Central Florida Landscapes ENEWS

Holiday Edition 2016-17

In This Issue...
Winter 2017 Ornamental & Turf Pest Management Workshop
After a Sour Decade, Florida Citrus May Be Near a Comeback
Air Potato Leaf Beetle
Should a Red Maple be Planted Here?
Upcoming Events...
Winter 2017 Ornamental & Turf Pest Management Workshop
January 28, 2017

Mark your calendars now for the  Winter 2017 Ornamental & Turf Pest Management Workshop on  January 28, 2017 from 8:00am-12:10pm at the UF/IFAS Extension Orange County. This year's topics include Turf Cultural Practices and Their Influence on Stress, Reading a Pesticide Label, Nematode Management Update, and the always popular IPM Jeopardy! Thanks to SiteOne Landscape Supply's generous sponsorship, this class offers FREE CEUs!!     

After a Sour Decade, Florida Citrus May Be Near a Comeback

After 11 years of fighting a debilitating disease, Florida's citrus industry is in a sad state. The disease, citrus greening, is caused by a bacterium that constricts a tree's vascular system, shriveling fruit and eventually killing the tree. The bacterium is spread by a tiny insect called a psyllid. Florida's signature orange crop is now less than a third of what it was 20 years ago because of this disease. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture says this year's orange crop is expected to be the smallest in more than 50 years.

But, at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, researchers are now optimistic they'll win the battle to save Florida oranges, thanks in part to recent advances in developing tougher varieties of citrus.

Fred Gmitter, a horticulture scientist, has worked for 30 years developing new varieties for citrus farmers. At one of the Center's research groves, many trees are clearly diseased - with bare branches, stunted growth, and yellowing leaves. "But look up ahead there on the right," Gmitter says. He points to one tree that stands out. Unlike the others, it's full of fruit and looks healthy.

Arnold Schumann's research is in a large screened enclosure that's filled with row upon row of orange and grapefruit trees growing in pots, with water and nutrients delivered to the plants through an elaborate system of pipes. The trees in this one acre grove are two years old and already producing fruit. Most importantly, they're all healthy. Schumann says the screened enclosure has shown growers a simple and effective way to protect citrus trees from greening. "It's been a hundred percent successful so far of excluding the psyllid and the disease," he says. "We expect it to be a long-term protection system that works."

There's more! Read the full story here.
Air Potato Leaf Beetle
Invasive exotic plants hurt ecosystems by displacing native plants and animals. Many, such as air potato, have been introduced as landscape plants and have gotten out of control. Air potato ( Dioscorea bulbifera) is a vigorously twining vine that grows from an underground tuber. The stems can rapidly grow to 60 feet in length. The plant forms hundreds of bulbils that look like potatoes (hence the common name) that drop to the ground and sprout more plants.

Photo by Diane Sappington
While many people know about the invasive air potato vine, few are aware of air potato leaf beetles. Native to Asia, these beetles feed and develop only on air potato plants, posing no risk to other plant species. Air potato leaf beetles are fairly large, about three-eighths of an inch long, and the mature beetles are an orange-red color. In 2012, air potato leaf beetles were released in Florida as a potential biological control of the aggressive air potato vine.
Female beetles lay eggs on the undersides of young air potato leaves. This egg laying process deforms the expanding air potato leaves and causes the leaves to curl and cup.  Additionally, larvae feed on and skeletonize plant leaves from the underside. While the larvae prefer the younger, tender leaves, they will consume older leaves. Larvae are also able to feed on the aerial bulbils of the air potato plants.

The plant-specific feeding of this beetle was tested and verified by scientists at the USDA/ARS Invasive Plant Research Laboratory in Fort Lauderdale. Within three months of their release, extensive damage to air potato plants was observed at the initial release sites. While the long-term impact of these beetles has not been determined, the initial results of their release are promising.

Find more information here.
Should a Red Maple be Planted Here?
by Sheila Dunning , UF/IFAS Extension Okaloosa County
Red Maple is a frequently planted urban tree. It is best known for its brilliant deep scarlet foliage in autumn and is often planted into a wide range of site conditions. However, the tree health and appearance decreases when trees have more impervious surfaces around them.
North Carolina State University research has developed the impervious surface threshold that can be used to identify planting sites where Red Maple will thrive. Landscape architects, urban planners, arborists, landscapers, and other professionals can use these impervious surface thresholds to reduce Red Maple management and replacement costs.
Trees surrounded by less than 33% impervious surface cover will most likely be in good or excellent condition. Trees surrounded by 33%-66% are likely to be in fair condition. Trees surrounded by 67% or more tend to be in poor condition. Impervious surface cover can be measured by using the "Pace to Plant" technique.
The "Pace to Plant" technique is a tool to quickly and accurately quantify the amount of impervious surface surrounding a tree or planting site. Begin by standing at the planting site and identify the closest impervious surface edge. Take 25 steps at 45°   to the nearest impervious edge, counting only the steps that land on the impervious surface. Then, return to the identified planting site and begin walking 25 steps in the opposite direction. Again, only count the steps that fall onto impervious surface. If you encounter a building or wall, count the remainder of the steps as impervious. One more time, return to the starting planting site. This time turn 90° and begin walking 25 steps and count the steps that fall onto impervious surface. Finally, turn around and go back to the planting site and begin walking in the opposite direction for 25 steps. This will be the fourth time that steps falling onto the impervious surface are counted. Having walked in four directions located 90° from each other, completing an "X" through the planting site, the transect is final with a total of 100 steps have been taken. By totaling the number of steps that fall onto impervious surfaces the percentage of the surrounding ground area can be determined. For example, if the total number of steps falling on impervious surface is 65 (out of the potentially 100 steps), the percentage of impervious surface is 65%. Using the established criteria, the site would not be suitable for planting a Red Maple.
While North Carolina State has only researched the Red Maple tree species, the "Pace to Plant" technique could be used to determine suitable sites for many different trees being considered for commercial urban planting.
By evaluating the impervious surface restrictions, better tree species selection may be possible. If the right tree for the right place is chosen well, stress to urban trees, including pest infestations, can be reduced.
Read the full research report here.
Upcoming Events 
Check out our NEW & IMPROVED website, http://orange.ifas.ufl.edu/cflandscapes.
2017 Central Florida Pesticide Training & Testing Schedule -   Click here
First Thursday of every month at 8:30am - Commercial Pesticide Applicator License Testing at the UF/IFAS Extension Orange County. 8:30am-12:30pm. Pre-registration required. Must bring a valid picture ID and voucher. 
Obtain a voucher and register at: http://pesticideexam.ifas.ufl.edu

January 5 - Review & Exams Limited Certification Pesticide Applicator Licenses at UF/IFAS Extension Seminole County, Sanford. 8:00am-4:00pm. CEUs Available!
Registration: Click here

January 23 - Worker Protection Standards Train the Trainer at the UF/IFAS Extension Lake County. 10:00am-3:00pm. 
Registration: Click here
January 31 - Review & Exams Ornamental/Turf & Private Ag Applicator at the UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell. 8:00am-4:00pm. CEUs Available!
Registration: 352-689-4671
February 21, March 21, and April 11, 2017 - Landscape U - Diagnosing Problems at the UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Orlando. 8:00am-12:00pm. Take one or take them all! CEUs Available!
Registration: Click here 

UF/IFAS Extension Orange County Classes & Events


Do you want to find out what other kinds of classes the UF/IFAS Extension Orange County has to offer? Click the logo below to see class schedules and up-to-date information on horticulture, agriculture, family & consumer sciences and 4-H.  Visit us to find Solutions for Your Life!


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  Until Next Time,
Celeste 2012 
Celeste White
Commercial Landscape Management
UF/IFAS  Extension  Orange County 
6021 S. Conway Rd
Orlando, FL 32812
Phn: 407-254-9210
Fax: 407-850-5125
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