For the final post in a 5-part series on Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards, we are going to get down to the root of the issue – literally.
The roots we will be discussing are those attached to trees on your property and native plants that make up a Florida-friendly yard.
To recap what this series has been about – The Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Awards, now in its 16th year and sponsored by Tampa Bay Water, the UF/IFAS Extension and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program, recognizes those homeowners and businesses committed to conserving water and protecting the environment by using the most water-efficient landscaping practices.
Probably one of the most important components of a Florida-friendly yard is the actual trees, plants, shrubs and flowers that live on the property. Here in Florida, we are fortunate to have a wealth of native plants for use in our landscaping design.
Why is using native plants so important to a Florida-friendly yard? There are several reasons:
• Native plants can most easily adapt to the climate and soil conditions in which they naturally live, so for Florida, that means lots of sunshine, generally sandy soils and rainy and dry periods.
• Native plants usually have fewer pest problems, resulting in decreased maintenance and need for pesticides.
• Because native plants in the right spot are adapted to their climate, they require less water to live and thrive.
• Some native plants will bring birds and butterflies into your yard!
The easiest way to find the native plants that will work best for your landscape project is to visit the Florida Yards website, fyn.ifas.ufl.edu.
Finally, when planning for a Florida-friendly yard, keep the large, mature trees that have resided on your property way before you ever moved there! Mature shade trees are giant air conditioners. They not only help remove dust and other pollutants from the air, they actually cool the air and shade your house.
Tampa Bay Water has developed a six-part video series that highlights previous winners of the Tampa Bay Community Water-Wise Award, and provides tips on how you can make your landscaping more water-efficient and Florida-friendly. Who knows, maybe next year you will be a winner!
For more information on how you can make your landscape “Water-Wise,” or to learn more about the contest, visit www.TampaBayWaterWise.org or click here to learn even more about efficient water use outside the home.
This is the fifth in a five-part series from Tampa Bay Water.