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Tropical Fruits Make Summer Sweet

Fig. 1 Carambola fruit
Tropical Fruit can be a great addition to your diet and if home grown can assist with family food expenses. Tropical fruit can be grown in your own back yard. Choosing tropical fruit that produce in May and June include rose apple, banana, carambola, fig, guava, jackfruit, lychee, mango, papaya, passion fruit and pineapple. Choosing the right fruit tree, shrub or vine is dependent upon where in your home yard they will be growing. Characteristics of your yard as how much sun, shade, moisture you have will determine which tropical fruits will do best. Getting the best variety of the tropical fruits available is important, being sure to choose an improved variety that has been properly grown. For information on tropical fruits recommended for South Florida, see University of Florida publication ‘Dooryard Fruit Varieties’ or call the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer hotline 233-1750.

geraniumsPepper Variety Evaluation
March 2016

pdf Click to View


Trimming Your Hedges

Fig 1 Blue color form Native Palmetto
Trimming hedges properly is key to beautiful, full and healthy long-lived shrubs. The University of Florida recommends trimming shrubs while the new green growth is emerging.  The most common mistake people make when trimming a hedge is cutting the shrub into a sharply-edged box shape. It's important to trim a hedge so that the top is narrower than the bottom; this way, sunlight can reach all the plant's leaves. The bottom branches of "box-shaped" hedges usually thin out—and even die—from lack of sunlight. Hedges that have been improperly trimmed become top heavy with green growth, and leafless at their base which require rejuvenation pruning or replacement. Rejuvenate your shrubs by removing one-third of the plants old stems to the ground each year for three years.  For information on pruning to rejuvenate, call the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardener Volunteer Hotline at 233-1750 M-F 9-4

Zika Mosquito-Transmitted Virus

geraniumsThe Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted disease that is causing concern in Florida and around the world. Click below for frequently asked questions, risks of the virus, how to avoid it, and other information.

Click here for more information



Fragrant Plants
Chalice Vine in Flower Mounts Botanical
Garden parking lot 1/25/2016
My mother-in-law had a mantra, ‘take time to smell the roses’. It is a good thing, to be able to walk out into your backyard and smell fragrant flowers. Zone 10 most fragrant plants are unforgettable if you have them growing in and around your yard. I have enjoyed the scent of my neighbor’s night blooming jessamine(Cestrum nocturnum) and I personally grow the night blooming ‘Lady of the Night’(Brunsfelsia nitida). These night blooming shrubs bloom mostly spring and summer. The interesting variegated chalice vine(Solandra longflora) has a coconut-like fragrance to its 10 inch yellow flowers which begin to flower in late fall.  Frangrant during the day include our native Fiddlewood(Citharezylum fruiticosum) which produce very fragrant white flowers from spring through fall. Many cultivars of gardenias(Gardenia jasminoides) exist which offer considerable variation in plant size, flower form, and blooming time and duration. Popular gardenias include ‘Miami Supreme’, ‘Belmont’, ‘Frostproof’, ‘August Beauty’, and ‘Radicans’ These grafted gardenias are usually more vigorous and produce more and larger flowers than gardenia shrubs that are not grafted. For information on fragrant plants for your garden call the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardener Volunteer Hotline 233-1750 M-F 9-4.


“New! 2016 Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Revisions Information Web Page”

geraniumsThe Worker Protection Standard (WPS) applies to farm, forest, nursery and, greenhouse operations that produce agricultural plants. Revisions to the WPS, made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), were signed into law in 2016.  Farm, forest, nursery, and greenhouse operations must comply with most of these revisions beginning January 2, 2017.

Click to view all revisions



New! Sugar Cane Mosaic Virus on Floratam St. Augustinegrass

geraniumsResource and Information Website

Learn more about this serious new disease killing Floratam St. Augustinegrass lawns.





Palm Pruning Caution

Canary Island Date Palm

University of Florida research scientists are advising our landscape maintenance community to sterilize their pruning tools before and after they trim their Canary Island Date Palms-Phoenix canariensis to avoid spreading a deadly disease.
Dr. Monica Elliott, a plant pathology professor, published a study recently in the APS Journal of Plant Disease, June 2015 demonstrating that Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis, a pathogen that spreads fusarium wilt of Canary Island Date Palm, was discovered on a wild or Senegal date palm in Palm Beach County.
Some diseases, such as fusarium wilt of Canary Island date palm (, are known to be spread by pruning with infested tools. Tools used to prune infected palms will be covered with a residue containing fungal material. If this tool is then used to prune living leaves on a healthy palm, the fungus will be transferred in the process. When pruning these palms, tools should be soaked in a disinfectant solution for 5 minutes before using them on another palm. This is also a good reason not to prune off living older leaves to achieve the so-called "pineapple" effect on Canary Island date palms. Freshly cut living leaf bases release volatile chemicals that attract palm weevils, a serious insect pest of this palm ( Removing completely dead leaves and flower and fruit stalks from palms is never a problem.

Common products used to disinfect horticultural tools and surfaces:

Chlorine Bleach


Fumes can be harmful
Short life span of bleach solution (about ½ effect is gone after 2 hours), requires fresh batches immediately before disinfecting tools

10% bleach solution (1 part bleach : 9 parts water)
30-minute soak
Rinse with water after soak

Grocery and hardware stores and home-improvement centers

(Ethanol or Isopropyl Alcohol)

Immediately effective (no soaking)
Can be used as wipe
No need to rinse


Wipe or dip tool in 70 - 100% alcohol

Grocery stores and pharmacies


If you have a palm exhibiting problems call the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener hotline at 233-1750 M-F 9-4, or stop by the office 531 North Military Trail West Palm Beach with your palm frond sample.


geraniumsMillipede Invasion!

You may have noticed large numbers of millipedes seemingly invading homes and businesses this year. During this particular time of year the Palm Beach County Extension office receives many complaints about millipedes. Download the fact sheet to learn more about millipedes.

Download PDF pdf


geraniumsCattle Identification

The Cattle Identification Rule (Chapter 5C-31, Florida Administrative Code) has been published with an effective date of September 4, 2014. This rule is intended to improve our ability to respond to serious disease outbreaks and to help the industry maintain out-of-state markets.
Click here for more information.



Article Archives

Tips to Reduce and Repel Mosquitos
Cleaning Up Your Cold Damaged Plants
Attracting our Feathered Friends
Bee Cautious, Be Proactive
Cloning Your Fruit Trees
Cold Protection
Home Composting
Easy Houseplants
Edible Landscapes
Flooded Landscapes
Florida Friendly Irrigation Tips
Fragrant Plants
Garden Gifts
Ground Covers
Growing Bananas
Grow Your Own Backyard Veggies
Healthy Palm Pointers from the University of Florida
Herb Gardening in Southern Florida
Holiday Plant Care
Hurricanes Have Taught Us a Lesson
Gardening to Attract Hummingbirds
Non-Aggressive Rooted Trees
Patio Fruit Trees
Pineapple Growing in the Home Landscape
Selecting the Perfect Holiday Tree
Shade Your House, Save Money
Scary Spiders in Mounts Botanical Garden
Spring Flowering Vines
Spring Tree Maintenance
Summer Lovin’ Flowers
Summer Roses
Tomatoes in the Florida Garden
Trees With Benefits- Selecting a Small Tree for the Home Landscape
Tropical Flowering Bulbs for South Florida
Tropical Vegetables for the South Florida Garden
Why is it so important to plant native species?
Cactus and Succulent Container Gardens



Related Links


Contact Us


The Clayton E. Hutcheson Agricultural Services Center
559 North Military Trail
West Palm Beach
Florida 33415