Let’s Get Growing with Julie: Take the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Pledge!

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By Julie McConnell, UF/IFAS Extension

In Bay County you are never very far from a body of water. In addition to creeks, springs, the Gulf of Mexico, and five bays, some areas also have a high water table. As gardeners, you probably only think about water in terms of applying it to plants, but have you ever considered what impact we may have on water availability and quality?

How you design and manage your landscape can affect water resources, but there are research-based guidelines that can help minimize negative impacts. This program is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) program and is the foundation of UF/IFAS Extension horticulture outreach. In addition to protecting water quality and quantity, FFL methods also help gardeners by reducing maintenance requirements and lowering the incidence of pest and disease outbreaks.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ teaches Floridians how to work with the unique climate, soil, and other landscape challenges we face. The nine FFL principles with brief descriptions are listed below:

Right Plant, Right Place – choose site appropriate plants rather than trying to manipulate the environment.

Water Efficiently – amount, timing, and application method are important steps for efficient watering.

Fertilize Appropriately – understanding plant nutrition needs and how they use fertilizers are keys to effective fertilization.

Mulch – conserve water, reduce weeds, and moderate soil temperature with proper mulching.

Attract Wildlife – landscape diversity attracts wildlife which can minimize pest populations.

Manage Yard Pests Responsibly – properly identifying pests and understanding the lifecycle make treatments more successful.

Recycle Yard Waste – instead of sending yard waste to the landfill, find ways to recycle or repurpose.

Reduce Stormwater Runoff – prevent runoff containing contaminants from reaching water bodies.

Protect the Waterfront – filter runoff, reduce erosion, encourage wildlife establishment.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ has in-depth information and free FFL resources for homeowners and landscape professionals on the interactive website https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/.

In celebration of the 30-year anniversary of FFL, we are encouraging citizens to learn more about FFL and take the Florida-Friendly Pledge by incorporating these principles into their landscape! https://ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/about-ffl/ffl-30th-anniversary.

Will you pledge to make your landscape Florida-Friendly?

An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Andra Johnson, Dean. Single copies of UF/IFAS Extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county UF/IFAS Extension offices.

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