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PALM SCHOOL

J.E. Davis, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, Florida, W.J. Lester, UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County, Brooksville, Florida and M. L. Elliott, UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. 

Situation: The objective of Palm School was to educate extension clientele on how to engage in proper palm management. Knowing how to manage and diagnose problems can help protect an important and potentially expensive investment from declining. This workshop was designed to provide the tools for our extension clientele to help protect and manage palm trees correctly. Participates attending Palm School will learned about emerging pathogens such as lethal bronzing. Participants learned on-site the signs and symptoms of lethal bronzing on an infected specimen. The target audience reached were Master Gardeners and county arborists from around the state. Methods: Palm School was advertised through Eventbrite with a registration of $15.00 per person. Participants enjoyed a catered lunch, drinks and snacks. Handouts were provided to all participants. Palm samples were on display with symptoms ranging from nutrient deficiencies to disease. A local nursery provided up to 10 different palm species. Presentations were delivered with PowerPoint™. A pre and posttest survey was delivered to measure knowledge gain. Results: 59 participants completed the pre and posttest survey. 93% (55) learned at least one new piece of information on palm anatomy and growth. 95% (56) learned at least one new piece of information each on physiological disorders and nutrient deficiency symptoms. 97% (57) learned at least one new piece of information on the causes of nutrient deficiencies. 88% (52) learned at least one new piece of information on how to fertilize palms and 76% (45) learned at least one new piece of information on pruning properly. 81% (48) of participants stated that they will change their palm fertilization practices and 47% (28) stated that they would alter pruning practices. Conclusion: Because of this successful workshop, Palm School will be conducted on a biennial basis to all extension clientele in the area.

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