAS extension worker who explains, “The mulch is going to really keep the moisture in the soil where the plant wants to get it and really reduce the amount of moisture you’re going to lose to the air, especially when we’re we are hot. are.

Reducing the amount of moisture lost is key to reducing water waste.

Jon and Suzi Graham are Gainesville homeowners who participate in a turf swap program.

The Grahams said they don’t water many plants anymore. Through the grass swap program, they learned that most of the tall plants around the house didn’t need water at all once their foundations were built. For plants that need water, the Grahams use drip irrigation under the mulch, which uses significantly less water, citing an 80% decrease in usage.

IFAS points out that planting native plants will also make your gardening experience less of a footprint.

For more details on Florida-friendly landscaping, visit here.

The Alachua County Master Gardener Volunteer Plant Sale is taking place this Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the Alachua County IFAS Extension Office.

Address: 22712 W. Newberry Road, Newberry, FL 32669

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