What is an “Impact Article”?
The Impact category is an easy way to find out how to get involved on an issue. These articles include tips and action steps so that you can easily get involved and help find collaborative solutions for issues in Palm Beach County.
Surviving South Florida Water Restrictions
South Florida is no stranger to dry conditions, and the key to helping your vegetation survive begins with choosing plants, grasses, and trees that are conducive to the Florida lifestyle. According to Gardeningknowhow.com, many full sun plants are also tolerant of draught and arid conditions. These full sun plants come in all shapes and sizes from Xeric and hardy perennials, to Native Florida plants, annuals, shrubs and even herbs. By doing a simple internet search, one does not have to look far to create a beautiful oasis that can survive the dry conditions that Florida residents currently face.
In general, drought resistant plants have several mechanisms that help them to deal with arid conditions, such as large root systems, and inherent coatings that reflect light or reduce moisture evaporation. (Phipps)
Is your grass costing too much money and time? According Criastina Milesi from the NASA Ames Research Center in California, most of the grasses used in American lawns are not native to the area in which they are grown. This means that they need an absorbent amount of water and fertilizer to thrive. Milesi also discovered that American lawns, including golf courses, cover nearly 128,000 square kilometers of the United States. This means that if every person watered their lawn, they would each use approximately 184-238 gallons per person per day. (Lindsey, 2005)
Why is this such a major issue you may ask? Well, according the South Florida Water Management District, over half of Florida's drinking water is used for landscape irrigation. While current watering restrictions are currently in force year round in South Florida, tougher watering restrictions may have a huge impact on farmers already recovering from a tough winter filled with cold spells and freezes. Golf courses and consumers that use reclaimed water are exempt from the current watering restrictions. It is true that growers can handle a 15% cutback according to Charles Shinn, who handles issues and concerns for the Florida Farm Bureau, but worsening conditions may result in more stringent cutbacks. (Sun Sentinel, 2010)
By choosing plants and grasses native to the south Florida region, recycling or composting grass clippings for natural fertilizer, and using reclaimed water, residents and businesses can easily see improvements in the quality of their landscaping, reduced expenses, and a smaller carbon footprint.