Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Birdbaths & Birdfeeders

Do you provide food and water to wildlife in your yard with a birdbath and birdfeeder?  The Polk County Master Gardeners boast some pretty lovely examples in their yards. 
 

 
 
 




One of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles is Attract Wildlife.  By providing birds with water and food, you are working to attract wildlife to your yard.

Learn more:

How to choose a birdfeeder
Cleaning a birdbath and birdfeeder 
Want to learn more about attracting wildlife to your yard? Check out this video!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gardening Events & Workshops

Here's what's coming up this spring! Mark your calendars now!

Herbs for the Home Garden
Mackay Gardens & Lakeside Preserve Workshop Series,

presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners
Thursday, February 7, 10:00 a.m.
900 Mackay Blvd., Lake Alfred
All programs are FREE and DO NOT require pre registration. Directions can be found at www.mylakealfred.com or by calling the City of Lake Alfred at (863) 291-5747.We provide drinks for each program. Attendees are invited to share a snack or finger food, if desired.
Our classes make a perfect field trip for area garden clubs. Attendees are free to explore the grounds and visit our Florida Friendly demonstration garden after the program. There is no admission charge to the Preserve. If you have a club or large group that would like to attend, please contact Pat Farris, Master Gardener (863-293-3426) so we can plan for the size of your group.


Urban Trees: Planting, care and disease identification of your landscape trees Mackay Gardens & Lakeside Preserve Workshop Series,
presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners
Thursday, March 7, 10:00 a.m.
900 Mackay Blvd., Lake Alfred
All programs are FREE and DO NOT require pre registration. Directions can be found at www.mylakealfred.com or by calling the City of Lake Alfred at (863) 291-5747.We provide drinks for each program. Attendees are invited to share a snack or finger food, if desired.
Our classes make a perfect field trip for area garden clubs. Attendees are free to explore the grounds and visit our Florida Friendly demonstration garden after the program. There is no admission charge to the Preserve. If you have a club or large group that would like to attend, please contact Pat Farris, Master Gardener (863-293-3426) so we can plan for the size of your group.


Spring Obsession

Saturday, March 9, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Munn Park, Lakeland
A celebration of garden, art and music featuring local and regional nurseries, garden vendors and art for and about the garden. Visit the Polk County Master Gardeners and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program for information on landscaping, insects, plant pest diagnosis and UF/IFAS literature.

What You Grow: It Matters! Dirt Days Programs for Youth
Sunshine Mimosa
Saturday, March 16, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland
This program is for kids ages 6-12 and an adult. You will plant seeds or take cuttings and learn how to grow the featured plant. This is a free program. Presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners. Sign up here.

Ornamental Grasses: How to incorporate beautiful, low maintenance ornamental grasses into your landscape design
Mackay Gardens & Lakeside Preserve Workshop Series,
presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners
Thursday, April 4, 10:00 a.m.
900 Mackay Blvd., Lake Alfred
All programs are FREE and DO NOT require pre registration. Directions can be found at www.mylakealfred.com or by calling the City of Lake Alfred at (863) 291-5747.We provide drinks for each program. Attendees are invited to share a snack or finger food, if desired.
Our classes make a perfect field trip for area garden clubs. Attendees are free to explore the grounds and visit our Florida Friendly demonstration garden after the program. There is no admission charge to the Preserve. If you have a club or large group that would like to attend, please contact Pat Farris, Master Gardener (863-293-3426) so we can plan for the size of your group.

What You Grow: It Matters! Dirt Days Programs for Youth
Invasive Plants vs. Native Plants
Saturday, April 6, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Circle B Bar Reserve, 4399 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland
This program is for kids ages 6-12 and an adult. You will plant seeds or take cuttings and learn how to grow the featured plant. This is a free program. Presented by the Polk County Master Gardeners. Sign up
here.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™: Perennials for Your Landscape
Lunch & Learn Workshop
April 23, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Lakela
nd Electric Building, 501 East Lemon St., Lakeland
This workshop is a lunch and learn class. Lunch is provided. You must have a photo I.D. to enter the building. Workshop and lunch provided by the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program and the City of Lakeland Water Utilities. Click
HERE to register for the workshop.
Go to
http://polkfyn.com for a list of more workshops!

Polk County Master Gardeners Spring Backyard Gardener Festival
Saturday, April 27, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service, 1702 US HWY 17 South, Bartow
Purchase plants, melaleuca mulch, rain barrels and UF/IFAS books. Learn about gardening in central Florida at workshops and booths. Food vendors, children's activities and landscape consultations on site!
For more information call (863) 519-8677 or visit http://polkmastergardener.ifas.ufl.edu.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

District Asks Homeowners to "Skip A Week" of Irrigation This Winter

Overwatering in winter can encourage pests and disease

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is reminding residents who irrigate their lawns to “Skip a Week” or more of watering during the cooler months of January and February.

According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months. One-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10–14 days is sufficient. In fact, if your lawn has received any significant rainfall, then you can turn off your irrigation system and operate it manually as needed.

“Overwatering can encourage pests and disease in your lawn,” said Robin Grantham, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ project manager. “Too much irrigation can also make lawns less able to survive droughts.” Skipping a week of watering is as easy as “off” for residents with irrigation timers. “Turn the timer to ‘off’ for the week that you want to skip, and ‘on’ for the week that you want to water,” said Grantham.

You can determine when your grass needs water when:
       ·         Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of your yard.
       ·         Grass blades appear blue-gray.
       ·         Grass blades do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several minutes after
              walking on it. 


Watering only every other week at most during the winter will help conserve drinking water supplies that the public needs for critical uses during the dry season. In fact, if everyone skipped one week of irrigation this season, it could save an estimated 1.9 billion gallons of water.
 
For additional information about water restrictions and water conservation, please contact your local utility or visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/SkipAWeek/.

Visit the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service!

Watch for our commercial on PGTV!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is Your Water Bill Too High?

Save Water, Save Money with a FREE LANDSCAPE and IRRIGATION EVALUATION

Polk County Utilities and the Southwest Florida Water Management District are offering water customers with working in-ground irrigation systems using potable (drinking) or reclaimed water a FREE EVALUATION. For a limited time, participants will receive, at no charge:
  • An irrigation system evaluation with site-specific recommendations
  • Landscaping evaluation with planting recommendations
  • Water conservation information
  • Assistance with your irrigation timer
  • PLUS a free water conservation kit.
To be eligible, you must be a Polk County Utilities residential, commercial, or multi-family customer using potable or reclaimed water with an operable in-ground irrigation system.
Even better! City of Lakeland, Polk City, Haines City, Auburndale, and Winter Haven are also offering the Free Landscape and Irrigation Evaluation program! Please check with your water utility for participation.
Click here for a printable Polk County Utilities Landscape and Irrigation Evaluation Application, or call Jacqueline Hollister 863-298-4100 for more information.


The Polk County Utilities (PCU) Environmental Permitting Section works closely with federal and state governing agencies to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements and reporting. Water and wastewater treatment facilities are licensed to operate under specific guidelines established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Florida. PCU currently has nine (9) wastewater treatment facilities issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and eight (8) regional water use permits from two Water Management Districts for forty-five (45) water treatment facilities.
Data provided by licensed water and wastewater operators and the customer service database helps us prepare reports used by the Community Investment Program to determine timelines and priorities for identified needs. The Permitting Section, in conjunction with the PCHD, provides our utility customers with an Annual Water Quality Report that officially informs the public about the quality of their drinking water. Water Quality Reports can be found on this website.

The Utility Permitting Section's Responsibilities Include:

  • Enforcing SWFWMD’s Watering Restrictions
  • Conducting Wetlands Monitoring
  • Tracking Potable and Reclaimed Water Usage Trends
  • Storm Water System Permitting and Inspections
  • Residuals Permitting for Hauling of Sludge Residuals within Polk County
  • Monitoring of Fats, Oils and Grease Removal Compliance
  • Identifying Significant Industrial Users on PCU Wastewater Collection Systems
  • Grant Funding Program for Eligible Community Investment Projects
  • Public Education for Water Conservation Projects

Utility Staff are Available for Scheduling to Speak with Community Associations, Schools and Groups on Topics that Include:

  • Indoor and Outdoor Water Conservation
  • Leak Detection
  • Reclaimed Water Use
  • Micro-irrigation
  • Sprinkler System Evaluations
  • Florida-Friendly Landscaping™
Please visit our “Florida-Friendly Demonstration Garden” at the Utilities Administration Building in Winter Haven Built in Cooperation with SWFWMD and Polk County’s Florida Yards & Neighborhoods.
To Obtain A Speaker from Polk County Utilities for a Community Organization, School or Group, Please Contact 863-298-4236 or Email JacquelineHollister@polk-county.net.