Everglades Research & Education Center

UF/IFAS apps give irrigation, growing tips and more


Looking to save money and water when you irrigate? UF/IFAS scientists have developed an app for that. Want to know what plants to grow in your garden? You guessed it: UF/IFAS has an app for that as well.

UF/IFAS’ so-called “smart irrigation apps” include an urban lawn app that estimates how long you’ll need to water your lawn to meet current plant water demand. It uses a simplified approach for automated irrigation systems. This urban lawn model uses meteorological data to compute a simple, real-time weekly water balance, said Kati Migliaccio, UF/IFAS associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering and lead designer of the app. Find these apps and others at Smartirrigationapps.org.

“The turf app provides a free resource to determine a schedule to apply the right amount of water to landscapes, which is personalized based on user inputs,” Migliaccio said.

Other faculty involved in the UF/IFAS smart irrigation apps are Clyde Fraisse, associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering; Kelly Morgan, associate professor in soil and water science at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, and George Vellidis, professor in crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia.

UF/IFAS has developed plenty of other consumer-friendly apps:

  • An app for Florida gardeners lets them plug in their zip code to get specific gardening-zone recommendations for temperature tolerance and watering requirements. Esen Momol, director of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program at UF/IFAS, and Gail Hansen, associate professor in environmental horticulture who’s also affiliated with the UF/IFAS Center for Landscape Ecology and Conservation, designed this app, which came out in the summer of 2014. It features more than 400 Florida-Friendly plants that can be selected by their type, shape and sun tolerance. Each plant is accompanied by a color photo.

Momol and Hansen got help in designing this app from UF/IFAS Extension horticultural sciences experts. The mobile app costs $1.99 a year and is available at ffl.ifas.ufl.edu/plants.

  • Ever wonder which types of trees surround you in Florida’s rich landscape? A new book, “Trees: North & Central Florida, a Field Guide to 140 Tree Species, is available at the UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore. UF/IFAS created an app to accompany this book. Master gardeners, educators and those interested in identifying the trees of north and Central Florida will likely be interested in this app, which is available at the Apple App Store of IPhone and IPad.

Andrew Koeser, assistant professor in environmental horticulture at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, who’s also affiliated with the Center for Landscape Ecology and Conservation, led the app’s development.

Growers are also using apps, including those designed for more effective irrigation of citrus, avocados, strawberries and vegetables.

In addition, UF/IFAS experts have developed apps called Gardening Solutions; Florida Seafood at Your Fingertips; iPest 1, 2 and 3; IveGot1, to report invasive plants and animals.

Caption: UF/IFAS faculty members have developed several apps during the past few years, including those that help make home irrigation more efficient. Some also help identify trees. Others help with seafood and invasive pests.

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