Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Viburnums are a good choice for hedges, specimens or for screening objects from view. Sweet viburnum (V. odoratissimum) is a 25-foot tall by 10-15 foot wide evergreen shrub with large glossy leaves. Walter’s Viburnum (V. obovatum) is a Florida native that will grow to about 25 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The variety ‘Withlacoochee’ will grow to about 10 feet wide and 10 feet tall. All Viburnums have white flowers and black berries. They attract birds and the native varieties are drought-tolerant.
Hollies (Ilex spp.) make dense hedges so they are a great replacement for a fence. American holly will get up to 50 feet tall and 20 feet wide. East Palatka holly (Ilex x attenuata) and Dahoon holly (Ilex cassine) are smaller, maxing out at 20-30 feet tall and 10 feet wide. If you are looking for a large shrub, ‘Burfordii’ holly only gets to about 15 feet tall and wide. Hollies have glossy green foliage and red berries in the winter. Hollies range in size from a few feet to 60 feet tall, so be sure to choose the cultivar that will work best for your situation. Hollies are very slow growing, so keep this in mind when you are choosing the size of plants for your hedge.
Simpson’s Stopper (Myrcianthes fragrans) is a large evergreen shrub that will grow to be 20-30 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide. It makes a great privacy hedge and has showy berries and flowers that attract wildlife. Simpson’s Stopper is a Florida native.
Magnolia ‘Little Gem’
Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ (Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’) is a dwarf variety of the Southern Magnolia. ‘Little Gem’ will grow up to 20 feet tall and 6 feet wide. These dense evergreen trees will create a more formal hedge and will require minimal to no pruning.
The Golden Dewdrop (Duranta erecta) is a large shrub that will grow up to 20 feet tall and wide. It has attractive yellow berries and lavender flowers. It is low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and will attract birds and butterflies. A hedge of Golden Dewdrop will be informal and sprawling.
For more information on what plants to use to create privacy in your yard, go to http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/shrubselect.htm. You can also contact the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program at the Polk County Extension Service (863-519-8677 or http://polkfyn.ifas.ufl.edu/).
Florida Yards and Neighborhoods is a grant-funded program in cooperation with the University of Florida, the Alafia River, Hillsborough River and Peace River Basin Boards of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and Polk County. The program emphasizes creating and maintaining attractive landscapes to enhance the community and protect our valuable natural resources.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Babson Park Community Church
674 Hillside Drive, Babson Park(garden is across the street from the hiking trail)
Polk County Extension Service
1702 Highway 17 South, Bartow
Central Florida Regional Planning Council
555 East Church Street, Bartow
27101 Adventure Court, Davenport(off US 27 and just south of I-4)
409 NE 3rd Street, Forte Meade
Wall Street Park
South Oak Avenue, Frostproof(next to tennis courts)
Frostproof Historical Museum
210 South Scenic Highway, Frostproof
Polk Training Center Nursery
111 Creek Road, Lake Alfred(off County Road 557)
900 Mackay Boulevard, Lake Alfred(off of Highway 17-92)
Lakeland Public Library
100 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland
Lakeland City Hall228 S. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland
SPCA of Polk County5850 Brannen Road, Lakeland
Polk County Health Department
835 West Central Avenue, Lake Wales
Winter Haven Public Library
Self-guided tour (guide in the lobby or download it here) 325 Avenue A NW, Winter Haven
Polk County Utilities1011 Jim Keene Boulevard, Winter Haven(off Winter Lake Road)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
If you have any questions about Florida-Friendly plants, contact the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service at (863) 519-8677.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Many homeowners use fertilizer in their landscapes. Fertilizer can be used to increase fruit production, encourage faster growth, produce larger and more abundant blooms or green up leaves. Whatever the case, it is important to know what kind of fertilizer to use and to read the label before you purchase it.
When you select your fertilizer at the local nursery or garden center, look at the three numbers on the bag. They will say something such as; 15-0-15 or 16-2-8. These numbers mean the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that are in the bag of fertilizer (N-P-K). So the bag that reads 15-0-15 has 15% nitrogen in the bag, 0% phosphorus, and 15% potassium. Another important thing to look for on the label is slow-release nitrogen. Slow-release fertilizer is much more beneficial to the environment because it leaches (soaks into the groundwater) less than a soluble (or quick release) product. You will have less thatch build up and less rapid growth in your plants if you use a slow release product.
When you are ready to apply the fertilizer, make sure you read the label so that you know how much to apply. This may mean you have to do some quick calculations. Grass will have different requirements than landscape plants.
Take the following precautions when applying the fertilizer as they will reduce environmental impact:
1. If you spill granules while applying, sweep them up and reuse them or sweep them into the lawn.
2. Do not spread fertilize onto water bodies. It is best to establish a 10-30 foot "no pesticide, no fertilizer, no mow" zone around any ponds, lakes or rivers.
3. Use a drop spreader rather than a rotary spreader. The rotary spreader flings the particles further.
4. Avoid using "weed and feed" products or products that have herbicides and fertilizers in one. They may injure nearby plants or tree roots.
5. Do not fertilize if a heavy rain is expected.
6. Apply iron to the lawn in the summer to green it instead of nitrogen.
Remember to consult with the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service if you have questions about fertilizer application. Check out these University fact sheets for more information:
Fertilization and Irrigation Needs for Florida Lawns and Landscapes
Figuring out Fertilizer for the Home Lawn
How to Calibrate Your Fertilizer Spreader
Fertilizer Recommendations for Landscape Plants
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Ask a Master Gardener:
Saturday, May 15, 8:00 a.m.--12:00 noon
North Lakeland Home Depot
2805 N. Highway 98
Saturday, May 15, 9:00 a.m.--12:00 noon
Magnify Credit Union
961 E. Road 540 A
Monday, May 10, 2010
2. Perennial Peanut
Perennial Peanut 'Ecoturf' (Arachis glabrata 'Ecoturf') is a drought-tolerant variety of Perennial Peanut. If you are purchasing Perennial Peanut make sure that you purchase this variety if you are seeking drought-tolerance. Perennial Peanut is often used as a an alternative to grass. You can purchase it as sod or plugs, just like grass. It grows to only four to six inches high and will spread. It has small yellow flowers and grows in full sun. This is great for high traffic areas and sunny, dry locations.
4. Sunshine Mimosa
Sunshine Mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant groundcover. It grows well in full sun and can cover large areas very quickly. It will grow to about three inches high and can spread up to eight feet. This Florida native can withstand a variety of soils and it does very well in poor, sandy soil. Sunshine Mimosa is a vine-like groundcover with delicate leaves and small powder puff pink flowers.
Beach Sunflower (Helianthus debilis) is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant groundcover. It grows best in dry, sandy soil in full sun. Beach Sunflower will grow to about two feet high and six feet wide. Give it plenty of room to grow! It will bloom with small yellow flowers year-round and will re-seed itself readily in your garden in the spring. This is a very tough plant!
For more information on great groundcovers for your yard contact the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service, Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program at http://polkfyn.ifas.ufl.edu/. You can also contact us at (863) 519-8677.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
1. Yard Waste
(oak leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, plant leaves)
Yard waste is a great (free) mulch. Make sure that you follow the 2-3 thick rule as it is easy to let leaves fall into plant beds and accumulate to much thicker. You can also partially compost your yard waste for landscape mulch. Pine needles can be purchased in bales at landscape supply stores. They are great for areas where runoff may be an issue as they resist floating.