“The 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™”

“The 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™”

Photo: UF

“1. Right Plant, Right Place Achieving a healthy, low-maintenance home landscape starts with putting the right plant in the right place. Select plants that match a site’s soil, light, water, and climatic conditions.

2. Water Efficiently An efficient irrigation system conserves water and helps to ensure that fertilizer and other pollution doesn’t flow into water bodies.

3. Fertilize Appropriately Proper fertilization enhances growth, increases flowering or fruiting, corrects nutritional deficiencies, and enhances the plant’s appearance. Improper fertilization can damage plants and the environment.

4. Mulch Mulch helps retain soil moisture, protects plants, and inhibits weed growth. It gives your landscape a neat, uniform appearance and is a great Florida-Friendly choice for hard-to-mow areas and shady spots.

5. Attract Wildlife Select plants with seeds, fruit, foliage, flowers, or berries that provide food. Supply sources of water, such as a rain garden or bird bath.

6. Manage Yard Pests Responsibly To prevent disease and insect outbreaks, select pest-resistant plants and put them in suitable locations. When problems do arise, remove the affected leaves or plant parts, or pick the insects off by hand.

7. Recycle Yard Waste Decomposing organic matter releases nutrients back to the soil in a form that plants can easily use. Using yard waste for composting is a sustainable way of creating organic fertilizer.

8. Reduce Stormwater Runoff Fertilizers, pesticides, debris, and eroded soil carried in stormwater can wreak havoc on our water quality. Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ seeks to retain and use as much of the rainfall and irrigation water that lands on our home landscapes as possible.

9. Protect the Waterfront Florida boasts over 10,000 miles of rivers and streams, about 7,800 lakes, more than 700 freshwater springs, and the U.S.’s second-longest coastline.”

— IFAS Extention University of Florida

Get MORE Details on each of the principals at the Extension Service’s site

Growing Problem? The market for artificial turf is rapidly growing partially driven by extreme draught conditions in much of the country…artifical turf coming to Florida too!

Growing Problem? The market for artificial turf is rapidly growing partially driven by extreme draught conditions in much of the country…artifical turf coming to Florida too!

Photo: PRweb.com

“This August, Turf Distributors is opening a new distribution center in Davie, Florida. This new facility will significantly speed up deliveries across the East Coast. Artificial grass dealers and distributors operating in the Florida area can now expect to receive shipments within 48 hours of placing their order! The hub will also bring quality jobs to Davie.”

— PRweb.com

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Tree Canopy: Key West editorial on mitigating the damage caused by preemption of local control

Tree Canopy: Key West editorial on mitigating the damage caused by preemption of local control

Photo: Linda Grist Cunningham, in Key West Island News

“Historically, the Key West tree canopy boasted little in the way of shade trees. We are an inhospitable, oolite limestone island in the middle of salt water. What green things we had were more scraggly than soaring, the results of birds and other creatures using the island as a bathroom while stopping over on ways elsewhere.

Then came the 1920s and 1930s, when garden clubs and botanical societies held tree giveaways and encouraged folks to bring back seedlings from their travels.

That’s how we ended up with so many mahoganies, royal poincianas and other canopy trees. They didn’t spring up magically; we planted them. Sadly, most often, not in the right place. Then we built houses and pools and streets right on top of their roots. We assumed they’d live forever.

Today, the Key West tree canopy faces two life-threatening challenges: (1) The trees planted 75-100 years ago are struggling; and (2) Florida’s determination to strip municipalities of their home rule powers…

On June 26, 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis gutted Florida tree commission regulations when he signed HB 1159…

… during its 2022 regular session, the Legislature amended the 2019 law to replace “danger” with “unacceptable risk.” It said a tree poses an unacceptable risk “if removal is the only means of practically mitigating its risk below moderate as determined by the tree risk assessment procedures outlined in (ISA) Best Management Practices — Tree Risk Assessment, Second Edition (2017).” That complicated wording means some very specific things.

On July 1, when the amended law is in place, municipalities can use it to claw back some local control over tree removal. The amendment can become the first of three ways we can strengthen the Key West tree canopy:

1. File ethics violations with the ISA. Florida’s law now requires an ISA tree risk assessment, which now includes a detailed, on-site review by ISA-certified tree experts. Signing a deliberately inaccurate assessment is an ISA ethics violation. ISA will investigate and can pull the certification…

2. Approve removal permit requests and require replacement — on property whenever possible. The amended law, like its predecessor, forbids municipalities from requiring replacements for trees taken down under the law. But, if a homeowner can’t get a certified tree expert to certify that a protected tree is an “unacceptable risk,” then said homeowner needs a permit from the tree commission. If the tree commission says “no,” and if there’s an unethical tree expert or some fly-by-night dude with a chainsaw, that tree is coming down. No replacement. If the tree commission grants the permit, it can (and does) require replacement…

3. Declare a ceasefire on blaming the city. The state’s preemption appetite is the enemy. Let’s direct our frustrations where they belong. Join other groups in other Florida municipalities to advocate for our canopy. Plant the right tree in the right place — and take care of it…”

— Linda Grist Cunningham, Special To The Citizen

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“Coontie and nectar plants attract rare atala butterflies to your yard”

“Coontie and nectar plants attract rare atala butterflies to your yard”

Photo: Sally Scalera, Florida Today

“Florida Today ran an article in 2017 about the Atala butterfly that was previously thought to be extinct but had been discovered again.

Since that time, the butterflies have made a resurgence and have expanded their range.

The Atala’s primary host plant is our native coontie, Zamia integrifolia, and because they are a popular landscape ornamental, the butterfly has made its way up to many parts of Brevard County.

The coontie is native to most of the Florida peninsula, where its natural habitat has well-drained soil dominated by pine trees. It is hardy from zones 8B through 11, and can survive winter temperatures as low as 15 degrees.

Originally, they were found throughout hammocks and pinelands, but due to the excessive collection of its starchy root and use in the landscape, it is rarely found in the wild now. Collection of wild coontie plants is prohibited, because they are on Florida’s Commercially Exploited Plant List…

If you would like to support atala butterflies, plant coontie and nectar plants in your yard, then keep your eyes peeled for the small little butterflies, with the blue stripe and red spot. ”

— Sally Scalera, Florida Today

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“For Earth Day: Five Idyllic Ecotourism Destinations Across The Southern U.S.”

“For Earth Day: Five Idyllic Ecotourism Destinations Across The Southern U.S.”

Photo: Amelia Island CVB

“Every destination has a story, no matter how small.

Spring is in full swing across the Northern Hemisphere, and as we welcome the warm weather and extra daylight, Earth Day is just on the horizon. Established in 1970, this annual event serves as a call to action for the preservation of our home planet, ushering in conversations around renewable energy, protecting biodiversity, reducing plastic waste, and a wealth of other sustainability-driven causes.

Though Earth Day brings environmental issues to the forefront of public discussion each April, avid ecotourists are on the lookout for pristine natural destinations 365 days a year—and the Southern United States just happens to be a treasure trove of protected parks and wildlife preserves brimming with native flora and fauna….

Amelia Island, Florida

A boardwalk snaking through a verdant marsh. Amelia Island is equipped with 13 miles of sandy Atlantic shoreline.

Planning a trip to the Sunshine State? Don’t miss out on Amelia Island, a charming seaside getaway located just northeast of Jacksonville. Down in the southernmost reaches of the island, the idyllic 200-acre Amelia Island State Park is an absolute must-visit for those seeking out native shorebirds—but there’s no need to travel far to find wildlife on the island. The city of Fernandina Beach is rife with incredible ecotourism destinations ranging from Egan’s Creek Greenway Trail—a top spot for alligator sightings—to the Fernandina coast, a sandy expanse that’s ideal for viewing bottlenose dolphins and even the occasional sea turtle. Once you’ve had your fill of wildlife viewing, beer fans can head to First Love Brewing for some much-needed hot honey pizza paired with a hoppy Cardinal Truth IPA.”

— Jared Ranahan, Forbes

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“Alachua county reaches agreement to preserve Native American land in Micanopy”

“Alachua county reaches agreement to preserve Native American land in Micanopy”

Video and Text: myCBS4.com

“During a meeting on March 22, Alachua county commissioners passed a motion to buy a parcel of land at the intersection of U.S. 441 and Tuscawilla Road, in order to preserve Native American history.

A developer wanted to turn the 5-acre property into a Dollar General store. The land holds historical significance because it is where the second Seminole war started. Micanopy resident Aaron Weber has been fighting to preserve this land since March of 2020.

‘Everyone told us we couldn’t do it, from former county commissioners to hired experts, and something just kept us persevering and pushing along. It was like the spirit of Osceola was with us, that spirit of never surrendering and never quitting,’ Weber said.

Weber said along the process more people joined like Micanopy resident Robert Rosa.

‘It was a difficult process. Most of our people are unseen, our voices are invisible or even ourselves are invisible to the common people, the government. They just don’t realize that we are still here,’ Rosa said.

Martha Tommie, member of the Seminole tribe, feels thankful.

‘He said, we won. And I just started being humble and just respecting our elders and our ancestors and our Seminole tribe of today,’ Tommie said.

Weber said with this gesture the board of county commissioners in Alachua county showed they care.

‘The county motto is Where nature and culture meet and they exemplified that and they care about nature,’ Weber said…”

— Massiel Leyva, myCBS4.com

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Citizens for a Scenic Florida