Are you concerned about conserving water and protecting our river and estuary? Do you wish there was something you could do as a homeowner to keep our water clean and our estuary healthy? In our watershed, the St. Lucie River and Estuary have been identified as impaired water bodies, because they receive too much nutrient runoff from surrounding lands. Local stakeholders and government agencies have worked together to develop a “Basin Management Action Plan” for our St. Lucie River and Estuary. The plan includes many initiatives to reduce nutrient runoff, including teaching homeowners about Florida-friendly LandscapingTM (FFL). The goal of FFL education programs is to educate homeowners on ways they can maintain their landscapes in a manner that conserves and protects our water resources. Of the nine FFL principles, key among them are the proper use of fertilizer and irrigation. Fertilizer and irrigation can be very helpful for plant growth, supplying necessary nutrients and water to the plants’ root zone. However, if not properly used, excess irrigation or rainfall can carry the fertilizer we apply into our groundwater, river, and lagoon. We then unintentionally waste water and flush our fertilizer nutrients into local waterways. These excess nutrients promote algal blooms, which in turn can lead to fish kills and other damage. By learning and adopting FFL best management practices for use of fertilizer and irrigation, we can all be part of the solution to protecting our water resources.
UF/IFAS Extension Martin County will be offering two programs for homeowners, focusing on safe and effective use of fertilizer and irrigation.
My Martin Yard Program
The My Martin Yard Program includes both classroom and outdoor hands-on activities, where participants will learn: how to calibrate a fertilizer spreader, so that the right amount of fertilizer is provided to the landscape; find and apply key information from the fertilizer product label; and understand when and how much fertilizer to apply, in accordance with Martin County fertilizer ordinances. Classes are offered February 22, March 29, or April 26, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm at the 10th Street Community Center in Stuart. Register for one of the sessions online at https://mmyjan-apr18.eventbrite.com.
Micro-irrigation workshops are designed for homeowners interested in learning ways to prevent over-irrigation in their landscapes or vegetable gardens. Attendees will learn about the benefits of low-volume irrigation and will assemble a micro-irrigation system they can take home to install. Classes are offered February 24 or March 8, 8:30 am – noon at the 10th Street Community Center in Stuart. Register for one of the sessions online at https://stuartdripirrigation.eventbrite.com.