“The 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™”

“The 9 Principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping™”

Photo: UF

“1. Right Plant, Right Place Achieving a healthy, low-maintenance home landscape starts with putting the right plant in the right place. Select plants that match a site’s soil, light, water, and climatic conditions.

2. Water Efficiently An efficient irrigation system conserves water and helps to ensure that fertilizer and other pollution doesn’t flow into water bodies.

3. Fertilize Appropriately Proper fertilization enhances growth, increases flowering or fruiting, corrects nutritional deficiencies, and enhances the plant’s appearance. Improper fertilization can damage plants and the environment.

4. Mulch Mulch helps retain soil moisture, protects plants, and inhibits weed growth. It gives your landscape a neat, uniform appearance and is a great Florida-Friendly choice for hard-to-mow areas and shady spots.

5. Attract Wildlife Select plants with seeds, fruit, foliage, flowers, or berries that provide food. Supply sources of water, such as a rain garden or bird bath.

6. Manage Yard Pests Responsibly To prevent disease and insect outbreaks, select pest-resistant plants and put them in suitable locations. When problems do arise, remove the affected leaves or plant parts, or pick the insects off by hand.

7. Recycle Yard Waste Decomposing organic matter releases nutrients back to the soil in a form that plants can easily use. Using yard waste for composting is a sustainable way of creating organic fertilizer.

8. Reduce Stormwater Runoff Fertilizers, pesticides, debris, and eroded soil carried in stormwater can wreak havoc on our water quality. Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ seeks to retain and use as much of the rainfall and irrigation water that lands on our home landscapes as possible.

9. Protect the Waterfront Florida boasts over 10,000 miles of rivers and streams, about 7,800 lakes, more than 700 freshwater springs, and the U.S.’s second-longest coastline.”

— IFAS Extention University of Florida

Get MORE Details on each of the principals at the Extension Service’s site

The Spiderwort blooming in Wakulla county

The Spiderwort blooming in Wakulla county

Photo: Les Harrison

“Spring is the season of flowers in Wakulla County and the other locations in Florida. While there are blooms during the year’s remaining seasons in the relatively moderate climate of Panhandle Florida, it is spring which displays the majority of the blossoms.

It is fitting that Juan Ponce de Leon named this state, albeit indirectly. He landed somewhere on the eastern seaboard of Florida after a quick hop from Puerto Rico after being removed as governor.

While sailing around to the Gulf of Mexico the conquistador named the territory La Florida in recognition of the prolific array of flowers. In 1513, the year of his first visit, there were only native species present.

Since then, a number of exotic plants have been introduced to sometimes better effect, and sometimes worse. A major expense for commercial agriculture and home landscapes is controlling undesirable alien plant species which were introduced as potential ornamentals…

Spiderworts are often seen along fence rows, in pastures and untended fields, and in forested areas. They bloom from late spring to early summer and usually grow in clumps or bunches of plants.

The plant clumps are easily separated and transplanted. Spiderwort has been used in ornamental horticulture as a showy, low-cost alternative for many years.

In the wild and landscape settings, they expand their presence slowly but persistently. Their distribution reflects the ability to proliferate…

To learn more about native plant in Wakulla County, contact your UF/IFAS Wakulla Extension Office at 850-926-3931 or http://wakulla.ifas.ufl.edu/. To read more stories by Les Harrison visit outdoorauthor.com and follow us on Facebook.”

— Les Harrison, Wakulla Chronicle

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Legal: “Is Tampa’s tree canopy shrinking because of a change in state law?”

Legal: “Is Tampa’s tree canopy shrinking because of a change in state law?”

Photo: Tampa Bay Times

“Tree advocates and builders reached what was called a historic compromise on protecting the city’s award-winning tree canopy in the spring of 2019. A week later, a new state law gutted much of Tampa’s and other local governments’ power to set rules about tree removals.

At the time, exasperated city officials and advocates raised concerns about the law’s provisions allowing grand trees to be cut down as long as a certified arborist or landscape architect signed off, cutting city inspectors out of the process. Some large-scale removals that summer ratcheted up their fears.

Nearly three years later the city hopes to figure out if those fears were justified.

Brian Knox, the city’s senior forester examiner, says an upcoming analysis of the city’s canopy is planned for release in 2022. A similar analysis in 2016 found 32 percent of the city covered by tree canopy.

And while the data isn’t in yet, Knox has a pretty good idea what it will say.

‘I expect we will see a decline in the canopy,’ Knox said.

It’s not just the state law, he said. Tampa’s hot development streak has also taken a toll as new houses or commercial developments often require the removal of mature shade trees. Although they’re often replaced with younger trees (developers can also pay into a city tree-planting fund as an alternative), it can often take at least a decade for the canopy to be replenished.

Still, the state’s preemption of the city’s tree code, in place since the early 1970s, has likely had an effect, Knox said. How much of one is hard to know since the law has no provision for a property owner to inform the city if trees are removed because they’re deemed dangerous to persons or property.

‘We really don’t have a way to monitor the information. We can’t really factor the trees that are removed in our decision making,’ Knox said. ‘That’s the part that makes it difficult.’

Taking her dog on daily walks through Davis Islands about six years ago first made Lorraine Parrino aware of the disappearing canopy in her neighborhood as mid-century homes were being replaced with much larger ones. She’s since become active in the Tampa Tree Advocacy Group or T-TAG.

Parrino says she has seen ample evidence of healthy trees being taken down. And she thinks not only the state law, but a city government that has streamlined permits and other development-related tasks are responsible.

‘Between one thing and another we’re losing a lot of trees,’ she said…”

— Charlie Frago, Tampa Bay Times

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“Arbor Day celebration smaller because of pandemic, but still meaningful”

“Arbor Day celebration smaller because of pandemic, but still meaningful”

Photo: Meghan McCarthy, Palm Beach Daily

“Putting on gray work gloves and yellow helmets, students from local elementary schools Thursday morning helped celebrate Florida Arbor Day by planting a kapok tree at Phipps Ocean Park in Palm Beach.

‘This is hard work. But it’s real good to plant a tree,’ said Ryder Lazzaro, a third-grader at Palm Beach Day Academy.

The 13-foot-tall seedling, planted just east of the Little Red Schoolhouse at the park south of Sloane’s Curve, could grow to more than 100 feet tall and live more than 200 years.

The fast-growing trees, like the one on Lake Trail on the grounds of the Royal Poinciana Chapel, are known for luxurious canopies and thick buttress roots.

The Garden Club of Palm Beach organized the annual event, which was smaller this year because of the pandemic, said Garden Club President Mary Pressly.

‘We’re hoping to inspire students to help their community. Planting trees and watching them grow may motivate them to go into fields like conservation and botany,’ said Pressly, who was among about 40 other town officials, club members and students who gathered under cloudy skies for the event.

While the national Arbor Day observance is in April, Florida and other states celebrate the day to reflect their best planting time…”

— Bill DiPaolo, Special to the Daily News

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“In honor of Sallye Garrigan Jude”

“In honor of Sallye Garrigan Jude”

Photo: Coral Gables Garden Club

“The Coral Gables Garden Club members voted unanimously to dedicate “Project Canopy” to our dear Life Member, Sallye Jude.

The City of Coral Gables honored the Coral Gables Garden Club and Sallye Jude for her environmental work by proclaiming September 22nd, 2020, Project Canopy Day. Sallye, who joined the garden club in 1983, has a long history of promoting environmental causes in South Florida. Sallye is a member of the Sierra Club, a Fellow at Fairchild Botanic Garden, a past Board member of the Fern and Exotic Plant Society, the South Florida Palm Society, and the Tropical Flowering Tree Society. Plus, she has been a major supporter of the Royal Poinciana Fiesta for many years, which celebrates our magnificent Royal Poinciana tree. Her love and interest in trees are well known throughout the South Florida and Coral Gables communities. It is with the deepest admiration that this project is dedicated to her.

She is our “Johnny Appleseed!”

— Coral Gables Garden Club

Visit the Coral Gables Garden Club to learn more about Sallye Jude

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Citizens for a Scenic Florida