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NICEVILLE, FLA COMMUNITY NEWS AND INFORMATION

New Year resolutions to improve your landscape

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As we begin a New Year it is a great time to make resolutions that benefit your landscape. Install a rain barrel. Rainwater harvesting is beneficial, whether the water is used to water one houseplant or an entire garden. Collecting rainwater can conserve water and save money on your water bill. Check your irrigation system. Fifty percent of a home’s total water consumption can easily be used for irrigation.

Eye M.D. of Niceville

NICEVILLE, Fla — As we begin a New Year it is a great time to make resolutions that benefit your landscape.

Install a rain barrel
Rainwater harvesting is beneficial, whether the water is used to water one houseplant or an entire garden. Collecting rainwater can conserve water and save money on your water bill.

Check your irrigation system
Fifty percent of a home’s total water consumption can easily be used for irrigation.

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A 5,000 square-foot yard with an in-ground sprinkler system can result in $5 to $25 being spent every time you irrigate. Overwatering the lawn and landscape is a common mistake. A faulty irrigation system wastes water.

  • Check for broken or leaking sprinkler heads.
  • Redirect sprinklers that are obstructed by plant parts or grass blades.
  • Don’t mix spray heads and rotors in the same zone. These two sprinkler types have different application rates. When stationary shrub spray heads and rotating turf sprinklers are used in the same irrigation zone, the shrubs usually end up being overwatered.
  • Schedule waterings according to plant needs. Irrigation controllers are often set to run too frequently or for too long per irrigation event. Consequently, turfgrass and landscape plants are over-irrigated, water is wasted, fertilizers are washed away and diseases are promoted. Water only as needed.
  • Be sure to calibrate your irrigation system to determine how long to run the system so that it delivers the amount of water recommended for your area. Without calibrating your irrigation system, each zone could be delivering too much or not enough water.
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Make your own compost
Converting yard debris to compost has many benefits. It is an environmentally-friendly way to reduce the amount of solid waste that must be disposed of and it provides useful and beneficial products for yards and gardens. Compost is an excellent soil amendment that improves the health and structure of both sandy and clay soils. Mixed with other components, it makes a good potting mix and some gardeners brew it in water to make a compost “tea” for plants.

Reduce pesticide usage
Learn how to avoid pesticide usage by following proper cultural techniques. And, when pests do show up, learn how to use the most environmentally-friendly techniques to manage them.

If you are not sure where to start, contact the University of Florida-IFAS Extension Office in your County and talk to an Extension Agent or a Master Gardener Volunteer about any of these projects. Or visit the UF/IFAS Extension Gardening Solutions website. http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu .

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@myokaloosa.com.

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