Friday, May 31, 2013

June Issue of Extension Spotlight

The June issue of Extension Spotlight is now live!  Click here to catch up on the latest news from your UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service. 

Summer Gardening Programs

Butterfly Gardening
Lunch & Learn Workshop

Tuesday, June 11, 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!



Irrigation School
Thursday, June 27, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Peggy Brown Building, 215 South Lake Avenue, Lakeland
Are you a homeowner interested in learning more about your irrigation system and how you can increase efficiency?
Are you an irrigation contractor or landscaper interested in maximizing your business by learning how to offer new services to your clientele?
Join us for a free Irrigation School to learn more! Dinner will be provided.
Irrigation School Schedule of Speakers:

6:00-6:30 How can I make sure my irrigation system is working properly?
Irrigation system maintenance--how to maintain efficiency and maximize landscape benefits
6:30-7:00 How can I conserve water?
Hands-on demonstration of micro-irrigation and how the City of Lakeland is retrofitting existing irrigation systems
7:00-7:30 How much water should you apply?
Sprinkler calibration and using FAWN's weather tools to schedule irrigation
7:30-8:00 How do I use my timeclock?
How-to use your timeclock, create seasonal programs, and maintain a rain sensor

This program is presented by:
Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service
Florida Automated Weather Network
City of Lakeland Water Utilities
Polk County Utilities
To register for this program, click here.
 
Rain Barrel Workshop
Saturday, July 20, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service
1702 US HWY 17 S, Bartow
Would you like to reduce stormwater runoff, reduce water use and collect rainwater for irrigation? Attend the rain barrel workshop offered by the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program. Attending the workshop is free, but if you would like to purchase a rain barrel, they are $30 each. Please indicate on your registration how many you will purchase. Payment of cash or check at the door. To register for the workshop go here
 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hurricane Preparedness Week

It's hurricane preparedness week in Florida!  Do you have all your supplies and plans for potential threatening weather? 
University of Florida/IFAS Extension has created a Florida Homeowner Handbook that you can download for all you need to know about getting prepared for this hurricane season.  In addition, this website provides information for agriculture producers, families and communities to prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters. 
 
Don't forget to revisit this blog post about preparing your landscape for hurricane season!  For more information call the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service at (863) 519-8677. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

What You Need to Know About the New Polk County Fertilizer Ordinance


The State of Florida is requiring all counties in the state which have impaired waterways to adopt a fertilizer management ordinance. One of the reasons for the impairment to waterways in Florida, including Polk County, is the high level of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) in the water. A portion of these nutrients come from the misapplication of fertilizer to residential and commercial landscapes leading to runoff and leaching of nutrients into waterways.

These nutrients encourage rapid growth of noxious aquatic weeds including algae in the water. These aquatic plants clog the waterways and eventually decompose, depleting oxygen in the water which leads to fish kills. The dead and decaying organic matter eventually sinks to the bottom of the water body and becomes muck. This layer of muck on the bottom can build up to a depth of several feet over the years. Aquatic insects such as blind mosquitoes and Mayflies breed in this muck and become homeowner nuisances. The muck also discourages the growth of beneficial plant species which support healthy fish populations.
 
As a requirement of the stormwater management permit issued to Polk County by the State of Florida and to help alleviate the impairment of our waterways, the Parks and Natural Resources Division of the Polk County BoCC developed a Fertilizer Management Ordinance based on a State model. This ordinance was presented to the BoCC on March 19th 2013 and was passed unanimously. The ordinance provides for enforcement as a misdemeanor which includes penalties that could result in a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment of up to sixty (60) days; however it is not the intent of the county to penalize homeowners but to educate them about the consequences of fertilizer misuse.
The ordinance applies to anyone who applies fertilizer to a residential, commercial or institutional landscape including homeowners. I have briefly listed below what a homeowner must do to comply with this Ordinance. Check the original ordinance on my web site for the exact wording – www.polkhort.com
·        Do not make a fertilizer application during times the National Weather Service has issued severe weather warnings for Polk County such as a storm which has been forecasted to deposit 2 inches rain within a 24 hour period.
·        Fertilizer applications to urban landscapes shall be in accordance with the requirements and directions provided by the manufacturer’s label or as recommended for landscape plants, vegetable gardens, or fruit trees and shrubs by UF/IFAS/FYN.
Homeowner Best Management Practices for the Home Lawn:         http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP23600.pdf.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ – Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Handbook: 
·      No fertilizer shall be applied at a rate which exceeds the annual nitrogen rate for turf: Bahiagrass (2-4 lbs. per 1000 square feet per year), Bermudagrass (4-6 lbs. per 1000 square per year), Centipedegrass (2-3 lbs. per 1000 square feet per year), St. Augustinegrass (2-5 lbs. per. 1000 square feet per year) and Zoysiagrass (2 to 3.5 lbs. per 1000 square per year).
How to read the label, apply fertilizer:http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP22100.pdf
Before you apply fertilizer, make sure your fertilizer spreader is calibrated.  Don’t  
Florida-Friendly Fertilizing Guide:
     ·        Single application rates of a fast release (water soluble) fertilizer shall be applied at no more than 0.5 lb. of nitrogen per 1000 square of turf - slow release fertilizer shall be applied at a rate no greater rate than 1.0 lb. per 1000 square feet of turf.
·       Fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus shall not be applied before seeding or sodding a site and shall not be applied for the first 30 days after seeding or sodding.
 
·       No fertilizer shall be applied within 10 feet of any lake, pond, stream, water body, water course or canal or wetland.
·       No fertilizer shall be deposited, washed, swept, or blown off intentionally or inadvertently onto any impervious service, public right-of-way, public property, stormwater drain, ditch or other stormwater conveyance, or directly to a water body.
·       Any fertilizer spilled or deposited on an impervious surface shall be immediately and completely removed to the extent reasonably possible.
·       A low maintenance zone is strongly recommended, though not required, for all areas within 10 feet of the water’s edge of any lake, pond, stream, water body, water course, or any canal or any wetland. Low maintenance zones should be planted and managed in such a way as to minimize the need for watering, mowing, and other active maintenance.
How to develop a low-maintenance zone around stormwater ponds, lakes, and other waterbodies: http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/publications/files/stormwater_systems.pdf.
Waterfront Property Owners Guide:  
·       Broadcast spreaders used for applying fertilizer shall be equipped with deflector shields to deflect fertilizer from fertilizer free zones.
·       In no case should grass clippings, vegetative material, and/or debris be washed, swept or blown off into Stormwater ditches, conveyances, water bodies, wetlands, or sidewalks or roadways. Any material accidentally deposited shall be immediately removed to the extent reasonably possible.
Basically the ordinance requirements come from the landscape maintenance recommendations of the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) program within the sections of 1) fertilizing appropriately, 2) reduce stormwater runoff and 3) protecting the waterfront. These will need by law to be adopted into homeowner landscape maintenance programs. There are six other important components of the program including: 1) right plant right place, 2) water efficiently, 3) mulching, 4) attracting wildlife, 5) managing yard pests responsibly, and 6) recycling yard waste. However, we strongly recommend that homeowners follow all nine of the FFL recommendations when maintaining their landscapes.
There are no specific educational requirements for homeowners in this ordinance as there are for commercial applicators. However, the Polk County Extension Service will offer regular classes to the general public on fertilizer application issues as well as other components of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™. These issues will also be addressed in my newsletter, The Urban Horticulturer, and on our web sites www.polkhort.com and www.polkfyn.com.

This summary of the Polk County Fertilizer Ordinance was written by Dr. David Shibles, Polk County Urban Horticulturist.  It can be found in his May 2013 issue here. 

Urban Fertilizer Rule for Home Lawn Fertilization

Polk County Fertilizer Ordinance

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Irrigation School


Are you a homeowner interested in learning more about your irrigation system and how you can increase efficiency?

Are you an irrigation contractor or landscaper interested in maximizing your business by learning how to offer new services to your clientele?

Join us for a free Irrigation School on
Thursday, June 27, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the
Peggy Brown Building, 215 South Lake Avenue, in Lakeland to learn more! 
Dinner will be provided.
6:00-6:30 How can I make sure my irrigation system is working properly?
Irrigation system maintenance--how to maintain efficiency and maximize landscape benefits
6:30-7:00 How can I conserve water?
Hands-on demonstration of micro-irrigation and how the City of Lakeland is retrofitting existing irrigation systems
7:00-7:30 How much water should you apply?
Sprinkler calibration and using FAWN's weather tools to schedule irrigation
7:30-8:00 How do I use my timeclock?How-to use your timeclock, create seasonal programs, and maintain a rain sensor
This program is presented by:
Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service
Florida Automated Weather Network
City of Lakeland Water Utilities
Polk County Utilities
To register for this program, click here.
 

May Issue of Extension Spotlight



The May issue of Extension Spotlight, your monthly update from the UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Service, is now live.  Click HERE to read the issue. 
You can also subscribe to the newsletter http://polk.ifas.ufl.edu