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Sooty Mold Takes Hold on South Florida

Thursday, September 20, 2012

As Published in the Miami Herald There is a black plague spreading across South Florida. Plant leaves, automobiles, pool decks, sidewalks and anything else that has the unfortunate lot to be under infected trees are all turning sticky and black. The cause of this black mess is a fungus called sooty mold. Sooty mold can't be controlled through simple fungicide spraying, because its real cause is insects. When insects such as aphids, scale or whitefly feed on plants, they drip a sweet...

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Never Mind the Heat, Summer is the Best Time to Garden

Monday, August 6, 2012

As Published in the Miami Herald It's not the heat, it's the humidity - a common lament of South Floridians who complain that walking from the office to the car may result in an involuntary five-minute sauna. The heat can be brutal this time of year, but when compared with the triple-digit temperatures of many other parts of the United States, I will take our wet, humid summers to their record-setting drought, oven-set-to-broil temperatures every time. While others may find...

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Helping Your Garden Look Its Best

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

As Published in the Miami Herald Summer in South Florida means an explosion of growth in our gardens caused by high humidity, warm temperatures and abundant rains. Plants thrive this time of year and use the rains and warm weather to produce most of their growth for the year. Because this is such a good time for growth, here are several actions you can take in your garden to make sure it is getting what it needs. Fertilize Because plants are growing so rapidly during the summer, they may ...

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Many Choices Now for Your Back Yard Mango Tree

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

 South Florida is one of the few mainland areas of the United States in which the delicious and fragrant mango can be properly grown. For years they have been of great value in South Florida. Grown with pride in the garden, they are eaten as fruit when ripe and as a vegetable when green. Nothing compares to the delicacy of a fresh Cogshall or Rosigold mango harvested directly from the tree. Today we are privileged to have mango varieties with superior ...

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Three Tricks to Growing Healthy Cycads

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

As Published in the Miami Herald Cycads are among the oldest plants on earth, often called "living fossils." Living in almost any condition, these plants are extremely hardy. If they were tough enough to survive the conditions that ended the dinosaur dynasty, they can live through almost anything. Yet today, habitat destruction threatens the survival of these sturdy plants. Despite their toughness, many cycad collections are suffering in cultivation. Incorrect gardening habits foster...

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The Rules are Different Here

Thursday, June 14, 2012

As Published in the Miami Herald If you are a transplant from the north or simply a new gardener, you will quickly find out that the rules of growing plants in South Florida are different from just about everywhere else. There are four main factors that separate us from the rest of the plant growing world and also make growing things somewhat difficult: our soil, the threat of hurricanes, our climate and a plethora of pests. Soils To help combat our rocky soils, choose well adapted plants ...

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Paradise Found

Thursday, June 14, 2012

As Published in the Miami Herald What if you walked out of your back door and into paradise? What if you were surrounded by stately palms, delicious colors, extraordinary textures and striking shapes? Imagine your backyard as more than just a space - picture Eden without the apples. Creating your own slice of tropical heaven is an attainable goal in South Florida. Our unique location makes it possible to grow countless varieties of beautiful yet durable flora. It's a matter of...

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Biggest Palm Myths Debunked

Thursday, June 14, 2012

As Published in the Miami Herald Palm trees are one of the most beloved landscape ornamentals in South Florida and are a relatively simple plant to grow in your yard. Despite the popularity and ease of growing palms, most homeowners know only scant truths about the palms residing in their backyards. Palm myths have run rampant and are becoming more widely accepted than the facts. For an ornamental that is so dear to our hearts and vital to our landscape, it is a shame that they are...

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Leave the Green: How to Prune Palms Properly

Friday, May 11, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald As a palm lover, my favorite sight is a palm tree crown with a perfect circle of green leaves. The crown is full, strong, healthy and, my favorite, happy. In the wild, palms are not trimmed by man. Instead, they are allowed to keep their old leaves and shed them with time. While a full crown brings a smile to my face, palms missing many of their leaves make me grimace. We have the power to maintain our palms in our yards however we choose. Sometimes, ...

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Loofah: Grow Your Own Sponges

Friday, May 11, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald You may know the loofah as a bath sponge, but did you know it can be grown in South Florida? The fibers of the dried loofah fruit stiffen and hold together to form nature's perfect sponge, which is used to gently exfoliate your skin. Immature fruit can be cooked and eaten as squash or substituted for cucumber in salads. The species most adapted to South Florida are Luffa cylindrica and Luffa aegyptiaca. Both species have oblong fruits and are beautiful ...

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