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New! Sugar Cane Mosaic Virus on Floratam St. Augustinegrass
Resource and Information Website

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





Winter Gardening

Pink Geraniums at
Mounts Botanical Garden
There are very few places where you can garden in winter.  Here in South Florida, you can grow annual flowers now that you can cut and bring indoors. Bring a splash of flower color into your yard and into your home this winter, plant calendulas, carnations, geraniums, hollyhock and strawflowers this month . Garden centers offer various size annuals from cell packs to one gallon pots. Prepare the full sun landscape area with organic matter as peat moss or compost. Plant the annuals and apply a controlled release fertilizer.  Water annuals with a handheld hose or with a micro-irrigation system to allow water to be directed to the root system.  Overhead irrigation on the leaves and flowers can encourage disease. Pinch back spent flowers throughout the winter months to maintain prolific flowering. For more information on winter blooming annual flowers contact the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardener hotline M-F 9-4 call 233-1750.




Start Your Vegetable Garden Now

Summer sweet potatoes from the
Mounts Botanical Garden

While most of the country is finished summer vegetable gardening our vegetable gardening season is just beginning. Vegetable gardening allows you to enjoy cooler temperatures, sunshine, mental therapy, and of course, a supply of fresh veggies that are packed with nutrition. 
Choose a location near the house where the soil is well drained and receives 6 hours of sunshine and close to the water spigot. Plant on whatever soil type you have, but it is usually worthwhile to improve your garden soil with organic matter as compost or composted manures. Spade the plot at least three weeks before planting and smooth the soil at planting time. Draw up a plan of the vegetables you want to plant and always choose varieties recommended for South Florida in publication: available from the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service 531 North Military Trail West Palm or call the  Master Gardener Hotline 233-1750. This planting guide will give you information on vegetable varieties suited to our climate, including whether you need to plant seed or transplants, planting distances and depths, best time to plant, days to harvest and expected yields.  Mulch vegetable plants with pine straw to help keep plants moist, weed and disease free. Fertilize with organic or inorganic fertilizers per the manufactures recommendations to keep plants growing vigorously. Scout the garden twice per week for pest and disease problems. Learn to recognize beneficial insects as praying mantis and lady beetle larvae these good insects prey on vegetable pest insects. Don’t forget to weed in and around the vegetable garden. Record notes on pest problems and performance of the different vegetables, this information will be invaluable for your next fall and winter vegetable season installation.


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.


Millipede 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

Tips to Reduce and Repel Mosquitos

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of certain products containing active ingredients which have been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use asrepellents applied to skin and clothing. EPA registration of repellent active ingredients indicates the materials have been reviewed and approved for efficacy and human safety when applied according to the instructions on the label.

CDC evaluation of information contained in peer-reviewed scientific literature and data available from EPA has identified several EPA registered products that provide repellent activity sufficient to help people avoid the bites ofdisease carrying mosquitoes. Products containing these active ingredients typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection:

DEET (Chemical Name: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,Ndiethyl-3-methyl-benzamide)

Picaridin (KBR 3023, Chemical Name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester )

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus* or PMD (Chemical Name: para-Menthane-3,8-diol) the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus

IR3535 (Chemical Name: 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)

Continue reading


Source: Florida Resident's Guide to Mosquito Control, University of Florida EDIS

Sugarcane Mosaic Virus on St. Augustine grass in Palm Beach County

Download PDF pdf

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.

Every drop of water that exits your landscape eventually moves on, and may take with it residues resulting from landscaping practices. Water that runs off of your property makes its way to our ground and surface waters, including the Lake Worth Lagoon, the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean. Click here to view our newest brochure, Protect Palm Beach County’s Water and Environment, which explains how you can use Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles to achieve a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape while protecting and preserving our precious environment, ground, and surface waters.

Join the Revolution of Responsibility

Article Archives

Cleaning UpYour 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



Hurricane Preparedness


2015 Hurricane Tips & Survival



Contact Us


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

Ask a Master Gardener