July is Smart Irrigation Month
In the U.S., more water is used in July than in any other month. In Florida, outdoor watering typically accounts for half the total water use of a home. Out of all that water used to irrigate lawns and landscapes, half of it winds up evaporating or dribbling away.
In a sense, irrigation during South Florida's summer months, when we receive regular rainfally, is not needed.
Take the opportunity during Smart Irrigation Month in July to pick up some valuable water-saving tips that will also produce financial savings and preserve our water resources. Everyone from homeowners to business owners can participate in Miami-Dade County programs that improve water conservation habits.
Twice-a-week water restrictions remain in place
Residents and businesses in Miami-Dade County are allowed to water two days per week, depending on address. Newly-planted landscape is allowed to be watered any day as needed -- except Friday -- for up to 90 days. Save the receipt with the date of purchase.
Timing is everything
Too much water can be damaging to grass and is often the underlying cause of lawn failure. Watering every five to seven days allows the soil to dry slightly and gets oxygen to the root system. Your lawn only needs about one inch of water a week to remain healthy.
Watering just one inch a week promotes deeper root growth, making it more drought resistant. Plus, with all of the summer rains, it is likely that your lawn doesn't need additional irrigation during the summer months.
So just turn off that irrigation timer or reset it to save water. If you have a mechanical timer, read these tips and instructions from the Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension Service's Urban Conservation Unit for resetting your timer. Don’t forget that all automated residential irrigation systems require a rainfall shut-off device.
Workshops coming July 29 and Aug. 5 for landscape and irrigation professionals
Miami-Dade County and the University of Florida's IFAS Extension Service will be hosting "Creating a Beautiful Sustainable Landscape: A Way to Grow Your Business," a workshop for landscape maintenance professionals, landscape designers, nurseries and irrigation contractors, in English on July 29 and in Spanish on August 5. Learn about new technologies and Florida-friendly practices to save water and sell your business. Homeowners are also welcome to attend.
- See the July 29 registration form
- August 5 registration form coming soon
Cultivate a pristine and water-efficient yard
Need some guidance to transform your yard into a model of water efficiency and smart planting?
- Miami-Dade County's Landscape Irrigation Evaluations offer a free landscape irrigation assessment -- for single-family homeowners, homeowner associations and other large properties. Irrigation professionals from the Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension Service will show you how to make your landscape and irrigation system more water efficient. Valuable rebates are also available for retrofit work.
- Learn the art of the Florida-friendly yard, which incorporates nine principles, including watering efficiently, attracting wildlife and fertilizing appropriately.
- Find out what's best to plant in South Florida during Smart Irrigation Month in July. Use the virtual Interactive Irrigation Tool to test different ways of scheduling irrigation for your lawn (or turf) without the cost of doing it in real life.
- Read more about water-wise landscaping, Florida-friendly landscaping and landscaping tips from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- Watch the Miami-Dade Cooperative Extension Service's irrigation videos to find out more about becoming water efficient.
Attend the July 20 rain barrel workshop in Surfside
Summer brings the rainy season, so now's a great time to save...rainwater!
Miami-Dade County hosts workshops that teach residents how to build a rain barrel to capture rainwater and save it for later use to water yards and landscaping. It's a natural way to save water and money from your water bill and preserve our water resources.
The next workshop takes place at 10 a.m. July 20 in Surfside; please RSVP by July 18. The first 50 people to register will receive a free plant!
Also at the rain barrel workshop, you can exchange up to two old bathroom showerheads for high-efficiency ones free of charge, and trade three old light bulbs for energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. Quantities will be limited.
Landscape irrigation regulations for new construction
As part of Miami-Dade County's Water Use Efficiency Plan, steps are being taken to reduce water consumption. Landscape irrigation regulations that affect new construction must follow Florida-friendly Principles and abide by stricter water-efficiency guidelines for all private property and public rights-of-way.
Plant for the future later this year!
Adopt-a-Tree is coming! Miami-Dade County can adopt two trees for free at events on July 27 and Sept. 14. Not only do trees provide shading at home -- which can lower the cost of your energy bill -- but you do your part to build up Miami-Dade's tree canopy. Plus, you can exchange your old bathroom showerhead for a high-efficiency one free of charge at the event while also trading in standard light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs!
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