February 2013 Tampa Water Department News

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Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ 101 Comes to Tampa

view of a Florida-Friendly LandscapeTampa residents can get free "wallet-wise watering tips" next month at the 2013 Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ 101 workshop. The workshop will demonstrate landscape and irrigation techniques that can keep our community landscapes healthy and green while saving money and water.
    This year's workshop will be held at Hillsborough Community College's Dale Mabry campus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.
    Pre-registration for the free event is required and space is limited. Sign up online at walletwisewateringtips.eventbrite.com or call (813) 744-5519 for more information.
    But you don't have to wait until March to get your irrigation and landscape in shape. Start now with free irrigation checkup tips and tools available online at tampagov.net/SaveWater:

  • Free rain sensors for City of Tampa water customers

  • Maintaining Your Sprinkler System video

  • Do-it-Yourself Irrigation Checkup Guide

The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ 101 events are presented by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Hillsborough County Extension Service and sponsored by the City of Tampa Water Department. (flyer, PDF)

EPA WaterSense Waterwaste infograph

Simple Tips for Saving Water Outdoors

Homes with automatic irrigation systems can use about 50 percent more water outdoors than those without them. Check your summertime water bill - how does your warmer weather water use compare to winter months? Here are some tips for keeping water use under control: 

  • Timing is everything: Know how much water your landscape actually needs before you set your sprinkler.

  • Look for the label: If your system uses a clock timer, consider upgrading to a WaterSense labeled controller. WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers act like a thermostat for your lawn, using local weather data to determine when and how much to water, reducing waste and improving plant health. Learn more at www.epa.gov/watersense/products/controltech.html.

  • Go with a pro: Contractors certified through a WaterSense labeled program can audit, install, or maintain home irrigation systems to ensure water isn't wasted. Make sure you ask for credentials.

  • Tune up your system: Inspect irrigation systems and check for leaks and broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Fix sprinkler heads that are broken or spraying on the sidewalk, street, or driveway.

  • Play zone defense: When planting, assign areas of your landscape different hydrozones depending on sun/shade exposure, soil and plant types, and type of sprinklers, then adjust your irrigation system or watering schedule based on those zones' specific needs. This helps you avoid overwatering some areas or underwatering others.

Even if your home doesn't have an irrigation system, there are a number of simple steps you can take to promote a healthier lawn and garden with less water this summer:

  • Step on it: Grass doesn't always need water just because it's hot out. Step on the lawn, and if the grass springs back, it doesn't need water. An inexpensive soil moisture sensor can also show the amount of moisture at the plant's roots and discourage overwatering.

  • Leave it long: Raise your lawn mower blade. Longer grass promotes deeper root growth, resulting in a more drought-resistant lawn, reduced evaporation, and fewer weeds.

  • Give your hose a break: Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing them off. And don't forget to check for leaks at your spigot connection and tighten as necessary.

For more tips on reducing outdoor water use, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/outdoor.

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