Water Conservation During Drought

When it’s hot and dry out it is important to think of water conservation. In Florida, more than 50% of our potable water is used for lawns and landscapes in residential housing. The goal is to keep our plants alive, while conserving water. Here are a few adjustments you can make to your lawn and landscape help your plants survive the drought and conserve water:

Topdress your lawn with compost to increase soil moisture holding capacity and reduce watering needs. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

Ten Tips to Conserve Water

1. Observe your plants carefully and water when you observe wilt. Note: it is natural for plants to wilt in the middle of the day in direct sun, so check them for water stress in the morning or evening. 

2. Increase mowing height of your lawn to encourage a deeper root system to withstand drought.

3. Topdress your lawn and landscape beds with compost to increase soil moisture holding capacity.

4. Apply 2-3″ of mulch to landscape beds to reduce evaporation of water from landscape beds. Learn more about Florida-Friendly mulches here.

5. Remove weeds from garden beds to reduce competition for water.

Place a saucer under potted plants to better hydrate the plants and save water. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

6. Place saucers under potted plants.

7. Install a rain barrel or a rain garden to capture rain water.

8. Water early in the morning, from 4-8am when its coolest and evaporation rates are low. Be sure to follow local watering restrictions per your water management district.

9. Check your irrigation systems to make sure they are working properly. Clean filters and fix any breaks or leaks. 

10. Remove plants that are not well suited for your landscape and replace with drought tolerant plants such as muhly grass, beach dune sunflower, saw palmetto and firebush. Now is a good time to make sure you have the Right Plant, Right Place.

It’s important to conserve the water used for lawns and landscapes to save potable water for more important uses, such as drinking water. As Florida’s population continues to grow by approximately 1,000 people per day we will face a water shortage in future years. Water conservation is the best option and is cheaper than the cost of alternative water supply such as desalinization.

Beach dune sunflower is a Florida native drought tolerant plant. Photo: UF/IFAS

Learn more:

Drought in Florida

Lawn Management During Drought

Drought Tolerant Plants


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Posted: May 27, 2024

Category: Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Lawn, UF/IFAS Extension, Water
Tags: Central Florida, Desalinization, Drinking Water, Drought, Florida-friendly Landscaping, Hillsborough, Landscape, Lawn, Population, Potable Water, Tampa, Tsilvasy, Water Conservation

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