FYN Principle #2 - Water Efficiently


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FYN Principle #2:
Right Plant, Right Place

Rebecca McNair & Allison Steele
Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program

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FYN Principle #2 - Water Efficiently

  1. 1. Watering Efficiently Author: Rebecca McNair Edited by: Allison Steele Domestic Water Use Sources Depletion Conservation Efficient Water Use Plant Selection Turfgrass Areas Selecting Drought Tolerant Species Landscaped Beds Plant Maintenance How to Water Rain Catching Devices
  2. 2. Water Use In Florida <ul><li>Despite our location in the rainy southeast, Florida ranks high in several categories of water use </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic-1st </li></ul><ul><li>Mining-2nd </li></ul><ul><li>Public-4th </li></ul><ul><li>Irrigation-11th </li></ul>USGS, 1998
  3. 3. Plants Need Water… <ul><li>For cell growth and expansion </li></ul><ul><li>For plant metabolism </li></ul><ul><li>Transporting soil minerals to roots </li></ul><ul><li>Physical support through turgor pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Transporting sugars within the plant </li></ul><ul><li>Cooling through transpiration </li></ul>
  4. 4. What Can I Do? <ul><ul><li>Right plant, right place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose low maintenance plants and natives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group plants according to their water needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use mulch </li></ul></ul>Design a water efficient landscape:
  5. 5. Water Use Efficiency <ul><li>Uncontrollable Factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Temperature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Precipitation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sunlight </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Soil texture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drainage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local water restrictions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Controllable Factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant selection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plant placement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Soil structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mulching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Irrigation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintenance practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Tolerance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Based on research, 1,000 ft 2 of: requires 12,480 – 21,840 gallons of irrigation water/year require 6,240 gallons irrigation water/year Woody landscapes can conserve up to 15,600 gallons of irrigation water/year. Grass Woody plants in a mulched area
  7. 7. Functional Turf Areas <ul><li>Berms and Swales </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Excellent filter, and diminishes pollutants and stormwater run-off </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Recreational areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Resistant to foot traffic, produces oxygen and reduces temperature, glare, noise, and dust </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pet areas </li></ul>
  8. 8. Functional Landscaped Beds <ul><li>Screen a view </li></ul><ul><li>Cover oddly-shaped areas difficult to mow or irrigate </li></ul><ul><li>Plant a shady area where turf won’t grow </li></ul><ul><li>Group plants for easy maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Provide color, shade, or windbreak </li></ul>Periwinkle Annuals, perennials, ground covers, shrubs or trees in a mulched area, to:
  9. 9. Drought Tolerant Turf <ul><li>Select drought tolerant turf varieties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When establishing a new lawn, sod requires less water than seeding </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Follow maintenance guidelines to promote drought tolerance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>During extreme drought, slower growth and browning are normal! Very little water is required to keep the turf alive and turf recovers quickly once irrigation is resumed. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Selecting Drought Tolerant Turf <ul><li>Seashore Paspalum ‘SeaIsle </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent drought tolerance </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent salt tolerance </li></ul><ul><li>Disease and pest resistant </li></ul><ul><li>Tolerates flooding and some shade </li></ul><ul><li>Mow at 1.5 – 2 inches in height </li></ul><ul><li>Does require lot of mowing and fertilizing </li></ul>Seashore paspalum Paspalum vaginatum (Swartz)
  11. 11. Selecting Drought Tolerant Turf Bahiagrass Paspalum notatum <ul><li>Bahiagrass Argentine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good cold and drought tolerance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coarse, dense growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wear tolerant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dormant in winter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor salt and shade tolerance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mow at 3-4 inches </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Maintenance Guidelines for Drought Tolerant Turfgrass <ul><li>Never mow grass that needs water </li></ul><ul><li>Never mow wet grass </li></ul><ul><li>Keep blade sharp </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clean cuts heal quickly and reduce water loss </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mow lawn at the </li></ul><ul><li>highest setting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Taller grass has deeper, more extensive roots </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Turfgrass Maintenance <ul><li>Fertilize conservatively </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rapid growth promotes thatch build-up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refer to UF/IFAS guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Remove thatch </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thatch restricts water movement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a stiff rake or coring tool to aerate the soil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thatch </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Landscape Maintenance <ul><li>2-3 inches of mulch in plant beds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improves water infiltration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces storm water runoff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces evaporation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevents erosion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Controls weeds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minimize pruning </li></ul>
  15. 15. When Do I Water? <ul><li>Early morning or evening </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Temperature is cool and wind is calm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>40% - 60% of water applied evaporates in the afternoon sun! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SWFWMD mandates: </li></ul>No watering between 10 AM and 4 PM Year - round!
  16. 16. How Much? <ul><li>Apply ½ to ¾ inch water per application </li></ul><ul><li>Soak soil thoroughly to promote a deeper, more drought tolerant root system </li></ul>Efficient watering wets only the root zone.
  17. 17. Measure It <ul><li>Use a rain gauge, or… </li></ul><ul><li>Place cans of equal diameter in random places underneath the sprinkler’s spray pattern </li></ul><ul><li>Measure the depth of water in each can </li></ul><ul><li>Add depth measurements & divide by the number of cans </li></ul>Determine the length of time it takes for your sprinkler system to deliver ¾ inch water.
  18. 18. How Often? <ul><li>Water “as needed,” not routinely! </li></ul><ul><li>Less frequently in the fall and winter </li></ul><ul><li>Check with CCU or SWFWMD about water restrictions during drought </li></ul>Typically, Florida’s rainy season is June - September.
  19. 19. Watering Tips <ul><li>Learn to recognize when plants need water </li></ul><ul><li>In the heat of midday, some plants wilt. No amount of water will change this. If the plant is still wilted by evening, water it then. </li></ul>Wilting azalea
  20. 20. Water “As Needed” Folded leaflets, a blue color, and footprints that remain on the lawn are indications of a lawn that needs water.
  21. 21. Too much of a good thing? <ul><li>Over watering occurs when water is applied too frequently or in excessive amounts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourages growth of fungi and bacteria </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotes a shallow root system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduces oxygen to the roots, causing stress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourages weed growth </li></ul></ul>Pennywort is a good indication of an over watered lawn.
  22. 22. Irrigation Systems <ul><li>Calibrate the sprinkler system </li></ul><ul><li>Install a rain shut-off device** </li></ul><ul><li>Have your sprinkler system “tuned up” yearly </li></ul><ul><li>Replace worn hose and faucet washers </li></ul>Rain Shut-off Device
  23. 23. Efficient Irrigation <ul><li>Separate lawn zones from landscape zones </li></ul><ul><li>Convert landscape beds to drip or low volume irrigation </li></ul><ul><li>Divert sprinklers to avoid spraying water on sidewalks and streets </li></ul>
  24. 24. Low Volume Sprinklers Micro-jet sprinkler Drip emitters Micro-irrigation can improve watering efficiency.
  25. 25. Tips on Conserving Water <ul><li>Use recycled or gray water to irrigate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From showers or washing machines, but not toilets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Direct downspouts toward beds or lawn </li></ul><ul><li>Cover pools and hot tubs to prevent evaporation </li></ul>
  26. 26. Rain Barrels <ul><li>Collect and harvest rain water for irrigation purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Rainwater runs off roof into the barrel from the downspout </li></ul><ul><li>A screen fastened over the inlet prevents leaves or insects from entering </li></ul>
  27. 27. Cisterns <ul><li>Imply greater storage capacity and a bit more engineering </li></ul><ul><li>Water travels by gravity or pump action </li></ul><ul><li>Diagram after Ray Bucklin </li></ul>
  28. 28. Further Reading http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu <ul><li>Fact Sheet WRC-11: Conserving Water in the Home Landscape </li></ul><ul><li>ENH-70: Coping with Drought in the Landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Circular 807: Drought Tolerant Plants for North and Central Florida </li></ul><ul><li>ENH-860: Fertilization and Irrigation Needs for Florida Lawns and Landscapes </li></ul><ul><li>ENH-72: Landscape Design for Water Conservation </li></ul>