Thursday, October 31, 2013


Learn more about bats from Dr. Mark Hostetler.  Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Polk County Fertilizer Management Ordinance

For more information on Polk County's Fertilizer Management Ordinance check out this brochure.  If you have a landscape contractor fertilize and mow your yard, download and print them a copy or contact the Extension Service and we will mail a copy of the brochure to you.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's Blooming Now? Muhly Grass

Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) is revealing itself in the landscape!  For most of the year muhly grass is a small, nondescript ornamental grass growing 2-3 feet tall and wide. This native grass puts on a show in the fall revealing it's pink/purple blooms to the world!  The very showy blooms will last through November.  This is a low-maintenance plant and works well in sunny, dry landscapes.  Have you seen muhly grass blooming around your neighborhood?  Send us your muhly grass photos and we will add them to the post!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's Blooming at the UF/IFAS Extension FFL Demonstration Garden in Bartow

Erigeron karavinskianus 'Profusion'   Midsummer Aster                                        
Pentas lanceolata    Pentas

Turnera subulata     White Alder

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Selecting Small Shrubs-How to Properly Plan and Select Shrubs for Your Landscape

Selecting shrubs for your landscape can be a difficult task.  Particularly around the foundation of your home or anywhere a small variety is needed.   You want to make sure you are installing shrubs that will require minimal maintenance but also provide a lush backdrop to your other landscape plants.  With proper planning you can avoid some of the landscape problems that many homeowners face after years of dealing with shrubs that were not properly planned for (too big), installed (too close to the house) and maintained (hedged for years).  Issues of frequent pruning and decline in the health of the shrubs can be avoided if proper planning is done.

How do you plan and select the proper shrubs for your yard?  You need to match the shrub’s characteristics to the characteristics of your yard.  Do a quick survey of the area where you want to add shrubs.  Figure out the soil type, light requirements, available irrigation and how much space (horizontal and vertical) you have for the shrubs. You can then begin to look through our lists of shrubs to determine which one will be the right plant for the right place. 

Many landscapes call for shrubs that will be less than five feet tall and wide, and luckily there are many options.  Take a look at the following shrubs and consider using them in your landscape.

 Zamia pumila
Coontie Cycad
 Hamelia patens 'Calusa'
Dwarf Firebush
 Ilex vomitoria 'Schellings Dwarf'
Dwarf Holly
 Rhaphiolepis indica 
Indian Hawthorn
Viburnum obovatum 'Mrs. Schiller's Delight'
Dwarf Viburnum

Remember to space the shrubs according to their mature size.  Shrubs that are planted too closely together can be difficult to maintain.  Plant in large groupings to provide a backdrop to the other plants in your landscape.  Groupings of odd numbers work well, and try to repeat the type of shrub a few other places so that continuity is felt throughout the landscape.  Your specimen plants and colorful flowers will pop against a nice foundation planting of shrubs. 

Removing problematic shrubs and replacing them with small varieties better suited to a home landscape is a great way to rejuvenate your landscape and reduce the amount of time you spend on maintenance.  Remember to use small varieties around your home’s foundation, under windows and around porches.  For a more small shrub suggestions contact the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program ( or download these helpful plant lists: 

The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design

Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Plant List for Polk County