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.

kudzu_barn

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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Welcome to our Florida Friendly Plants Blog

January 19, 2009 by Rick

We plan to share through numerous posts our enthusiasm and experience as long-time Florida gardeners and horticulturists. Our hope is that your gardening efforts will be successful and enjoyable.  We’ll share ways to make your yards and patios beautiful while following the University of Florida's Nine Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping:

 

1) Right Plant, Right Place: Plants selected to suit a specific site will require minimal amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides.

 

2) Water Efficiently: Irrigate only when your lawn needs water. Efficient watering is the key to a healthy yard and conservation of limited resources.

 

3) Fertilize Appropriately: Less is often best. Over-use of fertilizers can be hazardous to your yard and the environment.

 

4) Mulch: Maintain two to three inches of mulch to help retain soil moisture, prevent erosion and suppress weeds.

 

5) Attract Wildlife: Plants in your yard that provide food, water and shelter can conserve Florida’s diverse wildlife.

 

6) Manage Yard Pests Responsibly: Unwise use of pesticides can harm people, pets, beneficial organisms and the environment.

 

7) Recycle: Grass clippings, leaves and yard trimmings composted and recycled on site provide nutrients to the soil and reduce waste disposal.

 

8) Reduce Storm water Runoff: Water running off your yard can carry pollutants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, soil and debris that can harm water quality. Reduction of this runoff will help prevent pollution.

 

9) Protect the Waterfront: Waterfront property, whether on a river, stream, pond, bay or beach, is very fragile and should be carefully protected to maintain freshwater and marine ecosystems.

 

More details can be found here: http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/homeowners/nine_principles.htm

 

 
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