Reversing the Urban Heat Island Effect

This summer’s heat is a daily topic of discussion here in Central Florida and in many parts of the country. It changes our routines and increases our monthly expenditures. Not least of all, it contributes to a worrisome trend of rising urban temperatures, AKA an “urban heat island.”

Thermometer checking earth's temperature. Dry soil.Macro photo of metal hand shovel and lettuce bed

Dark roofs, tall buildings that block air flow, limited vegetation, and the energy expended from cars trap heat and create a temperature differential between an urban center and its more rural surroundings. Our beloved Orlando and Kissimmee areas fit the bill in creating this phenomenon.

So, what does an urban heat island have to do with Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens?

As we expand our botanical garden with lush fruit trees, we are having to check ground temperature multiple times a day and take extra care to water the plants appropriately. Last week, temperatures reached at least 109°F.

Ultimately, our goal is to create a permaculture that can combat some of the effects of this heat island trend. In order to do so, we need to create a natural and self-sustaining ground cover of low shrubs, which we anticipate will take about three years.

We will post updates as our garden fills out and the ground temperatures moderate over time. Until then, we will continue looking forward to a respite from the urban heat island that is Kissimmee, Florida!

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A sustainable winery and agricultural site featuring botanical gardens and both indoor and outdoor event space.

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