The City of Titusville, Florida / Water Resources / Administration & Conservation / Water Conservation / Outside Irrigation / Florida-Friendly LandscapingFlorida-Friendly Landscaping
Making your site Florida-Friendly is all about working with Florida's environment instead of against it. There are nine major principles for Florida-Friendly landscaping that you should keep in mind when establishing or maintaing landscape.
Major Principles of Florida Friendly Landscaping
Right Plant, Right Place
Select plants based on your site. Remember there are different environments throughout your property. Look at your site in sections and note the different factors your landscape will experience. Does it have full sun or shade? Is it on the north, south, east or west side of your property? Is the ground sloped or flat? Is it by a walkway or high-use area? Will heat be reflected from nearby buildings or roadways? Matching site conditions to plant needs will reduce the plant's need for water, fertilizer and pesticides. It also means your plant will be under less stress and will be more likely to thrive!
Irrigate only when your landscape needs water; and when you do irrigate, make sure the water is getting to where you want it--on the landscape, not sidewalks and streets. Only water on your irrigation days and never between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the evaporation rate is at its highest. Don't water on windy days. Watering efficiently reduces water use, encourages healthy growth, and reduces runoff. Over-watered grass has short roots, which make it hard for it to survive pests, disease or drought.
Minimize the use of fertilizer -- less is usually best. Over fertilization can be harmful to your yard and the environment. Limit or eliminate the use of fertilizer containing phosphorus. Much of Florida's soil is high in phosphorus, so why add it? Do not fertilize before a heavy rain or a regular irrigation cycle because it will only run off.
Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch to retain moisture, prevent erosion, and suppress weeds. Look for natural mulches that will add back nutrients to your site. Pine bark is an excellent alternative mulch to cypress, which is usually produced by destroying whole trees. Replace grass with mulched beds in those areas that are difficult to mow or are shaded. Avoid creating mulch teepees around trees by leaving about 2 inches of space around tree trunks to prevent rot.
Encourage wildlife by landscaping with plants that provide them food, water, and shelter. They will provide an added dimension of enjoyment to your site. Protect the health of wildlife by limiting pesticide use. If you must use pesticides, only spot treat areas--avoid blanket applications.
Control Yard Pests Responsibly
Use pesticides conservatively. Unwise pesticide use can harm people, beneficial organisms, and the environment. Use selective rather than broad-spectrum insecticides. Learn to identify beneficial insects and let them do the work for you. Not all bugs are bad! Often plants that are under stress are more susceptible to pests, so look for the cause of the problem, such as whether the plant has simply been planted in the wrong place.
Re-use grass clippings, leaves, and yard trimmings by adding them to plant beds. They will add nutrients to the soil and reduce waste disposal. Create and maintain a compost pile with yard waste and kitchen scraps. Coffee gounds, tea bags, egg shells all add nutrients to soils. Nutrients improve soil fertility and water-holding capacity.
Reduce Stormwater Runoff
Minimize water runoff from your yard into stormdrains. Runoff carries soil, debris, pesticides and fertilizers into stormdrains and local waterways. Direct downspouts into your lawn and plant beds and install rain barrels. Create dips (swales) and rises (berms) in your yard that slow runoff and allow rain to soak into the ground.
Protect the Waterfront
Increase your awareness of ecosystems around your property. Property that abuts a waterway (lake, river, ocean, or pond) can dramatically affect these fragile ecosystems. Keep a buffer or no-maintenance zone of 10 to 30 feet around waterways. No pesticides or fertilizer should be used in this zone and only limited mowing should occur. Keep grass clippings and pet waste out of waterways.