Success story: Hillsborough County Extension office gets makeover thanks to Tampa Bay Estuary Program mini grant

Landscape plants add beauty to our community, but also provide valuable ecosystem services, such as providing habitat for wildlife, preventing soil erosion and contribute to a resilient natural environment. Native plants, specifically, are well adapted to the extreme conditions that we have here in Florida, including poor sandy soil, high winds, drought, and flooding.
Hillsborough County Extension office landscape before planting. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS
The Bay Friendly Landscaping project led by extension agent, Tia Silvasy, of UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County will focus on educating residents about best landscaping practices. The project kicked off with a planting project with a community planting project at our Extension Center. This project was made possible by the mini-grant awarded from Tampa Bay Estuary Program. Learn more about the Tampa Bay Estuary Program mini-grant here.
Master Gardener Volunteers help to install the new Bay Friendly Landscape. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

We installed 152 plants of 16 species including: Silver buttonwood, Bahama cassia, yaupon holly, marlberry, necklacepod, sea grape, Elliot’s lovegrass, muhly grass, rockland lantana, Walter’s viburnum, beach creeper, fringe tree, coreopsis lanceolata, Simpson’s stopper. These are low maintenance plants that will provide numerous benefits for our landscape, including food for wildlife, shade, and erosion control.

Our finished landscape made possible by the funds from the Tarpon Tag license plate. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

After planting we applied 2-3″ of pine bark mulch to all planting areas. Mulch helps to prevent weeds, hold the soil moisture, and it looks great!

Volunteers mulching the newly installed landscape areas. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS
We also installed micro irrigation to efficiently water the new plantings. These spray heads provide low volume irrigation that allows the water to seep into the ground exactly where you need it.
Microirrigation was installed to irrigate efficiently. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS


Here is a photo of the Bay Friendly Landscape at our extension office a month later with the coreopsis in full bloom.
Learn more at our Bay Friendly Landscaping Zoom webinar. Register on Eventbrite:


Learn more about Florida native plants: 

Find a native plant nursery near you: 

Florida Native Plant Society: 

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Posted: April 17, 2024

Category: , Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Lawn, Natural Resources, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Class, Florida-friendly Landscaping, Grant, Tampa Bay, Tsilvasy

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