Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Publications Will Help You Design Your Florida-Friendly Yard

The Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program has new publications
designed to help you choose plants and design your Florida-Friendly yard. The Florida-Friendly Landscaping Pattern Book (zone 9A) and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Pattern Book (zone 9B) can be used as tools to help you design and install the right plants in your yard. The pattern books give helpful design hints, a variety of sample landscape plans and plant combinations, and will help you create a useful landscape plan. A plant list is provided, but don't forget that the Florida-Friendly Plants for Polk County Yards plant list can be used to substitute suggested plants. If you have any questions about how to use the pattern book and how to convert your yard to a Florida-Friendly yard, please contact the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program Coordinator at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Have You Signed Up For Master Gardener Training?

Do you like to garden?
Do you want to learn more about gardening in Central Florida?
Do you want to give back to the community?
Then Master Gardener training is for you

Polk County Master Gardener training starts September 14th and training is held each Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. through December 7th. Training is held at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service (1702 US Highway 17 South in Bartow) and the cost for the classes (plus materials) is $125. To fill out an application click on The Sprouting Kit. For more information contact Dr. Shibles at (863) 519-8677.

Master Gardeners are a group of volunteers trained by the University of Florida Extension Service. Master Gardeners assist with the horticultural programming at the county office, attend gardening events, receive continuing education and share their gardening knowledge with the community.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kyra Infotech Receives First Commercial Water Star Gold Certification!

At a ceremony in Lakeland this morning, Kyra Infotech received recognition for receiving the first commercial Florida Water Star Gold recognition in the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Florida Water Star is a voluntary certification program for builders, developers, and homeowners. It encourages water efficiency in appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscaping. There is criteria that must be met in all of the aforementioned categories. Kyra Infotech's building and landscape features a Hoot septic system (all the water is used for irrigation), Florida-Friendly landscaping, and low-flow toilets and faucets. For more information on the Florida Water Star program click here. If you have questions about Florida-Friendly Landscaping click here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Asiatic Jasmine, A Versatile Groundcover

Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) is not actually a jasmine at all. In fact, it is closely related to another non-jasmine, Confederate Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)! These examples demonstrate how important it is to know the botanical name of a plant!

It seems as though I have been recommending Asiatic Jasmine a lot lately. Why is that? Because it is such a versatile plant! It can be found at most garden centers, has little to no pest problems, and it is easy to grow. Asiatic Jasmine can be grown in full sun to full shade, making it a great choice for under large shade trees or areas of the yard where you want an evergreen groundcover but have trouble growing turf. It is a vining groundcover that can be mowed or edged to to contain it. It can also be planted on slopes to reduce erosion and hold a bank, or in median strips of parking lots or along the road where low-maintenance plantings are important. This versatile Florida-Friendly plant is a great addition to any landscape in Central Florida!
Look for Asiatic Jasmine at your local garden center. For more questions contact the Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Program at the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What's Wrong with Your Grass?

There could be many things wrong with your turfgrass at this time of year, and it is important to determine what problem you have before you treat your grass with pesticides that may not combat the problem. Fungal issues, insects, and over watering can cause many of the problems in the lawn and many times the symptoms are very similar. If you need an accurate diagnosis of what is troubling your lawn, bring in a sample to the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service. We can assist you in determining what the problem is and what you can use to manage the problem.
Insects can be a big problem in the lawn. The University of Florida has a great circular for identifying some of the insects that you may find in the grass. There is also a nice video that the Collier County Extension Service produced that may help you diagnose if you have sod webworm in your yard.
The UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service is located at 1702 US Hwy 17 South in Bartow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Florida-Friendly Yards Grow Smart!

Florida-Friendly yards grow smart! Your yard can grow smart too if you design and maintain your yard following the nine principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™.

9. Protect the waterfront

How do these yards practice the principles?

Large mulched beds are filled with Florida-Friendly plants.

A large mulched bed is attractive solution in a spot that might be difficult to maintain. If you have a troublesome spot in your yard, consider turning it into a mulched bed with Florida-Friendly plants.

This homeowner has created a large mulched bed filled with drought-tolerant plants that are suited to the site. Always remember to choose plants based on the conditions in your yard! Every yard is different!
This landscape has small, usable turf areas; recycled mulch and Florida-Friendly plants. Remember that it is important to install your landscape following the principles, but it is also important to maintain your landscape following the principles! This means using minimal water, fertilizer and pesticides.

Native plants fill this newly installed mulched bed. The plants along the driveway will help absorb stormwater runoff and will create a beautiful and colorful entrance planting.

For more information on Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, contact the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service and request that a free copy of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Handbook be mailed to you. Contact the Extension Service at (863) 519-8677.