Florida Landscaping Blog
It’s hard to picture a Florida landscape without imagining palm trees swaying in the breeze.
These trees have become a favorite of landscape designers in the southern parts of the state, largely because of their durability and adaptability, but they’re not without natural enemies. Chief among them is the lethal and incurable Ganoderma Palm Disease which attacks mature palm trees.
Ganoderma zonatum, the pathogen that causes Ganoderma Palm Disease, can easily spread through garden tools, but it only takes a bit of wind to spread the disease, so you should remove or grind the stump of an infected tree that has been cut down.
Ganoderma Palm Disease will typically kill a tree just 6 to 12 months after the initial symptoms appear. The first signs of the disease will be drooping and browning of the older fronds, new growth will slow and become yellow or pale green, and the tips of younger leaves will turn brown. Other symptoms include “bleeding”, a reddish secretion that stains the trunk.
The formation of a bracket fungus or “conk” like the one shown in these photos is evidence that your palm is infected with Ganoderma, but this woody mushroom is not always visible in infected trees. This conk is actually the reproductive body of the disease and it should be carefully removed and discarded as soon as it is spotted to prevent the spread of the disease to neighboring palms.
This mushroom starts out as a little, white blob at the bottom of the tree. As it grows, it starts to protrude like a shelf and it becomes hard and brown with bands of different shades of brown. Once the conk is mature, it swells around the edges and a white surface where millions of spores are produced becomes visible.
Once a diseased tree has been removed, you’ll want to re-landscape the area, but keep in mind that the fungus will still be present in the root system of the removed palm and in the soil so, if you’re replacing the removed palm with another palm remove all the old roots and replace the soil with new soil or just plant something other than a palm tree in that spot.
If you suspect that your mature palms are infected with Ganoderma or any other disease and you are in Sarasota or Bradenton, don’t delay, call GreenEdgeLawn & Ornamental at 941-756-9301.
The desire to have a manicured lawn surrounding your home is a fairly recent development in U.S. history.
It wasn’t until the late 1800s and early 1900s, when golf courses began popping up around the country, that the “golf course-like lawn” became a goal for many Americans. It’s no coincidence that, right around this time, we begin seeing Zoysia grass, which is native to Asia, in the United States.
These warm-season grasses have a deep, drought-resistant root systems, they can grow in a variety of soil types, and they tolerate cold temperature, shade, and salt. Zoysia grasses spread through above-ground stems called stolons and underground stems called rhizomes that give them a beautiful, dense turf that is extremely resistant to lawn weeds and very tolerant of heavy foot traffic.
In recent years, turfgrass breeders have also made improvements to the insect resistance and overall performance of these grasses, but they are not entirely without challenges. Because these grasses are so dense, they tend to develop a thick layer of organic material at the soil level known as a thatch.
Zoysia grass should be planted in the spring after the threat of frost has passed and they should be also be aerated and dethatched in the early spring so they have time to recover before the next peak growing season.
Zoysia grasses typically require 1” of rain or irrigation per week, although sandy soils which are common to our area may require more frequent watering to maintain their green color, especially during the hot summer months. They should be kept at a height of 1 to 1 ½ inches, they have a relatively low nitrogen requirement, and they prefer a soil pH of 5.8 to 7.0.
Zoysia grasses are relatively low maintenance and soil testing can help you determine the nutrient requirements of your lawn but, if you’re looking for the “golf course-like lawn” that has been a part of the American dream since the turn of last century, there’s no substitution for the care of a trained professional.
If you are in Sarasota or Bradenton, call GreenEdgeLawn & Ornamental at 941-756-9301
When choosing a palm for your landscape, the following considerations should be taken into account:
- Is the Palm being planted for a windbreak or a screen (clumping Palm)?
- Is the Palm being planted for a focal point?
- Does the planting spacing location lend itself to a large, medium, or small Palm?
- Are they overhead or below ground utilities nearby?
- Is the site very sunny or shady, a wind corridor or protected
- How cold is the site? What is the hardiness zone?
- Is the soil deep, fertile, and well drained, or is it shallow, compacted, and infertile?
- Does the Palm have large fruits or fronds that need to be removed regularly to reduce the possibility of injury or damage to property?
Most palms are grown in containers at nurseries, although larger specimens may be field grown. Choose a healthy Palm for the best results in your landscape. Always purchase from a reputable garden center or nursery.
A high quality Palm has a properly sized root ball for the species and trunk diameter. A trunk free of mechanical wounds is an important consideration when choosing a quality Palm. It is important that you inspect the Palm for wounds from incorrect pruning and that there is a uniform trunk diameter consistent with the species natural characteristics. If the trunk sections are of varying diameter, such as an hourglass or small diameter below the terminal bud (also known as penciling); these are important reasons not to purchase a palm with these inferior characteristics.
When planting palms it is important to tie the fronds and limit excessive movement of the Palm head to protect the terminal bud during transport and planting. Remove dead or dying fronds prior to planting. The planting all should be approximately 18 inches (46 cm) wider than the root ball to loosens surrounding soil. It is important to plant the Palm with the top of the root initiation zone about even with the soil surface. The original depth may have been too deep in the nursery. Backfill the planting hole with the original soil where possible.
Here is a list of suitable palms for the Manatee/Sarasota area:
Florida Thatch Palm (Thrinax radiata) Native to the Keys. Maximum height 30 ft. Fan-like leaves are 3 ft long and yellowish-green.
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) Native to the Keys. Dwarf palm with creeping stem 8 ft long; sometimes grows erect to height of 20 ft. Fan-shaped leaves are 4 ft across. Flowers are fragrant, small, white, and densely massed in elongated plume-like clusters. Fruit is black and oblong.
Florida Royal Palm (Roystonea elata) Native to Florida. Maximum height is 100 ft. Feather-shaped leaves are dark green and 15 ft long. Trunk is smooth, cylindrical, light gray, and topped by a sleek, green crownshaft. Flowers are whitish-yellow and hang in clusters; Fruit is dark purple.
Cuban Royal Palm (Roystonea regia) Not native. Maximum height is 70 ft. Feather-shaped leaves are dark green and 10 ft long. Trunk is similar to the Florida Royal Palm. The inflorescence is shorter and wider than the Florida Royal, and the fruit is oval.
Bismarck (Bismarckia nobilis) Not native. Maximum height 60 ft. One of the most beautiful and desirable fan palms in the Keys landscape, although it can appear out of scale with small houses. It is bold, formal, and massive.
Buccaneer Palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii) Native to the Keys. Maximum height 10 ft. One of the most durable palms for seaside planting. Growth is slow, and no two trees look alike.
Arikury Palm (Syagrus schizophylla) Not native. Maximum height 15 ft. Grows well in shade and indoors. Flower is white, and fruit is orange.
Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) Not native. Maximum height 30 ft. The name comes from the bushy appearance of the leaves. Commonly has problems with manganese and zinc deficiency.
Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto) Native to the Keys. Height to 40'. Used as a framing tree, in palm groupings, as a free-standing specimen, patio tree, or on roadside. Grows slowly and requires little maintenance after establishment. The native cabbage palm cannot be excelled. It is Florida’s state tree. Tolerant to different light conditions, salt, and alkaline soil.
Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor) Native to the Keys. Maximum height 6 ft. Good specimen plant in partial shade.
April 18, 2017 by Jennifer Kay - phys.org
Thousands of bacteria-infected mosquitoes were released in the wild Tuesday near Key West, testing a new way to kill mosquitoes that carry Zika and other viruses.
The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District released 20,000 male mosquitoes infected by the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate with naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria.
The offspring produced when the lab-bred mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes won't survive to adulthood. Male mosquitoes don't bite, and Wolbachia is not harmful to humans.
"The eggs never even hatch," said Stephen Dobson, MosquitoMate's founder.
April 18, 2017 by Jennifer Kay - Phys.org
The infected mosquitoes were flown in cardboard tubes—similar to ones used in paper towel rolls—from Lexington, Kentucky, to Key West on Tuesday morning. At the Stock Island test site, about 25 acres with residential and commercial properties just north of Key West, district staff released them by shaking or blowing into the tubes, said Andrea Leal, the district's executive director.
"They liked the humidity," Leal said. "They were very happy mosquitoes."
The trial is expected to last about three months, with twice-weekly releases. Seven Wolbachia-infected males should be released for every one wild male in the field to drive down the mosquito population, Dobson said.
Though normally thought of as turf and forage grass pests, mole crickets are omnivorous, feeding on animal as well as plant material.
Several studies have indicated that when provided with grass or collected from grass-dominated habitats, the southern mole cricket is less damaging than the tawny mole cricket.
The southern mole cricket feeds mostly on other insects, whereas tawny mole cricket is principally herbivorous (Matheny 1981, Matheny et al. 1981, Walker and Ngo 1982). The shortwinged mole cricket also damages grasses but due to its limited range the amount of damage generally is not great.
Both the tawny and southern mole crickets are associated with tomato and strawberry fields in Florida. Among other vegetable crops reported to be injured are beet, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrot, cauliflower, collard, eggplant, kale, lettuce, onion, pepper, potato, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, and turnip. Other plants injured include chufa, peanut, strawberries, sugar cane, tobacco, and such flowers as coleus, chrysanthemum, and gypsophila. Among the turf grasses, bahiagrass and Bermudagrass are commonly injured by tawny mole cricket, whereas St. Augustinegrass and Bermudagrass are favored by the shortwinged mole cricket. Mole crickets also feed on weeds such as pigweed,