Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to Save on Taxes

It's tax time...see this UF/IFAS video on how to save money on your taxes:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Get Your CEUs

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Need to renew your pesticide license???  Several categories are offered at our "CEU Variety Pack" on Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Attend the afternoon and core sessions to get your 4 CEUs for renewal for lawn/turf and ornamental categories.

Aquatic, Right-of-way, Natural Areas + others also available. 

You can select 2, 4 or 6 CEUs.
To register go to this link:
AGENDA   9:30-10:00 Check-in

Morning session:

10:00-10:50 Herbicides Modes of Action and Resistance Management

Dr. Bill Haller

Herbicide resistance is a major concern in all herbicide applications. Applicators become comfortable with certain herbicides and herbicide mixes and use them repeatedly year after year. During this presentation, Dr. Haller will give examples of herbicide resistance and how to prevent or best manage to minimize the development of resistant weed populations.

10:50-11:40 Weed Control in Florida’s Waters and Natural Areas

Dr. Lyn Gettys

Dr. Gettys will discuss the common pathways for weed introduction in Florida, present historical accounts of the state’s invasion by hydrilla, waterhyacinth, Brazilian pepper and other weeds and cover management options for controlling the “10 most-wanted list” of Florida’s aquatic, upland and natural areas weeds.

Morning session CEUs: Aquatic (2), ROW (2), NA (2), Demo & Research (2), Private (2),
Comm L & O (1), Lmt. L & O (1), LCLM (1), O & T (1),

11:40-1:00 Turn in survey, receive CEU form and Lunch on own
12:45 – 1:00 Check-in for afternoon session

Afternoon session:

1:00-1:50 Preventing Herbicide Failures

Dr. Brent Sellers

Dr. Sellers will describe the most common reasons for herbicide failures or reductions in efficacy and how to tailor treatment programs to get the most “bang for your buck” – attaining optimum weed control while minimizing pesticide use and exposure.

1:50-2:40 Equipment Calibration

Dr. Brent Sellers

Dr. Sellers will discuss the importance of equipment calibration and will describe the protocols that should be followed to reduce pesticide use and exposure. This talk will provide valuable information to licensed pesticide applicators of all categories.

Afternoon session CEUs: Aquatic (2), Demo & Research (2), Natural Areas (2), Private (2), Regulatory (2), Right-of-Way (2), Comm. L & O (2), Lmt. L & O (2), LCLM (2), O & T (2)

2:40 turn in survey, receive CEU attendance forms, check-in for CORE

CORE session: 2 CEUs

3:00-4:40 FDACS Vehicle Inspection

Paul Mitola, FDACS Field Training Coordinator

4:40 Turn in survey, receive CEU attendance form, adjourn.

Speaker Bios

Dr. Bill Haller is a Professor of Agronomy at the University of Florida in Gainesville, specializing in Aquatic Weed Science. His research is focused on aquatic weed management; in addition, Dr. Haller is also the Acting Director of the UF IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

Dr. Brent Sellers is an Associate Professor of Agronomy at the University of Florida Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, specializing in Weed Science. His focus areas include identifying problematic weeds in pastures and rangeland and implementing economically and environmentally sound control measures, examining weed biology and ecology as related to pasture and rangeland management strategies, and weed control in fence rows and pasture borders.

Dr. Lyn Gettys is an Assistant Professor of Agronomy at the University of Florida Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie, specializing in Aquatic and Wetland Plant Science. Her focus areas include identification, biology and control of invasive aquatic and wetland species, plant propagation and development of novel techniques to increase the success of aquatic restoration and mitigation projects.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wanted! - Chinch Bugs

Got chinch bugs???  Dr. Buss needs lots and lots of chinch bugs this year for some lab and greenhouse tests. She is trying to determine some nitty-gritty information on how chinch bugs develop resistance, and ultimately how to manage insecticide resistant populations.

If you see some beefy populations (call before they get treated, please). Dr. Eileen Buss' office number is 352-273-3976, and email is  No chinch bug will be turned away (unless it's already dead).

She would love to get a couple populations from Georgia, Alabama, and Texas, if possible, too. Have truck, will travel (or pay for FedEx)... :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pumping Summer Iron on Turf?

Have you seen more take-all root rot in St. Augustine grass this year?

Have you been applying iron to turf during the summer N & P fertilizer ban?  Do you apply manganese along witht the iron? 

There may be a link between applications of iron (Fe) without applications of manganese (Mn) promoting manganese deficiency.  The ratio of Fe:Mn should not be less than 2:1.  Mn deficiency seems to make the turf more susceptible to take-all root rot.

Please let me know of your experience out in the field.  This may change UF recommendations for turf growing on high pH soils, or those irrigated with alkaline water.  Post your comment below.  Thanks.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Water Restrictions Differ for St. Petersburg

As you may know, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board issued Water Shortage Emergency Order #2013-006 to tighten water use in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties, starting March 13th.

To best meet the needs of our customers and water supply system, the watering schedule for St. Petersburg’s water customers within City limits differs from the Water Shortage Order. St. Petersburg’s water customers at locations within St. Petersburg city limits that use potable (city) water, water from private wells, or surface water sources (lakes, ponds, etc.) are required to follow this watering schedule:

● property addresses ending in an even number are permitted to water on Saturday only; ● addresses ending with an odd number are permitted to water on Sunday only; ● allowable watering hours are 5 to 9 a.m. and/or 7 to 11 p.m.

Reclaimed water users are asked to follow a voluntary three-days-a-week schedule. Phase 3 restrictions will restrict other water uses, such as aesthetic fountains and car washing events.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

They're everywhere, they're everywhere.  The cuban tree frog, pythons in the everglades, monk parakeets, green mussles and scorpion fish, hydrilla and water hyacinth, rugose spiraling whitefly, red bay ambrosia beetle, citrus greening, Brazilian pepper, melaleuca, air potato and the list goes on.

These invasive pests are devastating our natural environment and threatening the things we value.

The United States Department of Agriculture is asking for everyone's help to stop the unintended introduction and spread of invasive pests.  They urge you to visit to learn more about invasive pests.

Here are a few actions people can take today:

1.  Buy firewood where you burn it - transporting wood can spread invasive pests.

2.  Plant carefully - buy plants from reputable sources and avoid using invasive plant species.  Remove invasive species.  See the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council list of invasive plants:

3.  Never release aquarium fish and plants into a waterway.  Return them to an aquarium shop if possible.

4.  Keep it clean - wash outdoor gear and tires between fishing, hunting or camping trips.

5.  Learn to identify - if you see signs of an invasive pest, write down or take a picture of what you see and then report it at

6.  Only pack and send agricultrally inspected fruits, veggies or plants across state lines.

It is up to all of us to prevent and reduce the spread of invasive species.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Prune Like a Pro

My latest newspaper article:

Azaleas, magnolias and Indian hawthorn with no spring flowers, shrubs with gaping holes and naked bottoms, trees with multiple trunks or few interior branches are all cause for concern. But before you pull out the pruners, chainsaws and loppers, your plants will be happier if you learn the basics of proper pruning. Here are some things you can do to prune like a professional.

First of all, it’s about timing. Pruning done in the late fall or early winter stimulates new growth, especially if we have a mild winter. This new growth is very tender and is easily damaged, even by a light frost. It is much better to wait until spring bud-break before pruning. This will reduce the risk of cold damage.

Plants that produce their flowers on last year’s growth, such as azaleas, magnolias and Indian hawthorn, must be pruned after they bloom in the spring, and pruning must stop after June when the new buds start to form.

Plants that produce flowers on this year’s growth are usually pruned while still dormant (January/February), or just before the spring growth flush. These plants include hibiscus, allamanda, plumbago, frangipani and rose. To encourage the most plant growth, prune just prior to the first spring growth flush. To slow growth and keep plants smaller, prune just after each growth flush. Most evergreens, such as podocarpus, holly, ligustrum, juniper and wax myrtle, can be pruned anytime.

Secondly, it’s about the cut. There are only two proper cuts. One is called a reduction cut and it removes a larger branch back to a smaller side branch. The second is called a removal cut and it removes a side branch from a larger branch. Flush cuts and topping are harmful and should not be done. When removing branches that are an inch and a half in diameter or larger, use the three-cut method. This keeps the branch from ripping down the side of the trunk. This method starts with a cut on the underside of the branch about 15 inches from the trunk. The second cut is made downward from the top of the branch a few inches out from the first cut. The third cut is the removal of the stub that is left.

Thirdly, it’s about shape. Shrubs should be pruned so that the base is just a wee bit wider than the top. This allows sunlight to reach all the leaves of the plant and will thus produce a plant that has leaves from top to bottom, rather than the shabby looking shrub that has no leaves at its base. Trees should be pruned so there is only one major trunk with evenly spaced side branches. Removing all the interior branches of trees, called lion-tailing, is a harmful practice and should be avoided. Thinning is done from the outside in, not the inside out. Palms should never be pruned above the horizontal line of 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Another good rule to follow is to only remove a third of a plant’s entire mass when pruning.

For more information and diagrams, google “Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs IFAS”, “Pruning Palms IFAS” or “Disinfection of Horticultural Tools IFAS,”

For free help with your lawn and garden questions, the Pinellas County Extension Service is just a phone call or visit away. We are located at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, next to the Florida Botanical Gardens and are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To speak with a horticulturist, call 727-582-2110 Monday, Tuesday or Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays. You can also visit our website at