Is Your Flower Pot Half Full? part 3

November 5, 2009 by Rick

Sometimes gardeners get overwhelmed with weeds and pests. Florida and the south are getting overwhelmed with exotic invasive's. Good news is there is significant progress on some of the most devastating invaders. The Old World Climbing Fern Lygodium microphyllum has found it's way around most of the state. It is heavily infesting many of our forests and you may have seen it covering long stands of trees and power lines by highways like the Florida Turnpike in Saint Lucie and Martin counties. The USDA Agriculture Research Service has worked for 12 years to control the climbing fern that was on the verge of covering 1/3 of Florida with the potential for devastating fires that could kill all the trees in the forests if it is not controlled.

According to this recent 2009 article, in 2008 the ARS released a little moth known as Neomusotima conspurcatalis—nicknamed “Neo”. The moth larvae is currently the most successful of all the biocontrol agents that have been tested by the Fort Lauderdale scientists. Other biocontrols are being tested so there is much to be hopeful for.


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Is Your Flower Pot Half Full? part 2

October 21, 2009 by Rick

The ARS is on the verge of victory in the battle of an aggressive invader that has swallowed much of the south.


The invincible, KUDZU. Seems they have figured out how to infect it with a fungus, Myrothecium verrucaria, specifically effective on Kudzu. This fungus works so quickly that plants sprayed in the morning with Myrothecium show signs of decline by the afternoon with killing potential of nearly 100% and no injury to other trees and plants tested so far. They are still testing it for safety and formulating sprays that have good shelf life and efficacy. There is even hope that it will be useful controlling weedy purslane and spurge in vegetable production. Wouldn't it be nice if it works on Air Potatoes and Skunk Vine too? This has to be a more sustainable way to control weeds and pests, return the environment to a sustainable state and replace some reliance on synthetic and salt based herbicides. It likely could be certified as organic. Homeowner formulas would be nice but it is too soon to know if the use is too narrow for marketability or other use complications make private use unavailable.  

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Fun Gardening Links

March 5, 2009 by Rick

Kim is one of the U of F Garden Communicators that turned me into a Blogger with a presentation and time spent together at the Garden Writers Conference in Portland in September. Check out her latest planet saving post and see how creative she is and how much she enjoys her work here.


Felder Rushing is a good friend and my second favorite gardening communicator, after my wife. Felder spoke recently at The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and they have posted a podcast of his entertaining presentation that you won't want to miss. If you are browsing my blog then you are the type that is sure to get a lot of laughs from Felder. Also check out his web site for more laughs, and some good dirt on gardening nerds.


Some people would put anything in their garden! I guess if you were a Steelers Fan you might even think this was a comfortable place to sit. Watch out for the bird poop before you have a seat. Cardinals fans get the discounted (price in red) at