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Water Conservation Tips for the Landscape

For many homeowners, watering plants is a way of life. During this time of the year Central Florida experiences day time temperatures ranges from about 75 to 85 degrees and low rainfall. High temperature, high humidity and low rainfall will result in drought stressed landscape. Homeowners often irrigate their lawns and gardens without being mindful of the increase in water bill. The following tips will help to reduce water use in the landscape:

 

Limit Turf Area– Irrigating lawn consumes the greatest volume of water in the landscape. Reduce the size of the lawn by installing drought tolerant plants

 

Put Plants in the Right Plant- Only install plants that are assigned to our USDA zone 9b. Plants that are planted out of their assigned zone require additional resources. In addition, Install plants base on their requirements; sun-loving plants in full sun and shade-loving plants in shade.

 

Irrigate Efficiently– Apply ¾ inch of water to turf twice per week and not daily. Deep watering wet the entire root zone and is more efficient. Each week adjust your water use based on temperature and rainfall pattern. Frequent watering encourages plants to have shallow roots which subsequently lead to drought intolerant plants. Irrigate plants in the cooler hours of the morning before 10 am. Drip irrigation system is more efficient for ornamental plants that are planted closely and organized while overhead sprinklers are ideal for turf.

 

Mulch– Placing a layer of 2-3 inches of mulch is a very efficient way of conserving moisture around the plants. Mulching maintains a cool soil temperature and protects the roots from the heat of the summer sun.

 

Appropriate Maintenance– We do not recommend heavy pruning during the spring; it encourages new plant growth and increased the demand for water. Overuse of fertilizer increase plant growth and the need for water. Turf should not be mowed as frequently during times of low rainfall. Frequent mowing promotes new growth and therefore increase the need for water. For more information on water conservation and other topics related to horticulture, contact Grantly Ricketts at 321-697-3000 or email gricketts@ufl.edu.

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