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Palms are more than Ornamentals

Friday, May 11, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Many Floridians love palms because of their beauty and elegance, their capacity to grow fantastically in our South Florida climate and their ability to conjure images of island living. Some Floridians use the impressive royal palm for shade; others use the areca palm as a barrier; while many more plant the saw palmetto for its willingness to grow in any soil. For all of these reasons and more, palm trees make truly remarkable landscape ornamentals. But, there ...

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Hat-Rack Horrors

Friday, May 11, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald There is nothing more confounding for a horticulturist than to drive the suburban streets of South Florida and see the horrific tortures administered to the many trees that populate our landscape. Atrocious, awful, brutal, butchered and botched are some of the words that spring to mind when I see the pruning jobs that some homeowners allow their trees to receive. And that's only the first two letters of the alphabet. Trees are very special creatures and...

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Pruning in South Florida

Monday, May 7, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Pruning is done to control size or shape, to promote flower and fruit production, to remove unhealthy portions of a plant and to open trees up to make them less likely to fall or break apart during a storm. True pruning is an art which takes time and thought. Before you make your first cut, study the plant's natural shape and try to picture this plant in three to four years. Try to maintain that shape in your mind as you prune. This will help you to make...

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Proper Planting in South Florida

Monday, May 7, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald There are many questions when it comes to planting a new tree or shrub. How large should the hole be? Is it necessary to amend the soil or to add fertilizer? How often should a new planting be watered? What type of mulch should be used? The answers to these questions are simple and can generally be applied to most new plantings. Your first step in planting is to dig a hole for your plant. The hole should be dug just as deep and slightly wider than the ...

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Mango Season - Just Satisfying!

Monday, May 7, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald With mango season here, we are all thinking about that age-old question: how to deal with all those glorious, delicious-and ripe-mangos. There is the only one mainland area of the United States where this delicious and fragrant fruit can be properly grown. For years mangos have been of great value in South Florida, grown with pride in the garden - a fruit to eat when ripe and at all stages of growth. Fresh mangos are a privilege Floridians have....

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Right Plant, Right Place

Monday, May 7, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald As a horticulturist in a public garden I often hear, "I have this (insert plant name here) and it has (insert problem here), what should I do?" While it is true that there are likely corrective measures to be taken, perhaps pruning, pounds of fertilizer or ounces of pesticide will do the trick. The first step is taking time before planting to do some research and plan what will work best for your needs. There are a few very common mistakes that can...

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Grafting

Monday, May 7, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Grafting involves joining a piece of a mature tree (scion) to a seedling (rootstock). The scion will become the new trunk and branches of the tree and the rootstock will become the root system. Some trees, such as mangos, will produce roots using air-layers, but the roots will not be strong enough to maintain the tree. In those cases, grafting can be used successfully. The cambium is a key component in a successful graft as cambium layers from both the scion ...

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The American Persimmon

Monday, May 7, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald The American persimmon, Diospyros virginiana, is native from South Florida to New York and the central parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. In Florida, they grow wild in the fields, pinelands and moist woods across our state. South of Lake Okeechobee, it was the indigenous people who had the most success making use of the American persimmon for food throughout the swampy lowlands. Today, one can find remnant stands of American persimmon that ...

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Growing Plants from Cuttings

Monday, May 7, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Growing plants from cuttings is a method of plant propagation that produces new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant. This is desirable trait if you are trying to maintain a characteristic such as superior fruiting or flowering. Cuttings do not typically work with monocots such as grasses and palms, but will work with most dicots. Making cuttings involves removing a small portion of a mature plant to get it to root. May through September ...

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Summer Garden

Monday, May 7, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald The windows are all shut now; the air-conditioner doing its job again. The Spring time has arrived in South Florida. So, what is on tap for the home vegetable garden? One can go inside and vegetate for the entire summer season, or one can evolve and thrive. It is time to break out those unique South Florida vegetables and sit back and watch them flourish among the heat and humidity of the South Florida monsoon. There is still time to plant larger herb plants ...

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