Gardening in the Panhandle

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Improve Your Life with Panhandle E-Extension Newsletters and UF/IFAS EDIS Resources (11/27/2017) by Molly Jameson - If you are a regular reader of Gardening in the Panhandle, you know that this e-newsletter covers many topics related to ornamental and vegetable gardening, Florida-friendly landscaping, pest management, and lawn and garden fertility. But did you also... Read More
Happy Thanksgiving from your Gardening in the Panhandle Team ! (11/23/2017) by Matthew Orwat - Happy Thanksgiving from your Gardening in the Panhandle Team !       Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Backyard Sugarcane in the Panhandle (11/20/2017) by yiqigao - Do you want to add a little something different to your landscape? How about something edible, as well as a focal point in your garden? Backyard sugarcane may be just what you are looking for. Sugarcane, genus Saccharum,... Read More
Winterizer for North Florida Lawns? (11/20/2017) by Mark Tancig - If you’ve been to a local garden center lately, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some displays marketing winterizer fertilizer for your lawn. Many of these displays are quite shiny and state all sorts of reasons why you... Read More
He’s Bored, But He Didn’t Kill Your Tree (11/20/2017) by Matt Lollar - Sometimes you don’t realize a tree is dying until it is dead.  A few weeks ago, we got a call from a client who said he had insects killing his trees.  Before having someone drive out to the... Read More
Cilantro – Great for Cool Season Gardening (11/13/2017) by Mary Salinas - Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a short-lived annual herb with bright green, feathery, flat leaves that look very similar to flat-leaved parsley. Leaves can be harvested at will after they grow to a mature size and then continuously as... Read More
Name That Holiday Cactus (11/13/2017) by Sheila Dunning - Is your grandmother’s pass along Christmas cactus blooming really early? Do the leaf segments have “teeth” along the edges?  Are the “stringy things” sticking out of the flowers yellow in color? Well, I hate to tell you this,... Read More
Lessons Learned from Farmers: Fire Ant Control (11/13/2017) by Molly Jameson - As I near the three-year mark of being an Extension Agent, I think about how fortunate I am to have a career that not only encourages me to meet all our local farmers, but also to learn from... Read More
Fall into Composting (11/6/2017) by carriestevenson - Fall is the time of year many of us spend countless hours raking leaves and pine straw, piling them up, watching kids jump into the piles (then re-raking!), and bagging them up for disposal. However, what you may... Read More
Growing Winter Strawberries Workshop (10/30/2017) by Matthew Orwat - Where: Washington County Agriculture Center 1424 Jackson Ave When: Saturday November 11, 9:00am-12:00pm Cost: $10.00. Refreshments Served Limit 30 participants Strawberry plant plugs will be provided to participants ! On site demonstration ! Pre Registration required for count:... Read More
Controlling Brush & Invasive Species Workshop (10/26/2017) by Matthew Orwat - Encroaching brush, whether native or invasive, can be a problem for properties large and small. Fighting woody brush and other hard-to-kill weed species can be challenging for property owners. Many factors affect the effectiveness and efficiency of control... Read More
An Easily Preventable Tree Planting Problem (10/23/2017) by Beth Bolles - Trees are a landscape asset for many homeowners. When a new tree is installed in our landscapes, we can’t wait for it to mature to provide shade or landscape interest.  The heartbreak for many homeowners comes when this... Read More
Readying Your Raised Beds for Northwest Florida’s Best Gardening Season (10/10/2017) by Daniel Leonard - I had to do a hard thing last week.  My battle-worn okra, eggplant and pepper plants that had produced so reliably since June and endured all the summertime challenges (heat, insects, disease, and a hurricane to name a... Read More
Fall Wildflowers of North Florida Roadsides (10/9/2017) by Mark Tancig - The network of backcountry roads winding through north Florida offer pleasant views of rolling pastures, fields of cotton, old tobacco barns, and, occasionally, a scenic overlook of our local “hills”. Many of these roads follow the original trails... Read More
Golden Fall in the Panhandle (10/2/2017) by Sheila Dunning - Each fall, nature puts on a brilliant show of color throughout the United States. As the temperatures drop, autumn encourages the “leaf peepers” to hit the road in search of the red-, yellow- and orange-colored leaves of the... Read More
Whiteflies Invade the Panhandle (10/2/2017) by Matt Lollar - Over the last month or so, home gardeners and commercial growers alike have noticed what look to be large dust particles floating through the air. It’s probably not uncommon to have inhaled a few or even a few hundred of... Read More
Gear Up for Leon County Extension’s Garden Educator Training Series (9/18/2017) by Molly Jameson -   By Tiffany Torres Tiffany Torres is the Family Nutrition Program Northwest District Food Systems Specialist with UF/IFAS Extension. With the cooler months of fall upon us, school gardens across the Panhandle are beginning to awaken from their... Read More
Fig Leaves Dropping Early? (9/18/2017) by Mark Tancig - Hopefully, by this time of year, most north Florida gardeners have harvested their figs and are enjoying fig preserves or fig bars. But if you’ve noticed your fig leaves dropping a little early, it may be a sign... Read More
Hurricane Preparation in the Landscape (9/8/2017) by carriestevenson - Well, it is the peak of hurricane season (June 1-November 30), and this one is proving to be no joke. After having all summer to heat up, Gulf and Atlantic water temperatures peak in late August-mid September, feeding... Read More
Arborists Help Maintain Healthy Trees (9/8/2017) by Beth Bolles - Trees are a valuable resource. They add beauty to our community, serve as food and shelter for animals, filter the air, and cool urban environments. Trees can also be a liability when poorly maintained, damaged, or diseased. There are... Read More
Weed Spotlight: Chamberbitter, the “Little Mimosa” (9/8/2017) by yiqigao - Summer annual weeds are taking their last stand against Panhandle lawns before fall arrives. Rain and humid temperatures of late have boosted their growth spurts. Chamberbitter is a prime example. Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) is found as north as... Read More
Struggling to Grow Fruit Trees? Try These Lesser Known Florida-Friendly Edible Options! (8/25/2017) by Daniel Leonard - Northwest Floridians are lucky.  We get to bask in the warm sunshine at least eight months of the year, consider it cold weather when we have to break out the fleece pullover and none of us live more... Read More
Permaculture Practices for the Home Landscape (8/25/2017) by Matt Lollar - If you’ve attended any of our landscaping classes, then you’ve probably heard the phrase “Right Plant, Right Place”.  This phrase is a simple reminder to research plant growth habits and growing conditions before making selections for your landscape.... Read More
Measure Your Lawn the Easy Way (8/25/2017) by Mary Salinas - After you have chosen the right fertilizer, fungicide, herbicide or insecticide to apply to your landscape, the question becomes: how much do I buy? Labels on these products will tell you how many square feet it will cover... Read More
Plants Don’t Live Forever (8/18/2017) by llw5479 - A New Yorker cartoon shows a lady shopping a garden center bench for plants. She has three choices at three price points: annuals, $6; perennials, $10; eternals, $749.95. No matter what the cost, plants don’t live forever. And... Read More
Grass Worms (8/17/2017) by Sheila Dunning - If you are one of the many that have taken advantage of the frequent rain in order to establish a new lawn, keep an eye open for “grass worms”. Though truly caterpillars, not worms, these destructive, chewing insects... Read More
Summer Irrigation Tips (8/11/2017) by Les Harrison - July’s hot summer weather has given way to August’s 31 days of what will likely be temperatures and humidity equally elevated and intense. Wishes for November’s cooler thermometer reading are already creeping into daily conversations. The lawns and... Read More
Surefire Shrubs for Containers (8/11/2017) by Daniel Leonard - Growing in containers can be one of the most versatile ways to add color, texture and mobility to the landscape.  However, gardeners generally reach for finicky annuals to fill their pots with pizzazz.  The problem with this strategy... Read More
Ethnobotany: Where History and Medicine Meet the Forest (8/11/2017) by carriestevenson - Ethnobotany lies at the intersection of culture, medicine, and mythology. The “witch doctors” and voodoo practitioners, the followers of the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, and the wise elders of ancient Chinese civilizations are all ethnobotanists. So, too, are... Read More
Safety and Best Management Practices Essential for Pesticide Use (8/1/2017) by yiqigao - Many folks may not realize it at first, but everyone is using pesticides. Have you recently used a mold or mildew removal cleaner in your bathroom? Do you apply flea & tick powder to your pet? It is a misconception that... Read More
Recent Weather Fueling Fungi (8/1/2017) by Mark Tancig - Florida’s panhandle has received quite a bit of rain this summer. In the last three months, depending on the location, approximately 15 to 35 inches of rain have come down, with the western panhandle on the higher end... Read More
Pickleweed – A Novelty Plant (8/1/2017) by Matt Lollar - I encountered pickleweed (Salicornia sp.) on a recent trip to Utah. I first noticed the plant growing in the bank of a pond at a salt factory. A sample was pulled for further investigation and it was determined... Read More
The Grass is Getting “Hungry” (7/21/2017) by Sheila Dunning - Northwest Florida’s weather patterns can present challenges to maintaining a health lawn. Heavy rains promote fast growth and relentless sunshine causes lawns to fade.  In the last 200 days we have received at least 68 days of rain. ... Read More
Mowing Your Lawn Correctly (7/21/2017) by Blake Thaxton - Northwest Florida has experienced an enormous amount of rain this summer. The western panhandle has received over 29 inches of rain since the beginning of May according to the Florida Automated Weather Network station at the West Florida... Read More
Small Cockroaches Flying Into Homes (7/21/2017) by llw5479 - The Asian cockroach was first identified as a newly introduced species in the U.S. in Lakeland, Florida in 1986. I started seeing this small cockroach in our area about 17 or 18 years ago. They’ve done well recently... Read More
The Predatory Praying Mantis (7/14/2017) by Les Harrison -   Summertime is bug time in the Florid Panhandle.  The weather has provided enough rain for the bugs which depend on a supply of foliage and the temperatures have been ideal for a population explosion. Stink bugs, leaf-footed... Read More
Ponder the Antiquity of Fruits and Vegetables (7/12/2017) by Molly Jameson - Fruits and vegetables have undergone various forms of domestication for thousands of years. Throughout this time, selective breeding of wild forages has allowed humans to develop crops with many desirable traits, such as increased size, higher sugar content,... Read More
Rain Gardens – A Solution for Runoff (7/5/2017) by carriestevenson - Tropical Storm Cindy’s early arrival soaked northwest Florida this month, followed by even more heavy rain. Homes in low areas and along the rivers flooded and suffered extensive damage. That being said, we are just entering our summer... Read More
African Blue Basil: A Pollinator Favorite (7/5/2017) by Beth Bolles - Basil is a favorite plant in the summer herb garden and an absolute must for those who enjoy fresh leaves for a sandwich or delicious homemade pesto. While we grow basils as a food enhancer, an added benefit is... Read More
Four Must-Have Native Perennials for Summer! (7/5/2017) by Daniel Leonard - Let’s be honest with each other and have a moment of transparency, one gardener to another. Even though we are plant people, most of us get a lot less enthusiastic once the mercury explodes over 90 degrees each... Read More
Algal Leaf Spot Common on Magnolias and Camellias (6/29/2017) by Matt Lollar - Algal leaf spot, also known as green scurf, is commonly found on thick-leaved, evergreen trees and shrubs such as magnolias and camellias.  It is in the genus Cephaleuros and happens to be one of the only plant parasitic algae... Read More
Tips on How to Manage Water in Your Landscape (6/29/2017) by yiqigao -     Although we’ve received much-needed rainfall of late, it’s still a struggle to manage moisture levels in our Panhandle landscapes this summer. During wet summer seasons, one recurring issue is that watering plants too much can have as much... Read More
Celebrating and Attracting Pollinators (6/22/2017) by Sheila Dunning - Unfortunately, reports from the National Research Council say that the long-term population trends for some North American pollinators are “demonstrably downward”. Ten years ago the U.S. Senate unanimously approved and designated “National Pollinator Week” to help raise awareness. ... Read More
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring …….. (6/22/2017) by Mark Tancig - Recent rains in the panhandle have kept many gardeners indoors. While we’re mostly watching the rain from inside, there are some lawn and landscape tasks to consider.   The most obvious is to turn off any automatic irrigation... Read More
Florida Natives: Stokes’ Aster (6/22/2017) by Mary Salinas - Florida is home to some of the most beautiful flowering perennials. An exceptional one for the panhandle landscape is Stokes’ aster (Stokesia laevis) as it is showy, deer resistant and easy to care for. Unlike other perennials, it... Read More
Frequent Rains Induce Slime Mold in Panhandle Lawns (6/16/2017) by Matthew Orwat - Although black or white streaks are shocking when they appear on an otherwise healthy lawn,  slime molds are rarely harmful. Slime mold is actually caused by the reproductive structures of an array of different organisms, classified as plasmodia or Protista, which are... Read More
Plan Before Fertilizing a Lawn (6/15/2017) by Les Harrison - Fertilizing a lawn properly in the summer can enhance the landscape without inducing disease or harming the environment . One universal activity is seasonal lawn and landscape maintenance. While some consider it a chore, many view it as a means... Read More
Landscaping in Coastal Areas (6/15/2017) by carriestevenson - People from other parts of the country often move into Florida with expectations of their landscape beyond its capabilities. Those gorgeous peonies that grew up north or the perfect tomatoes they grew in California seem to wither in... Read More
Not all Palm Fertilizers are the Same (6/10/2017) by Beth Bolles - It is common in Northwest Florida for palms to show signs of nutrient deficiencies. In general our sandy soil is often nutrient poor and available nutrients can easily move out of soils with frequent rainfall.  In landscapes where... Read More
Healthy and Delicious, Oyster Mushrooms Can be Grown at Home (6/10/2017) by Molly Jameson - Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) – which have nothing to do with oysters besides their similar shape – are some of the most delicate, subtlety flavored, and easiest to prepare mushrooms of the culinary world. They can easily be... Read More
Avoid Pitfalls in the Care of Newly Planted Trees and Shrubs (5/25/2017) by yiqigao - This time of year, people flock to nurseries and garden centers to purchase trees or shrubs that will enhance their landscapes. However, there are certain management measures to keep in mind to ensure plant establishment. Depending on the... Read More
My Tree Has Tumors (5/25/2017) by Sheila Dunning - As oak trees are now fully leafing out and people start hanging out in the shade of the canopy, many of you are noticing strange growths on the branches. They look like potatoes, spiky cones and fuzz balls... Read More
Tired of Turf? Try Groundcover Alternatives Instead! (5/18/2017) by Daniel Leonard - If you’re like me, growing turfgrass is often more of a hassle than anything else.  Regardless of the species you plant, none tolerates shade well and it can seem like there is a never-ending list of chores and... Read More
Bark Stripping Squirrels (5/18/2017) by Matt Lollar - The squirrels are at it again! This time they are stripping the bark from the trunks of my Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) trees. Squirrels feed on the bark of a number of other different tree species including oaks,... Read More
Landscape Pruning (5/18/2017) by Blake Thaxton - Pruning is something all homeowners and landscapers know is one of the many chores to be completed in the landscape. Everyone recognizes that pruning needs to be done on occasion, but it can be confusing to know how... Read More
Farmers Prepare for the New Food Safety Standards (5/11/2017) by Molly Jameson - If you are a farmer, you have most likely heard about the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, by now. If you are not a farmer, you probably do not know that food safety regulations are going through... Read More
Benefit from Beneficial Insects (5/11/2017) by llw5479 - A number of summers ago, I noticed whiteflies on a confederate rose plant in my landscape. I considered using an insecticide to control the whiteflies but decided against doing so after taking a closer look. What I found... Read More
Love Blueberries? Thank the Blueberry Bee! (5/1/2017) by carriestevenson - This time of year, blueberry bushes are flowering and small fruit are coming onto the wild and cultivated bushes in north Florida. Many of us, myself included, look forward to the late-spring harvest of blueberries, taking our children out... Read More
Drama in the Garden with Amazon Dianthus Series (5/1/2017) by Beth Bolles - We may shy away from drama in our lives but drama in the garden is always welcome. One plant series that will be a prominent feature in any garden bed is the Amazon Dianthus series. Although we normally... Read More
Impatiens for Sun and Shade (4/24/2017) by Mark Tancig -   Impatiens are a very popular annual, bedding plant that provide a nice burst of color in the landscape. The traditional Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana), or touch-me-not, is the one that most gardeners know as needing part shade, but... Read More
Full Steam Ahead for Vegetable Garden Soil Prep (4/24/2017) by yiqigao - If you haven’t already, it’s time to prepare the garden space for the summer bounty of fresh vegetables. The following information will help you get started. Just remember, as the soil preparation goes, so goes the vegetable production.... Read More
A Shrub that Likes it Shady (4/24/2017) by Daniel Leonard - Almost every landscape has a problem area where the sun just doesn’t shine and many plants won’t make it, maybe it’s the north side of your house, under a small tree, or tucked away in an oddly-shaped alcove. ... Read More
Dig Safely: Call 811 (4/13/2017) by Sheila Dunning - This month, recognized by the Senate and Florida’s governor, reminds diggers why calling 811 before all outdoor digging projects is important to your safety. Before installing a mailbox, fence, deck, garden or tree make sure to call Sunshine... Read More
Increase Crop Diversity to Improve Your Garden (4/13/2017) by Matt Lollar - Most of you plant a spring vegetable garden with a number of different vegetable types. However, you may not realize that you are improving the health of your soil and your crops by planting a diverse garden.  Intercropping... Read More
Monitoring for Common Lawn Insects (4/13/2017) by llw5479 - Mole crickets, chinch bugs and spittlebugs are common lawn insect pests to begin watching for this time of year. Mole crickets can be active in lawns spring through fall, but the best window of opportunity to control them... Read More
Landscaping for Children (4/7/2017) by carriestevenson - I recently had the pleasure of visiting Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida and experienced one of their newest additions, a children’s garden. As much a playground as a place for growing plants, it was full of whimsical... Read More
Permaculture Workshop – April 29 (4/7/2017) by Matt Lollar - The Jackson County Master Gardeners are hosting “Permaculture: An Introduction” on Saturday, April 29. Join us from 9AM to 2PM on Saturday, April 29 at the Jackson County Extension Office (2741 Penn Ave., Ste.#3, Marianna, FL) to learn... Read More
Tips for Transplanting (4/7/2017) by Molly Jameson - When I think of the end of winter and the hot temperatures that will soon be here to stay in the Florida Panhandle, I often feel a little melancholy. But the one silver lining that always picks me... Read More
Native Shrub Option for Sandy Soils (3/30/2017) by Beth Bolles - We often talk about sandy, nutrient poor soil in Florida and how difficult it is for growing many favorite landscape plants. Gardeners may spend considerable time and money amending soils with organic matter to improve quality. The low... Read More
Prevent Asparagus Fern Escapes (3/29/2017) by Mark Tancig - As an extension agent, I’m always curious of what plants folks are using in the landscape. One plant I’ve been noticing more and more of in north Florida, both in containers and in landscape beds, is asparagus fern.... Read More
Are Your Dogwoods in Decline? (3/29/2017) by Daniel Leonard - Everyone, or at least everyone fortunate enough to grow up in the South, has a fond memory tucked away of a sight or smell of a plant that reminds them of the good old days. Maybe it’s the... Read More
Spring Festival of Flowers April 7-9, 2017! (3/20/2017) by Mary Salinas - About the Spring Festival of Flowers The University of Florida, IFAS and the Pensacola State College Milton Campus invites you to join them for one of the largest festivals of the season. This is a popular event that... Read More
Get Those Fairies Off My Lawn! (3/20/2017) by Matt Lollar - Mushrooms often are grouped in a circle in your lawn.  This is due to the circular release of spores from a central mushroom. “Fairy Ring” is a term used to describe this phenomenon. Fairy rings can be caused by... Read More
Inspect and Wash to Prevent Azalea Lace Bug Damage (3/20/2017) by Sheila Dunning - Now is the time to prevent your azaleas from being attacked by lace bugs. The azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides, overwinters as eggs on the underside of infested leaves. Eggs hatch in late March and early April. The... Read More
The Visual and Delectable Appeal of an Edible Landscape (3/20/2017) by yiqigao - Edible landscaping has become a trend for many gardening enthusiasts. A combination of edible plants along with traditional ornamentals can create an artful presentation. There are some challenges when designing such a landscape, but in those challenges opportunities’ may... Read More
Take Steps to Minimize Mosquitoes (3/11/2017) by Les Harrison - It is an often made wish of summer that the cold weather of winter will kill all the mosquitoes, gnats and no-see-ums. This climactic fete would spare people, pets and livestock the irritation of encountering these low flying... Read More
Choosing a Lawn Maintenance Company (3/9/2017) by Blake Thaxton - Lawns in northwest Florida are really starting to get going early this year. It is early March but feels much later in the year and many feel behind on their lawn maintenance and various other landscape chores. Maybe... Read More
Florida Natives: Florida Red Anise (3/9/2017) by Mary Salinas - Springtime brings small but very pretty red blooms on an outstanding native shrub/small tree, Florida red anise (Illicium floridanum). It occurs naturally in the wild in the central and western panhandle of Florida and west along the gulf... Read More
There Is Still Time To Prevent Spring Lawn Weeds (3/2/2017) by Les Harrison - Now that March is here the lawn becomes less of an abstraction and more reality. The lawnmower is no longer silent, meaninglessly taking up space as the grass wakens from its seasonal stupor. Alas, the dormant state has ended as... Read More
Raised Bed Gardening 101 (3/1/2017) by Molly Jameson - Want to start a vegetable garden, but don’t know where to start? Are you seeing rectangular boxes popping up all over your neighbors’ yards and wondering why? Well, I am here to spread the news of raised-bed gardening!... Read More
Keys to Growing Tomatoes in Florida (2/25/2017) by llw5479 - Florida farmers produce more fresh tomatoes than any other state. Yet Florida home gardeners find it difficult to grow tomatoes. By changing a few basic practices, home gardeners can increase their chances of success. My philosophy of growing... Read More
Observing Springtime Cycles in a Warming World (2/23/2017) by carriestevenson - It’s mid-February, and regardless of the groundhog’s prediction, spring seems to have arrived in northwest Florida. In my neighborhood, all the azaleas have bloomed. While beautiful, it’s something that usually doesn’t happen around here until well into March!... Read More
Beautiful Daffodils in Bloom (2/14/2017) by Mark Tancig - Daffodils are blooming in the UF/IFAS Leon County Extension Demonstration Garden. Daffodils, including paperwhites and narcissus, are in the Amaryllis family and have been cultivated for centuries. The Greeks and Romans admired the beautiful flowers and the plant’s... Read More
Dooryard Citrus Care for February (2/14/2017) by Matthew Orwat - Dooryard citrus enthusiasts may be uncertain about late winter management of Satsuma and other citrus trees.  Several questions that have come in to the Extension Office recently include: Should I prune my trees? Why are the leaves yellow? How... Read More
Lack of Winter Chill a Problem for Fruit (2/14/2017) by Beth Bolles - Many of us are enjoying warmer temperatures this winter, but many deciduous fruit crops really need cold temperatures in order to break dormancy for the year.  In areas that experience cold temperatures, plants have evolved the ability to... Read More
Large Limb Removal Tips (2/11/2017) by Matt Lollar - There are a number of reasons to remove large limbs from mature trees. The three most common reasons are to either remove dead wood, to keep limbs from interfering with one another and rubbing or growing together, or... Read More
Hydroponic Gardening Workshop – Marianna (2/10/2017) by Matt Lollar - BASIC HYDROPONIC GARDENING WORKSHOP Learn hydroponic gardening basics. Identify suitable plants for hydroponic gardening. Learn plant food recommendations for hydroponic gardens. Go home with equipment for a small portable hydroponic garden. WHEN:              ... Read More
Annual Bedding Plants This Time of Year? (2/10/2017) by yiqigao - Yes, even with cool weather setting in, much can be done on the flower gardening front. Let’s kickoff 2017 by being the envy of the neighborhood with flower beds that are rich and vibrant in color. Annual bedding... Read More
Warm Winter Influences Spring Bloom Times (2/3/2017) by Les Harrison -   This winter’s exceptional weather has deceived some popular springtime ornamental shrubs and fruit trees into flowering prematurely. Azaleas, for example, began blooming because of winter temperatures mush warmer than average. There are number of variables which determine... Read More
Plan to Reduce Summer Weeds (2/3/2017) by Sheila Dunning - Remember last summer? The hot, dry days.  Grass drying up and turning brown.  Yet, the weeds are green and doing fine.  However, every herbicide label warns against applying when the temperatures are above 85 degrees and especially under... Read More
Why Are There Holes in My Tree? (2/3/2017) by Daniel Leonard - Have you noticed strange rings of pencil-sized holes on the trunks of certain trees in your landscape recently?  If so, take heart that these holes are not emanating from an infestation of destructive insects but rather from a... Read More
Acorns Abound! (1/26/2017) by llw5479 - Do you have more acorns than you know what to do with? When oaks produce loads of acorns, it sometimes is called a “mast” year. Do you remember the oak tree pollen and all those catkins that fell... Read More
Enabling Technique for Raised Bed Gardens (1/26/2017) by Matthew Orwat - Now is the time to start planning for a spring garden! There are many different methods of successful gardening but here I’d like to discuss raised bed gardening. A few advantages of raised beds: Raised bed gardens provide an... Read More
Upcoming Events: Spring into Gardening – Solutions ! (1/26/2017) by Matthew Orwat - Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
An Important Tip When Installing Sod (1/17/2017) by Beth Bolles - It won’t be long before homeowners start thinking about sodding a new lawn or renovating areas of their existing turf. Although sodding when turf is dormant is acceptable, it is best to install sod that is green. One reason... Read More
Arbor Day: An American-born Celebration (1/17/2017) by carriestevenson - Arbor Day has a 145-year history, started in Nebraska by a nature-loving newspaper editor named J. Sterling Morton who recognized the many valuable services trees provide. The first Arbor Day was such a big success that Mr. Morton’s... Read More
Poinsettia Care (12/22/2016) by Matt Lollar - It’s Christmastime and time to pull your poinsettias out of the closet. Oh, you don’t have poinsettias left over from Christmas’ past? Well, if you follow some simple steps then you may be enjoying this year’s crop for... Read More
Tips for Christmas Tree Care (12/22/2016) by yiqigao - Although there are many types of artificial Christmas trees these days, live or cut trees are still very popular. Given the proper care, your natural tree can maintain its festive look throughout the holidays, keeping your safety in... Read More
Don’t Be Afraid to Disturb the Rootball (12/22/2016) by Beth Bolles - A new tree or shrub is an investment for the future. When we pick an ornamental plant, we have the hope that it will survive for many years and offer seasons of beauty that enhance our landscape.  Time... Read More
Christmas Trees with “Presents” (12/7/2016) by Sheila Dunning - Christmas is coming. So much to do. Picking out the perfect, fresh-cut tree is one of the important tasks. Every family member has their specific requirement. “It has to be a certain species.” It has to be a... Read More
When Do Winter Vegetables Require Frost Protection ? (12/2/2016) by Matthew Orwat - In Northwest Florida gardeners are fortunate since it is possible to grow ample supplies of vegetables throughout the winter months. While the Florida Panhandle does receive the occasional hard freeze, many winter vegetables such as radish, onion, lettuce, carrot and the... Read More
Reduce 100 Bags of Fall Leaves to Ten (12/2/2016) by llw5479 - Billions of leaves blanket the fall landscape and are bagged by hundreds of homeowners to be placed curbside for local trash pick-up. Many of these leaves could be easily turned into valuable mulch or compost. Why do all... Read More
Grow Shiitake Mushrooms in Your Backyard (11/29/2016) by Molly Jameson - Growing up, I was never too fond of mushrooms. To me, their only purpose was to ruin a perfectly good pizza. As I got older, I started to warm up slightly toward raw button mushrooms in salads –... Read More
American Beech–an American Beauty (11/22/2016) by carriestevenson - During a recent hike through wooded property in Walton County, our Florida Master Naturalist class came across a stunning example of an American Beech tree (Fagus grandifolia). As we looked closely at its thick, sinewy trunk (often compared... Read More
Look More Deeply for Causes of Leaf Wilt (11/22/2016) by Beth Bolles - Plants have specific ways of telling gardeners that there is a problem, but not all plant symptoms lead us directly to the cause. During drier conditions, we often use wilting leaves as an indicator that water is needed. ... Read More
Want Fall Color? Plant These Trees ! (11/17/2016) by Daniel Leonard -   Florida has so much to offer!  It is home to the world’s most beautiful beaches. It has one of the largest agricultural economies nationwide.   But among all these things, Florida is lacking in one area that... Read More
Saltbush – A Late Blooming Native Shrub (11/16/2016) by Mark Tancig -   If you have noticed bursts of white-flowered shrubs along roadsides, trails, and other natural areas the last couple of weeks, there’s a good chance that it was saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia). Saltbush is a native shrub in the... Read More
Brussels Sprouts Can Change Gardening Minds,….and Taste Buds (11/14/2016) by yiqigao - Want to try something different in your winter garden this year? Well, when it comes to Brussels sprouts, you either love them or hate them. They’re not commonly grown in the Panhandle, but if you’re looking for something... Read More
Firespikes for Fall Color and Hummingbird Food (11/7/2016) by Sheila Dunning - Looking to add something to brighten your landscape this autumn?   Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is a prolific fall bloomer with red tubular flowers that are very popular with hummingbirds and butterflies.  It’s glossy dark green leaves make an attractive... Read More
What’s Eating My Tree? (11/7/2016) by Matt Lollar - The Chinese elms in my yard are under attack.  They are dropping leaves and the temperature’s still in the 70s.  Upon closer look, they aren’t just dropping leaves but the tips of branches too.  What is going on?... Read More
Look What’s Blooming Now! (11/7/2016) by Mary Salinas - When many of our summer blooming plants start fading, yellow cassia, Senna bicapsularis, becomes a show stopper. Late fall and early winter is when it blooms and dazzles. The bright yellow flowers appear in numerous clusters at the... Read More
Vegetable Gardening Makes Sense and Saves Dollars (11/3/2016) by Les Harrison -   Vegetable gardening has many highly desirable benefits. These positive features range from being a good source of exercise, an opportunity to produce fresh produce which may be hard to find in retail establishment, and being able to... Read More
Fall: An Ideal Time for Shrub Installation (11/3/2016) by Blake Thaxton - It was a hot summer that has continued into Fall.  We hope cooler temperatures are on their way to the panhandle of Florida.  Fall can be a great time to spruce up your landscape with some new shrubs.... Read More
Jackson County Daffodil Sale! (10/28/2016) by Matt Lollar - The Jackson County Master Gardeners are selling daffodil bulbs.  Bulbs are sold in paper bags for $5.00 per bag.  Bulb counts vary per bag based on bulb size.  For descriptions of available bulbs please see the attached flyer.... Read More
Growing Ginger Root in North Florida (10/26/2016) by Molly Jameson - Fall is finally here and we are beginning to enjoy our first few bursts of cold air coming in from the northwest. For many, this inspires us to prepare dishes with all of our favorite seasonal spices –... Read More
Learn to Relax with Gardening Advice from UF/IFAS Extension (10/26/2016) by Mark Tancig -   With fall weather finally giving us a break from the heat of summer, this is the perfect time for North Florida residents to get outside and try their hands at gardening. Not only is gardening rewarding for... Read More
Scary Things are Happening in Our Landscapes this Halloween (10/26/2016) by llw5479 - The reality of what happens deep down in the darkness of a fire ant mound hidden to human eyes or in the tunnels of a mole cricket where only creepy crawly things dare to enter may be too... Read More
November 9th Green Industries Best Management Practices Class (10/21/2016) by Matthew Orwat - Wednesday November 9th, 8am-4pm. Green Industries Best Management Practices Okaloosa County Extension 3098 Airport Rd. Crestview, FL. Click Here for flyer.   Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Pro Hort Series: Tree Pruning (10/21/2016) by Matthew Orwat -   Thursday, November 3, 8am-12pm. ProHort Series: Tree Pruning. Escambia County Central Office Complex 3363 West Park Place Pensacola, FL 32505   16_santarosa_tree_pruning_flyer_email Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Persimmon: A Dooryard Fruit (10/21/2016) by Matthew Orwat -   A recent visit to the North Florida Research and Education Center reminded me of a fruit that is often low profile in Northwest Florida, the Oriental persimmon. The Oriental, or Japanese, persimmon (Diospyros kaki) was introduced to the... Read More
How to Care for Palms After the Storm (10/12/2016) by yiqigao - A common question after a tropical storm or hurricane event is will my palm tree recover? Palms grow different from other trees, so there’s definitely a different way to care for them post-storm. The growing point of a... Read More
Spiny Spiders (10/7/2016) by Beth Bolles - The year’s mild winter and frequent rain showers have created lush lawns and gardens with an abundance of insects. As a result, we are seeing many predator arthropods taking advantage of the available feast.  One of the morning... Read More
The Color of Fall in the Panhandle (10/7/2016) by Sheila Dunning - Each fall, nature puts on a brilliant show of color throughout the United States. As the temperatures drop, autumn encourages the “leaf peepers” to hit the road in search of the red-, yellow- and orange-colored leaves of the... Read More
Sod Webworms May Soon Be in a Yard Near You! (9/29/2016) by Matt Lollar - Tropical sod webworms (Herpetogramma phaeopteralis) have recently been encountered in a number of yards in the Panhandle. The worms usually feed in large groups and unfortunately, the first, and basically the only, sign of damage is often a... Read More
Fall Turf Issues (9/29/2016) by Blake Thaxton - The crisp air of fall is upon us. Maybe. We live in northwest Florida and we are not experiencing the change in weather just yet. With the change in weather coming, we are having specific issues in turfgrass lawns... Read More
Daylilies (9/28/2016) by Les Harrison - The daylily is a popular flowering perennial with East Asian origins which has adapted well to Florida landscapes. Plants are available in a wide variety of growth habits, flower shapes and colors, including yellow, orange, red, pink, purple,... Read More
Is It a Salamander or Pocket Gopher? (9/23/2016) by llw5479 - Pocket gopher is a furry animal known by many locals as “sandy mounder.” It was given this name because of the sandy mounds of excavated earth that the gopher pushes out of its underground burrows. The name sandy... Read More
Florida Wildflowers: Blazing Star (9/22/2016) by Mary Salinas - The Florida panhandle has a treasure of native wildflowers to enjoy in every season of the year. In the late summer and fall, blazing star, also commonly known as gayfeather, can be found blooming in natural areas and... Read More
Echo Your Architecture (9/22/2016) by Daniel Leonard - One of the most overlooked aspects of landscape design, particularly on DIY projects, is the idea of enhancing the architecture of your home by using plants that echo the shapes and features of the structure. The use of... Read More
My Fall Vegetable Garden (9/16/2016) by Molly Jameson - Fall is fast approaching, and that means my favorite season for gardening has arrived! September is the month we get to start all of our fall favorites. For me, this means starting lettuce, kale, broccoli, and collards by... Read More
Saltbush–a Native Beauty, of Sorts (9/16/2016) by carriestevenson - In the spring and summer, no one notices the little green shrub hidden among wax myrtle and marsh elder at the edge of the salt marsh. However, if I’m leading a group of students or a Master Naturalist... Read More
Best Seasons for Planting Coming Up (9/8/2016) by Beth Bolles - By the look of the crowded nurseries during March and April, springtime seems to be the best time for planting. This is the case for our frost tender annuals and perennials but we are actually heading into our... Read More
Perennial Peanut, a Great Choice for Panhandle Pastures and Landscapes (9/8/2016) by yiqigao - Driving through rural panhandle counties this time of year, one finds pastures with thick green canopies, exploding with yellow-gold flowers. Perennial peanut is in bloom. This is a highly nutritional forage option for livestock and also makes for... Read More
Distorted Plants (9/8/2016) by Matt Lollar - Plants can become distorted for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes nutrient deficiencies or toxicities can cause plants to become distorted. Sometimes excessive amounts of water or sunlight can cause plants to become distorted. And sometimes insect feeding... Read More
Go Native: Rainlilies! (9/2/2016) by Mary Salinas - Florida is home to many gorgeous and desirable native plant species. One to consider for your landscape is the rainlily, Zephyranthes and Habranthus spp. They are easy to care for and are bothered by few pests. As the... Read More
Welcome the Air Potato Leaf Beetle (8/23/2016) by Les Harrison - A small, but brightly colored beetle has appeared in north Florida: the air potato leaf beetle (Liliocetis cheni), a native of East Asia. The beetle, less than half an inch long, has a candy apple red body that... Read More
Panhandle Vegetable Gardeners Seeking the “Organic” Option (8/19/2016) by yiqigao - Being a gardener in the panhandle has its advantages. We’re able to grow a tremendous variety of vegetables on a year-round basis. However, in this climate, plant diseases, insects and weeds can often thrive. Usually, chemical measures are... Read More
Skunkvine – A Stinky Invasive Plant (8/19/2016) by Mark Tancig - North Florida gardeners have many non-native, invasive plants to deal with, but none quite as stinky as skunkvine (Paederia foetida). As the name implies, skunkvine has a noticeable smell, especially when the leaves are crushed, and it is... Read More
A Cool Good Bug (8/19/2016) by Sheila Dunning - With all the media discussion of “bad” insects, like mosquitoes, many of the good guys are forgotten. One that has been very active this summer is the blue mud dauber, Chalybion californicum. These wasps are metallic blue, blue-green or... Read More
Consider Landscape Fabric Carefully (8/12/2016) by Beth Bolles - Homeowners and horticulture professionals spend time to develop an attractive ornamental bed only to have weeds take over months or a few years later. One common method in the attempt to prevent weeds is to apply a landscape... Read More
Fire Ants in the Garden (8/12/2016) by Molly Jameson -   There’s nothing worse than sinking your fingers into your garden soil to dig up a potato, plant a seedling, or pull up a radish, and be met with a sharp, painful sting, and little red critters rocketing... Read More
Upcoming Fall Gardening Program Series (8/11/2016) by Matthew Orwat - Click below for more info Upcoming Fall Gardening Workshop Series August 25th – September 22   Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Try Container Grown Annuals to Brighten Bare Spots (8/2/2016) by llw5479 - There are areas in most landscapes where it is not practical or possible to bring in the tiller and create a flowerbed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have color in those areas. A little imagination, a decorative... Read More
Fence Row Weed Control…Optional? (7/26/2016) by Matt Lollar - Nothing looks better than a fence clean from weeds right?  It all depends on the goal you have in mind.  If you want to one day receive the infamous honor of “yard of the month”, than you might want... Read More
Common Live Oak Problems and Solutions (7/26/2016) by Daniel Leonard -   The Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) is one of the most iconic figures of the Deep South. Mentioning the words Live Oak invokes all sorts of romantic nostalgia of yesteryear and the reputation is not unearned. In fact,... Read More
The Fig (7/26/2016) by carriestevenson - Summer is full of simple pleasures—afternoon rainstorms, living in flip flops, and cooling off in a backyard pool. Among these, one of my favorites is walking out my door and picking handfuls of figs right from the tree.... Read More
Fall Vegetable Gardening Workshop August 6 (7/20/2016) by Matt Lollar - Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Support Your Local Growers’ Markets (7/19/2016) by Molly Jameson - When you think of farmers’ markets, what is that comes to mind? Is it the customers perusing the tables, the vendors organizing their displays, the variety of colors of the fruits and vegetables, the aromas of many types... Read More
Plant Mutations (7/7/2016) by Beth Bolles - Many of the plants in our gardens have been developed and discovered that offer interesting characteristics. These may include leaves with variegations, dwarf growth habits, or even contorted stems.  We enjoy these plant differences and many of these... Read More
Avoid Mosquitoes Abroad and in Your Own Backyard (7/7/2016) by Mary Salinas - The Zika virus has made us all more aware of the need to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes when we travel to those destinations that have confirmed reports of Zika infected mosquitoes. The Centers for Disease Control and... Read More
Peppers Get Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus Too! (7/7/2016) by Mary Salinas - Peppers and tomatoes are in the same plant family – solanaceae or more commonly known as the nightshade family – and can be susceptible to some of the same diseases. This is true of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus... Read More
The Forgotten Fruit and the Forgotten Coast (7/5/2016) by yiqigao - It’s safe to say that almost everyone equates citrus with the state of Florida. It just goes hand in hand. Most people first think of citrus as being oranges and grapefruit. Even by traveling south on I-75 or... Read More
What’s Wrong with My Plant…Picture (7/5/2016) by Matt Lollar - Homeowners and businesses will often send in plant and insect pictures to the Extension Office. This is a convenient practice for both clientele and Extension Agents, but sometimes it may make diagnosis more difficult and more time-consuming. More... Read More
Do Your Plants have Problems? (7/5/2016) by Mark Tancig -   Many gardeners get stumped when a favorite plant of theirs comes down with a strange “something”. Many of these gardeners know about UF/IFAS Extension and call their local horticulture and agriculture agents for assistance in figuring out... Read More
Summer Blue Flowers Enjoyed by People and Bees (6/22/2016) by Sheila Dunning - The showy chaste tree makes an attractive specimen as the centerpiece of your landscape bed or in a large container on the deck. Easy-to-grow, drought resistant, and attractive to butterflies and bees, Vitex agnus-castus is a multi-stemmed small... Read More
Fighting Fireblight (6/22/2016) by Daniel Leonard - Gardeners in Northwest Florida were blessed this spring with conditions conducive to great gardening, mild weather and plenty of rain. However, with those pleasant conditions has come an unusually high occurrence of Fireblight. Cases of Fireblight have been... Read More
How to Water to Establish a Lawn (6/22/2016) by llw5479 - When watering to establish a lawn or when renovating (redoing, patching, reestablishing, starting over, etc.) a lawn, we normally call for 2-3 “mists” throughout the day for the first 7-10 days until roots get established. These are just... Read More
‘Tis the Season for U-Pick Blueberries! (6/8/2016) by Molly Jameson - There is something almost magical about picking vibrantly blue blueberries off a bush and eating them fresh. If you watch the blueberries develop, you see them go from shades of pale green and blush red to dark and... Read More
Know Your Patented Plants (6/8/2016) by Beth Bolles - Gardeners love to share plants. My yard, like many of my gardener friends, is filled with plant gifts that were started from a cutting or division of a favorite plant.  These two methods of growing new plants is... Read More
Zoysiagrass Becoming More Popular in the Panhandle (6/1/2016) by yiqigao - If you’ve been researching lawn grass options recently, you’ve probably come across a not so traditional variety known as zoysiagrass. There’s no mystery why zoysiagrass has become a hit with lawn enthusiasts in the Panhandle. This variety is... Read More
Don’t be a Sap! Knowing the difference between Florida pines (6/1/2016) by carriestevenson - Pine trees are so common in the southeastern United States that they are often taken for granted. They are usually the first to be cut down when homeowners are nervous about storms, and unless you’re in the tree-growing... Read More
Control Grasshoppers When They Are Young (6/1/2016) by Matthew Orwat - The Eastern Lubber Grasshopper, also known colloquially as the “Georgia Thumper,” can be highly destructive to a variety of vegetable crops. This May many growers and vegetable gardeners have reported unusually high numbers of nymphs, the juvenile form... Read More
Purple Triangles in the Trees (5/24/2016) by Matt Lollar - From time to time I am reminded of how little I know.  Honestly, I am reminded on a daily basis. A few weeks ago someone asked me about the purple things hanging from the trees. Luckily, the person... Read More
What’s in Your Manure? (5/24/2016) by Mark Tancig - Humans have used animal manures to fertilize food crops for thousands of years. Manures are an organic source of plant nutrients and are often a waste byproduct that must be properly managed when raising animals. Today, many farmers... Read More
Pond Management Trainings Tuesday Evenings May 31st and June 7th (5/24/2016) by Matthew Orwat - Ponds can be a source of great enjoyment. However, properly managing them to meet your desired goals can be challenging. Panhandle Pond Management, a two part series being offered by UF/IFAS Extension, is designed to help pond owners/managers... Read More
Leaving the Tree Isn’t Saving the Tree (5/19/2016) by Sheila Dunning - As cities expand, wooded lands and property with mature trees are being developed into commercial and residential sites. Unfortunately, the construction process can be deadly to nearby trees.  In most cases, the trees don’t die immediately.  Several years... Read More
Does Your Lawn Guy Need a License? (5/18/2016) by Mary Salinas - If your lawn and landscape care professional applies fertilizer as a part of his/her services, then the answer is yes. Since January 2014, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has required that all commercial fertilizer... Read More
Caterpillars in the Vegetable Garden (5/17/2016) by Blake Thaxton - In the last few weeks, more garden pests have arrived! It is a fact of life in northwest Florida that we will have a few things in our garden including heat, moisture (humidity and rainfall), and BUGS! With a... Read More
Lawn Burweed: Back Again for a Second Act (5/12/2016) by Matthew Orwat - This spring, lawn burweed has been an especially noticeable problem in lawns. Extension offices throughout Northwest Florida have been fielding many questions and finding solutions to lawn burweed infestations! On the top of my list of lawn related... Read More
Coral Ardisia, A Pretty Problem (5/12/2016) by Les Harrison - Coral ardisia is also known as coral berry, spice berry, and scratchthroat. It was introduced into Florida in the early 1900’s for ornamental purposes. In the ensuing years it has since escaped cultivation and become established in hardwood... Read More
Cool, Wet Spring Favors Azalea and Camellia Leaf Gall (5/12/2016) by llw5479 - Do you have azaleas or camellias with leaves that are thickened, curled and waxy in appearance? This is fairly common this year and is caused by a fungus. Exobasidium vaccinii is a fungus that causes leaves, and in... Read More
Citrus Choices for the Panhandle (5/5/2016) by Mary Salinas - The panhandle of Florida is a great place to grow citrus with our plentiful sunshine and sandy soil. But some varieties do better than others. Here are some that thrive in the more northerly climes of Florida: Satsuma... Read More
Beneficial Ants (5/5/2016) by Beth Bolles - Believe it or not, there is a beneficial ant that is found in many landscapes. If you see an interesting mound shaped like a small volcano, you likely have the pyramid ants. These ants form small nests in... Read More
Don’t Be Duped By Plant Tags! (4/27/2016) by Daniel Leonard - People are, by nature, skeptical. Humans are and have always been questioners of the world around them and that’s a good thing! For instance, when one reads a sensational article on Facebook or watches an infomercial selling a... Read More
Don’t Think You Have a Green Thumb? Try Container Gardening! (4/27/2016) by Molly Jameson - Interested in having a garden, but have limited space? Maybe you live in an apartment, have poor soil quality, or you just don’t have many areas that get enough sunlight. Maybe you’ve tried gardening, but given up, labeling... Read More
Continuing the Eye-catching Azalea Bloom (4/22/2016) by yiqigao - You could certainly argue that the azalea bloom is the symbol of the southeast during spring time. This time of year, yards across the panhandle explode with vibrant colors of this unmistakable flower bloom. Even though Florida’s azalea... Read More
What’s Wrong with My Camellia Leaves? (4/21/2016) by Mary Salinas - Recently, a home gardener brought in some strange looking new leaves on his camellia. The youngest leaves were thick and fleshy and looked more characteristic of a succulent type plant than a camellia. What’s wrong with these leaves?... Read More
Experience the Mountains in Northwest Florida (4/21/2016) by Sheila Dunning - If you are lucky enough to live on the southern Alabama edge of northwest Florida, you may want to see if you can find mountain laurel blooming now near the wooded creeks.  Its native range stretches from southern... Read More
Tipping the Scales (4/14/2016) by Matt Lollar -                     Last week as I was basking in the shade of the Chinese Elms (Ulmus parvifolia) in my yard, I noticed some strange lumps on the twigs.  Upon further... Read More
Keep It Covered with Mulch (4/14/2016) by Mark Tancig - Do you have a bare spot that you would like to see go away? How about a problem getting something to grow in a particular area? I’m not talking about that receding hairline or bald spot, I’m talking... Read More
Properly Water to Establish a Lawn (4/7/2016) by llw5479 - When watering to establish a lawn or when renovating (redoing, patching, reestablishing, starting over, etc.) a lawn, we normally call for 2-3 “mists” throughout the day for the first 7-10 days until roots get established. These are just... Read More
Got Compost? Leon County Offering Hands-on Workshops (4/7/2016) by Molly Jameson - Got Compost? Please join UF/IFAS Leon County Agricultural and Horticultural Extension Agents for a hands-on composting workshop. Extension Agents Mark Tancig and Molly Jameson will lead participants through: An in-class presentation on composting science and research based composting... Read More
Stop and Take Notice of Beneficial Insects (4/7/2016) by Matthew Orwat - This spring, most garden plants are putting on lots of tender new growth. The lush foliage is like a free lunch to aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs and thrips. Before broad spectrum insecticides are used to control these pests, consider the impact on... Read More
Northwest Florida–Where the Plants Eat Meat! (3/29/2016) by carriestevenson - Among the most fascinating natural phenomena in our area are the presence of dozens of species of carnivorous, or meat-eating, plants. Found in bogs, meadows, and seepage slopes with mucky, acidic soils and low levels of nutrients, these... Read More
Pollinating Solitary Bees (3/28/2016) by Beth Bolles - The mining bees or adrenids are often seen in areas of landscapes that have little ground vegetation and loose soil. After mating, the female bee will excavate a very small tunnel in the ground that has several small... Read More
“Limbed Up” Loropetalum (3/23/2016) by Daniel Leonard - One of the major issues homeowners face in their landscapes is selecting a tree that in maturity will be in scale with the rest of their garden and home. While we have several actual trees that fit the... Read More
Evergreen Wisteria – An Excellent Alternative for Chinese Wisteria (3/22/2016) by Matt Lollar - Are you looking for a way to jazz up a fence, trellis, or arbor? Are you looking for year-round color in your garden? Are you looking for wonderful, fragrant blooms in the summer? Than evergreen wisteria (Millettia reticulata)... Read More
Native vs. Invasive Plants (3/22/2016) by Sheila Dunning -   According to the Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants, there are more than 4,200 plant species naturally occurring in the state.  Nearly 3,000 are considered native.  The Florida Native Plant Society (FNPS) defines native plants as “those species... Read More
Start Planting the Spring Vegetable Garden (3/11/2016) by Matthew Orwat - With weather warming up and daylight savings time right around the corner, we are in the midst of prime time for planting spring vegetable gardens. Gardeners routinely growing vegetable gardens should note that it is best to rotate... Read More
Why Do People Apply Sand Over Their Lawns? (3/11/2016) by llw5479 - Q. I see some folks putting a layer of lawn dressing (usually sand) on their lawns in the spring. What’s the purpose for this and is it a good practice? A. Routinely applying a layer of soil or... Read More
Leon County’s 2016 Backyard Gardening Series (3/9/2016) by Molly Jameson - Please join UF/IFAS Leon County Agricultural and Horticultural Extension Agents as they present the:     The series will run from 6:00-8:00 PM on March 24 and March 31, 2016 at the Leon County Extension Office, located at... Read More
Insects Take a Break in Winter, Which Will Soon Be Over ! (3/2/2016) by Beth Bolles - A common question about insects when cold temperatures arrive is whether or not the cold will kill many pests. Although temperatures will occasionally drop below freezing in north Florida, it is normally not cold enough to significantly impact... Read More
Planning Ahead May Reduce Home and Landscape Damage (3/2/2016) by carriestevenson - When we think of bad weather in Florida, hurricanes are typically the first thing that comes to mind. In reality, Florida is 4th in the nation in tornado frequency—and when adjusted for frequency per square mile, we are... Read More
Daffodils – A Sign That Spring is Near (2/25/2016) by Sheila Dunning - Few plants seem to signify the freshness of spring quite as well as daffodils. The name “daffodil” is derived from “addodell” a variant of Asphodel (a plant of the Asphodelus genus.) In historical documents and the common language... Read More
“Big Old Squash” (Gete-okosomin) Unearthed in Wisconsin (2/24/2016) by Matt Lollar - About an hour’s drive northwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin in the land of the Minominee Tribe, a tiny clay pot was discovered by archaeologists. The clay pot was nothing out of the ordinary, but its contents revealed a... Read More
The ‘Star’ of Magnolias (2/24/2016) by Beth Bolles - Magnolias are well known plants to gardeners and many are familiar with the foliage and flowers of these plants. If you are looking for another earlier bloomer, you may want to consider adding a specimen selection to your... Read More
Sprinkler System Check Up (2/16/2016) by Blake Thaxton - Lawns and landscapes require water to flourish and provide the green surroundings desired around homes and recreational areas. Often nature provides water for the landscape in the form of rain, but that is not always adequate. Turf and ornamental plants in the establishment stage need... Read More
Gardening Success Begins with Choosing the Right Plant (2/16/2016) by Les Harrison - Last Week’s temperatures have confirmed the winter of 2016 is not 100% over. Now is the time to plan that spring garden!. Garden catalogs from every part of the nation are finding their way into many area homes. Their pages... Read More
Start Fertilizing Citrus in February (2/16/2016) by Mary Salinas - As you have read in other articles in this blog, it is too early to fertilize your lawn; however, this is a good time to start fertilizing your citrus to ensure a healthy fruit crop later in the... Read More
Pre-Emergent Herbicide Now for Spring Weed Suppression (2/10/2016) by Les Harrison - Weeds grow everywhere, especially in manicured lawns and landscapes despite the best efforts of owners who have spared no expense to remove the offending flora. The reality, at least about the herbicides, is different from perceived appearances. Herbicides... Read More
February is not “Fertilizer Time” for Lawns (2/10/2016) by llw5479 - It It’s too early to fertilize our warm-season lawn grasses now. This includes the use of fertilizers contained in weed-and-feed products. There are a number of reasons why it’s best to wait to fertilize your lawn. First, the... Read More
Now through Early March is the Time to Cut Back Last Year’s Perennials (2/10/2016) by Matthew Orwat - Although it is quite cold outside right now, spring is just around the corner. Many of us have perennials we enjoyed all summer and fall, and have been faced with their ugly dead stalks all winter. Perennials that... Read More
Farmers Market Symposium on March 8, 2016 (2/10/2016) by Beth Bolles - On Tuesday, March 8, 2016,  UF/IFAS Extension Escambia County will hold a Farmers Market Symposium from 8:30-3:30.  The meeting will take place at the Langley Bell 4-H Auditorium, 3730 Stefani Road Cantonment FL 32533. EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS INCLUDE: • Overview of... Read More
Panhandle Turf Fertilization Workshop: March 4th or 11th (2/9/2016) by Matthew Orwat -     March 4th Workshop, Gulf Breeze Location, Registration on Eventbrite March 11th Workshop, Panama City Location, Registration on Eventbrite   AGENDA   9:00-9:25 Opening Session: Introduction to lawn fertilization, when to fertilize and why proper timing is important, the importance... Read More
Florida Master Naturalist Courses Provide Unique Perspective into Natural World (2/3/2016) by carriestevenson - Do you love the outdoors? Wish you knew more about the plants and animals native to our area? The Florida Master Naturalist Program is a course offered by Extension agents throughout the state, including the northwestern counties. Three... Read More
Cold Weather is a Good Thing for Fruit Trees (1/27/2016) by Matt Lollar - We may be suffering from the recent low temperatures, but temperate fruit trees such as peaches and apples require a period of cold weather in order to become cold hardy and produce a good crop. What is Cold... Read More
A Better Search Engine for Gardeners (1/27/2016) by Mary Salinas - So often, we are searching for research-based information to solve our gardening questions but the search engine turns up all sorts of sites that we may or may not know and trust. There is now a better way... Read More
Still Time for Parsley (1/27/2016) by Beth Bolles - Parsley is one of the most well-known herbs, and if you missed the fall planting, there is still time to choose a preferred selection for late winter/spring planting. An herbaceous biennial, parsley is an easy herb for containers... Read More
Palms Can Suffer in the Cold (1/20/2016) by Sheila Dunning - While palms may survive, or even thrive, for years in climates cooler than those to which they are native, eventually they will experience temperatures cold enough to cause injury. Here in Northwest Florida, it was January 2014.  Unfortunately,... Read More
Spring Vegetable Garden Preparation (1/20/2016) by Blake Thaxton - It is cold right now…at least it is this week. Even though the winters in northwest Florida do not have consistent cold temperatures, it is not warm enough to grow warm season vegetables all year around. The cold spells... Read More
Prepare Now to Protect Delicate Shrubs and Tropical Plants (1/20/2016) by Les Harrison - North Florida’s gardeners are facing a new set of challenges dealing with the effects of cold weather. However, a little planning and creativity can make plant protection in the landscape a relatively simple process. Many homeowners and landscape... Read More
Leon County Extension Launches “Adopt-a-Garden” Volunteer Program (1/13/2016) by Molly Jameson - Have you ever been interested in volunteering at a school or community garden? Are you involved with a garden that could use some help? Well, UF/IFAS Leon County Extension recently started an Adopt-a-Garden program for volunteers to “adopt”... Read More
Dormant Sprays Useful for Insect and Disease Management in Fruits and Ornamentals (1/13/2016) by Matthew Orwat - During cold January weather, one doesn’t often think about spraying fruit trees and ornamental shrubs for spring insects and diseases. It’s just not on the radar. The fact is January and February are the best time to apply... Read More
Time to Plant Pecan Trees (1/13/2016) by llw5479 - Pecan trees are well adapted to our area, making beautiful large shade trees. And, if the correct varieties are planted, they can provide pecans. Only those pecan varieties that show some real resistance to disease problems are recommended... Read More
Too Much of a Good Thing? (12/30/2015) by Beth Bolles - Information on gardening practices is freely shared between gardeners and many times the good advice is helpful in plant selection and improving plant growth. There are some passed along practices that are not always suitable for every situation... Read More
Gardener’s To Do List for December (12/16/2015) by Sheila Dunning - Though the calendar says December, the weather in Northwest Florida fluctuates between winter and spring temperatures. The nice days are wonderful opportunities to accomplish many of those outside landscape chores in preparation for spring.  But, it is also... Read More
Is That Cotton Growing in My Trees? (12/16/2015) by Matt Lollar - With the cotton harvest coming to an end, it’s not unusual to see cotton littered on the sides of the road.  You may also think you see it hanging in the trees, but you will be pleasantly surprised... Read More
A Plant Favorite Comes South (12/4/2015) by Beth Bolles - A visit to a nursery and homeowners will see so many new selections of plants for the landscape. Some of these plants are new plant developments and may include plants we could not previously grow in Florida’s heat... Read More
Time to Plant Trees & Shrubs (12/4/2015) by Mary Salinas - The cooler weather in the wintertime makes it a great time to plant trees and shrubs. That is why Arbor Day in Florida is the third Friday in January. In 2016, that event is January 15. Start your planning now... Read More
Harvesting Tips for Extending Your Fall Vegetable Garden (11/24/2015) by Molly Jameson -     In North Florida, December can mark the peak in fall vegetable gardening. Early lettuce varieties are beginning to head and your later varieties are coming on strong. Radishes are starting to erupt out of the ground,... Read More
Why Should I Wait to Cut Back Perennials? (11/20/2015) by Matthew Orwat - Although it seems like summer outside, especially with such warm weather the week before Thanksgiving, winter temperatures will be coming. Possibly sooner rather than later. Perennials that are meant to die to the ground each winter look ugly... Read More
Yaupon Hollies Are a Great Fit and Tasty Too! (11/18/2015) by Matt Lollar - Yaupon hollies (Ilex vomitoria) are evergreen, provide great fall/winter color, and can adapt to numerous landscape situations.  They are also very durable and can survive extreme drought. Characteristics Yaupon hollies are dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are... Read More
Camellias Beginning to Bloom (11/18/2015) by Sheila Dunning -  Camellia sasanquas begin blooming this month.  Their three-inch diameter blossoms of pink, white, rose or red displayed over glossy, dark green foliage will come into their full glory in November.  This robust and stylish aristocrat of the garden... Read More
The 2015 Peanut Butter Challenge is in Full Swing (11/9/2015) by Matt Lollar - Next time you are in the grocery store, consider purchasing an extra jar or two of peanut butter and donating it to your local Extension office as part of the annual Peanut Butter Challenge.  The Challenge is a food... Read More
How Can I Control Those Pesky Mosquitoes? (11/9/2015) by Mary Salinas - Are you plagued with mosquitoes in your yard? Does it seem like you have a greater infestation than your neighbors? There may be some solutions to solve the problem other than using pesticides that negatively impact beneficial insects... Read More
Waxmyrtle, an Overlooked Landscape Shrub (11/5/2015) by Matthew Orwat - Myrica cerifera Southern Waxmyrtle, Bayberry is a large shrub to small tree that is now native to much of Florida and much of the Southeastern United States. It was introduced to Europeans in the 1700s and is considered native by many botanical... Read More
Evaluate and Enjoy Your Landscape This Fall (11/4/2015) by llw5479 - Fall is a good time to evaluate your landscape, learn from what has and what has not worked and formulate plans to improve your landscape. Before your lawn and landscape plants go dormant, do a walk through of... Read More
Cold Protection for the Winter Garden (11/4/2015) by Molly Jameson - While most of Florida does not have to worry about freezing winter weather, the Florida Panhandle is certainly an exception. North Florida experiences a few hard freezes – temperatures less than 28°F for over five hours – every... Read More
2015: International Year of Soils (10/28/2015) by carriestevenson - Dirt, earth, humus, terra firma, soil—no matter what you call it, the ground below us is one of the most important substances on, well, Earth. As children, most of us stomped in mud puddles, dug holes, and played... Read More
Rayless Sunflower (10/27/2015) by Beth Bolles - Fall is a wonderful season for viewing wildflowers and there are many flower colors brightening our landscapes and roadsides. Amongst all the color there is one wildflower, the Rayless sunflower (Helianthus radula) that may not be nearly as... Read More
Why Should I Try to Protect Florida’s Water? (10/20/2015) by carriestevenson - Contrary to popular belief, stormwater runoff—not industrial discharge—is the primary source of water pollution in Florida.  During a rain, anything on the ground can be picked up, carried via water, and taken downstream to the nearest body of water. ... Read More
Bacterial Gall: A Detrimental Disease of Loropetalum (10/20/2015) by Matt Lollar - Warm and wet weather in the Florida Panhandle presents the optimum conditions for the development of bacterial gall on loropetalums.  Shoot dieback is usually the first and most noticeable symptom of the disease.  The dieback can be followed down... Read More
Fall Color Without Harming the Habitat (10/20/2015) by Sheila Dunning - As the trees begin to turn various shades of red, many people begin to inquire about the Popcorn trees.  While their autumn coloration is one of the reasons they were introduced to the Florida environment, it took years... Read More
Time to Plant Strawberries (10/14/2015) by Blake Thaxton - It’s time to bed up some earth and plant strawberries! That right! Fall is the proper time to set out strawberry plants for a spring harvest. It is a common misconception that strawberries should be planted in the... Read More
Solutions for Cogongrass! (10/14/2015) by Mary Salinas - A U.S. Forest Service grant is again available to assist non-industrial private landowners with the cost of controlling cogongrass. Applications will be accepted starting October 15, 2015. The program reimburses landowners for 50% of the cost for two... Read More
It is Futile to Fertilize After September (10/6/2015) by llw5479 - In Northwest Florida, all of our lawn grasses begin to fade and slowdown in growth during fall.They are supposed to go dormant. Some will go dormant earlier than others based on species, location and  management. The grasses we... Read More
Lawn Burweed: Prevention is Easier than Cure (10/6/2015) by Matthew Orwat - On this bright and sunny early fall morning I was thinking about all of the great gardening opportunities the cooler fall weather is bringing us in the Florida Panhandle. However, my thoughts drifted to the annoyances that the gardeners find... Read More
Crop Rotation in the Garden (10/6/2015) by Molly Jameson - The kids are back to school and you know what that means – everyone in the house will soon come down with the sniffles and a sore throat. But what if when the kids came home, Jack went... Read More
Florida Wildflowers: Coreopsis (9/24/2015) by Mary Salinas - In our demonstration garden we are enjoying the small but vibrant blooms of our state wildflower Coreopsis, also commonly known as tickseed. After many years of its use in the Florida highways beautification program, Coreopsis was adopted as... Read More
Fall Color with Muhly Grass (9/23/2015) by carriestevenson - As September rolls into October and we finally experience cooler temperatures, I always look forward to seeing one of my favorite native grasses in full bloom. Muhlenbergia capillaris, or Muhly grass, is an extremely versatile plant in the... Read More
Armyworms Wage War Via Guerrilla Warfare (9/23/2015) by Matt Lollar - Armyworms come in a wide range of colors and sizes.  A few of the prominent species living in Florida are beet, southern, and fall armyworms.  And the term “living” is not an exaggeration,  because Florida is one of... Read More
Why Is My Grass Dying Again? (9/16/2015) by Sheila Dunning - “We have replaced this grass several times over the past few years; and it’s dying again.”  I have heard this complaint too many times this summer.  Last summer’s heavy rain, the stress of January’s icy weather, and this year’s extended... Read More
Conditions favorable for Brown Patch (9/16/2015) by Blake Thaxton - Beautiful weather and pleasant cool temperatures have made their way into the Florida panhandle in the last week. They will not stay long. It will be scorching hot again this year before the relief of fall settles in... Read More
How Did Those Weeds Get in My Landscape? (9/16/2015) by Beth Bolles - Just when you think your battle against weeds is over for the summer, cooler nighttime temperatures and shorter days spark the beginning of a new crop of your least favorite plants. The question of many homeowners is: how... Read More
Saving Seed (9/9/2015) by Mary Salinas - You’ve grown some wonderful vegetables, annuals or perennials and you would like to save some of the seed from those plants to have for planting in the future. This is a great way to get more of the... Read More
Divide Perennials in the Fall (9/9/2015) by Mary Salinas - After a few years, many perennial plants have grown so large that they need to be divided in order to be revived. Overcrowding causes them to bear fewer flowers and, sometimes, to die in the center. Fall is... Read More
Composting Made Easy (9/3/2015) by Molly Jameson - What if I told you there was a way to create compost indoors? No pitchfork required, no hot steamy temperatures, a simple mix of ingredients, and it would fit right under your kitchen sink? As long as you... Read More
It’s Wise to Prepare for Storms (9/3/2015) by llw5479 - Tropical storm season officially ends November 30. I’m not predicting a storm but even with our average winds during a typical thunderstorm, you’d be wise to prepare. Falling trees and flying landscape debris during a storm can cause... Read More
Growing Shiitake Mushrooms on Logs (8/26/2015) by Matt Lollar - Mushrooms are an excellent low calorie food with a high fullness factor (they fill you up).  But the “common” or “button” mushroom lacks natural flavor.  On the other hand, shiitake mushrooms have all the benefits of button mushrooms,... Read More
There’s a Coyote in the Front Yard! (8/26/2015) by carriestevenson - About two years ago, my son was mowing the lawn when he came across something orange and furry lying in the grass. He backed away and yelled for his dad, but the damage had already been done—he had... Read More
Beating Pests with Plant Chemicals (8/26/2015) by Beth Bolles - It would seem that landscapes are filled with pests ready to devour our favorite plants. We can often see evidence of pest damage in the form of leaf curls, stippled leaves, or chewed holes in foliage. How do... Read More
How Do I Easily Determine the Square Footage of My Lawn? (8/19/2015) by Mary Salinas - When you know that your lawn needs an application of fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide or fungicide, the question becomes how much to buy and put down. For these products, success stems from applying the right amount, not too much or... Read More
Leyland Cypress…not the best choice (8/19/2015) by Blake Thaxton - Leyland cypress, x Cupressocyparis leylandii, has been hugely popular over the past 20 years as an ornamental landscape tree. It has the reputation of being a beautiful evergreen that can grow at a rate of up to 3 to 4... Read More
UF Monitoring the Buzzing in Your Ear (8/13/2015) by Sheila Dunning -   University of Florida researchers maintain a constant vigilance on the potential for mosquito-borne illness concerns.  UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach tracks rainfall, groundwater levels, mosquito abundance, wild bird populations and virus transmission to animals... Read More
Build Your Own Floating Hydroponic Garden (8/11/2015) by Matthew Orwat - Building a floating hydroponic garden as a fall project could be rewarding and delicious. In the fall, lettuce, cabbage and greens are ideal for floating hydroponic gardens. Watch a video by UF / IFAS Extension Agents to learn how to... Read More
Weeds are Getting Ready For Spring 2016 (8/11/2015) by Les Harrison - Weeds are growing everywhere, especially in manicured lawns and landscapes despite the best efforts of owners who have spared no expense to remove the offending flora. Herbicides to control the weeds seem to be less effective as August... Read More
Muscadine Grape: a Popular Fruit for North Florida (8/10/2015) by rlcarter - The muscadine grape is a popular fruit that grows very well here in North Florida.  It has smaller leaves than bunch grapes and fruit are harvested singly, rather than in bunches.  Theses grapes can be enjoyed fresh and also... Read More
Common Azalea Lace Bug Can Be Controlled (8/3/2015) by llw5479 - When azaleas are in a garden, azalea lace bugs are sure to follow. The good news is these insects, that discolor the leaves of azaleas, can be controlled. Lace bugs live on the underside of leaves and damage their hosts by piercing... Read More
Reference Books for Gardeners and Landscapers Alike (8/3/2015) by tavandiver - As our world and our lives become more centered on technology it seems that all the information we need is just a touch screen away. After all, you are most likely reading this article from a laptop, smart... Read More
Recycle By Cleaning Your Container Pots (7/28/2015) by abol - Most likely, we all have them-garden pots. These typically are made of plastic, clay or wood. Garden pots should be sanitized if they were previously used or if they exhibit signs of mold or fungal growth. Whether they... Read More
Beat the Summer Heat with Energy-Efficient Landscaping (7/27/2015) by carriestevenson - Late summer brings hot, humid temperatures, and many Floridians are retreating from the heat into their air-conditioned homes. Unfortunately, those comforts of home also come with a price tag. When people think about energy efficiency, practices like turning off... Read More
Native Grass for Moist Soils (7/20/2015) by Beth Bolles - Native plants can more readily be found in local nurseries to enhance landscape plantings. Not all natives are suited to every habit so it is still important to match the plant’s requirements with a suitable area in the... Read More
Figs in the Summertime! (7/20/2015) by Mary Salinas - July always brings the blessing of abundant figs on my trees. A new crop waits to be picked and enjoyed every day for nearly a month. The tender sweet fruit can be enjoyed fresh, prepared into jams or... Read More
Native Yuccas: Low Maintenance, Slow Growing and Attractive Blooms (7/15/2015) by Les Harrison - Being sharp is usually considered a complement. It implies the recipient of this assessment has the intellectual ability and the mental acuity to handle with ease the rigors of contemporary life. In north Florida’s native plant world the... Read More
Deadheading Keeps Summer Perennials Beautiful (7/15/2015) by Matthew Orwat -   During these “dog days”, full of hot temperatures punctuated with intermittent rain, gardeners can lose the motivation to get out there and get things done. One task, deadheading, can make a huge difference in the appearance of... Read More
Southern Field Peas, a Summer Delight (7/14/2015) by rlcarter - Cowpeas are one of the most important food legumes in the semiarid tropics covering Asia, Africa, Southern Europe, and Central and South America. A drought-tolerant and warm-weather crop, cowpeas are well adapted to the drier regions of the... Read More
Fall Tomato Selection (7/14/2015) by Blake Thaxton - One of the many great thing about living in Florida is the long growing season that the climate affords to gardeners. For up to 8 months a year warm season vegetables can be grown. The colder months are... Read More
You Can Propagate Memories (7/7/2015) by llw5479 - There are a number of plants in my landscape that bring back fond memories – plants that I propagated. There’s a mulberry tree in my backyard that I rooted years ago. I took the cuttings from an old... Read More
Protecting Precious Species From Pesticides (7/7/2015) by Sheila Dunning - There are more than 100 species of plants and animals living in Florida that are in danger of extinction.  These trees, flowers, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and invertebrates are listed as either threatened, endangered or species of... Read More
Giving Young Wildlife a Chance (6/29/2015) by carriestevenson - A few weeks ago, the neighbor boys came running over to show my children the baby birds they found in their front yard. We expected they would lead us to a tree and point out fledglings in a nest, but... Read More
Southern Purple Mint Moth (6/29/2015) by Beth Bolles - One very popular herb for the backyard garden is the evergreen Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis which serves as an attractive landscape shrub in addition to its culinary uses. Rosemary grows best in full sun and well-drained soils. When planted... Read More
Enjoy an Evening Garden (6/23/2015) by Mary Salinas - Many of us are working during the day and are not enjoying our gardens during the daytime. And maybe it is just too warm in the summer to be outside during the heat of the day.  That leaves... Read More
Beetles to the Rescue (6/23/2015) by Sheila Dunning - Air potato (Dioscores bulbifera) is a perennial, herbaceous self-twining vine that can grow over 60 feet in length, enabling it to climb over and smother many native plants. The Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council (FLEPPC) lists air potato... Read More
Summer Lawn Review (6/16/2015) by Blake Thaxton -   Time is flying! June has reached its halfway point and lawns are having to be maintained often. Let us take a few minutes to review some things that need to be considered when properly maintaining the lawn. 1.... Read More
Conenose and Kissing Bugs: Necessary, But Not Fun If Contacted (6/15/2015) by Les Harrison - While it is not exactly a jungle “out there” in the landscape, there are some occasionally encountered insects which can inflict pain. The kissing bug and the blood-sucking conenose are native insects which are best not physically encountered.... Read More
The Danger Within… What’s Hiding in Our Woods (6/15/2015) by tavandiver - As summer comes to its apex you may find yourself longing to move your activities outdoors and commune with nature. However, as you are reveling in the warm weather while hiking, camping, biking, gardening, etc. remember that there... Read More
21st Annual Gulf Coast Turfgrass Expo & Field Day (6/10/2015) by Matthew Orwat -   21st Annual Gulf Coast Turfgrass Expo & Field Day                 Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Caterpillars with a Sting (6/10/2015) by rlcarter - The four major stinging caterpillars occurring in Florida are the Puss Caterpillar, Saddleback Caterpillar, IO Moth Caterpillar and Hag Caterpillar.  Some less common ones also occur in the state.  These caterpillars do not possess stingers, but have spines... Read More
Brighten Bare Spots in Your Landscape (6/9/2015) by llw5479 - There are areas in most landscapes where it just is not practical or possible to bring in the tiller and create a flowerbed. A little imagination, a decorative container and appropriate plants can turn a bare spot into... Read More
Garden Torches (6/3/2015) by Beth Bolles - If you are looking for flower colors to match the heat of June, Red hot poker, Kniphophia uvaria has the blooms that match the season. Also known as the torch lily, this perennial performs well in full sun areas... Read More
Tree Care in Hurricane Season (6/2/2015) by carriestevenson - Hurricane Season began June 1. While storm experts are predicting a slower year due to El Nino conditions, it only takes a single storm landing nearby to cause millions in damage, uprooting trees and lives. Tree damage to... Read More
Tips on Controlling Ants (5/26/2015) by rlcarter - The proverbial picnic scene aside, ants are pests all of us have to deal with from time to time.  Both inside and outside our homes, they feed on and contaminate our food, they build ugly mounds on our... Read More
S.H.A.R.E. During National Pollinator Week – June 15-21, 2015 (5/22/2015) by Sheila Dunning - Everyone with a landscape can make a difference for pollinators.  Simply Having Areas Reserved for the Environment enables homeowners, land managers, farmers, individuals, corporations, schools, roadside managers, and golf courses to increase the number of pollinators in the... Read More
Tent Caterpillars: An Unwelcome Spring Guest (5/19/2015) by Les Harrison - Uninvited guests can sometimes be fun and entertaining, bringing spontaneity to an otherwise predictable schedule. Sometimes the surprise guest is just an unpleasant distraction with no redeeming virtues. The unanticipated knock on the door can bring both scenarios... Read More
Try Dwarf Lantana for a Summer and Fall Blooming Perennial (5/19/2015) by Matthew Orwat -   With the heat of summer already here, we all know that our pansies, petunias and snapdragons are on their way out. This leaves us wondering what we could plant that will give us color throughout summer and... Read More
Coneflowers! (5/12/2015) by Mary Salinas - An easy to care for perennial to add to your flower garden is the coneflower, Echinacea purpurea. The daisy-like flowers stand tall above the foliage on sturdy 2 to 4 foot stems. Blooms appear about the last part... Read More
Grow an Herb Garden! (5/12/2015) by rlcarter - Herbs are plants that are grown for the special flavor and aroma of their various parts.  They are used mainly to season, enrich, or otherwise improve the taste or smell of certain foods. Since they are not classified as... Read More
Purple Hyacinth Bean – What’s Old is New (5/6/2015) by Beth Bolles - Everyone is interested in growing an easy plant that offers interest all throughout the warm season. Look no further than an old favorite, the purple hyacinth bean, Lablab purpurea. An warm season annual vine that grows easily from seeds plants... Read More
Learning from the Floods (5/6/2015) by carriestevenson - Just over a year ago, southwest Alabama and northwest Florida experienced a devastating storm that left hundreds without access to their homes and businesses, flooded out and stranded by a hurricane-force storm that didn’t come with the luxury... Read More
Why Do My Azaleas Have Weird Growths? (4/28/2015) by Mary Salinas - Fleshy distortions are appearing on some azaleas this time of year. What is responsible for this? A fungus, Exobasidium vaccinia, likes our cool, wet spring weather and infects azalea leaves and flower petals. This disease likes a cool,... Read More
Insectary Meadows Provide Food for Pollinators and Homes for Good Bugs (4/28/2015) by Sheila Dunning - Bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate and continue to vanish without a trace. Why should anyone care? Well, they matter a lot more than most people think. Bees are the overwhelmingly dominant pollinator for most food... Read More
How to Space Plants in your Landscape (4/27/2015) by rlcarter - Most people know that an attractive landscape adds to the value of a home.  For most of us, the landscape also represents a hefty investment of money, time and work so it’s important to know enough about landscape... Read More
Tomato Foliar Diseases (4/21/2015) by Blake Thaxton - With the over abundance of rainfall the western panhandle has seen in recent weeks, tomato gardeners need to be aware of foliar diseases that could appear.  Tomato leaves are an ideal host when moisture is present on the... Read More
Blueberries Likely Early This Year – What You Need To Know To Keep Them Happy (4/21/2015) by Matthew Orwat - In all North Florida Counties, blueberry jam, blueberry cobbler and fresh blueberries seem to be a staple. This is because there are many home gardeners are able to consistently grow a top quality product. This year blueberries are very large... Read More
Monitor for Mole Crickets (4/20/2015) by llw5479 - Many people treat their lawn with an insecticide when they see mole crickets in the spring or at the first sign of a brown area in their lawn. What they don’t understand is the biology of this pest. ... Read More
What To Do with All This Rain? Plant a Rain Garden! (4/14/2015) by tavandiver - Rain gardens are an easy way to return water to our aquifer, reduce erosion, and help prevent stormwater runoff. Running down the driveway or patio, rainwater can pick up lawn chemicals and pesticides. A rain garden is basically... Read More
Plan Carefully with Indian Hawthorn (4/7/2015) by Beth Bolles - One of the most commonly used shrubs in landscapes is the Indian hawthorn, Rhapheolepsis indica. Although not native to Florida, it can be a very attractive shrub when used properly in landscapes. Plants offer spring flowers in pinks... Read More
Bat Roosting Season Begins Soon! (4/7/2015) by carriestevenson - As spring commences and young wildlife of all species are born, everyone’s favorite flying, furry mammal begins roosting season. Ideally, bats will find homes in trees, caves, abandoned buildings, and bat houses, but sometimes they end up in... Read More
Just Say No to Chinese Wisteria (4/6/2015) by Mary Salinas - Maybe you have been seeing the Chinese wisteria, Wisteria chinensis, sporting its lavender blooms along the roadways this time of year. This vine may add a pleasant splash of color to the green leafy backdrop, but this is... Read More
Formosan Termites (3/31/2015) by Sheila Dunning - As the ant and termite swarm season begins, here is one species to be aware of. The red dots on the map indicate the known distribution of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, in Florida, as of... Read More
Which Turf Should I Choose? (3/24/2015) by Blake Thaxton - Some times the lawn just gets away from us.  It can be completely invaded by weeds or have a devastating disease or insect pest cause total destruction.  If your lawn is problem prone there are many cultural practices that... Read More
Pollen and Allergy Season: The Price We Pay for Living in a Lush Landscape (3/24/2015) by tavandiver - It’s that time of year again, that time when your car changes color like a chameleon in order to mimic the surrounding landscape. Anything that stands still long enough will become coated with a light green to yellow... Read More
Onions: Taste Good, Easy to Grow, and Many Varieties from which to Choose (3/24/2015) by Les Harrison - The winter weather is finally giving way to springtime. While temperatures have been erratic, the rain has been sufficient. There are still plenty of cool season leafy garden crops in production, but they will not last long as... Read More
Wait Until Mid-April to Fertilize North Florida Lawns (3/17/2015) by llw5479 - It’s too early to fertilize our warm-season lawn grasses now. This includes the use of fertilizers contained in weed-and-feed products. There are a number of reasons why it’s best to wait to fertilize your lawn. First, the soil... Read More
Waterfront Landscaping (3/17/2015) by carriestevenson - A taste of spring weather has arrived, and people will soon be filling the home improvement stores and getting ready for outdoor projects. If you live on the water or near a storm drain, it’s worth considering buffer... Read More
Upcoming Okaloosa County Lawn & Garden Seminars (3/13/2015) by llw5479 - Upcoming lawn & garden seminars   With spring on its way, your local University of Florida Extension Office in Okaloosa County is providing lawn and garden seminars for the public. Plan Before You Plant Seminar: Take the guesswork out... Read More
A Cherry for the Southern Garden (3/10/2015) by Beth Bolles - Although we are not able to grow edible cherry trees in more southern climates, there are a few ornamental relatives of the cherry that are worth adding to the landscape.  The Bush cherry, Prunus jacquemontii, is an attractive... Read More
Now is the Time to Prune Roses (3/3/2015) by Matthew Orwat -   Many rose enthusiasts ask every season? When do I prune my roses? The general recommendation is February 15th. If that recommendation is followed it’s usually not harmful, though climate can be very different from the coast to the state line . Therefore,... Read More
Attract Birds to the Backyard (3/2/2015) by Mary Salinas - The sight and sound of birds in the yard reconnects us to the wonder and beauty of nature. Providing food, water and shelter can bring the joy of our feathered friends into outdoor spaces. Leave behind the standard... Read More
March – Time for Lions and Lambs (3/2/2015) by Sheila Dunning - “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb?” Weather sayings can be quite colorful. Some of them may be connected to scientific observations, while others are more superstitious in nature. What the... Read More
Pruning Azaleas for Colorful Springs to Come (2/24/2015) by Blake Thaxton - Soon beautiful blooms will come forth from one of the great landscape shrubs that characterize the South. Blooms of many colors will be produced from the azalea. It will be a magnificent show as it is every spring. Annual... Read More
Smilax: Easy to Find Now, but Hard to Endure (2/24/2015) by Les Harrison - The yo-yo thermometer readings make it confusing for the panhandle’s human residents when choosing proper wardrobe selections. With few exceptions, the deciduous plants and trees continue to wait for consistently warmer weather and longer days before covering their... Read More
Keep Your Love Alive: Preserving Cut Flowers (2/17/2015) by tavandiver - Valentine’s Day has come and gone. You were likely showered with gifts from loved ones; gifts covered in chocolate, gifts of the stuffed variety, and more than likely the kind covered in petals. And as you languish in... Read More
Don’t Let Spring Fever Cause a Lawn Headache (2/17/2015) by llw5479 - With a few nice late winter days, many people get a good dose of spring fever. But be careful when the fever hits you. Don’t fertilize your lawn too early. The fever may turn into a lawn “headache”.... Read More
2015 Beekeeping in the Panhandle Short Course March 9th (2/13/2015) by Matthew Orwat -   UF/IFAS Extension 2015 Beekeeping in the Panhandle Short Course March 9th       The UF/IFAS Extension Panhandle Agriculture Team is pleased to once again offer a Beekeeping Short-Course in March, 2015. These classes will be offered... Read More
Property Law and Tree Damage (2/10/2015) by carriestevenson - After storms and when homeowners are doing “spring cleaning” around their yards, Extension agents are routinely asked about whose responsibility it is to maintain a tree along a property line. This becomes particularly important in a situation where... Read More
Plan Carefully Around Home Foundations (2/10/2015) by Beth Bolles - Variety is the spice of life and more homeowners are incorporating this philosophy into the design of their homes. Windows especially are becoming more of a design feature, so we should change our philosophy on landscaping around them.... Read More
Encore® Azaleas – Add One More This Spring (2/3/2015) by Sheila Dunning - Nothing signals spring in the south like the reds, pinks and whites of azaleas in full bloom. Nearly every yard has one. For two weeks out of the year there are flowers everywhere. But the glory fades fast.... Read More
Now is the Time to Prevent Summer Weeds! (2/2/2015) by Mary Salinas - So often, homeowners wait until weeds have overtaken their lawns in mid-summer before looking for a course of action to control them. Unfortunately, when weeds get to maturity and start producing flowers and going to seed, they are... Read More
Get an Early Start on Spring Veggies (1/27/2015) by Blake Thaxton -   Growing spring vegetables in northwest Florida can be challenging!  Sometimes failures seem more numerous than successes.  Extreme cold events in the winter and blistering hot summer days make it tough on vegetables.  One suggestion is to get the garden... Read More
Soil: What’s Alive Beneath Our Feet? (1/22/2015) by tavandiver - You’re digging up a ridiculously stubborn patch of Florida betony when an earthworm crawls across your path. As you break apart the soil in your hands a world of active organisms is being sifted through your fingers. Fertile... Read More
Leaf Litter: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Work? (1/22/2015) by Les Harrison - For the homeowner who feels the need to rake leaves and pine needles, the task can be something of a minor nuisance. The showers of earth-toned leftovers appear suddenly and at inconvenient times, and their removal is never... Read More
Start the Year Off Right — Plant a Tree! (1/13/2015) by carriestevenson - Most of us begin a new year with resolutions–to exercise more, to eat right, to spend our time more productively–but few things have as many lasting impacts for the future as the simple act of planting a tree.... Read More
Chinese Privet (1/13/2015) by Beth Bolles - The Chinese privet, Ligustrum sinense, is a plant that is well known to many people as a great nuisance in the landscape. It is also a Florida noxious weed because of its invasive nature. Originally grown as an... Read More
Time of Reflection and Resolution (12/23/2014) by Blake Thaxton -   It’s December!  2014 is coming to an end, and with it, our success and failures with our gardens and lawns are in our past.  Maybe your garden or lawn experienced a great resurgence this year or was set... Read More
If it is “Frozen”, “Let it go” ’til Spring (12/23/2014) by Sheila Dunning -   When you look out at your landscape nobody has to tell you that winter temperatures in Northwest Florida Afterwards, the temperatures warm up and you feel compelled to do something about it. You just need to “turn... Read More
Those Falling Leaves Are Useful (12/16/2014) by Mary Salinas - This is the time of year when leaves are turning shades of yellow and red and falling from the trees. And this spurs homeowners to get out there with their rakes and rid them from their lawns. This... Read More
Cold Protection: Preparation is the Key to Success (12/16/2014) by Les Harrison - Panhandle Florida gardeners face a new set of challenges annually dealing with the effects of cold weather. A little planning and creativity can make plant protection in the landscape successful. Many homeowners and landscape managers want to know... Read More
Evergreens for Holiday Decorating (12/16/2014) by tavandiver - Now that we’ve all been stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey, it’s time to transition into the final and, arguably, most ornate holidays of the year. Right now you can hear your mantles and door frames crying out to... Read More
Trees with Winter Appeal (12/9/2014) by llw5479 - From about mid November or December to March, deciduous trees have little to no foliage making us more aware of their shapes, forms and barks. Here are a few trees to consider for adding winter appeal to your... Read More
Video – Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree (12/9/2014) by Matthew Orwat - Looking for the perfect Christmas tree to celebrate your Holidays? Join Wendy Wilber, UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Environmental Horticultural Agent, as she offers tips on finding and preserving your fresh-cut Christmas tree throughout the Holiday Season.    ... Read More
Gardening Patience for Cold-Damaged Plants (12/2/2014) by Beth Bolles - Our recent cold weather was not only a surprise for many locals but also for many plants that still had plenty of green growth. After a couple of nights of freezing temperatures, even deciduous trees that had not dropped... Read More
Camellias: Color Through the Cold (12/2/2014) by Sheila Dunning - Camellias have been a part of the landscape in the Southeastern United States for over 200 years. They are native to Asia and were introduced near Charleston, South Carolina in 1786. The common name camellia refers to varieties... Read More
Happy Thanksgiving from the Gardening in the Panhandle Newsletter Team (11/27/2014) by Matthew Orwat - FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE “HERBS FOR FALL” ON GARDENING IN A MINUTE Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Make your Christmas Tree Truly Evergreen! (11/25/2014) by carriestevenson - As the holiday season comes upon us, many folks will be spending their weekends scouring tree farms and mall parking lots for the perfect Christmas tree. There are many very realistic-looking options for artificial trees these days, and... Read More
Planting Trees Correctly (11/25/2014) by Blake Thaxton - Often in Extension we are asked to look at unhealthy plants in the landscape.  We see every problem under the sun.  Whether it is diseases, insects, or cultural problems we run into them all.  One problem that seems... Read More
Mothballs are a Pesticide (11/18/2014) by Matthew Orwat - Many homeowners and gardeners think of mothballs as a quick fix when trying to control indoor pest problems or wildlife incursions. There are problems with using mothballs for this purpose. Mothballs are made up of Naphthalene. The EPA... Read More
Florida Wildflowers: Blue Mistflower (11/18/2014) by Mary Salinas -   Here’s a beautiful native perennial wildflower that is easy to grow and generally available in the independent nursery trade. In the wild, you can encounter them at the edges of woodlands and ponds as they prefer moist... Read More
There Is Much You Can Do For Your Lawn, Even Now (11/18/2014) by Les Harrison - Even though it is not officially winter and the landscape is becoming dormant. With the exception of live oak trees, all the plants and trees which lose their leaves are now dropping them to the ground. For the... Read More
Deep Freeze On the Way for Northwest Florida (11/17/2014) by Matthew Orwat - Tuesday November 19th and Wednesday November 20th, substantial freezing weather is expected How cold does it have to get before citrus in Northwest Florida needs to be protected? A concrete answer to this question does not exist. Growers and home... Read More
Plants change with the season (11/11/2014) by llw5479 - As the season changes, plants change as well. This is true in evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs as well as our lawn grasses. The cooler night temperatures and the shorter day length of fall result in changes... Read More
The Secret Life of Plants (11/11/2014) by tavandiver - As winter approaches, short days and cool temperatures cause many plants to slow down and enter a suspended growth phase known as dormancy. Dormancy in plants is similar to the way bears hibernate during the winter. You may... Read More
New Flowers, Incredible History (11/4/2014) by Sheila Dunning - Since 2005, multiple varieties of Diascia have added to the U.S. fall market of winter flowering plants. Its delicate flowers are far from ordinary though.  In the early part of the last century most British gardening encyclopedias listed just one... Read More
Green Lynx Spider (11/4/2014) by Beth Bolles - Take a walk through the garden or woods this fall and you are sure to pass by a Green lynx spider. Unless you are very observant though, you will probably not realize that this common spider is perched... Read More
Community Butterfly Habitat (11/4/2014) by carriestevenson - I recently met with a group of community volunteers who are interested in providing more butterfly habitat in our public areas. Monarchs migrating to Mexico this time of year use northwest Florida as a stopover and feeding site,... Read More
Insects Take a Break in Winter (10/28/2014) by Beth Bolles - A common question about insects when cold temperatures arrive is whether or not the cold will kill many pests. Although temperatures will occasionally drop below freezing in north Florida, it is normally not cold enough to significantly impact... Read More
Fruit Splitting in Dooryard Citrus (10/28/2014) by rlcarter - Citrus trees require a lot of care and attention to produce good quality fruit, yet even the most careful gardeners may run into the problem of split-fruit on their citrus trees.  Split-fruit is a condition which strikes citrus... Read More
Pest Alert! Cross-Striped Cabbageworms (10/21/2014) by Blake Thaxton - Panhandle gardeners have their fall gardens planted and our growing rapidly.  What the gardeners may start noticing is shotgun damage to cabbage leaves in their garden.  The suspect for this damage is the Cross-Striped Cabbageworm. The Cross-Striped Cabbageworm... Read More
Florida Native Plants: Beautyberry (10/21/2014) by Mary Salinas - This autumn you may notice shrubs with long, arching branches sporting clusters of shiny purple berries. That beautiful sight is the Beautyberry, or Callicarpa americana. This native is found throughout Florida and the southern United States, west into... Read More
Armadillos: Midnight Lawn Marauders (10/20/2014) by Les Harrison - by Les Harrison It can be pretty discouraging to step out one morning to find a lawn pock-marked like the lunar surface. Stunned surprise then anger is usually the owner’s response. The offender is not the neighborhood teenager... Read More
Flies That Help Our Garden Grow (10/14/2014) by Beth Bolles - When someone mentions flies, we think of buzzing around our heads, maggots in decomposing materials, and unclean conditions. It is time to change those thoughts, at least in the garden. There are several flies commonly found in landscapes... Read More
Bold Colors for Your Fall Landscape (10/7/2014) by tavandiver - I think it’s safe to say fall is officially here. Shouts can be heard from local football stadiums, occasionally a crisp fall breeze will send us looking for a light jacket, and coffee shops are pushing all things... Read More
Watch Out for the Saddleback Caterpillar (9/30/2014) by Matthew Orwat - In Florida, there are a dizzying array of caterpillars that turn into beautiful or interesting moths or butterflies. Most are harmless except to the plants they munch on. There are a few that will cause humans pain if they... Read More
Thinning Vegetable Seedlings (9/30/2014) by Beth Bolles - Some vegetables and herbs like lettuce, carrots, collards, basil, and radish have very small seeds. It is difficult to plant these seeds so there is space between emerging plants for proper development. These plants will often need thinning... Read More
Enjoying Wildlife Safely and Responsibly (9/30/2014) by carriestevenson - Last week, the Okaloosa County Health Department issued a rabies alert after three bats were determined to have the illness. A “drive-through” rabies vaccine clinic was organized for pets, and warnings were issued throughout the region about making... Read More
Firespikes are Blooming! (9/23/2014) by Sheila Dunning -   Looking to add something to brighten your landscape this autumn?   Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is a prolific fall bloomer with red tubular flowers that are very popular with hummingbirds and butterflies.  Its glossy dark green leaves make an... Read More
Preparing Your Vegetable Garden (9/23/2014) by rlcarter - Healthful outdoor exercise, a feeling of accomplishment, and potential saving on the family food bill are good reasons why more and more Floridians are turning to home vegetable gardening. Usually, the most physically challenging part of a vegetable gardening... Read More
Florida Wildflowers: Narrowleaf Sunflower (9/23/2014) by Mary Salinas - In the midst of your September strolls through natural Florida, you may come across this native beauty, the narrowleaf sunflower, Helianthus angustifolius. Another common name is swamp sunflower. I found this gorgeous patch in the photo close to... Read More
When Fertilizing, Read the Label (9/16/2014) by rlcarter - You can’t judge fertilizer by appearance.  Fortunately, state law requires each fertilizer label to include specific content facts.  However, these can be confusing.To obtain the proper types of fertilizers for various applications, you must understand the label.  At... Read More
Start Thinking about Muscadines: A Native Northwest Florida Fruit (9/16/2014) by Matthew Orwat - Mother always said “never be late” but in the case of certain muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) cultivars, it’s good to be late. Although muscadine harvest can begin as early as July, gardeners with late bearing muscadines are still reaping... Read More
Don’t Drown Your Lawn with Kindness! (9/16/2014) by Mary Salinas - Many of us have a tendency to want to spoil those we care for – our significant other, our pets, our children, even our lawns. Some homeowners who long to have a lush, green, healthy lawn tend to spoil... Read More
What’s Eating My Lawn? (9/9/2014) by tavandiver - What’s eating my lawn? Does your grass look ragged in areas, as if someone randomly used a weed-eater here and there? Are you noticing brown patches that have a closely clipped appearance compared to other areas of your lawn?... Read More
Confederate Rose is Not a Rose (9/9/2014) by llw5479 - What plant is found mostly in older landscapes but is poorly available in most local nurseries, is closely related to okra and cotton but is called a rose and produces showy fall flowers that turn from white to... Read More
Emerald Coast Home Show Includes Lawn & Landscape Seminars (9/9/2014) by llw5479 - The Emerald Coast Home Show, Health Fair and Business Expo will include lawn and landscape seminars and an information booth hosted by the Okaloosa County Master Gardeners. This event will take place September 13 and 14 at the Emerald... Read More
Blue Butterflies (9/2/2014) by Beth Bolles - Many species of butterflies are flitting through summer gardens but a special butterfly has recently made its appearance in perennial gardens. The Blue butterfly bush, Clerodendrum ugandense is a mid to late summer blooming plant that has unique flowers... Read More
Growing a Fall Garden in Escambia County (9/2/2014) by Beth Bolles - A hands-on workshop will be offered for novice gardeners to learn the basics of Fall and Winter vegetable gardening. The entire class will be outside utilizing raised beds and in ground planting areas. Participants will be learning about... Read More
Fall into Vegetable Gardening Series (9/2/2014) by Mary Salinas - Need some advice to get started with a fall garden?  The horticulture agents of the Northwest Extension District are pleased to present an interactive video series for the beginning gardener. The schedule is as follows: September 9th – Starting a... Read More
Plants Poisonous to Pets (8/19/2014) by Mary Salinas - Is your pet one of those that likes to nibble on or gobble down new plants in your home or landscape? If so, it would be wise to make sure that the new plants you introduce do not... Read More
Stressed Pines Being Attacked By Beetles (8/19/2014) by Sheila Dunning - Pine bark beetles are frequent pests of stressed pines in the southern United States. The five most common southern pine bark beetle species include three in the genus Ips. Ips beetles usually colonize only those trees that are... Read More
Vegetable Crops for Fall Color (8/12/2014) by Blake Thaxton - Color can make a landscape.  Color highlights features of the landscape and draws the eye as a focal point itself.  Spring color is dominated by lush new green growth, Summer brings on flowers of all kind, and fall... Read More
Phyllosticta Causes Unsightly Spotting of Ornamentals (8/4/2014) by Matthew Orwat - The high humidity experienced in the Florida Panhandle during July and August has provided perfect conditions for fungal disease development on the leaves of a variety of ornamental species. One particularly noticeable pathogen is Phyllosticta.  Fungi of the... Read More
Bring Life to Your Garden with Butterflies! (8/4/2014) by tavandiver - Attracting Butterflies into Your Landscape Have you been itching to add some life and color into your landscape? Why not plant a butterfly garden?! Butterfly gardens are a great way to add movement and life to an otherwise... Read More
Wasps Have a Purpose (8/4/2014) by llw5479 -   I respect the fact that wasps can sting when threatened or disturbed. But I also respect the fact that they are beneficial.   Every time I’ve been stung by wasps, I either accidentally disturbed a nest that... Read More
Dog Days of Summer – A Good Time to Plan for Fall (7/28/2014) by Sheila Dunning - The “Dog Days” are the hottest, muggiest days of summer. In the northern hemisphere, they usually fall between early July and early September. The actual dates vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate.  ... Read More
Pesticide Safety Tips (7/21/2014) by Beth Bolles - You hear it all the time. Be sure to read the label before using any pesticide. Honestly though, is this a practice you really follow? It should be. Sometimes we do not consider pesticides dangerous since we can... Read More
An Unwanted Beach Visitor: Beach Vitex (7/21/2014) by carriestevenson - Now that summer is in full swing, many of us are spending more time on our gorgeous Gulf beaches. Sea turtles are nesting and everyone gets excited at sightings of dolphins, sharks, and the Blue Angels. However, we... Read More
Florida Betony: Both Edible Native and Weed (7/15/2014) by llw5479 - Florida Betony (Stachys floridana), commonly called rattlesnake weed, is a Florida native plant. It’s thought to have been confined to Florida until it was moved to other Southeastern states during the 1940s or 1950s in nursery containers. It... Read More
Soybeans: A Surprise Vegetable (7/15/2014) by rlcarter - I am sure you are familiar with soybeans, but probably not in the way we’ll describe it.  If you frequently visit health food stores, or the health food section of your supermarket, you’re bound to have seen this... Read More
How Do I Find Plants to Suit My Landscape? (7/15/2014) by Mary Salinas - We all seem to have this dilemma: A desire to re-landscape or just add a few plants to an area, but not knowing what would be the best choice. Plants need to be compatible with their location. The... Read More
You Don’t Have To Pamper Pampas Grass (7/8/2014) by rlcarter - You don’t have to pamper pampas grass!  This attractive perennial, which is native to Latin America – Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, is practically trouble-free.  It’s well adapted to all areas of Florida.  Pampas grass grows in large clumps,... Read More
Fruit Rusts Ruin Harvests (7/8/2014) by Matthew Orwat - This is the season for fruit harvesting, particularly for those fruits in the rose family such as plum, quince, peach, pear and apple. Many avid home horticulturists have been enjoying the fruits of their labor, but some have been... Read More
Wild Wisteria (7/8/2014) by llw5479 - Question: We planted Wisteria for its beautiful spring flowers and it grew and grew and took over everything. Now we’re trying to get rid of it. New plants are sprouting everywhere – up to ten feet away from... Read More
Florida Wildflowers – Historically Resilient (7/1/2014) by tavandiver - The summertime often reminds us of our uninhibited spirit. With Independence Day not far off, Floridians will be celebrating the freedom of our nation while battling the oppressive climate you can’t seem to escape this time of year.... Read More
Vacation Care for Plants (6/23/2014) by rlcarter - Summertime is vacation time for people, not plants! While getting ready for that long awaited trip, it’s easy to forget about your lawn, landscape, vegetable garden and house plants. A little time spent preparing your leafy friends for... Read More
Everyone Lives in a Flood Zone! (6/23/2014) by carriestevenson - Since the heavy flooding in late April of this year, many property owners have expressed concern to me and their local government officials about their neighborhood’s vulnerability to flooding.  Homes and landscapes are most people’s largest investment, and... Read More
A Fluffy Woolly Mass on Woody Plants (6/17/2014) by abol - Homeowner accounts of white fluffy woolly masses on woody ornamentals have been on the rise.  They can appear on the ends of a wide variety of woody ornamental branches in the landscape.  A closer inspection of these white... Read More
4Rs of Fertilizer Application (6/17/2014) by Sheila Dunning - The old cliché is “April showers bring May flowers”, but April deluges create weak plants and yellow grass. You were following the UF/IFAS recommendations and waited until April 15th to fertilize. You followed the Urban Turf Rule and... Read More
Growing Blueberries in the Edible Landscape (6/10/2014) by rlcarter - Blueberries are native to Eastern North America. They are one of the few crop plants that originated here. The rabbiteye blueberry occurs mostly in certain river valleys in Northern Florida and Southeastern Georgia. The high bush blueberry is... Read More
The Technology Garden (6/10/2014) by Blake Thaxton - In this age of tablets, smart phones, and whatever they come up with next, even the gardener can benefit from new technology.  Although gardening and landscaping to beautify our surroundings is a way to connect with the past, there... Read More
Tree Cattle are Harmless (6/3/2014) by llw5479 - Many people are noticing small insects on trunks and branches of their trees. When disturbed, these insects move in a group and are commonly called tree cattle because of this herding habit. They are ¼ inch brownish-black insects... Read More
Gardening in Containers (6/3/2014) by tavandiver - In a world of limited time and space, container gardens seem to make more and more sense. Poor soil and no place to put plants in the ground are no longer good excuses for not being able to... Read More
Rain Gardens Offer Option for Problem Areas of Yard (5/27/2014) by carriestevenson - Northwest Florida experienced record-setting floods this spring, and many landscapes, roads, and buildings suffered serious damage due to the sheer force of water moving downhill. That being said, we are just entering our summer “rainy season,” so it... Read More
Watch Out For Tomato Problems (5/20/2014) by Matthew Orwat - One of the most common tomato problem home gardeners encounter in the late spring and early summer is blossom end rot. The good news is that blossom end rot can be prevented with the use of drip irrigation... Read More
Daylilies: A Low-Maintenance Landscape Plant (5/20/2014) by rlcarter - The daylily is a popular flowering perennial that adapts well to Florida landscape statewide.  Plants are available in a wide variety of growth habits, flower shapes and colors, including yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple, near white and... Read More
Success with Houseplants: Watering Correctly (5/13/2014) by Mary Salinas - Plants add color, interesting textures and, of course, beauty to our indoor living environments. The air is freshened with the oxygen they provide. Keep them healthy by watering correctly. Plants have differing water requirements so take a moment... Read More
Preventing Heat Stress: Plant and People Considerations (5/13/2014) by abol - As we begin to approach our North Florida hot summer months, Gary Wade with the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension reminds us that, “temperatures in the high 90s and several weeks without... Read More
Take-All Root Rot (5/13/2014) by Sheila Dunning - Last summer’s heavy rain and the stress of January’s icy weather have contributed to widespread outbreaks of Take-All Root Rot, a soil-inhabiting fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. graminis that causes yellow grass patches ranging in diameter from a few... Read More
Despite Heavy Rainfall, Central Panhandle Blueberry Harvest On Track (5/6/2014) by Matthew Orwat -   Although the central Florida panhandle has been hit with excessive rainfall this spring, the blueberry yield this year is on track to be above average. Colder winter temperatures coupled with wet spring weather has enhanced the yield... Read More
Purple Nut Sedge & Wet Weather: A Challenge To The Perfect Landscape (5/6/2014) by Les Harrison - The spring season in panhandle Florida is colorful. Every location from frequently manicured gardens to untended fields and pastures are exploding with hues and tones pleasing to the eye. These heralds of the warmer weather to come are... Read More
Select Recent Rains Exacerbate Pesky Palm Problems (5/6/2014) by Blake Thaxton - Palms can be difficult to manage in Northwest Florida.  To have healthy palms it is important to think about possible cold temperatures, disease, and nutrient needs of palms.  The panhandle of Florida was blasted with cold this winter... Read More
Diagnosing Deficiencies in Your Landscape (4/29/2014) by tavandiver - Now that spring has finally sprung and summer is well on its way, you may find yourself taking a stroll through your landscape and assessing damage done by late cold spells. However, it may not be a frost... Read More
Beware of Too-Good-to-be-True Lawn Grass Seed Advertisements (4/29/2014) by llw5479 - If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This phrase offers sound advice for the person looking for the “perfect” lawn grass.  It’s common to see advertisements for the perfect lawn grass. You should be... Read More
Growing sweet corn in the backyard garden (4/21/2014) by rlcarter - Sweet corn is a favorite among home gardeners. As long as the space is available, it’s not difficult to grow. Corn is a new world native crop, with archaeological evidence suggesting that it was first domesticated in Mexico.... Read More
Bat protection increased during spring and summer (4/21/2014) by carriestevenson - As spring commences and young wildlife of all species are born, everyone’s favorite flying, furry mammal also begins roosting season. Ideally, bats will find shelter in trees, caves, abandoned buildings, and bat houses, but sometimes they end up in... Read More
Add This Shrub for an Edible Landscape! (4/15/2014) by Mary Salinas - A blueberry bush as a landscape shrub? Yes! Darrow’s blueberry, Vaccinium darrowii, is closely related to the other blueberries you know and love, but this little gem of a shrub is highly ornamental and will fit in with... Read More
STOP BAGWORMS BEFORE THEY HATCH (4/15/2014) by Sheila Dunning - 800×600 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;} Northwest Florida is the most southern range... Read More
Wet Weather, Cool Nights Ideal For Powdery Mildew (4/8/2014) by Matthew Orwat -   This spring powdery mildew has been prevalent on many non-resistant cultivars of ornamental plants, particularly rose and crapemyrtle. Ideal conditions for powdery mildew development, warm days and cool nights followed by rain, have been present for several weeks in Northwest Florida.... Read More
Prepare Lawns Now For Growing Season To Come (4/8/2014) by Les Harrison - Spring is officially here, so this means it is time to get the lawn in shape for another growing season in north Florida. The first step is to develop an action plan which sets the path to achieving... Read More
Tomatoes at Twilight (4/8/2014) by Blake Thaxton - Currently, there is an heirloom tomato variety trial being conducted in a high tunnel structure at the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center.  Seven heirloom tomato varieties are being evaluated, along with one hybrid variety, for early season high... Read More
Don’t Cut Corners When Renovating Lawn (4/1/2014) by llw5479 - Cutting corners during lawn renovation usually results in poor turf establishment and long-term lawn maintenance problems. Occasionally it is necessary to renovate a lawn or replant sections of a lawn. When replanting a lawn, it is best to... Read More
Titi In Bloom This Spring (3/25/2014) by abol -          Black Titi (also known as Spring Titi or Buckwheat Tree (Cliftonia monophylla (Lam.) Britton ex Sarg. is a native shrub or tree that can be found growing along streams and boggy areas of the Florida Panhandle.  It can... Read More
Organic Gardening Starts With The Soil (3/25/2014) by rlcarter - What does it mean to grow gardens organically?  It depends upon who you talk to.  The simple answer is that organic gardeners only use animal or plant-based fertilizers rather than synthetic.  It also means use of natural pest control devoid of synthetically manufactured insecticides. In other... Read More
Wet Weather Brings Fungal Diseases (3/18/2014) by Matthew Orwat - March may seem a little early to worry about fungal diseases, but recent prolonged wet weather and warmer temperatures have made the climate just right for a variety of leaf diseases in the Florida Panhandle. One in particular,... Read More
Preventing Invasive Plants and Animals (3/18/2014) by carriestevenson - The first week of March every year is designated “National Invasive Species Awareness Week,” an initiative to draw attention to the thousands of invasive plants and animals that move into our state and country every year. However, this is a... Read More
Save Our Citrus! (3/12/2014) by Mary Salinas - All varieties of citrus – grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, kumquat and orange – are a vital part of our lives here in Florida. We love to grow citrus in our yards so that we can harvest the fruit fresh... Read More
Oakleaf Hydrangea – A Native Choice (3/12/2014) by Blake Thaxton - Oakleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) make a beautiful choice for the home landscape.  They present great interest in all seasons of  the year.  Not only do they produce beautiful blooms in summer, but the plant also provides great fall... Read More
New Fertilizer Applicator Law in Effect, Training Offered (3/4/2014) by Matthew Orwat - Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} In 2014,... Read More
Garden Catalogs (3/4/2014) by Les Harrison - Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;} Thursday night’s temperatures have confirmed the winter of 2014... Read More
Daffodils: A Reminder of Spring (3/4/2014) by Sheila Dunning - Few plants seem to signify the freshness of spring quite as well as daffodils. The name “daffodils” is derived from “addodell” a variant of Asphodel (a plant of the Asphodelus genus.) In historical documents and the common language... Read More
Show Your Roses Some Love (2/25/2014) by tavandiver - Considering it is the month of Valentine’s, roses are an appropriate subject to discuss. Not bouquets couriered to various locations all over town, but bushes in the landscape that have been strategically neglected over the winter. Now their... Read More
So, You Have Alkaline Soil… (2/25/2014) by tavandiver - So you have alkaline soil… What next? Throughout the Panhandle, a common problem that often arises is finding a way to raise soil pH. This is due to the fact that we often encounter sandy, acid soils in this region. An often... Read More
Youth Gardening Grows Across the Country (2/18/2014) by carriestevenson - Backyard gardens have increased in popularity the last few years, with record calls to Extension offices statewide on how to grow tomatoes and preserve produce.  Along with the boom in home gardening, schools have steadily added gardens to... Read More
Aquaponics 101 Workshop (2/11/2014) by Blake Thaxton - Aquaponics is an exciting system where fish and plants grow in harmony. The aquaponic system can be a fun project for the home gardener but can also become a successful farming venture.  Come and learn the basics of... Read More
Do Homework Before Choosing Fruit Trees (2/11/2014) by llw5479 - It is hard to believe with all of this recent cold weather, but now is the time to plant fruit trees in the Florida Panhandle. When planning what type of fruit tree to plant, correct cultivar selection should... Read More
Did the Freeze Kill My Palms? (2/4/2014) by Mary Salinas - The freezing rain last week across the panhandle left icicles hanging from street signs, rooftops, trees, shrubs and palms. Many people now wonder if their palms will survive the assault of the hard freeze. The chance of survival... Read More
Stone Fruit Winter Care (2/4/2014) by Blake Thaxton - February is not a month many think of as a big gardening month, although the preparation and maintenance practices performed in February can be critical to the success of an orchard for the rest of the year.  Stone... Read More
American Snowbell: Native Flowering Shrub-Like Small Tree for Wet Areas in the Landscape (2/4/2014) by abol -   Found throughout the North Florida Panhandle, the American snowbell, Styrax americanus, is a native small flowering tree.  In his book, The Trees of Florida, Gil Nelson describes the blossoms as charming with “the thin, reflexed (flower) petals... Read More
Care of Freeze-Injured Citrus Trees (1/27/2014) by llw5479 -   This week, Northwest Florida is once again receiving some bitter cold temperatures. The freezing weather two weeks ago resulted in some cold damage to some local citrus trees. Cold injured citrus trees can take a while to become evident.   What... Read More
Camellia japonica ‘Magnoliaeflora’- A Worthwhile Choice (1/27/2014) by Matthew Orwat -  Recently, I was working on a camellia identification project in a forgotten camellia garden of about 60  plants. Most camellias I observed were not yet in flower but one in particular caught my eye. I later identified this... Read More
Growing Potatoes in Your Florida Garden (1/21/2014) by tavandiver - The time to plant potatoes is now! Potatoes are a good way to usher in the growing season of your home garden. They are easy to grow and their harvesting date doesn’t coincide with many other vegetables. In... Read More
Cold Damaged Plant Care (1/20/2014) by rlcarter - January and February are typically the coldest months in Florida and plants can be damaged by low temperatures.  But with your help, cold-damaged plants can often recover. After a freeze, see if your plants are dry.  Even injured plants... Read More
Landscape Design–Now is the Time to Start! (1/14/2014) by carriestevenson - Most people associate yard work with the spring and summer, but if you’re considering a major redesign of a home landscape, now is a great time to start.  Without the vegetation on deciduous trees, it’s easy to see... Read More
Florida Panhandle Receives a Double Dose of Freezing Temperatures (1/7/2014) by Matthew Orwat - Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} On the... Read More
Winter in the Vegetable Garden (1/7/2014) by Mary Salinas - In the Florida panhandle, we are fortunate to be able to grow crops throughout the year. The key is to know what to plant at the various times of the year. Vegetables that can be planted now include beets, broccoli,... Read More
Plant a Tree to Celebrate Arbor Day! (12/24/2013) by Mary Salinas -   [important]The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.  ~Chinese Proverb[/important] In Florida, Arbor Day is always celebrated on the third Friday of January. In 2014, Arbor Day falls... Read More
Spring Into Vegetable Gardening (12/17/2013) by Blake Thaxton - Dates:  Tuesdays, January 14- February 4, 2014 Time:  6:00PM-7:30PM (Central Time Zone)                                Cost:  $30 per person or $45/couple            ... Read More
Florida Arbor Day (12/17/2013) by Sheila Dunning -   The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.  The second best time is Arbor Day 2014.  Florida recognizes the event on the third Friday in January, so the next one is January 17, 2014.... Read More
Black Twig Borers in Local Trees (12/17/2013) by llw5479 -   Q. Small branches are dying in some of my trees. What’s causing this?  A. More than likely the culprit is the Black Twig Borer. This very small beetle, about 1/16 inch long, has been active this year. ... Read More
Fall Vegetable Variety Demonstration (12/16/2013) by Blake Thaxton - This fall, the Gulf Coast Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Team put in a fall vegetable demonstration at UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center in Jay, Florida.  The demonstration had several fall crops such as spinach, swiss... Read More
Calculating the True Benefits of Trees (12/9/2013) by carriestevenson - How much is a 400-year old live oak tree worth?  Can you buy one online, with free shipping, and charge it to the credit card?  Pick one up at the local home improvement store?  Ask Santa? Of course not.... Read More
Video – Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree (12/9/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Looking for the perfect Christmas tree to celebrate your Holidays? Join Wendy Wilber, UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Environmental Horticultural Agent, as she offers tips on finding and preserving your fresh-cut Christmas tree throughout the Holiday Season.   Facebook0Twitter0Google... Read More
Exotic Invaders of the Florida Panhandle (12/2/2013) by Les Harrison - Tarzan used them as a superhighway through the trees in every adventure created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Villains and scoundrels alike fell prey to the ape-man and his horde of avenging simians descending on vines from the trees.... Read More
Hitchhiking Seed Are On The Move Now (12/2/2013) by Les Harrison - Hitchhiking was once a common means of low cost transportation. A person would walk to the nearest road and hold out their left fist with the thumb pointed up while attempting to make eye contact with drivers. In... Read More
Citrus Canker Found in Northwest Florida (11/25/2013) by Blake Thaxton - Authors: Blake Thaxton & Mary Derrick, UF/IFAS Extension – Santa Rosa Co. Mikaela Anderson, FDACS Division of Plant Inspection Citrus canker is a serious disease of citrus trees that was recently confirmed for the first time in southern Santa Rosa County.... Read More
Harvest Your Own Christmas Tree! (11/25/2013) by Mary Salinas - One of the joys of this season is to bring home a fresh Christmas tree and enjoy the fragrance and natural freshness of a live tree inside your own home. Imagine how much fresher the tree would be if you harvested it!... Read More
A Place to Diapause (11/25/2013) by abol -   Leaf footed bugs are pests of many seed, fruit, vegetable and nut crops.  They get their name from the leaf shape of their back legs.  The insect is dark brown to black and about an inch long. ... Read More
Advanced MG and 4-H Volunteer Training: Vegetable Gardening (11/18/2013) by Blake Thaxton - Event registration for Advanced MG & 4-H Training: Vegetable Gardening powered by Eventbrite Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Cold Weather Approaching: Have a Citrus Protection Plan in Place (11/18/2013) by Matthew Orwat - On the night of November 13th,  a mild freeze of 30°F occured in parts of Northwest Florida.  Don’t be caught without a citrus protection plan ! How cold does it have to get before citrus in Northwest Florida needs... Read More
Trees for Fall Color (11/18/2013) by llw5479 - Although Florida is not known for the brilliant fall color enjoyed by some of our northern neighbors, we do have a number of trees that provide some fall color for our North Florida landscapes.  Our native flowering dogwood... Read More
Pecans – A Southern Tradition (11/11/2013) by tavandiver - As I made a visit back to my hometown in North Alabama I was reminded of the subtle changes from fall into winter, which are not always apparent to me living in Tallahassee: the vibrant palette of leaves... Read More
Florida-Friendly Landscaping is the Law! (11/11/2013) by Sheila Dunning -   It doesn’t take expert gardeners or landscapers to create a Florida-friendly yard.  All it takes is a willingness to learn and a desire to build a beautiful yard that helps protect Florida’s environment.  Florida-friendly landscaping is now part... Read More
Horticultural Traditions (11/4/2013) by Blake Thaxton - Generally as Extension Agents we do not write interest type articles for this newsletter, but I thought I would mix it up this week and write on two of my favorite things and how they relate.  My first love... Read More
Douse Those Pests With Oil! (11/4/2013) by Mary Salinas - For centuries, people annoyed with plant pests have used oils to control insects, mites, and even some fungal diseases. Current oil products are better than ever! Commercially available horticultural oils are mineral oils from refined petroleum products. Impurities... Read More
Fertilizer Explained (11/4/2013) by rlcarter -         Fertilizers are manufactured from a wide variety of materials to supply plant nutrients.  Once these materials are mixed, it becomes difficult to distinguish the materials present.  In the past, a few unscrupulous manufacturers have... Read More
Battling Bat Myths (11/4/2013) by carriestevenson - As we leave Halloween season, one of the most popular images of this spooky time of year is that of a bat.  The creepy tales of vampire bats and Dracula are enduring and certainly exciting.   Unfortunately, many negative... Read More
Starting a Fruit Orchard or an Edible Landscape? What Should I Grow? Fall is the Time to Decide ! (10/25/2013) by abol - The avid gardener has heard on many occasions that fall is the best time of the year to plant trees and shrubs. Correct! Now is the time to start a fruit orchard or an edible landscape.  As the seasons transition into much cooler... Read More
The Hickory: Tough and Durable Landscape Trees (10/25/2013) by Les Harrison - There is a lot to be gained from having a tough reputation. Only those with a stout disposition or lack of good sense will dare to make a challenge to the individual who hold this distinction. Unbending, rigid... Read More
Caution… Worms at Work! (10/25/2013) by tavandiver - Caution…Worms at Work! Many home gardeners may have thought about composting, but may not have the time, the space or, let’s face it, the patience. Well then vermicomposting is ideal to satisfy those conditions! Vermicomposting is the process of using worms... Read More
Video on UF IFAS Fruit and Vegetable Breeding Programs (10/23/2013) by Matthew Orwat - From Dr. John P. Hayes” “Florida Crossroads made a 28 minute video entitled “Seeds of Change” featuring the IFAS breeding efforts to create new varieties of blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and other crops, and the ways that these programs... Read More
Crapemyrtle Research and Disease Management Update: Thursday,October 31; FL Pesticide and FNGLA CEUs available (10/21/2013) by Matthew Orwat -      Please follow this link to download a PDF version of this flyer Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Sugar Cane: Plant Now for a Sweeter Summer (10/21/2013) by Les Harrison - By Les Harrison, UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director October has ushered in the fall gardening season. Turnips, mustard, radishes, carrots and a variety of other cool season crops have emerged and are growing. Another once common crop ready... Read More
Look Out for Black Swallowtail Larvae in the Fall Herb Garden (10/21/2013) by Matthew Orwat -   Busily devouring dill and fennel, the lime green, black striped caterpillars in the UF IFAS Extension Washington County Office have quickly become a popular attraction.  It is fortunate that the South’s climate is warm enough to allow... Read More
Brussels Sprouts: Another Fall Vegetable Idea (10/21/2013) by llw5479 - I tried growing Brussels sprouts for the first time a few years ago. I enjoy vegetable gardening and thought I’d try something a little different. To be honest, I wasn’t too happy with the results – nothing like... Read More
What is the Name of this Tree? (10/14/2013) by Matthew Orwat - It is time for another question of the week. What is the name of this tree? is it a native? Answer will be posted below the pictures next week !          Answer: A species of Paulownia, “Princesstree”,... Read More
Handling Lawn and Landscape Problems After a Storm (10/7/2013) by carriestevenson - After severe weather of any kind, homeowners must often spend a considerable amount of time dealing with impacts to their landscapes.  Below are a few lessons we have learned from hurricanes and tropical storms in the past. Many... Read More
Third Annual UF/IFAS Beekeepers Field Day & Trade Show, Chipley FL, November 2, 2013! (10/7/2013) by Matthew Orwat -       The Beekeeping trade-show will provide beekeepers of all skill levels and ages a chance to interact with entomologists, beekeepers, real bee hives, and beekeeping equipment vendors. The third annual UF/IFAS Beekeeping Field day and Trade-show... Read More
We Had Plenty of Rain; Why Are My Trees Dying? (9/30/2013) by Sheila Dunning -   Most trees are not well adapted to saturated soil conditions.  With nearly daily rainfall this spring and summer, sometimes in record amounts, the ground became inundated with water.  When the root environment is dramatically changed by excess... Read More
Fall: An Ideal Time for Shrub Installation (9/23/2013) by Blake Thaxton - It has been a hot summer but Fall is right around the corner.  Cooler temperatures and changing colors are a welcomed change in the panhandle of Florida.  Fall can be a great time to spruce up your landscape... Read More
What’s Wrong With My Sago Palm? (9/23/2013) by Mary Salinas - Is the newest growth on your sago palm turning yellow, brown, frizzy looking and dying – is it a pest or disease or something else? This sago palm is suffering from a classic case of manganese deficiency. When... Read More
Sneaky Snails (9/23/2013) by abol - Occasionally on shipments of container plants, snails (terrestrial air-breathing gastropods) may be found attached to the container pot. Snails are abundant in nearly all parts of the world except the arctic regions, and feed almost entirely on vegetation.... Read More
The Truth About Lovebugs (9/16/2013) by llw5479 - Contrary to popular belief, lovebugs were not introduced to the state by the University of Florida. This insect is an invasive species from Central America. Lovebugs migrated from Central America, traveling through Texas and Louisiana to get to... Read More
Pause Before Pruning Azaleas This Fall (9/16/2013) by Matthew Orwat -     Although Northwest Florida is well known for its beautiful Azalea displays every spring, many do not understand that these shows of bloom could be sacrificed completely by pruning at the wrong time. Pruning Azaleas in the... Read More
Green Industry Update: Fall 2013 (9/4/2013) by Blake Thaxton -   Pesticide training: Being licensed means complying with the law – but it also means you can run your business better and smarter. The licensing course will provide you with information you will use every day – on... Read More
Resurrection Ferns (9/2/2013) by carriestevenson - One of the natural phenomena I’ve loved watching this rainy summer is the dramatic “life and death” cycle of the resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodioides). Found most often along the branches and trunks of stately mature live oaks, this... Read More
Giant Swallowtails and Satsumas (9/2/2013) by abol - Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
September is Here: It’s Time to Prepare for Winter Weeds (9/2/2013) by llw5479 - Despite the fact that winter annual weeds are not currently growing, we are approaching the best time to prevent them from being seen in our North Florida lawns.       Common winter annual weeds include annual bluegrass... Read More
Does Your Sprinkler System Know It Has Rained? (8/23/2013) by Sheila Dunning - At the halfway point through 2013, cumulative rainfall amounts for the calendar year were near normal, on average, across the Northwest Florida Water Management District.  January, March and May were rather dry.  Yet, February, April and June had... Read More
Edible Blossoms For You! (8/23/2013) by Mary Salinas - Add the easy-to-grow garden nasturtium to your vegetable or flower garden! Dress up a ho-hum salad with a vibrant blossom or two just like some of the high-end restaurants. The first taste you experience will be sweetness and... Read More
Florida Pecan Field Day – Thursday September 5th (8/19/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Florida Pecan Field Day and Florida Pecan Growers’ Association Annual Meeting Jefferson County Extension Office 2729 West Washington Street Monticello, Florida 8:30 AM, EDT Thursday September 5th Harvest time is coming for Florida pecan growers. Demand is up,... Read More
What is that Web in my Pecan Tree? (8/19/2013) by Blake Thaxton - It is that time of year where mysterious webs have invaded pecan trees throughout the Southeast United States.  This is definitely the case in the panhandle of Florida.  Many have called into the extension office asking for identification... Read More
Cercospora: A Summer Fungal Disease Problem (8/19/2013) by Matthew Orwat -     This summer’s rainy and humid weather has created a perfect environment for the proliferation of a variety of fungal diseases. In particular, Cercospora is a genus of fungus of which there are over 1,200 different species.... Read More
What is going on with these Okra roots? (8/19/2013) by Blake Thaxton - Question of the Week. What is the problem with the roots on this dead Okra(Abelmoschus esculentus) plant? Please post your comments below. The answer will be revealed next week ! Answer: Root Knot Nematodes ! Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0
Asian Cockroach – Is it a Pest of the Home or the Garden? (8/12/2013) by llw5479 - When people first see Asian cockroaches they may think they are seeing little flying moths. Or they may believe they are seeing German cockroaches because the two species look similar. Keen observation will indicate that there are differences, particularly in behavior. ... Read More
Support Farmers, Buy Local (8/12/2013) by tavandiver - Consumers worldwide are rediscovering the benefits of buying locally grown food. However, this notion is not necessarily new. Farmers have been making their freshly produced wares available at local locations for years. So, why should anyone buy local?  Local produce is... Read More
What is this? Attached to a Bottlebrush Plant (8/5/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Question of the Week. What are these structures??? They are attached to a Red Bottlebrush Plant Callistemon citrinus. Please post your comments below. The answer will be revealed next week ! Comments will not be made public until the end of the... Read More
Why Did They Cut My Trees? (7/29/2013) by Sheila Dunning -  With hurricane season upon us, evidence of preparation is all around us.  Tree trimmers, contracted by the local electrical utility companies, have been removing trees, branches and other vegetation that is “too close” to power lines.  Many homeowners... Read More
Landscaping Before the Storm (7/29/2013) by carriestevenson - Few things move a local homeowner into action faster than a big storm moving into the Gulf of Mexico.  After filling up at gas stations and running out to home improvement stores, many start trimming limbs and removing trees. The destructive tornadoes... Read More
The 2013 Seed Workshop: Saving Seed, Saving Farms, Enabling Sustainability (7/29/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Announcing… an exciting local workshop coordinated and hosted by the FAMU State-Wide Small Farm Programs in collaboration with the Ekanlaunee Seed Exchange, Leon County Extension, and local small farmers The 2013 Seed Workshop: Saving Seed, Saving Farms, Enabling... Read More
Short Course North 2013 “From Beaches to Woodlands” (7/29/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Short Course North 2013 “From Beaches to Woodlands” Date: August 8-9, 2013 Daily Hours: 8 a.m.-4p.m. Sponsored by: Friends of the Gardens of NW FL Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc., University of Florida, IFAS For more info:... Read More
What is the name of this plant? (7/28/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Question of the Week. What is the name of this plant??? Please post your comments below. The answer will be revealed next week ! The answer is Brugmansia spp. Edward F. Gillman states in his publication: “This small... Read More
Gaillardia pulchella for Summer Color (7/22/2013) by abol - Gaillardia is a favorite one of many wildflowers throughout the United States.  It is a member of the Aster family, and is most commonly known as Indian Blanket or Blanket Flower.  Individual plants can reach up to 2 feet high. ... Read More
Fruit Tree Options for the Florida Panhandle (7/22/2013) by Blake Thaxton - Fruit trees are a wonderful addition to the landscape at home or even a great niche for the small farmer. Most people love the thought of picking fresh fruit off of the tree or vine and knowing exactly where... Read More
Rains Promote Fungus In St. Augustinegrass (7/22/2013) by llw5479 -  Gray Leaf Spot is a common fungal disease of St. Augustinegrass. Recent wet conditions have promoted this disease. This includes high humidity, heavy dews and particularly frequent afternoon and evening rains.  The individual spots or lesions are first... Read More
Why is My Squash Wilting? (7/15/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Why is my squash wilting? Assuming you have been giving your vegetable garden adequate water, the Squah Vine Borer may be the cause.   Unfortunately presence of  the squash vine borer, the larval form of a clearwing moth, is usually... Read More
Proper Watering Techniques for a Healthy and Happy Lawn (7/15/2013) by tavandiver - Turfgrass, like all plants, requires water for growth and survival. With the weather we’ve been having lately, watering your lawn is probably the last thing on your mind. However, without sufficient rainfall, water to home lawns will need... Read More
Why Are My Tomatoes Cracking? (7/7/2013) by Mary Salinas -   Imagine this scenario: After you have heavily invested in your tomatoes, cracks appear on your previously perfect fruit just as they are starting to ripen.    How frustrating!  Depending on the severity of the cracking the fruit will... Read More
Rain Barrels – A Summer Irrigation Option (7/7/2013) by carriestevenson - Floridians use more water than any other state for irrigation, and a typical home sprinkler system can account for half of the cost and water use in a household during the summer. One of the most convenient and... Read More
What’s Killing My Magnolia Leaves? (6/21/2013) by Mary Salinas - We love our native magnolias in part because they are tough, easy to care for trees. The mainstay of southern gardens, they grace us with attractive thick, waxy leaves year round and sublimely fragrant and graceful blooms. However,... Read More
Panhandle Watermelon Festival June 28th & 29th ! (6/21/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Come to Washington County Florida to celebrate the Watermelon at the 57th annual Watermelon Festival !   Watermelon harvest  in the central Florida Panhandle is actually a week or two late, but there will be plenty of melons at the... Read More
Slime Mold – Only A Cosmetic Problem (6/17/2013) by Matthew Orwat - Although black or white streaks are shocking when they appear on an otherwise healthy lawn, the incidence of slime mold is rarely harmful. Slime mold is actually caused by the reproductive structures of an array of different organisms, classified as plasmodia... Read More
Tree Cattle are Harmless (6/17/2013) by llw5479 - Many people are noticing small insects on trunks and branches of their trees. When disturbed, these insects move in a group and are commonly called tree cattle because of this herding habit. They are ¼ inch brownish-black insects... Read More
North Florida Climate Will Soon Favor Fairy Rings (6/17/2013) by abol - Soil temperatures and weather conditions are becoming favorable for the development of fairy ring in the landscape. Most commonly observed as a circular ring of mushroom growing on lawns and gardens, the ring of mushroom growth, termed “fairy... Read More
Aquaponics 101 workshop (6/17/2013) by Blake Thaxton - Aquaponics is an exciting system where fish and plants grow in harmony. The aquaponic system can be a fun project for the home gardener but can also become a successful farming venture.  Come and learn the basics of... Read More
Spittlebugs: an IPM approach (6/12/2013) by Blake Thaxton - In recent weeks Spittlebugs have been found everywhere in the western parts of the panhandle.  Spittlebugs are the little black and orange insects you find everywhere in early June.  The adult spittlebug is about 1/4 inch long and... Read More
Green Industry – BMP training (6/4/2013) by Blake Thaxton - As of January 2014 all companies applying fertilizer, commercially “for hire”, will be required to hold a fertilizer applicators license.  In order to obtain this license you must first become GI-BMP certified. 2014 isn’t that far away.  Take the time... Read More
Scale: A Major Pest of the Home Landscape and Garden (5/9/2013) by Matthew Orwat -   Many different species of scale insect infect citrus in North Florida, and mid spring is usually when gardeners notice them on their fruit trees and ornamental shrubs.  Many different species of scale affect Florida homeowners and cause... Read More
Choosing A Lawngrass (5/3/2013) by rlcarter -     A beautiful lawn can add substantial value to a home.  While providing an attractive setting for landscape ornamentals, a good lawn will reduce weed growth and prevent erosion.  Selecting the proper grass for a specific location is a... Read More
Gulf Coast Small Farms – Spring Field Day – May 10 (4/12/2013) by Blake Thaxton -   UF/IFAS NW District Extension agents and the UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center have joined forces to provide relevant hands on training for the Small Farmers of northwest Florida and surrounding areas by developing the Gulf Coast Small Farms... Read More
April is Safe Digging Month (4/12/2013) by Sheila Dunning - This month, recognized by the Senate and Florida’s governor, reminds diggers why calling 811 before all outdoor digging projects is important to your safety. Before installing a mailbox, fence, deck, garden or tree make sure to call Sunshine... Read More
Design a Butterfly Garden (3/27/2013) by Mary Salinas - Butterflies are not only beautiful to look at in the landscape; they serve as important pollinators of  fruiting plants. Attracting them to the garden and incorporating some features to get them to stay and reproduce involves advanced planning. Some steps... Read More
Palm Care Tips (3/13/2013) by Blake Thaxton - Many landscape managers and home owners, especially on the gulf coast, wants to add the tropical feel to their landscape.  The chief way to achieve this is by incorporating Palms and other tropical plants to their surroundings.  Like with... Read More
Wait to Fertilize Lawn (2/22/2013) by llw5479 - Fertilizing your lawn before the soil temperature is adequately warm results in waste of fertilizer and possible lawn injury. Despite the fact that you can easily force your lawn to turn green early with many of the high... Read More
Protect Young Satsuma Trees (2/15/2013) by Matthew Orwat - According to the National Weather Service a mild freeze is predicted for Northwest Florida this weekend, specifically Saturday night to Sunday morning. Washington County Horticulture extension agent Matthew Orwat says,” While mature, dormant Satsuma trees are cold hardy... Read More
Soil Test: Prepare Now for a Bountiful Harvest Later (2/8/2013) by Matthew Orwat -     To be sure, this week’s warm spring-like weather and refreshing rains have reminded many gardeners that it is about time to prepare this year’s vegetable and flower beds. Before home gardeners fertilize or lime, however, it... Read More
Arbor Day 2013 (1/11/2013) by carriestevenson - Arbor Day (which literally means, “Tree Day”) was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton, a naturalist and journalist in Nebraska.  By 1882, it was celebrated by thousands of schoolchildren nationwide, who planted trees and took care of... Read More
Green Industry – BMP Training (9/13/2012) by Blake Thaxton - As of January 2014 all companies applying fertilizer, commercially “for hire”, will be required to hold a fertilizer applicators license.  In order to obtain this license you must first become GI-BMP certified. 2014 isn’t that far away.  Take the... Read More
A Salty Situation (8/6/2012) by Blake Thaxton - It seems Northwest Florida sure dodged a bullet when Tropical Storm Debbie decided to head east.  The citizens and structures may have dodged the bullet but the plant life had unseen pressures on it.  All of the plants... Read More
As Summer Approaches, Spider Mites Attack Ornamental Shrubs (5/10/2012) by Matthew Orwat -   Spring is rapidly turning into an early summer. As heat increases so will the incidence of spider mites on ornamental shrubs. The first indicating factor of damage is a yellow mottling on the leaves of the plant,... Read More