You don’t have to be an expert gardener or landscaper to create a Florida-friendly yard. All it takes is willingness to learn and desire to build a beautiful yard that protects our environment.
Florida-friendly landscaping is now part of state law, which prohibits governments and homeowners associations from preventing implementation of its principles.
Fertilizing appropriately and watering efficiently are two of the nine Florida-friendly landscaping principles.
All commercial fertilizer applicators must have a license from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by Jan. 1, 2014. To get this license, each Green Industry employee must be trained in Best Management Practices, which teaches professionals how to implement FFL principles.
To address water conservation, Florida law states: “Any person who operates an automatic landscape irrigation system shall properly install, maintain and operate technology that inhibits or interrupts operation of the system during periods of sufficient moisture." Irrigation contractors must ensure there is an operational rain shut-off device on site before they can perform services. If it doesn’t exist or isn’t working, the contractor can be fined for not reporting the property owner or by completing the repair work without installing or repairing the rain shut-off device.
Right Plant, Right Place, along with Mulch, Attracting Wildlife, Managing Yard Pests Responsibly, Recycling, Reducing Stormwater Runoff and Protecting the Waterfront are the titles of other principles.
Using landscape techniques to reduce factors that negatively affect natural resources is the foundation of Florida-friendly landscaping.
You'll save money, reduce workload and protect the environment by implementing these practices.
Sheila Dunning is a Commercial Horticulture Extension agent at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office in Crestview.