It was the Romans who introduced espalier—the practice of training trees to grow along a flat support such as a wall or fence. Today’s homeowners can easily adopt this growing technique, which results in trees that look like art and require little space.
Working outside in Florida winter weather is generally delightful. Gardeners who take a few simple safety precautions can enjoy work days throughout the winter without injury or accident. It comes down to protective clothing, proper lifting, awareness, and respecting machinery and wildlife.
Mistletoe, the stuff of legend and tradition, grows in two varieties: dwarf mistletoe, found in the western United States, and leafy mistletoe, found in the southwest and Florida. While leafy mistletoe is not as deadly as its western counterpart, it can severely impact a tree’s health and vigor.
Some areas of Florida experience freezing temperatures during the winter. This can kill or damage tropical or temperate plants. Bring potted plants inside or group them together outside against a wall. Cover cold-sensitive plants and shrubs with sheets or garden blankets.
Knowing a property’s soil type and its pH level enables landscape companies and gardeners alike to install plants that thrive in those soil conditions. Soils can be amended to improve their nutrient value and their ability to hold water, as well as to adjust their pH levels.
Sooty black mold on shrubs and trees indicates the presence of sap-sucking pests such as aphids or scales. These pests excrete honeydew—a substance on which sooty mold grows. Prevent black mold by eradicating sap-sucking pests. There are a variety of natural controls you can implement.
Spanish moss grows throughout Florida and the southeast United States. Contrary to common belief, it does not harm trees and generally does not need to be removed. It provides cover for insects and small animals and today is used mostly for mulch and craft materials.
Florida turf grasses must be relatively robust and able to tolerate high temperatures and high humidity. In coastal locations, turf grasses must also tolerate salt air and, often, salt water irrigation. Grasses that meet these demanding requirements include Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bahia, Centipede and Seashore Paspalum.
Homeowners should select wind-resistant trees for their landscapes. After a storm has passed, assessing tree damage quickly is important. Homeowners must decide which trees will benefit from restorative pruning, which trees can be righted and re-planted, and which trees must be removed.