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Taylor Clem from UF IFAS Alachua county extension services joins us to talk about the Florida Yard and Neighborhood program.
What is the Florida Yard and Neighborhood program?
It is a program that compiles best management practices for homeowners to ensure water quality, water quantity, protect natural resources, flora and fauna.
If you are interested in transforming your yard to a Florida Friendly yard get started by calling your county extension agent and ask to speak to someone from the Master Gardener Program. Master gardeners are able to guide you on identifying diseases, pests, invasive species, and will provide advice on best practices to get started or continue the work on your yard.
How can I get my HOA involved in the program?
Getting any HOA involved in these best management practices is a multilayer effort. Dialogue between the two parties is the starting point to cultivate a relationship for change. Extension agent can help to push for change creating a custom plan to fulfill different needs, even the smallest changes can create the biggest impact.
9 Principles of the Florida Yards and Neighborhood Program
#1 Right plant, right place
Reduce the amount of work and inputs your plants need by choosing plants suited to your landscape conditions.
#2 Water Efficiently
By choosing to water your yard on an efficient way, you can lower down your water bill, prevent pests, and reduce the amount of maintenance your yard needs.
#3 Fertilize appropriately
Carefully follow instructions to fertilize, and only do so if needed. Limiting fertilizer use maximizes plant health and prevents runoff to water systems.
Mulch is one of your yard’s best friends! Mulch keeps soil moisture, help control weeds, and reduce stormwater runoff. Be careful, too much mulch might play against you. Always prefer mulch from sustainable sources like pine. Cypress and cedar mulch are not sustainably sourced.
#5 Attract Wildlife
Provide water, food, and shelter in your backyard! Butterflies, birds, and other creatures will thank you. Suburban sprawl is fragmenting landscapes harming flora and fauna. By attracting wildlife, you can create an oasis and help preserve biodiversity!
#6 Manage Yard Pests Responsible
It is possible to manage pests using little chemicals! Smart planning is key to create an effective defense against pests while minimizing your impact on the environment!
It’s easy to recycle yard waste. Re-use your yard waste to save money and enrich soil.
#8 Reduce stormwater runoff
The decisions you make in your lawn and garden directly influence the health of Florida’s water. Filter rain through your landscape to protect waterways and replenish the aquifer.
#9 Protect the waterfront
No matter where you live in Florida, surface water that leaves your yard as runoff (either due to rain or over-watering), together with any fertilizers and pesticides in that runoff, will eventually drain into a water body. Help preserve Florida’s waterways, plants, and wildlife.
Want to know more?
Facebook: UF IFAS Alachua County Extension Master Gardeners
IFAS: More about Taylor Clem
IFAS: Florida Master Gardener Program
Florida-Friendly Landscaping: Florida Yards and Neighborhood Program Handbook
Florida- Friendly Landscaping for homeowners, community associations, and professionals
EDIT: When Dr. Clem refers to the irrigation restrictions and says “once a day” and “twice a day”. He actually means “Once a week” and “Twice a week”. HERE is a link from Alachua County’s webpage showing the irrigation restrictions.
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