University of Florida

Public Service Announcements

These public service announcements (PSAs) are available as mp3 files in two formats:

PSAs — Sixty Seconds


Conserving Water in the Landscape (:60)

Water conservation is especially on people's minds during dry periods, but it's important all the time.

One place to conserve water is in the home landscape. Always follow water restrictions in your area. Irrigate in the early morning hours and apply no more than three-quarters of an inch of water.

Run your irrigation system only when your plants need water instead of on a set schedule. Grass and many plants will let you know when it's time to water by wilting.

Make sure your irrigation system is working properly and isn't leaking. Consider installing a low-water-use system, such as microspray or drip irrigation. Calibrate your system to ensure you apply the right amount of water at each time.

Handwater thirsty plants and those in containers, and consider using a rain barrel to provide this water.

Select plants suited to your area, and add mulch to plantings to hold moisture in the soil.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about water conservation, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.

Drought-friendly Landscaping (:60)

Water conservation is important all the time. You can save water by planning your home landscape carefully.

No matter the weather, select plants suited to your area of the state and the conditions in your yard. Choose plants that can survive mainly on rainfall once established. You'll save money on your water bills and work less to maintain your landscape.

Group your plants in beds according to their water needs instead of scattering them randomly. This'll make it easier to irrigate them and to mow around plantings. Choose a turfgrass that'll survive dry periods.

Install micro-spray and drip irrigation products to water your plants. These systems deliver water directly to the roots of the plants, meaning less water is lost to evaporation.

Mulch trees, shrubs, and planting beds with a two- to three-inch layer of organic mulch to help keep moisture in and reduce weeds, which can steal water from plantings.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about water conservation, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.

Firewise Landscaping (:60)

Wildfire is always a threat in Florida, especially during dry periods.

If you live in a wooded or rural area, firewise landscaping is the best way to reduce your wildfire risk. It'll take a few modifications to your landscape and a little maintenance, but it's worth it.

To help protect your home from fire, create what's called "defensible space" around it. This means you should separate groups of plants with gravel, pathways,or a well-maintained and healthy lawn. Keep combustible items like wood piles, gas grills, and propane tanks at least thirty feet from your home, and clear away dead leaves and branches. Remove vines from trees, trim lower branches from your tall trees, and keep shrubbery away from pines.

Choosing certain plants can also help reduce your wildfire risk. Plants with thick, succulent leaves, like cacti, tend to take longer to ignite than plants with small, needle-like leaves, like pines. Check with your county Extension office to see if you're in a high-risk area.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about water conservation, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.

Handwatering (:60)

When Florida's water management districts limit landscape watering, you can typically only water one or two days per week.

Handwatering means using a watering can, pail, or hose to irrigate plants. It's usually allowed more frequently than automatic irrigation for landscape plants and new lawns, although it may be allowed for only ten minutes per day. Check for restrictions on handwatering in your area.

Handwatering is a good technique for irrigating potted plants, shrubs, trees, vegetables, and flower beds. It uses a lot less water than automatic irrigation systems and you're less likely to lose water to evaporation and wind drift.

Just make sure you don't overwater—plants often need less water than people think. To help cut down on waste, don't leave your hose unattended when it's running, and use an automatic shutoff nozzle.

Most importantly, learn to recognize the signs of wilt. Wilt doesn't mean your plants are dying. It just means they need water. Let them tell you when to water!

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about water conservation, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.

Rain Barrels (:60)

A rain barrel captures rainwater, which can then be used to water plants. Rain barrels can help you save water and money—whether you're under water restrictions or not!

Rain barrels are large containers covered with a screen to keep out leaves, insects, and other contaminants. They're typically placed under downspouts or roof valleys to catch runoff. They have a spigot or pump for accessing the water, or can be hooked up to a hose or seep irrigation system. They can be purchased from a garden center or easily made at home from fifty- five gallon plastic drums.

Rain barrels can capture a significant amount of water. For every inch of rain that falls on one thousand square feet of roof area, you could potentially collect about 600 gallons of rainwater! That's a lot of water you won't have to pay for.

And by capturing the water that falls off the your roof, you can water your plants for free on any day you choose!

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about water conservation, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.

Rain Gardens (:60)

No matter the weather, it's important that rain returns to the aquifer system, our source for water. Rain gardens are a great way to help ensure that aquifer gets its share of rainwater. Healthy and properly maintained landscapes help filter water as it runs off, protecting Florida's natural waters from pollution.

Rain gardens are shallow depressions planted with plants and grasses that filter water before letting it flow naturally into the ground. They work best when placed at the bottom of downspouts or in areas where water tends to puddle.

Rain gardens filter rain before it enters the aquifer. They're a great solution for that low or damp place in the landscape, and are typically planted with ferns, wildflowers, grasses, or other wetland plants. These plants tend to be tolerant of both wet and dry conditions.

Rain gardens are easy to make and add to the beauty of your landscape, while helping reduce pollution and making sure we'll have enough water for the future!

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about water conservation, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.

Water Restrictions (:60)

Most of Florida is experiencing drought conditions this year, although some areas are hit harder than others.

The state's five water management districts can restrict water use in the landscape in times of shortage, and yours may already have. Restrictions often mean that outdoor water use is limited to either one or two days per week.

Water restrictions apply to everyone, even people who get their water from wells. These rules may be temporary, or they may be in effect yearround, regardless of the weather.

Pay attention to local news and visit your water management district's Web site to find out what water restrictions impact your area. If you don't know what water management district you're in, look it up on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Web site.

Water restrictions exist to ensure that all of us have enough water. So always follow your district's guidelines.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about water conservation, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.

Watering Your Lawn (:60)

Help your grass make it through dry periods by encouraging it to grow deeper roots. Deep roots are able to find water, even when the soil is dry. You can make your lawn more drought-tolerant no matter what kind of grass you have.

Water your lawn only when it shows at least one of the three signs of wilt. Look for leaf blades that fold in half lengthwise, a bluegreen color, or footprints that stay visible.

Irrigate your lawn only when at least a third of it shows one or more of these signs. Apply one-half to three-fourths of an inch of water at a time. Applying more water is more likely to hurt your grass than help it.

Mow at the highest recommended height for your turf species, and never cut more than one-third of the leaf blade at any one time. The higher you mow, the deeper the roots and the more drought-tolerant your grass.

Don't water if it's rained in the last day or two, or if rain is forecast in the next twenty-four hours.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about water conservation, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.

Provide Water to Wildlife (:60)

Drought isn't just tough on people. It can be stressful for animals, too. Do your part to help wildlife survive by providing a water feature. Even a small amount of water can help animals out a great deal.

Birdbaths are an easy way to add a water feature to your landscape. They should be shallow, with textured bottoms and gently sloped sides. Keep them clean of algae with a plain textured sponge.

For a butterfly watering station, bury a saucer filled with pine bark or small stones, adding water to overflowing. Occasionally adding a piece of overripe fruit will provide salts and amino acids that butterflies need.

Small in-ground ponds or tub gardens don't take that much water and can attract a variety of wildlife. Incorporate a filter and plants and see who comes to the watering hole. If you're worried about mosquitoes breeding in your water, just purchase some Gambusia fish, which feed on the larvae. You can also add the bacteria B.t. if your fish aren't doing the job.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Gardening in a Minute. For more information about drought, visit Gardening in a Minute dot com or contact your University of Florida/IFAS county Extension office.


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