FLORIDA SPRINGS FRIENDLY YARDS
Protecting the Health of Florida's Springs - One Yard at a Time
WHAT IS A FLORIDA SPRINGS FRIENDLY YARD?
There are two major threats to Florida’s springs: groundwater withdrawals and nitrogen loading. These threats contribute to reduced spring flows, excessive algae growth, and undrinkable water.
With the goals of reducing aquifer nitrogen pollution and groundwater depletion, there are three objectives to achieving a Springs Friendly Yard:
1. NO GROUNDWATER WITHDRAWAL
A Florida Springs Friendly Yard uses no groundwater for landscape maintenance.
Florida is blessed with an abundance of natural rainfall. In addition to the direct benefits of rainfall, homeowners can install rain barrels or a cistern to capture and store rainwater for use during dry periods. Once new plants are established, they should rely on rainwater, rainwater capture, or other domestic water reclamation. By increasing our reliance on rainfall and minimizing our dependence on groundwater, we will help to keep our underground aquifers full and our springs healthy. By eliminating yard irrigation and focusing on native plants, we can reduce our reliance on watering. Implementing water conservation practices will also help. Make sure to water in the early morning or in the late evening to reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation.
2. NO FERTILIZERS
A Florida Springs Friendly Yard is free of chemical fertilizers.
Excess nitrate-nitrogen in groundwater is harmful to humans and to the springs. Due to Florida’s sandy, well drained soils, some portion of these landscape products can end up in the Floridan Aquifer. Since the goal is reducing nitrogen pollution in the aquifer, no additional nitrate-nitrogen should reach Florida’s groundwater due to yard maintenance. Excess nitrate-nitrogen in groundwater is harmful to humans and to the springs. One way that we can protect our drinking water aquifer and springs is by committing to a chemical-free landscape.
3. FLORIDA NATIVE SPECIES
A Florida Springs Friendly Yard is full of natives.
Because Florida’s native plant species are well adapted to local soil and water conditions, they are naturally drought tolerant and chemical-free landscape plants. Native plant species have unique relationships with local wildlife and will also support habitat for native pollinators. A great resource for native plant information can be found below, through the Florida Native Plant Society.
In order to protect your Florida Springs Friendly Yard, it is also important to recognize and remove invasive plants. A full list of invasive plants can be found here: https://www.fleppc.org/list/list.htm.
LEARN MORE WITH OUR SPRINGS FRIENDLY YARD HANDBOOK
sign up for the Springs Friendly Yard program AND RECEIVE YOUR HANDBOOK AND YARD SIGN, HERE:
The springs and the life-sustaining water that we draw from the aquifer are not limitless resources. The overall health and productivity of Florida’s springs are in decline. The welfare of our springs is at a critical juncture and you can do your part to help save them by pledging to maintain a Florida Springs Friendly Yard.
Together we can help save our springs – One Yard at a Time.
Check out these videos that we created for Earth Week that show how we created a Springs Friendly Yard at the Florida Springs Institute!