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The Red Mulberry: A Bird Attracting Plant for South Florida

Monday, May 7, 2012

As Published in the Miami Herald Red mulberry (Morus rubra), a native of South Florida, has found its way to New York and the central parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. In Florida the red mulberry grows wild in dry fields, pinelands and moist woods, where they can form a thicket of rapid-growing trees. The mulberry grows well in South Florida and needs little care. It hybridizes frequently with white mulberry but it does not usually have a long life, as it will be damaged by ...

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What to Do in Your Yard After a Hurricane Hits

Friday, May 4, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the fiercest storms doing their damage from August to October. Hurricanes are powerful storms that very often cause incredible damage to trees and landscapes. If a storm occurs, you may feel helpless, but there are steps you can take in your yard after a storm hits to minimize the damage that has been done. Repairing downed and damaged trees is your first concern. Trees that have been uprooted and ...

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The Magic of Mulch

Friday, May 4, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Mulch is magic. Mulch turns stone to soil, protects your plants from the dangers of the string-trimmer, adds a much needed organic component to your soil and helps keep unwanted weeds from popping up. Turning stone to soil sounds a little too good to be true, and perhaps it is, but mulch can alter your soil profile from pure limestone to something a bit more organic and beneficial for your plants.South Florida's main type of "soil" is Miami...

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Preparing Your Yard for a Storm

Friday, May 4, 2012

A pitfall to living in South Florida this time of year is the ever present threat of hurricanes. Designing a completely hurricane-proof yard is impossible, but the decisions you make before and after you plant can help your yard survive the fiercest of storms. Hurricanes can be very destructive and have the power to uproot many plants, includint this bamboo. Hurricanes can alter landscapes in an instant, but there are ways you can prepare your garden before a storm appears. When you are ...

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The Natal Plum

Friday, May 4, 2012

How would you like to have a beautiful, low-maintenance hedge that produces delicious fruit year-round growing in your landscape? The Natal plum is just such a plant and its dense foliage and thorns make it an effective barrier or security hedge. Add on the deliciously fragrant blossoms and deep green hue of the leaves and it's hard to think of a better shrub for the tropical garden. Natal plum is native to the Natal Province of South Africa and was a popular landscape tree in South ...

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South Florida Soils

Friday, May 4, 2012

South Florida soil is one of the key factors in making our area of the world unique.South Florida soil consists of rock, sand, marl and muck. The rock is known as Miami limestone, which is an alkaline calcium carbonate. It is not coral rock as some believe. Miami Limestone is high in pH (7.8-8.1), does not retain water or nutrients well and makes growing many plants a challenge. Our type of limestone is very young geologically and is found only one other place in the world (Bahamas). Marl ...

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Growing Coffee Plants in South Florida

Friday, May 4, 2012

Coffee (Coffea arabica) is native to central Ethiopia and is grown commercially in more 80 countries. It is one of the major horticultural crops traded throughout the world. Coffee also makes an attractive evergreen tree for South Florida with dark, glossy leaves and shiny red berries. If you're one of those people who can't live without your cup of coffee in the morning and you are up for a "green" challenge, then consider growing and producing your own cup of joe. Growing coffee...

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Plant Native Palms

Friday, May 4, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald When people think of South Florida landscapes, their minds immediately conjure images of palm tree lined roads along a tropical South Beach. Luscious, deep green palm leaves sway with no signs of cold or drought damage. No pests, no fertilizers, no problems. Maybe you've tried countless times to recreate this scene in your own backyard. You've struggled with a handful of exotic palms but you keep running into the same persistent problems with pests,...

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Home Composting

Friday, May 4, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald Composting converts kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrients that can be used to naturally fertilize small areas of your garden, such as vegetable gardens or specific plants that need additional care. Compost is an excellent alternative to synthetic fertilizers and is a natural way to fertilize your garden. Compost is a rich, organic source of nutrients for your garden. In nature, fallen twigs and leaves are converted into nutrients with the help of ...

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Edible Gardening

Friday, April 20, 2012

As published in the Miami Herald One year ago, I attended the Edible Garden Festival at Fairchild with my then nine year old daughter, Samantha. Before we visited the festival, Sam went online to see if there were any lectures she would be interested in. She wrote down several talks in her fourth grade scrawl, including everything from creating your own vegetable garden to composting with worms. I attended several lectures independent of my daughter and was inspired by each speaker to not ...

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