The Grass is Always Greener… Or is it?
Florida Native Habitat Restoration is being done by the City, County, and State. Numerous laws help protect our native habitats and those involved in these and similar initiatives deserve our thanks. But what can the average homeowner do? The answer is simple, start at home.
Every homeowner can contribute to native habitat restoration in their own lawn and garden by planting native plants and designing their landscape to “mimic” our natural habitat. Most of us who own homes in Brevard have grass as the majority of our landscape. Grass however, is one of the largest consumers of water and desires high maintenance. If you have children then a lawn certainly serves a purpose, but, if your landscape is for purely aesthetic benefits a lawn is not necessary. In fact, a native habitat landscape may be even more visually pleasing than simply grass and a few shrubs.
There are several types of native habitats in Brevard County. Xeric Hammocks, Pine & Scrub Flatwoods, and Mesic, Hydric, & Maritime Hammocks are just a few of these. Selection of which habitat to mimic should be done based on your location and soil type. If you are in a wet area (organic soil) and your property already has some shade producing oak trees, you could plant a type of hammock. In a dry area (sandy soil) you can plant a type of Flatwoods. If you are near the beach select native plants that are salt tolerant as in our Maritime Hammocks.
Regardless of the type of habitat you try to recreate it does not necessarily have to have the wild look. One can just as easily use principles of landscaping with native plants as with commercial plants. Just remember the more native you make your property the more likely you are to have native wild life com to live in it.
Excellent examples of Native Florida habitats can be found at several locations run by the Environmentally Endangered Lands Program: http://www.brevardparks.com/eel/intro.htm# and http://www.eelbrevard.com/eel/index.htm
Justin Alf is the owner of Tropic Greenery in Melbourne. Tropic Greenery designs landscapes to promote your personal well being. For more information call 321-288-1271.