5 Lawn Care Tricks that Save Water for Our Springs from FSI Springs Supporter Business Member, Tom Snogles, founder of Sun Power Lawn Care, a Gainesville, FL electric lawn care business dedicated to quiet, sustainable service. What does a lawn mower in downtown Gainesville have to do with a catfish in Wakulla Springs? Like almost everything in Florida, this lawn mower plays a part in the catfish’s health and security–and that of the whole ecosystem surrounding it. If the mower runs on gas, cuts the turf super short, and participates in any other poor lawn care practices, it’s putting unnecessary stress on the Florida aquifer–the source of freshwater for our local springs and all the wildlife dependent on it. With our aquifer already subject to overpumping and pollution, any additional stress poses a serious risk to the fish, birds, manatees and all other animals and plants that need freshwater to survive. As a Gainesville-based lawn care professional, I see opportunities to conserve water and support our springs every day. I’d like to share my sustainable lawn care expertise to help us replenish and strengthen the Florida aquifer, one yard at a time. 1. Keep Grass Cut Tall The height of grass might seem like a purely aesthetic choice, but it can actually have a significant impact on the health and sustainability of your lawn. Think about it like this: a short blade allows more sunlight to hit the ground, drying out the soil and roots. This forces you to irrigate more to keep the grass bright and happy. The more you irrigate, the more water gets pumped from Florida’s aquifer. We recommend cutting St. Augustine grass (the most common turfgrass in North Central Florida) to between 4 and 6 inches during the summer, or 3.5 and 5 inches during the winter. 2. Go Electric I founded Sun Power Lawn Care with a dream to cut pollutants out of the lawn care industry. Instead of traditional gas-powered lawn equipment, we use electric, solar-powered equipment. The obvious benefit is that we’re not emitting pollutants into the air as we work. But for our springs, we’re also minimizing run-off pollution to the aquifer, since our equipment won’t spill or drip gasoline onto the ground. And there’s an additional surprise benefit: electric lawn care is extremely quiet. Whether you have a newborn at home, work from home, or just want to reduce noise pollution in your community, electric lawn care could be a great option. 3. Get a Rain Barrel Rain barrels provide chemical-free, naturally soft water for your lawn and landscaping–all while supporting our local springs and shrinking your water bill. A rain barrel typically sits under a home’s gutter so it can collect rainfall from the spout. A standard residential rain barrel holds about 50 gallons. That will quickly add up to hundreds of gallons of recycled rainwater–and hundreds of gallons of conserved water for the aquifer. 4. Check for Irrigation Leaks or Clogs An important key to protecting our springs is to avoid irrigation on your property (more on this below). However, in HOAs or other properties where it’s necessary, ensure your system puts the least strain on our aquifer. Inefficient irrigation systems pose one of the most preventable threats to Florida’s springs. We frequently find leaks, clogs, or faulty valves forcing a sprinkler system to waste water, often without the homeowner having any idea. A professional irrigation check will identify and repair these issues so you’re not pumping any water that you don’t need. Best of all, it’ll bring your water bill down, too. 5. Opt for Mulch and Plant Beds What if you could have a lush, diverse, totally unique yard–and one that barely needs water? Consider a landscape crafted from beautiful shrubs and flowers on a bed of mulch, which requires much less watering than regular turfgrass. You can even take it a step further with Florida Friendly Landscaping, which harnesses low-maintenance plants and other non-turf landscaping elements to create a beautiful space that doesn’t require substantial irrigation. The key principle is “right plant, right place.” In other words, placing plants in optimal conditions (the right amount of sun, the right type of soil, etc.) helps them stay beautiful and happy without lots of watering or chemical fertilizers. Interested in learning more about sustainable lawn care? Wondering how electric mowing, irrigation checks or mulch services might benefit your property? Sun Power Lawn Care is happy to answer questions and provide a free quote for services. Contact us at 352-507-5296 or firstname.lastname@example.org.