Damage from Whiteflies
Caused by the piercing and sucking of sap from the foliage; leaf drop
Usually not sufficient to kill plants
Accumulation of honeydew and white, waxy flocculent material
Sooty mold growth on honeydew
Some whiteflies can transmit disease
Currently, no known viruses associated with the Rugose spiraling whitefly
Click Here to view more information about the Spiral White Fly.
During fall we experience out breaks of grub problems throughout Southern Florida. It can take up to 3 years to break the grub cycle. Waiting for damage to show up in your lawn is usually too late to kill older grubs and it is recommended to be pro-active when it comes to grub control. Early preventive treatment in June and July when grubs are very young is recommended by University of Florida.
Prune Hardwoods and Palms
Opening the canopy of a hardwood tree allows the wind to move through the tree, reducing the chance of the tree collapsing in high winds. Oaks are known for falling over in strong winds since their root system is more vertical than horizontal and our loose, sandy soil here in Southwest Florida does not provide a lot of support for mature hardwoods. Trimming coconuts and seed pods off of palms is recommended so they do not become projectiles in high winds.
Move All Loose Objects Inside
Yard tackies like garden gnomes, pink flamingos, flags and outdoor furniture should be brought inside before a hurricane or major storm. Even lightweight items can cause damage to your home and/or landscaping when they are blown at over 100 mph.
Early Detection and
Prevention Make All The Difference!
Weeds are not attractive in turf and they are costly to fix. Early detection and proactive management to remediate and prevent future Infiltrations are sound landscape procedures. The first step is to recognize the infiltration in its early stages. And if you are working with the right landscape contractor they should be doing this for you. But it doesn’t hurt to work as a team to control this potentially costly Problem from spreading. Here are three South Florida weeds that cause the most damage:
||Pennywort (aka Dollar Weed)
It shows up initially in patches, and then spreads using an underground root system. The typical cause is over watering of the turf. The solution is to shut off the water and spray with an effective herbicide.
Sedges have stems that are triangular in shape and can take over an entire St. Augustine yard. It tends to grow in moist soils that do not drain well. The typical cause is from seed heads relocated by wind or intrusion from underground tubers that are difficult to eliminate. The solution requires spraying with a specific class of herbicide with repeated applications with appropriate timing.
This weed shows up in very large patches in the turf. The typical cause is previous germination in the soil. The solution is quick action given the aggressive spreading root system of this week. Apply a quick action herbicide to halt its progress.
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Know When You Can Water
Drought conditions combined with county water restrictions makes it very important to use the maximum amount of water allowed effectively. There are different restrictions for Collier and Lee Counties and these restrictions may change. Keeping updated on these restrictions will not only help your turf and plants receive the maximum amount of water allowed, but will prevent costly fines. Adjust your irrigation clock according to county regulations.
Use Drought Resistant Plants
One way to deal with drought conditions is to integrate drought-resistant plants. This does not necessarily mean using cacti and succulents. There are many native plants that are tolerant of the wet and dry seasons of Southwest Florida. Native plants are generally more durable and are more likely to survive hot & cold and wet & dry weather. This means that you will be less likely to spend money on replacing native plant material. Some popular drought resistant plants include the Fire bush, Cocoplum and Buttonwood.
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Proper and timely pruning will provide a return on investment by enhancing the curb appeal of your landscape and expanding the life of your plants. On the other hand, improper pruning may result in a less than desirable appearance, shorten the life of your plants and result in costly plant replacements.
Avoid shearing large leafed plants
To achieve a more formal vs. natural appearance to your landscaping, the use of gas or electric shears can be used to precisely shape your hedges. However, there are some plants where mechanical pruning should not be employed. These plants are typically larger leafed plants and include Awabuke Vibernum, Sea Grape, Arbicola, and Hibiscus. Mechanical pruning of these varieties of plants will tear the leaves causing brown edges where the leave was torn and will stunt new growth of the plant.
Avoid thinning out the bottom of hedges
When pruning with gas or electric shears to create a more formal look (on plant species that can be pruned mechanically), a technique called beveling must be used. Beveling is where you bevel the top edges allowing the sides of the hedge to protrude at a slight angle. This prevents the top of the hedge from blocking sunlight to the bottom of the hedge resulting in thinning at the bottom.
Perform “Rejuvenative” pruning in the Spring
In the Spring when the weather warms up and plants begin to grow more rapidly, it is best tp perform “Rejuvenative” pruning. Some companies may call this a “hard cutback.” Do not indiscriminately hard-cut ornamentals and shrubs and hope that they will grow in fuller during the Summer months. Employ “Rejuvenative” pruning by using Hand Pruners and cutting plants at a slight angle on the stem be tween nodes, preferably at least 1’’ above the bottom node and at least 1’’ below the top node. Nodes are points on the plant’s stem where a branch or bud forms. This intermodal technique encourages new growth and results in fuller, healthier shrubs. Use “Rejuvenative” pruning to cut back any plant material that has been damaged by a hard freeze over the Winter. Cut dead, freeze damaged branches back to let new growth fill in.
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With proper selection, placement and maintenance; annual flowers, flowering plants and trees can provide years of sustained color and curb appeal for your property.
The most important factor in choosing the right annual is seasonal temperature. Cold hardy annual flowers like Petunias, Geraniums and Begonias will tolerate cooler Winter temperatures. In the hot Summer months, annual flowers like Vinca, Pentas and Marigolds will be more likely to thrive here in Southwest Florida. Sun light and water requirements vary depending upon the flower, but all annuals should be fertilized. A slow release fertilizer like Osmocote, can continually feed annual flowers for 3—6 months. Adding liquid fertilizer like Peters’ 20-20-20 every other week will result in more vibrant blooms and healthy flowers.
Flowering Plants and Shrubs
There are a variety of flowering plants and shrubs available. One growing in popularity is the Crown of Thorns. A tropical plant originating from Madagascar, the Crown of Thorns has been cultivated over the years to withstand cooler temperatures in addition to extremely warm temperatures that we experience in Southwest Florida. Crown of Thorns range in height from 1 to 3 feet and require plenty of sun light and well drained soil. There are over 2,000 species of Crown of Thorns including the popular Poinsettia. The colorful flowers range from red, pink, salmon, yellow and white. They are also mixed color combinations available. All varieties will flower during the growing season (Spring to Fall) while some varieties flower all year long. The durability and color of these plants results in many property owners using these plants in place of annual flowers.
Among the various flowering trees is the Geiger tree. This South American tree has been grown successfully from the Florida Keys North to Tampa. Originally named the Cordia tree, it was renamed the Geiger tree after Captain Geiger who used this tree to landscape his home in Key West. The Geiger tree can reach heights of 25 feet, but can also be kept smaller in size for use in above ground planters or containers. The flowers on the Geiger are either orange, yellow or white with a gold center. These flowers attract butterflies and birds. The colorful Flowers of the Geiger tree will also impress your neighbors.
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With proper care and pruning, hardwood and palm trees can enhance the value and curb appeal of your property for decades.
Provide Wind Flow
Opening the canopy of hardwood trees allows the wind to move through the trees and helps reduce stress and the chances of the tree collapsing in high winds. No more than 20% of the tree should be removed during the pruning of a hardwood tree. Over-pruning could damage the tree by limiting its ability to produce food through photosynthesis. Thinning out or opening the canopy of hardwood trees is typically done once every 2 years or on an as needed basis.
Remove Cross Branches
Crossing branches can rub together, weakening or damaging the limbs as the tree grows. Damaged tree limbs are susceptible to the infestation of insect pathogens and disease that can result in permanent damage or death of the tree. Removing smaller crossing branches allows more nutrients to go into the other limbs, promoting a stronger and healthier tree.
Prune Palms at 9 and 3 O’clock Position
Palms do not need to be pruned to allow for wind flow. Over pruning a palm tree can cause permanent damage or death. The fronds of a palm should be at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions. Palms have a limited number of fronds and capability to produce food through photosynthesis. Remove dead fronds as needed. Fronds with yellow or tan spots caused by cold weather should be kept on the palm to aid in the recovery of the tree.
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Protect your plants from freeze damage...
The tips below will help prevent plant loss due to freeze damage and expensive plant replacement.
Freeze cloth can be used to protect annual flowers and tropical plants susceptible to cold damage. If possible, take any delicate or tropical plants indoors when freeze warnings are issued. It is important to buy freeze cloth before freezing weather arrives since supplies run out fast once freezing weather is reported. If you do not have freeze cloth, you may use sheets, but do NOT use plastic!
Turn off Irrigation
After seeing farmers turning on their irrigation to protect their citrus crop during freezing conditions, you may be tempted to do the same. Farmers continuously run their irrigation all night on their commercial crops so that the water freezes and creates a temperature barrier of 32 degrees. However, this is not healthy for plants in your landscaping and may kill them.
Having fuller, natural looking plants will help them recover from freezing conditions. Each time pruning is performed, it results in the plant expending energy to grow back. Instead of growing back, your plants will be using energy to recover from freeze damage.
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Cinch bugs, Mealy bugs, Scale and Grubs are just a few examples of problem insects that can damage and kill your plants and lawn here in Southwest Florida. By proactively controlling the problem insect population in your landscaping, you can prevent aggravation and save money. Below are some methods to prevent nuisance insect outbreaks and damage to your landscaping.
Promote Healthy Landscaping
Healthy lawns and landscaping are the best defense against unwanted insects. For example, providing the appropriate amount of fertilizer, water, and sunlight for your turf and plants will promote healthy root systems that deter insects such as chinch bugs from destroying your lawn. Chinch bugs feed on the roots of turf grass. However, they are rarely found in healthy grass with a strong root system. Keeping your plants and turf healthy is the best defense against unwanted insects.
Correctly Identify Insects During Spot Checks
Frequent property inspections are a great idea since insect populations can spread rapidly if not caught quickly . More importantly however is correctly identifying the problem that you are having with your landscaping and the insect responsible.
Use the Right Control Method
Insecticides can be expensive and over use of some insecticides can cause insects to build up resistance. In some cases, beneficial insects such as ladybugs will provide effective treatment of aphids without resorting to use of chemicals. Only after correctly identifying the problem insects in your landscaping, can a treatment program be implemented. For example, insecticide used to treat chinch bugs is not effective on grubs. Before applying expensive control treatments it is necessary to know what insects need to be controlled so that time and money are not wasted treating the wrong insect.
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