Can you grow a coconut palm in Charlotte County?

By Ralph E. Mitchell

Can you grow a coconut palm in Charlotte County? The short answer is both “yes” and “no”. While this magnificent symbol of the tropics makes a wonderful landscape feature in some places, it is marginal at best in even protected areas away from the coast. I have always wanted one in my yard, but have learned the hard way that this wish is not coming true.

When I arrived in Charlotte County back in 2000, I vowed that I would have at least one coconut palm in my front yard. I bought one and planted it. A light freeze was on tap in early 2001, so I covered it with what I thought was good protection. There was a little damage, but the coconut was otherwise fine. We had a second heavier freeze within a week and no amount of covering protected my poor little palm. It was toast and I felt defeated! They sold coconut palms at the local box store garden centers – it should have been fine here in Port Charlotte – right? Besides, this is Florida and we are far enough down the peninsula to avoid such frosts and freezes – weren’t we? I quickly learned my lesson that even though I wanted this coconut to survive, it was just not hardy enough where I lived.

But I digress….back to the article! The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, as per the literature, is best suited for areas that have an average minimum low of seventy-two degrees F. Coconuts can be killed or injured at thirty-two degrees F. Even in the forty’s, chilling injury can damage leaf tissue . That means that the best chance of having a coconut survive in the landscape in our area is one planted very close to, if not right on, the coast. At the coast we can get at least a hardiness zone of 10a which means that the average minimum temperature will be from thirty to thirty-five degrees F. This is cold enough, but may still offer the needed protection. Hardiness zone 10b is even better, but elusive at best to find unless you are in the Miami-Dade area and south. The rest of Charlotte County, as we extend east of 41 and into the interior, is mostly zone 9b – too cold for coconuts. Now, surprisingly, there are a few coconut palms in Port Charlotte, but situated within some very rare and warm “microclimates. I have watched one for years that is still alive and well tucked up next to a house. But for the most part, coconut palms will be found directly along the salt water coast which provides protective warmth during the winter.

Otherwise, coconut palms are very tolerant of wind, flooding and even salt which makes them very pre-adapted to coastal conditions. Most homeowners start with a sprouted seed from a nursery. It is very interesting and novel to see the large coconut husk half way out of the soil with the sprout shooting out of one end. Young coconuts of about six months are ready to be planted in the landscape. Some larger specimens are also available in pots or field dug. Plant container grown specimens so that the juncture of the roots and shoot is about one-inch lower than the soil surface. Field-dug ones should be planted level with the soil line. Water is the most important thing to keep newly planted coconuts growing vigorously. Coconuts require full sun and should be spaced from eighteen to thirty feet apart. There are number of cultivars to pick from ranging in color from green to yellow to gold. The ‘Jamaican Tall”, a quick growing variety, can get up to eighty feet tall, so plan before you plant. The ‘Malayan Dwarf’ and the ‘Fiji Dwarf’ are also available.

While the disease Lethal Yellowing is of concern with coconuts, it is seldom a problem this far north. Various bud rots, scale insects and whiteflies can also be occasional problems. Lightening is also a concern and can strike taller specimens with lethal consequences. Proper fertilizer applications will not only keep your coconut palm in good health, but also increase this palm’s tolerance to cold weather. We recommend the following for all established palms – a granular fertilizer – 8-2-12-4 (or 8-0-12-4) applied in November, February and May as per label directions. In August use a 0-0-16-6, again as per label direction.

It is interesting to note that that the coconut palm is considered a Category II Invasive Plant as per the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council in the southern areas of Florida. The UF/IFAS Invasive Plant Working Group recommends homeowners avoid planting this palm near natural areas and to prevent fruit from entering canals and other flowing waterways. However, It is very unlikely that this would be a problem here and is much more pertinent well south of us. If you still want a coconut and don’t live in a warm area, please consider planting a small specimen in a large container which can be moved in and out of cover as needed. It will provide a short-term novel decorative plant for a patio or deck. For more information on all types of palms, please call our Master Gardener volunteers on the Plant Lifeline on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer. Don’t forget to visit our other County Plant Clinics in the area. Please check this link for a complete list of site locations, dates and times – http://charlotte.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/Plant%20Clinics%20Schedule.pdf.

Resources:
Broschat, T. K. (2015) Not All Landscape Palm Fertilizers Are Created Equal. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Broschat, T. K. & Crane, J. H. (2014) The Coconut Palm in Florida. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
FLEPPC. 2017. List of Invasive Plant Species. Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Internet: www.fleppc.org.
The UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – https://assessment.ifas.ufl.edu/assessments/cocos-nucifera/
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map – Florida – http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/#

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Posted: January 22, 2018


Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, Home Landscapes, Horticulture
Tags: Bud Rots, Category II Invasive Plant, Coconut Palm, Cocos Nucifera, Lethal Yellowing, Scale Insects, Whiteflies


Comments:

Cataratas do Iguaçu
January 30, 2022

Hi there Very nice post and blog, keep sharing the best content with us, hope to read more interesting articles like this one around here take care and regards Your follower Salvatore

Betty Staugler

October 5, 2021

Hi Patrick... Thanks for your questions. I do not have a pic, but basically would look like streaks of milky water. Scientist confirm spawns by pulling a very fine mesh net and looking for eggs under the microscope. Regarding your second question, snook are considered a saltwater fish regardless of where they are fished, so saltwater rules apply including seasons, bag limits, size and saltwater fishing license with snook endorsement. See this blog on fishing license rules: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/charlotteco/2016/11/01/staying-legal-with-florida-fishing-license-rules/

Betty Staugler

October 5, 2021

Hi Patrick... Thanks for your questions. I do not have a pic, but basically would look like streaks of milky water. Scientist confirm spawns by pulling a very fine mesh net and looking for eggs under the microscope. Regarding your second question, snook are considered a saltwater fish regardless of where they are fished, so saltwater rules apply including seasons, bag limits, size and saltwater fishing license with snook endorsement. See this blog on fishing license rules: http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/charlotteco/2016/11/01/staying-legal-with-florida-fishing-license-rules/

Patrick
October 4, 2021

Can you send a pic of a spawning snook? If fishing in freshwater and catching freshwater snook, is there a season on harvesting freshwater snook?

Patrick
October 4, 2021

Can you send a pic of a spawning snook? If fishing in freshwater and catching freshwater snook, is there a season on harvesting freshwater snook?

Betty Staugler

June 1, 2021

Hi Don... Snook season has been closed during peak spawning months (May through August) for many years. It would have been a long time ago when you could cut open a spawning snook during the peak months. So I suspect you are not seeing it because snook season is closed during most of the spawning season. Research scientists often find female snook loaded with eggs during the spawning seasons. Females will typically be a little larger than males and those fish caught closer to the Gulf passes will be more likely to have developed gonads.

Betty Staugler

June 1, 2021

Hi Don... Snook season has been closed during peak spawning months (May through August) for many years. It would have been a long time ago when you could cut open a spawning snook during the peak months. So I suspect you are not seeing it because snook season is closed during most of the spawning season. Research scientists often find female snook loaded with eggs during the spawning seasons. Females will typically be a little larger than males and those fish caught closer to the Gulf passes will be more likely to have developed gonads.

Betty Staugler

June 1, 2021

Hi Justin... Snook need at least 28 parts/thousand salinity (80% strength of ocean salinity) in order to successfully spawn. Sperm gets activated at these salt levels and the eggs become buoyant. According to snook scientist Dave Blewett, snook that choose to skip spawning and spend their summer in a freshwater river on in the low salinity brackish waters of the bay will not even gear up at all physically for spawning. Both males and females remain dormant and don't even try to spawn in these habitats. Most spawning along the Gulf coast, occurs near the passes in SWFL from May thru October, but locations can expand depending on the salinity levels within a given estuary during any given year.

Betty Staugler

June 1, 2021

Hi Justin... Snook need at least 28 parts/thousand salinity (80% strength of ocean salinity) in order to successfully spawn. Sperm gets activated at these salt levels and the eggs become buoyant. According to snook scientist Dave Blewett, snook that choose to skip spawning and spend their summer in a freshwater river on in the low salinity brackish waters of the bay will not even gear up at all physically for spawning. Both males and females remain dormant and don't even try to spawn in these habitats. Most spawning along the Gulf coast, occurs near the passes in SWFL from May thru October, but locations can expand depending on the salinity levels within a given estuary during any given year.

Don
June 1, 2021

Have never caught a mature snook during spawning season with eggs in tact. Could you comment on why this is occurring? Have caught well over 200 plus fish over the years during this time and have never encountered any eggs.

Don
June 1, 2021

Have never caught a mature snook during spawning season with eggs in tact. Could you comment on why this is occurring? Have caught well over 200 plus fish over the years during this time and have never encountered any eggs.

Justin Smith
April 7, 2021

Can snook reproduce in fresh water and still be fine? I've been told it can't happen. Can anyone help me please.

Justin Smith
April 7, 2021

Can snook reproduce in fresh water and still be fine? I've been told it can't happen. Can anyone help me please.

Betty Staugler

March 30, 2021

Hi Loretta... because most algae do not produce toxins, this would generally not be a concern. The scummy ness seen, often times is composed of diatoms, which are rarely toxic. However if there were a toxic algal bloom of the red tide forming Karenia brevis (a dinoflagellate), and the cells became aerosolized when forced to the surface, it could result in respiratory irritation... but aerosolized is key... meaning the toxin needs to attach to the water vapor/salt spray. Since Langmuir Circulation tends to occur under windy conditions this could happen, but it would be the wind, not the rotating water of Langmuir Circulation that results in aerosolization, and risk would be no different than under normal windy conditions.

Betty Staugler

March 30, 2021

Hi Jillian... the closure is related to the prolonged 2017-2019 red tide. I don't work on the regulatory side so can't speak to why Pasco was included, but I understand the closure was in response to angler concern and fisheries data. That said, FWC is currently seeking angler input regarding the red tide closure of snook, redfish and spotted seatrout via virtual workshops to be held in early April (5, 6 & 8, with the 8th focused on the Tampa Bay area). Your question might be answered during the workshop. See link for details: https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/rulemaking/workshops/

Betty Staugler

March 30, 2021

Hi Jillian... the closure is related to the prolonged 2017-2019 red tide. I don't work on the regulatory side so can't speak to why Pasco was included, but I understand the closure was in response to angler concern and fisheries data. That said, FWC is currently seeking angler input regarding the red tide closure of snook, redfish and spotted seatrout via virtual workshops to be held in early April (5, 6 & 8, with the 8th focused on the Tampa Bay area). Your question might be answered during the workshop. See link for details: https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/rulemaking/workshops/

Jillian Stuper
March 29, 2021

Wonderful article. So informative. May I ask for clarification of the localization of Red Tide? Pasco and Hernando had very little, if any tide detected, even in the most devastating season.

Jillian Stuper
March 29, 2021

Wonderful article. So informative. May I ask for clarification of the localization of Red Tide? Pasco and Hernando had very little, if any tide detected, even in the most devastating season.

Loretta P Sweeney
March 21, 2021

I live on the Intracoastal Waterway and have seen this for the first time all day today! Could this be harmful in any way if walking along side the Waterway & breathing the wind that’s blowing & causing it from algae etc?!

Betty Staugler

January 21, 2021

Hi Andy... Yes of course. I will email mail you directly.

Andy Mele
January 21, 2021

Great article, Betty. Having participated in the Scallop Search in Sarasota Bay many times, I was shocked to see virtually every sea grass bed covered in macroalgae. And not a scallop in sight, despite over a hundred thousand of the community's dollars over several years. Wonder if the physical structure of the macroalgae impeded the scallops' development or viability? I am in Punta Gorda, email below, and starting a Peace+Myakka Waterkeeper group here. I wonder if you could reach out to me via email and we can talk? Best, Andy

Betty Staugler

August 21, 2020

Hi Anthony... Good question and it depends. Snook on the east coast of Florida tend to move around a lot whereas snook on the west coast tend to have a natal estuary. Some work in the Peace River showed that migrations to the river tends to be strongly associated with river levels and prey availability (see https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/charlotteco/2018/10/08/the-importance-of-freshwater-to-estuaries/). A couple studies in SWFL have looked at site fidelity in rivers. One in the Shark River (unpublished) suggests between 20-50% return to river (same spot which would be where a receiver was placed) presumably after spawning (data over 4 years). Another in the Caloosahatchee found that snook that do return to the river leave for approximately 3 months (June-August) presumably to spawn before returning. This study did not indicate the percentage that returned but did say the percentage that did not leave (skipped a spawning year) was about 40% (data over 3 years). Best regards... B

Anthony mccue
August 20, 2020

Do snook return to the same river year after year after spawning example if I caught a 40in fish under a certain bridge what are the chances said fish would return to the same bridge after spawning?

Betty Staugler

August 7, 2020

Hi Matt... Sorry for the delay. A paper by Ron Taylor says the annual reproductive cycle is confined to that period between the vernal (March) and autumnal (Sept) equinoxes when day length and water temperatures are maximal (he doesn't give a specific water temp. and I haven't seen one, but if I do I'll post back here). Day length probably controls the duration of the annual reproductive cycle, and temperature serves as moderator as in other fishes. The beginning of the spawn correlates strongly with the maximum size of the eggs. As for tides, spawning episodes occur during the late afternoon and early evening hours during all lunar phases and all tidal stages. I'm glad you enjoyed the article!

Matt
July 23, 2020

Hello, Great article! What about he effects of water temps and the beginning of the spawn? 75 degrees? Also, is it safe to assume that they will only spawn on an incoming tide? TIA!

Betty Staugler

June 8, 2020

Hi Dan... no, once transition from male to female occurs, it is permanent.

Dan Bach
June 6, 2020

When a snook changes from male to female - do they change back to male?

Kathy
June 3, 2020

Thank you Ralph! I am always looking for potential problems that can occur to Red Brazilian Cloake. This sometimes can help me figure out what is causing my problems while growing the RBCs! My biggest problem for the last 6-8 months has been a constant deterioration of its beautiful leaves! Almost all the leaves turn yellow and fall off, mostly on the inside of the plant. Other leaves curl up around edges and then turn a crispy brown. Many of the same leaves have random holes in them all over and over time the leaves deteriorate and die completely. My educated guess after doing a lot of reading about problems that can occur with these plants is that caterpillars eat the leaves probably causing nutrient deficiencies that cause all affected leaves to die! I tried many natural remedies to stop this from happening to no avail! I started to use Thuricide on my RBCs and also bogainvelias; it seemed to get better but then the same thing keeps happening over and over again. I am guessing that I must have a bad infestation. I had not seen any of these caterpillars until one night I decided to play detective and went out around 11:00 pm. I did find on huge slimy worm and took him off and got rid of him. As there must be umpteen hundreds of species of caterpillars I don't know if the Thuricide is working and apparently I need to keep spraying the leaves both sides of course to truly get rid of the infestation! I will start doing this regularly but this beautiful plant is really starting to make me think this may not be worth it. The constant reading, researching, experimenting with the many possible causes and then no improvements is Depressing and discouraging! This plant when healthy is truly beautiful and unique! If you have any advice or can recommend how to find a Red Brazilian expert or enthusiast will you please let me know? Thank you ever so much! Kathy Green

Alma Dean
April 17, 2020

Awesome plant! I’m growing several voodoo lilies in my backyard. I don’t know species I have. Over the past 3 to 5 years, they were about 5-6 inches tall. But this year each stalk or leaf is almost 5 feet tall. Each leaf produced several flowers (I am assuming they are the the lily-like sheath with one petal that contains a long pencil shaped surrounded with many beads). About a month ago, prior to the rapid and appearing to still be growing, there was a smell I thought was coming from my frequently visiting possums. The stalk is light green with dark green bands. They remind me of giraffe legs only green in color. What’s interesting is that researching this lily, the propagation method included bulbs and other but nothing about airborne. I found another much younger one about 20 feet away in my yard. I would love to know the species. I’m also a new Master Gardener in Miami Dade County.

alicia accardi
March 20, 2020

Well said and well done!

spacemonkey

February 21, 2020

Dear Gardener, Thank you for your inquiry! No, while cigarette beetles are interested in a wide number of stored food products, they are not a noted pest of honeybee hives and are different than the small hive beetle – please see here- http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/bees/small_hive_beetle.htm

Robert William Henderson
February 18, 2020

Are these cigarette beetles relative to Hive beetles who love bee hives?

Betty Staugler

January 13, 2020

Hi Bill... Thank you for your comment. Finger mullet are prey for many different fish species including red fish, bluefish, tarpon, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, and snook… so they are vey ecologically important. And certainly if snook find finger mullet at the right size they are going to gorge themselves on them. Finger mullet however tend to have a particular habitat so they are not as big of a driver as pinfish are in the Charlotte Harbor estuary. For snook it's all about prey size and there's much more pinfish and minnow available to them in their preferred size range. This is not the same for all estuaries. In the Indian River estuary for instance, finger mullet are the primary driver. That is much more of a eutrophic system and doesn't support the seagrass that we have here. Because we have much more seagrass habitat, we have much more pinfish and other bait species that depend on seagrass habitats. Hope this help. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Betty

William (Bill) Muir, Ph.D.
January 10, 2020

Thank you for your excellent review of Snook. You mention that a major portion of snook diet is pinfish and minnows as the top tow prey items. I was under the impression that mullet fingerlings were a major prey fish due to their massive numbers in the Charlotte Harbor Estuary. If not, what is the role of mullet in our Estuary.

spacemonkey

November 21, 2019

Dear Gardener, Thank you for your inquiry! I am assuming you are taking about Podocarpus. We would need a positive identification of the problem before recommending any remedy. Decline such as this in Podocarpus can have several causes. How long did it take from the start of these symptoms until now? One issue could have been too much water. Does this site drain well, or was there any standing water during the summer? Once established, Pododcarpus are medium in drought-tolerant, but like well-drained soil. If it is not well-drained it could be more susceptible to organisms such as Armillaria Root Rot – please see here - http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/pests-and-diseases/diseases/armillaria-root-rot.html Was there any application of herbicides nearby that might have gone off-target? What is your water source? If the plant are irrigated with well water, Podocarpus have low tolerance to salt. Is there mulch right up to the trunk of each plant? If so, pull it back away from the trunk as this will keep the bark too wet which may encourage cankers to develop. What is the fertilizer application program like? Too much could cause needle burn. Please take a look at these questions and get back to me at your earliest convenience at: ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov. All the best, Ralph

spacemonkey

November 15, 2019

Thank you for your inquiry! As Brazilian Cloaks have such large leaves, they would tend to act as sails in a breeze. That coupled with somewhat brittle branches, breakage can happen. I have one myself that does do this from time to time. I would recommend placing a number of strategically placed bamboo canes to help support these branches. Breakage also prunes the shrub in a way and makes for plenty of propagating materials! In March, you can begin to prune it to keep it in-bounds and in a manageable shape. All the best, Ralph

Jose Gonzalez
November 14, 2019

I planted about 50 5 gallons and noticed about five plants that had a single branch turn brown and dry out. Can I use a copper fungicide or maybe an all natural three-in-one product they sell at HD? I remember a few years back I had a 10ft Podocarpus tree that completely died the same way. I'm thinking maybe fungus?

Kathy
November 13, 2019

My 4’ beautiful red brazilian cloake has been damaged badly by wind. It couldn’t have been more than 25 mph! Two branches broke and died. Then a week later two more branches were knocked to the ground and leaves wilted. They died also. I read a lot about this plant but saw nothing about having to protect it from strong breezes. I had been doing well in full all day sun until the 25 mph gust destroyed part of it. Have you ever heard of this kind of damage in southwest Florida? I have tied the rest of the branches together in hopes of protecting it from further winds. Is this a good idea or not? Please help! Thanks much!!!

Betty Staugler

October 30, 2019

Hi Carol... There is red tide currently in the Englewood area. For up to date information here are some good resources. FWC maintains a daily sample map that shows results from the last 8 days of red tide sampling: https://myfwc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=87162eec3eb846218cec711d16462a72 Forecasting tools have been developed that predict respiratory irritation due to red tide blooms: https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hab/gomx.html and where a bloom may move over the next four days: http://ocgweb.marine.usf.edu/hab_tracking/wfcom_hab.html Mote Marine Lab provides up-to-date information on respiratory irritation and fish kill status from select beaches as part of their Beach Conditions Reporting System. https://visitbeaches.org/

Carol
October 28, 2019

My family and I will be staying on Manasota Key the first week in November. Has there been issues with the red tide along those beaches? We are leaving this Saturday. Thank you

hertavein
October 16, 2019

Such a nice Information There are more species of fish than all the species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals combined. Fish have been on the earth for more than 450 million years.

Betty Staugler

August 16, 2019

Hi David...without seeing it, I would hesitate to guess.

spacemonkey

August 13, 2019

Hello Connie, This factsheet should help you. Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide

DAVID A CRAIN
August 9, 2019

I live on Marco Island, where during the summer wet season, material rises to the surface in our canals and residents assume this is an algae bloom. Please give me the technical term for this phenomena.

Kamal Kishor
August 9, 2019

Wonderful article! This is a very inspiring article for me. I would love to read more blogs on landscaping that sounds very useful and interesting.

Betty Staugler

August 2, 2019

Yes indeed. Thank you!

Bodybuilding
August 2, 2019

We need to make sure to protect these fish and their habitats in nature great article thank you

Betty Staugler

July 16, 2019

Yes, I have observed that too!

Betty Staugler

July 16, 2019

Hi Gerard...Yes, they can and in are in some places; however, the eventual goal is to find a way to completely remove the nitrogen and phosphorus from the environment. That is what the research of the University of Maryland is focused on.

Gerard
July 15, 2019

Why can’t the algae biomass be composted?

Christine
July 14, 2019

There seems to be a connection between the white foamy lines and pending rainy weather. I grew up spending every summer at a lake. Every time the white lines show up, my Grandfather would say “rains coming !” This past week we were on vacation at a lake and sure enough, the white lines were present the day before rain was forecasted.

Connie Macri
July 7, 2019

I would like to know when to plant vegtable plants like tomatoes,peppers,kale,sweet potatoes, salad greens etc in Port Charlotte, FL I am from N.J.

Amber Shahzadi
July 3, 2019

very awesome

Carolyn Savary
June 26, 2019

Hi Ralph, I have been growing everglade tomatoes for about 8 years. One of my garden club friends gave me some seeds. I'm a snowbird so I brought seeds to Massachusetts. They grew like crazy here. Funniest thing is that the seeds overwintered and in the spring the plants popped up everywhere!

Betty Staugler

June 19, 2019

Hi Steve. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, the November 2016 article is still correct. The closed season on snook means you can not possess one. You may still target them for catch and release. Thank you for that question! I will reword my blog to make that clearer. Betty

Steve deMontmollin
June 19, 2019

Thanks for a great article. By the way, is your Florida fishing laws article of November 1, 2016, still good authority? Does the closed season on snook simply mean that it is catch and release or can one be cited for simply fishing for snook. I note that it is catch and release ion all coastal counties at all times currently.

Amber Shahzadi
June 15, 2019

keep sharing

Betty Staugler

June 12, 2019

Hi Karen...I can help you out with the Charlotte Harbor guides. I believe Sarasota County Parks & Rec. are the contact for guides there. Send me an email: staugler@ufl.edu and we can figure out how to get guides to you.

karen e jones
May 21, 2019

Would like to order muliple copies of A Boating and Angling Guide to Charlotte Harbor and also to Sarasota for my CG Auxiliary Englewood. Please advise how todo that. Thank you

Betty Staugler

April 22, 2019

Hi John...This is a bit out of my area of expertise so I reached out to others at UF for input. Advantages include that it is organic, high in K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn which are very good for plants especially for acidic soils. Disadvantages include high salt especially sodium (Na), low N and P which are essential macronutrients (need a lot) for plants. The nutrients take a lot longer to ‘peak’, when compared to conventional fertilizers. The exact concentrations depend on the algae. There are three ways that seaweed materials could be used as a soil amendment/ fertilizer: 1) directly used as organic mulch or dried powder fertilizer. This approach may not work very well because of the high salt content and very slow of release of nutrients through decomposition. 2) composting. 3) use as additives if mix with other kinds of fertilizers. It should work well if mixing with animal manures. For marine algae, there is also need for a washing process to remove the salts. I hope this is helpful...Betty

John Glinatsis
April 20, 2019

Thank you for this informative blog! I have noticed this spring that massive amounts of the algae are floating up and clogging the ICW and shallow bays, large dark slimy blobs everywhere. While I'm glad to see it lifting off the grass beds, I'm concerned with the volume we have seen this winter in our bays from Sarasota to Charlotte Harbor, especially upper Lemon Bay area. Recently retired, I fish Monday through Friday weekly inshore in these bays and have noted a lot of the algae. Does this dying algae have any nutritional value such as fertilizer for our gardens, plants and trees? With such volumes drifting now it would be a great resource to utilize in lieu of commercial fertilizers if the value is present.

Betty Staugler

April 19, 2019

Hi Grace...I suspect you are also seeing Langmuir's circulation. What is visible in the parallel lines is dependent upon what is being pushed to the surface, along with weather and sea conditions.

Grace
April 19, 2019

We live on a small long lake, when a strong wind blows from the south, we get parallel lines the length of the lake. they are not foamy, just lighter and smoother than the rest of the water. Any ideas?

spacemonkey

April 17, 2019

Some follow-up questions – Is it in the sun or shade? What is the fertilizer program like? Has it been pruned? All the best, Ralph

ed casas
April 16, 2019

I have a ylang ylang tree over 20 ft but never flowers what can I do to get it to flower

Betty Staugler

April 15, 2019

Hi Julie...Where cichlids are along the river is really dependent upon salinity. Right now it's pretty salty by the El Jobean bridge. Once the salinity comes down, after we get a little more rain, you should see the cichlids return to your riprap. Cichlids have a pretty wide salinity range but they prefer lower salinities. As such, during the dry months where they can (in areas such as the Myakka River), they tend to migrate upstream where the water is fresher.

Julie Gildea
April 15, 2019

This is unrelated to the previous discussion, but we would like to get some info on why the cichlids in our canal in Port Charlotte, Charlotte county have disappeared. Previous years we had tons in our riprap along with little sheephead and a variety of small snappers. Our canal empties into the Myakka river, near the the El Jobean bridge. Love to know what happened, and if we can attract them back. If you don't have this info could your point us to who we would contact. Thanks so much for your help.

Betty Staugler

March 22, 2019

Hi Tony...At this time there is no red tide occurring anywhere in Florida. Of course that could change, but April is generally not a big month for bloom initiation. You can visit this website: https://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/ for weekly updates. I hope you have a great time here in SWFL. Betty

Tony Williams
March 22, 2019

Hi Betty, I am coming to Englewood Beach early April from the UK, could tell me if there is still a Red Tide problem along this stretch of water. I know last Summer it was bad in Sarasota so flipped coast lines to Flagler beach on the Atlantic side ... I like to o a spot of fishing so hoping its gone ... Warmest regards, Tony UK

spacemonkey

January 2, 2019

Dear Gardener, Thank you for your inquiry! Will heliconia’s survive all the way up in Jacksonville? That is a good question which could probably be answered “yes”, “no”, and it depends. Most varieties would probably be killed by the cold – not only the cold above, but if the soil froze. However, I guess that there could be some micro-climates in areas that might be warm enough to overwinter successfully. I found an article about heliconia’s that could survive in Central Florida – please see here - https://www.leugardens.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/HELICONIAS.pdf . I also found a site promoting heliconia (as well as mulch) in Jacksonville – please see here - https://mulchmasters.com/heliconia.php. Here is another publication for your review - http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FP/FP24900.pdf. Jacksonville looks likely to be in cold hardiness zone 9 a with an average annual minimum temperature of 20 to 25 degrees F. At this time of year, your heliconia will likely look tattered and worn as we enter the winter months. The rhizomes underground are still alive. If the ground freezes, it is likely that the roots will die. Are there any other heliconia in your neighborhood that are established and doing well year-to-year? If so, this is a good sign. As far as transplanting them now. This probably fine as they are dormant, but the question still exists at whether they are hardy enough? You might try the local Duval County Urban Horticulture Agent, Terry DelValle at delvalle@coj.net to be sure. I hope that this information is helpful to you. All the best, Ralph

Gary Stripling
December 31, 2018

I live in Jacksonville where we do receive some cold temps. I have 2 Heliconias in 2 large pots on my front porch (direct sun, good drainage). They did great through summer and fall. However, they are now looking very rough with yellowed leaves. Can I transplant them into a flower bed nearby? If so, when is the best time to do this? Do I cut them all the way down to dirt level?

spacemonkey

August 21, 2018

Thank you for your inquiry! As a group, I would say that Duranta have low to no salt-tolerance. Salt-tolerance is a relative term – please see our salt-tolerance range fact sheet attached above as a guide. Also, please see here - http://hos.ufl.edu/sites/default/files/faculty/gdliu/Salt-TolerantPlants_FL_Black_03_0.pdf - Salt-Tolerant Plants for Florida, as well as here - http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/landscaping-for-specific-sites/coastal-landscape.html - Coastal Landscapes. Please also see here for Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ and salt tolerance direction - The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design - available on-line at this link - http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/FYN_Plant_Selection_Guide_2015.pdf will give you some more ideas on plant materials. You may want to have your well tested for salt to see what the ppm is reading. I hope that this information will be helpful to you.

DAVID PARHALO
August 21, 2018

Are the Duranta scrubs salt tolerant? We have has some salt intrusion in our well used for watering our lawn and don't want to kill any Duranta plants we might purchase. Thank you and GO GATORS

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