It is summertime in Florida and that means lots of rain. That is great for our plants, but often these heavy rains lead to rainwater running off the landscape and carrying pollutants down our storm drains. Some of the pollutants that may get washed away include plant material, fertilizer, pet waste, car oil, pesticides, and many others. The good news is that through practicing the nine principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ you can reduce stormwater runoff in your own landscape.
Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus may be present in fertilizers and plant materials which can cause excessive algae growth in water bodies. This depletes oxygen and can lead to fish kills. Additionally, other pollutants washed away with stormwater runoff will ultimately enter bodies of water and drinking water supplies and could be harmful to the health of humans and aquatic life.
Here are some simple Florida-Friendly practices that you can use in your yard to reduce stormwater from running off:
- Direct downspouts from you roof gutter onto landscape beds or the lawn.
- Sweep or blow grass clippings, leaves, and soil back on the lawn and not into streets or down storm drains.
- Pick up pet waste and dispose of it properly and clean up spilled oil on your driveway.
- Minimize impermeable paved surfaces and utilize permeable surfaces such as gravel, pavers, or mulch for driveways and paths.
- Add a rain barrel to your yard by connecting it to a downspout in your roof gutter system or placing it below a valley in your roof.
- Incorporate a rain garden in your landscape that uses a swale and plants to catch, drain, and filter stormwater.
For more information about these practices and preventing stormwater runoff check out: