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williams lcm
12-04-2009, 03:22 PM
Many county's are passing new laws stating your property can not have more than 60% of the yard covered with grass. They want drought tolerant landscaping to conserve water. Many new development will only put in bahia or zoyia grass instead of St.Augustine. Some county's in Fla have have watering once a week Nov to March.Its getting crazy. In years down the road you won't need as many lco's. Won't be grass to cut.

BearWise Landscapers
12-04-2009, 03:25 PM
I have heard a lot about this. Does anybody have a copy of the exact wording of the laws that have been passed?

williams lcm
12-04-2009, 03:30 PM
'Green' yards get a break: Florida offers protection


Article Courtesy of The Orlando Sentinel

By Kevin Spear

July 8, 2009

When state Sen. Carey Baker proposed a law encouraging Florida homeowners to get rid of thirsty grass, he had Dorothy Bombera in mind. The Venice retiree has steadily ripped out her lawn, making room for daisies, perennial peanuts, palms and other drought-resistant plants.

But not all of her neighbors found the new scenery attractive, and her homeowners association threatened to fine Bombera if she didn't re-create the old, conventional yard.

Last week, Baker's legislation was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist, and Bombera is now off the hook."They were up to a $480 fine," Bombera said of the homeowners association. "I think that passing this was the most wonderful thing."

Amid mounting anxiety about Florida's shrinking supply of water, residential yards — especially those featuring St. Augustine grass — are getting a lot of the blame. Water authorities calculate that, on average, about half of the approximately 150 gallons used every day by a typical Florida resident goes to keeping the yard green.

Those water authorities have increasingly resorted to restricting the days and hours during which homeowners are allowed to turn on their lawn sprinklers.

Another strategy is to encourage homeowners to adopt landscapes that thrive on nature's irrigation: rain. Getting in the way of that solution are homeowners associations that require residents' yards to feature fence-to-fence grass.

"That has been a problem," said Baker, a Republican from Eustis. "Homeowner associations have demanded picture-perfect lawns that frequently are environmentally unfriendly."

His legislation calls for "Florida-friendly landscaping," which speaks to both the type of plants and their care. In general, that means going easy on irrigation, light on chemicals and heavy on mulch.

The prime keeper of wisdom on what qualifies as Florida-friendly landscaping is the state's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The agency offers much guidance on the concept through its county offices and its Web site.

"It doesn't matter so much what it looks like," IFAS horticulture specialist Sidney Park Brown said of the Florida-friendly yard. "It's more important how it's maintained."

Carey's landscaping provision became part of a controversial water-management bill that, with Crist's signature, also restricts public access to government decisions on permits for water consumption and wetlands destruction.

Eco-activists are split
The Florida Native Plant Society initially supported the Florida-friendly landscape legislation but then changed its stance after the provision was attached to the bigger, and widely opposed, water bill.

"We feel that Florida-friendly provision is tainted because of the ecological damage that will come from the rest of the law," said the group's executive director, Karina Veaudry of Orlando.

Still, Veaudry expects to see sweeping change in landscape preferences among Florida homeowners worried about water shortages, pesticides and diminishing habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

"We've been waiting for years for this kind of law to give people the freedom to plant landscapes that aren't so thirsty," she said. "We think we are going to see an explosion of change."

Legal permission to plant a Florida-friendly landscape in a grass-preferred subdivision isn't entirely new. Previous laws allow homeowners to ignore association rules established in the past seven years.

That's how Catherine Stoccardo and her husband were to able gradually clear away the grass at their Hampton Park home near downtown Orlando. Stoccardo was put on notice at one point that her yard needed tamer trees and a better lawn.

She put the matter to rest with a quick reminder of the law protecting certain Florida-friendly landscapes.

Today, she tends everything from saw palmetto to wild coffee, along with small rose and vegetable gardens.

One payoff: "We really don't have to fertilize at all," she said.
More rules coming?
The new Florida-friendly landscape provision applies to all residential yards. It also orders cities and counties to accommodate eco-conscious efforts by local homeowners.

Next up is a proposal that would require new homes to come with environmentally kinder yards.

The St. Johns River Water Management District, which takes in much of Central Florida, is drafting a provision that would require residential developers to finish new homes with Florida-friendly landscapes.

Such a measure isn't expected to ban grass; instead, it would likely require carving out much more space for less-thirsty greenery.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SEE: Florida-Friendly Landscaping




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williams lcm
12-04-2009, 03:35 PM
County Commission approves stricter landscaping guidelines
LARRY ELL

Staff Writer

TAVARES -- Water conservation will play a greater role when it comes to future development in Lake County and will manifest itself in stricter landscaping regulations.

At Tuesday's regular meeting of the Lake County Commission, the board held a final public hearing before approving a new ordinance designed to make more efficient use of foliage and landscape design.

Most of those who addressed the issue spoke out against the tougher guidelines because of concerns over job growth or limitations on personal freedom.

"We all know that we've got over 12 percent unemployment in Lake County," said George Hansford, president of the Homebuilders Association of Lake County. "What we need to be doing is creating jobs, not hindering jobs. Any ordinance that you pass that puts a burden on the cost of doing business is just another job that we're not creating."

"You forget what's important and one of the things that's important in this country is trusting the individual citizen to do what's right for them, their family and their community," Linda Nagle of Eustis said. "I think this landscape ordinance is over the edge. It may have good intentions, but it's dictating what people can do on their own property, with their own money."

For the most part, the ordinance will apply to new residential and commercial developments, but some existing structures will be impacted. Homeowners with nonconforming landscaping will have to move into compliance only if they increase the floor area of their structure or parking area by 50 percent or more. New construction, however, will have to carefully adhere to requirements for drought-tolerant grass, low water use plants, numbers and varieties of canopy and ornamental trees, a diversity of native species and use of organic mulch.

"Is this as strict as I would have liked? No, but I think this is a good compromise," Commissioner Elaine Renick said.

The ordinance has been subject to numerous discussions and revisions over the past year, but the final product was finally passed with a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Jennifer Hill was the only dissenter.

"This ordinance started as a guideline and it's grown into an onerous document with rules and penalties," Hill said. "And it's confusing to the homeowner."

However, her fellow commissioners felt that the ordinance made sense and the county needed to do something to address water use limitations in the present while planning for the possibility of even greater concerns in the future, when more development and its accompanying landscaping will further tax a resource already under stress.

"The number one use of water is irrigation, so it's almost negligent if you don't do anything," Commissioner Jimmy Conner said. "There is no perfect balance, but this is as close as we're gonna get. We just can't pretend there is not a water shortage, because there is."

BearWise Landscapers
12-04-2009, 03:51 PM
I have been looking through the Florida Statutes and it appears that chapter 373 deals with the Water Resources and has a section for the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Ordinances. Here is an excerpt from 373.185 of the Florida Statutes:

373.185 Local Florida-friendly landscaping ordinances. (http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0373/SEC185.HTM&Title=->2009->Ch0373->Section%20185#0373.185)

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) "Local government" means any county or municipality of the state.

(b) "Florida-friendly landscaping" means quality landscapes that conserve water, protect the environment, are adaptable to local conditions, and are drought tolerant. The principles of such landscaping include planting the right plant in the right place, efficient watering, appropriate fertilization, mulching, attraction of wildlife, responsible management of yard pests, recycling yard waste, reduction of stormwater runoff, and waterfront protection. Additional components include practices such as landscape planning and design, soil analysis, the appropriate use of solid waste compost, minimizing the use of irrigation, and proper maintenance.

(2) Each water management district shall design and implement an incentive program to encourage all local governments within its district to adopt new ordinances or amend existing ordinances to require Florida-friendly landscaping for development permitted after the effective date of the new ordinance or amendment. Each district shall assist the local governments within its jurisdiction by providing a model Florida-friendly landscaping ordinance and other technical assistance. Each district may develop its own model or use a model contained in the "Florida-Friendly Landscape Guidance Models for Ordinances, Covenants, and Restrictions" manual developed by the department. To qualify for a district's incentive program, a local government ordinance or amendment must include, at a minimum:

(a) Landscape design, installation, and maintenance standards that result in water conservation and water quality protection or restoration. Such standards must address the use of plant groupings, soil analysis including the promotion of the use of solid waste compost, efficient irrigation systems, and other water-conserving practices.

(b) Identification of prohibited invasive exotic plant species consistent with s. 581.091.

(c) Identification of controlled plant species, accompanied by the conditions under which such plants may be used.

(d) A provision specifying the maximum percentage of irrigated turf and impervious surfaces allowed in a Florida-friendly landscaped area and addressing the practical selection and installation of turf.

(e) Specific standards for land clearing and requirements for the preservation of existing native vegetation.

(f) A monitoring program for ordinance implementation and compliance.

(3) Each water management district shall also work with the department, local governments, county extension agents or offices, nursery and landscape industry groups, and other interested stakeholders to promote, through educational programs, publications, and other district activities authorized under this chapter, the use of Florida-friendly landscaping practices, including the use of solid waste compost, in residential and commercial development. In conducting these activities, each district shall use the materials developed by the department, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, and the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, including, but not limited to, the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program for homeowners, the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Builder Developer Program for developers, and the Green Industries Best Management Practices Program for landscaping professionals. Each district may develop supplemental materials as appropriate to address the physical and natural characteristics of the district. The districts shall coordinate with the department and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida if revisions to the educational materials are needed.

(a) The Legislature finds that the use of Florida-friendly landscaping and other water use and pollution prevention measures to conserve or protect the state's water resources serves a compelling public interest and that the participation of homeowners' associations and local governments is essential to the state's efforts in water conservation and water quality protection and restoration.

(b) A deed restriction or covenant may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing Florida-friendly landscaping on his or her land or create any requirement or limitation in conflict with any provision of part II of this chapter or a water shortage order, other order, consumptive use permit, or rule adopted or issued pursuant to part II of this chapter.

(c) A local government ordinance may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing Florida-friendly landscaping on his or her land.

(4) This section does not limit the authority of the department or the water management districts to require Florida-friendly landscaping ordinances or practices as a condition of any permit issued under this chapter.

The next section continues with the following:

373.187 Water management district implementation of Florida-friendly landscaping. (http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0373/SEC187.HTM&Title=->2009->Ch0373->Section%20187#0373.187)

Each water management district shall use Florida-friendly landscaping, as defined in s. 373.185, on public property associated with buildings and facilities owned by the district and constructed after June 30, 2009. Each district shall also develop a 5-year program for phasing in the use of Florida-friendly landscaping on public property associated with buildings or facilities owned by the district and constructed before July 1, 2009.

unkownfl
12-04-2009, 04:25 PM
This is so much bull. How can we run out of water when we are surround by it on three sides. I know it is more costly to turn sea water into potable water, but thats just the price we need to pay. It doesn't matter how much people conserve if we have millions of people in this state, and 75% or whatever the figure is of the human body is water whats that equal. If Florida constantly projects growth year after year that is a lot of water. Now if we throw in the affect of 50% of the homes have pools we are talking about a lot of water that will never go back into the aquifer. All of this could be avoided if we just use sea water and then there is virtually no ill effect on the aquifer at all. by doing this eventually the aquifer will go back to what it was 200 years ago and people will complain about their houses being under water lol.

zturncutter
12-04-2009, 04:48 PM
This change in the law is not all bad, we just have to adapt our business. I have one account that is 80% Xeriscape, lots of palmettos etc. It is one of my best accounts, it takes more time to maintain landscape beds than lawn areas and I charge for it, yearly contract.

unkownfl
12-04-2009, 04:54 PM
This change in the law is not all bad, we just have to adapt our business. I have one account that is 80% Xeriscape, lots of palmettos etc. It is one of my best accounts, it takes more time to maintain landscape beds than lawn areas and I charge for it, yearly contract.

Yes but its sucks because a lot of people are switching to Bahia, Bermuda, and Zoysia. Two of them take reel mowers and have you looked at how much one of those cost and how big they are.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-04-2009, 07:16 PM
I mow all the above turfs with a rotary with zero issue. Now we need strong regulation across the board. The fact is the kissimee river basen was at one point the start of the everglades. We closed all that up for usable land and really did a number on the eco system. The non point source polution travels from north of Orlando all the way to the keys' Every year we loose coral reef from mass amount of nit and phos which has also caused severe algea blooms in many of our lakes. We've lost native orchads that may vary well have been the only of it's kind. Invasives like the brazilian pepper have recked havoc on our plant life in native and landscape settings. Same is true for many types of pernials such as non native lantana. Fert companies just dump it no matter i rain is coming or not. Knowing full well that the app will wash into the sewwer. Landscapers blow clippings into the drains which is the same as dumping fert in.

The list goes on and on. Theres money to be made here. Whats needed is education in plants and how to properly maintain them. Drip lines. Re-landscapes. Proper culture. So on and so forth.

The fualt here is with homeowners and landscapers. We refuse to educate ourselves. We use the wrong plants for the wrong place. We fert when we dont need to. We cut to low or dull blades. We water way more than we need to.

williams lcm
12-04-2009, 08:03 PM
Bahia pretty much goes dormant in the winter (Mid October to April). Might have to mow once every six to eight weeks or so. Now with watering St.Augustine once a week it really only needs to be cut once every three weeks in the winter. Usually this mowing every three weeks did not start until Feb when it is real cold. With the new development of slow growing turf and synthetic customers will no longer need a LCO during the winter months. It is hard now a days to get a yearly contract for Bahia. It just does not grow much six months out of the year. St. augustine might be a thing of the past in the next 10 years or so. Replaced by slow growing drought tolerant plants that might need to be trimmed every couple months or so. St. Augustine means job security. With out it it will be a much smaller group of LCO's trying to make a living. All new developments want Bahia or Zoyia. Even city's are taking out St.Augustine in the median and replacing with cheap grass.

jbannick18
12-04-2009, 08:29 PM
I hate the current watering restrictions especially since they let a new company come in and bottle millions of bottles of water a day from the St. Johns. All about the campaign donations. Luckily only three more years of this buisness for me until dr. program at ucf.

capelawncare.com
12-04-2009, 08:52 PM
What I dont get is: IF most of the water comes from an aquifer, doesnt watering your lawn just repenish the same aquifer?

zturncutter
12-04-2009, 09:00 PM
What I dont get is: IF most of the water comes from an aquifer, doesn't watering your lawn just replenish the same aquifer?

The answer is yes if it has enough time. Problem is the aquifer is deep in the limerock and it takes years for water to work that far down. Especially considering all the drainage work done in the state over the last 50 years to try to do just the opposite, that is to move the water off the land and drain it into the Gulf or the Atlantic.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-04-2009, 11:13 PM
The answer is actualy no. It takes 1in of water a week to grow aug. That 1in is used by the plant roots and evap and will never reach the aduifer. If you know how to detail even bahia lawns can be yearly. Most of mine are. You need to shift your program from cutting grass to rjuvnative pruning. Thinning. Directional pruning and the like. I have Aug in my front yard and have used my water maybe 6 times this year. Most clients either way under or over water their lawns. If you wait till the lawn needs the water, then water deep, you create deeper roots which means more drought tolerance. When you run the water just cause it's your day the roots are shallow and far more stressed by heat, cold, and drought. Same holds true with cut height. Fert goes along the same lines as well as pest control. Many nurseries have actualy found they can cut there water needs in half just by paulsing the water rather than run the whole amount at once. Further more pruducts such as hydratain can aid in water conservation as well as a slightly more organic aproach to the soil and chemicals.

jbannick18
12-04-2009, 11:53 PM
CK,

What height are you cutting at, i've seen some companies cut at 3.25-5, i've been back and forth this year between 3.75-4.25. 3.75 leaves the lawn looking more like a carpet but for the customers sake I would rather cut at the ideal height for St. Augustine that would take the least amount of water to keep green. Thanks

unkownfl
12-05-2009, 12:00 AM
4+ inches is what you should be at.

unkownfl
12-05-2009, 12:48 AM
4+ inches is what you should be at.

LOL I don't even think ck has St Augustine in his yard.

Florida Gardener
12-05-2009, 02:12 AM
agreed on 4+. 3.5 and lower is too low....3.75 can be cutting it close as well.

CK, imo, nailed everything on the head.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-05-2009, 07:14 AM
Actualy I do have aug in the yard. I ripped up the front and designed 75% of it to be landscaping with a 25% turf. I then cleared out the nursery in the back because the install market went flat. I could'nt justify growing for nothing. I've got over 17 varieties out front. In fact I did this 1 year ago so it would be done for our xmass display. The back is all bahia but that to has been designed just not installed yet. I still got a 1000 plants or so growing but not enough to do the back so it's waiting.

As far as cut height, well 3.5-4.5 is recomended for all aug out side of dwarf varieties. I cut 95% on 4.5. I cut my bahia at 3-3.5.

I'm not against st aug at all. I just know that these reg are our fault. Contractors and consumers alike.

Just think, your to lazy to sharpen your blades. Now that cut is just like your arm. A razor wound heals fast with little scaring. A jagged metal wound heals slow. Same as the turf. The longer it takes for that cut to heal the more potential for fungus and water evap. But yet and still guy's know this and dont shrpen crap. I got one client who's aug was failing. I tell her your not getting enough water as it gets dry. She says it's bugs and lack of fert. 2 bags of quik release fert and 2 bags of pestacide in one week on a yard that should have 1/4-1/2 that. Now the whole yards dead. All the benficial insects are dead. The water supply absorbed probly 80% of that only to go into a lack somewhere. All she needed to do was add 15min to the zone. Another house has had a sedge issue for years. Tell your spray guys to get on it. They spray once and get 50-60% kill. Then thats it. Well that 40% continues to seed. Then in 6 months it's as bad or worse. Now if they would handle the issue the need for chemicals would be greatly redused over the year contract and the turf and company would look like gold.

I'm not against aug. I dont agree with outlawing it either. I thinks far better than any other florida turf. I am for regulations that force one of 2 things. Either proper cultural practice or a dead lawn. Now if our industry was not full of tards we would'nt be in this position in the first place. If all contractors learned a little cause and effect we would'nt need regulation.

Florida Gardener
12-05-2009, 12:48 PM
Ck, you hit it once again. The thing with a lot of guys in Florida is that they DON'T CARE and are ignorant. I saw lawns throughout this whole summer that were getting cut at 3-3.5. They are now infested with different weeds. I mean infested. Half the yard has the weeds. Yet, they continue to cut at the same height. You have to blame the homeowners too. They don't want to pay for someone who will do things the right way and are knowledgeable and then get stuff like this.

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-05-2009, 05:33 PM
This is why my focus has shifted to hi end work. I like to be paid to do quality work. Education is wasted on dust bowls and low budgets

greendoctor
12-05-2009, 06:11 PM
This is why my focus has shifted to hi end work. I like to be paid to do quality work. Education is wasted on dust bowls and low budgets

That is the only kind of lawns I will touch. There are clues. No irrigation, someone mowing the lawn with the wrong kind of mower. Either the prospective clients is serious about doing things correctly or having them done correctly by their mowing crew or I walk. Someone with a badly functioning irrigation system who balks at correcting it, I walk.

cutterschoice24
12-05-2009, 07:12 PM
i second that with the high end yards they pay better and they pay for your knowledge and your quality of work.

Sweet Tater
12-06-2009, 08:49 PM
I am so glad I left that state, and the stupid government and their idiotic laws make me even hapier every day

Turf Dawg
12-07-2009, 12:39 PM
At least one thing I can say about these new regulations for some states is that now I have a turf grass that I absoulutly love. A Zoysia variety that needs very little water and fert to keep a green color and can be mowed with a rotary mower. It is a Zoysia, but many people think it is somekind of thin blade St Augustine.http://www.theturfgrassgroup.com/documents/JaMurZoysiaApprovedbyFGBC.pdf

CkLandscapingOrlando
12-07-2009, 04:26 PM
Maybe this is the one I was thinking of ten. All the zoysia I've seen looks some what like a short st aug and they mow it with a rotary

BearWise Landscapers
12-29-2009, 01:51 PM
I am so glad I left that state, and the stupid government and their idiotic laws make me even hapier every day

Florida isn´t that bad...

GravelyNut
12-29-2009, 06:51 PM
The answer is actualy no. It takes 1in of water a week to grow aug. That 1in is used by the plant roots and evap and will never reach the aduifer. If you know how to detail even bahia lawns can be yearly. Most of mine are. You need to shift your program from cutting grass to rjuvnative pruning. Thinning. Directional pruning and the like. I have Aug in my front yard and have used my water maybe 6 times this year. Most clients either way under or over water their lawns. If you wait till the lawn needs the water, then water deep, you create deeper roots which means more drought tolerance. When you run the water just cause it's your day the roots are shallow and far more stressed by heat, cold, and drought. Same holds true with cut height. Fert goes along the same lines as well as pest control. Many nurseries have actualy found they can cut there water needs in half just by paulsing the water rather than run the whole amount at once. Further more pruducts such as hydratain can aid in water conservation as well as a slightly more organic aproach to the soil and chemicals.

10 % of any overhead irrigation is wasted to evaporation. Drip and other forms of low volume irrigation saves that amount. Remember also that all of Fllorida is not the same. Rainwater here is down to groundwater the same day. Other areas take longer periods. Deeper rooting of the grasses does make them more drought resistant and does save water during the dry season.