Monday, October 10, 2011

Do you know the Best Management Principles (also known as BMP's) are for designing and maintaining your yard? The criteria of SJRWMD's Florida Water Star green certification program' landscaping modules and the UF/IFAS's Florida Yards & Neighborhoods nine principles are the best management practices for our state and can be utilized across the country and worldwide.

Best practices start with understanding the process of what plants need to be healthy. In Florida, Extension, Master Gardeners, and other garden experts hear from seasonal residents: "Gardening in Florida is so different than up north." What I explain to my audiences and clients is that once you understand the process of how plants grow - gardening is the same world-wide. While the plant species may change - how to assess and manage your landscape uses the same principles. While the snowbirds think its easier to garden up North, all it is really is doing what their parents did, what their neighbors did. They didn't understand the process of what plants need to grow.

You need to know the conditions of the site, i.e. sunlight, pH, soil moisture. Determine how you want to use the landscape, and how much time you want to invest in maintaining it. Some want their landscape to change with the seasons, or to have lots of seasonal plantings, while others want their landscape to stay the same year after year, with little maintenance. After determining conditions, selecting plants that utilize those same conditions, installing them correctly (correct depth, time of year, and space for mature size), and maintain the landscape appropriately (awareness, weeding, no excessive pruning, no overwatering, or overfertilizing), and you have a low-matinenance, sustainable landscape. BMP's will help gardeners achieve that effectively, reducing needless waste, pollution, costs, and labor.

While every state or organization wants to have their own unique statement as to Landscape BMP's - they really are the same criteria but based on their own state's soils and seasons, and the organization's agenda.

Does your landscaping and maintenance follow Florida-friendly BMP's?  Check it out.

Florida Water Star Silver and Gold Certification

Florida Yards  & Neighborhoods 9 Principles

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