Maxine Hunter*1, Caitlin Bainum*2
1. UF/IFAS Extension Marion County Horticulture Agent
2. UF/IFAS Extension Marion County Livestock Agent
Corresponding author: Maxine32666@ufl.edu
Marion County, FL is home to the “horse capital of the world” with 350,000 acres of pasture land used for livestock. With that comes yards, fence rows, and other landscaping features that are often accessible to livestock. Lack of knowledge regarding toxic plants to livestock may cause unintentional health consequences to animals and could lead to higher costs associated with health care of those animals. The large number of equine enthusiasts, who place great value on landscaping and horse health are a prime example of the need for extension education The UF/IFAS Extension Marion County horticulture and livestock agents teamed up to provide an in-depth class training horse owners on various landscape strategies to be both safe for livestock and aesthetic for their properties. Topics also included Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles such as soil testing, proper irrigation, runoff prevention, and correct plant selection. Fifteen property owners attended the workshop and survey results suggest: 100% intend to soil test prior to fertilization, 80% could properly identify the proper plants for their landscaping needs, 80% understood proper practices to reduce runoff, protect beneficial insects, and mulch appropriately. The self-reported approximate value of animals if saved from toxic plants as a result of better management and selection was estimated at $900,000. A second training will be conducted this spring to include advanced topics such as; integrated pest management and fertilizer calculations.