Residents of the Ocean Gallery Condominiums in Volusia County knew their lawn maintenance program could use an upgrade. They wanted to become more Florida Friendly to improve the health of their plants, protect valuable natural resources, and keep more money in their pockets. To help accomplish their goals, they consulted with Joseph Sewards, a UF/IFAS Extension agent in Volusia County, who offered them a series of classes on Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM. With Sewards’s guidance, residents made some modest but profound changes. They installed Asiatic jasmine in common areas in place of turf, which shortly allowed them to stop watering those areas. In narrow areas where they’d observed sprinklers spilling water onto impervious surfaces, they installed low-volume irrigation, reducing their use of both water and pesticides. In a single year, the residents’ newly acquired waterwise strategies allowed them to reduce their water use by 21 million gallons, and save thousands of dollars in electricity costs. Best of all, they renegotiated their lawn maintenance contract for $6,500 less than they had spent the previous year. In this 2013 UF/IFAS video, Sewards shows the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program in action.
UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones