Water Efficiently
(See pages 33-38 in FY&N Handbook)

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 truly efficient way to use water in a yard is to design the yard so that it thrives predominantly on rainfall. Even if your yard has a lawn and specialty gardens, it is possible to design it as a Florida Yard in which you can water the plants "as needed."

However, even an ideal landscape design can be over-watered. That's why many of the actions in this section deal with sprinkler systems. It's extremely important that each irrigation zone is set to meet the needs of the plants in that area. For example, a lawn in full sun will demand more frequent irrigation than an established plant bed of shrubs and groundcovers.

Two typical rain-sensing shut-off devices
for automatic irrigation systems

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FLORIDA YARD ACTIONS
Design and maintain a yard that thrives predominantly on rainfall once plants are established.
Credit: 6 inches
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Water your lawn and other plants only when they show signs of stress.  (Comply with any existing watering restrictions in your community.)
Credit:  3 inches
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Calibrate your sprinkler(s) to apply 1/2 to 3/4 inch of water per application.
Credit:  3 inches
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Mow lawns high to encourage a deeper, more draught and pest tolerant root system.   A higher cut also shades out weeds.  Cut no more than 1/3 the height of grass blades with each mowing.
Credit:  2 inches
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Put a rain gauge in your yard to track rainfall to avoid unnecessary watering.
Credit:  2 inches
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Connect an automatic rain shut-off device to your sprinkler system's timer.  Set the device to 1/2 inch so it will override your system's timer when enough rain has fallen.  Replace back-up batteries in your system's timer each year before the rainy season.  Check to see if the shut-off device is working properly.
Credit:  2 inches
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Design or modify your sprinkler system to water lawn areas separately from plant beds requiring less water.
Credit:  2 inches
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Use a drip or micro-spray irrigation system to more efficiently water plant and flower beds.
Credit:  2 inches

_____ Total Inches
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Give your lawn a break during Winter!

Avoid the temptation to keep your lawn green and growing year-round. Lawns go semi-dormant in central and northern Florida from November through March. During this time, the lawn will only need water every ten days, at most.

Let your plants tell you when they need water - then water them correctly.

See the FY&N Handbook for ways to tell when your lawn and plants need water. The Handbook also shows you how to calibrate your sprinkler system so your plants get the water they need.
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Water Efficiently - Mowing heights.gif (63483 bytes)

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Table of Contents Introduction What is A Florida Yard? Right Plant, Right Place Water Efficiently Maximize Mulch
Recycle Yard Waste Fertilize Appropriately Manage Yard Pests Responsibly Reduce Stormwater Runoff Provide for Wildlife On the Waterfront
Return to Florida Yardstick Workbook Return to FYN Publications