Title: Environmental horticulture news
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089447/00004
 Material Information
Title: Environmental horticulture news
Series Title: Environmental horticulture news
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Environmental Horticulture Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publisher: Environmental Horticulture Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Spring 2003
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Bibliographic ID: UF00089447
Volume ID: VID00004
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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E ny iron men tal

Spring 2003 Vol. 9 No. 1

Horticulture NEWS

The Bulletin of the Environmental Horticulture

Department at the University of Florida

Message from the Chairman
Terril A. Nell
As I visit with members of the
industry and alumni and attend
various industry meetings and trade
shows, I am often asked- "what is
new at the University of Florida and
in Environmental Horticulture?" Our
department and UF/IFAS are
changing to adapt to the current
economic challenge and a state that
is rapidly urbanizing. Florida has many new needs that can
only be met through sound scientific research and the
addition of "society-ready graduates." Likewise,
environmental horticulture and turfgrass businesses are
adapting to new markets, new regulations and a challenging
business environment. Change is everywhere especially in
Environmental Horticulture! Allow me to elaborate!

Our turfgrass, landscape, annual/perennial and
arboriculture research is moving to a recently developed
unit south of Gainesville.
In three years, turfgrass research at Ft. Lauderdale is
relocating to the Research and Education Center(REC) at
Thanks to a generous donation from United Greenhouse
Systems, we are building a "state-of-the-art" teaching
greenhouse in Gainesville.
The Florida Nursery and Growers Association (FNGA) -
Dade Chapter, individual industry representatives and the
National Foliage Foundation (NFF) have funded a teaching
greenhouse at the Tropical REC at Homestead.
We have recently hired a plant breeder for caladiums and
gerberas at the Gulf Coast REC at Bradenton and a
landscape horticulture teaching/research faculty for our
newest teaching program on the Plant City campus of
Hillsborough Community College.
We will add teaching faculty at our Milton and Gainesville
campuses and a researcher in woody ornamental plant
production at Quincy this year.

However, the biggest change is the addition of newly
renovated office and laboratory facilities and future
conference center at Mehrhof Hall, former home of Poultry
Science. This ample facility enables us to expand our rapidly
growing research, teaching and extension programs in
landscape horticulture, arboriculture, consumer horticulture
and landscape ecology.
These statewide changes are strengthening our programs.
As always, growth would be impossible without continued
funding from the industries we serve, state and federal
agencies and the UF/IFAS administration. We all appreciate
and value this support! Remember, change is good!

"We Start Growing Our Scientists Early"
in Environmental Horticulture!
Christopher Hamilton, son of Becky Hamilton, a Senior
Biological Scientist in the Environmental Horticulture Depart-
ment, studied the effect of shipping on coleus cutting quality
with the help of horticulture professor Dr. Everett Emino for his
award-winning 7th grade science project. He first determined
the effect of stored
carbohydrates on
rooting followed by
the effect on rooting
of reduced photosyn-
thetic capacity. He
then placed cuttings
under simulated
shipping conditions
(darkness at 22C) for
up to seven days. He
concluded that
coleus cuttings
decrease in quality -* ,,.
as stored food *
reserves are used
S ea hos Christopher Hamilton prepares an experiment
and leaf photosyn- with Coleus cuttings for his award-winning
thetic capacity is science fair project
lost due to chloro-
phyll degradation in simulated shipping. The science fair
project won first place at St. Patrick's Catholic School. After
the science fair was concluded, Chris prepared the work for
presentation at the Florida State Horticultural Society annual
meeting in June in Marco Island. The paper based on the
project, entitled "The influence of cutting size, leaf area and
shipping on Coleus cutting quality parameters including root-
ing" and authored by C.J. Hamilton, E.R. Emino and C.A.
Bartuska will appear in the next issue of Proceedings of the
Florida State Horticultural Society.

In This Issue:
Message from the Chairman ..................................... 1
Growing our Scientists Early....................................... 1
Research Highlights ............................ .................... 2
Restoring Florida Native Landscapes ........................ 2
Studying Invasive Exotics ....................................... 3
2002 Poinsettia Field Days ...................................... 3
Alumni News ......................................... ............ 4
Education Corner.................................................... 4
Student News ................................ ................... 5
Student Honors and Scholarships ................................. 6
Faculty Focus ............................ ......... ......... 6
Dr. Bob's Gardening Tips ........................................ 7
Dr. Robert J. Black Retires ....................................... 7
Growing a Happy, Healthy Lawn.................................. 8

m m I m A m


Novel Approaches To Restore,
Enhancce and Conserve Florida
Native Landscapes

Dr. Mike Kane

Florida's Fragile Environment
One typically envisions environmental
horticulture as involving the produc-
tion, planting and maintenance of orna-
mental plants. Since 1985, Professor
Mike Kane, his Biological Scientist
Nancy Philman, and numerous graduate
students have broadened this to include
the selection and production of native
plants to preserve, protect and restore
Florida's native wetland and coastal
landscapes. You might ask: Why is this
important? Dr. Kane believes that
Florida's wetland and coastal environ-
ments are of critical importance to the
ecological and economic well being of
the state. Although now recognized as
being important for maintaining water
quality, recharging groundwater, provid-
ing unique wildlife habitats and storing
floodwaters, more than 90% of Florida's
wetlands have been either destroyed or
negatively impacted. Florida's beach and
coastal dune systems are also of signifi-
cant economic and ecologic impor-
tance. Beach-related tourism contrib-
utes about $15 billion to the state
economy each year. 75% of Florida's
population resides in the 35 coastal
counties. Besides providing unique
wildlife habitat, Florida's coastal dune
system also serves as a natural defense
system against erosion from hurricanes
and human activity. As of 1998, about
350 of Florida's 800 miles of sandy
beaches were in a critical state of
erosion. This condition has increased

the risk of catastrophic economic damage
following storm events.
The "Growing" Dilemma
Selection and planting native plant
species is a major task in most landscape
restoration projects. Federal and State
agencies require rehabilitation or mitiga-
tion (replacement) of degraded or de-
stroyed wetlands through extensive plant-
ing of native herbaceous and woody wet-
land species. Similarly, beach re-nourish-
ment, followed by planting of native
dune species, especially sea oats (Uniola
paniculata), has proven to be the most
cost-effective practice to stabilize and
build dunes. The market for native plants
useful in habitat restoration has stimu-
lated a rapid development of the native
plant nursery industry. Native plants used
for landscape restoration are obtained from
several sources: 1) bare-root transplants
collected from natural populations; 2)
seeds and vegetative propagules in mulch
or peat from wetland donor sites; or 3)
nursery-grown seedlings or vegetatively
propagated plants. Collection of bare-root
transplants from donor sites has led to
overcollection in and subsequent damage
to some areas. Increased restrictions on
field collection, including seed, have
prompted efforts to develop more efficient
nursery production practices for native
plant production.


The shift from field collection to nurs-
ery propagated plants raises additional
concerns about the maintenance of ge-
netic diversity and potential negative
results following introduction of plants
ecotypes physiologically "mismatched" to
specific site conditions. Some regulatory
agencies have attempted to set unenforce-
able guidelines that restrict collection of
either bareroot transplants or propagules
for nursery production to local plants
within a limited radius from a planting site.
Kane believes that this policy is ecologically
sound in principle. However, he relates
that the relationship between geographical
origin of source materials, ecotypic varia-
tion and relevance to successful land-
scape creation or restoration is unknown.
The lack of knowledge has prevented a
more scientific-based approach to
decisionmaking about the use of translo-

Nancy Philman evaluates growth of wetland
plant ecotypes under nursery
conditions in Gainesville.

DNA fingerprinting techniques are used
to determine genetic diversity of
plant populations.

-- r

Micropropagated sea oats genotypes are
evaluated at St. George Island State Park.

Wetland plants are multiplied using
micropropagation techniques.

Successful establishment of
tissue cultured wetland plants.

cated plant materials in habitat restora-
tion/enhancement. Generating this infor-
mation has been a goal of Dr. Kane's
research. To accomplish this, use of plant
micropropagation technology and DNA
fingerprinting are coupled to nursery and
field evaluation. In recent years, this
approach has been extended to threat-
ened and endangered Florida natives,
including woody species and orchids. His
lab has worked in cooperation with native
plant nurseries such as Horticultural
Systems, Inc. in Parish, Florida.
Dr. Kane believes that the commercial
micropropagation of native plants used
for habitat restoration provides an alter-
native to field collecting vegetative ma-
terial, and this could facilitate selection,
rapid production, and storage of many
native plant ecotypes that are genetically
adapted to specific habitat conditions.
"When one thinks of micropropagation,"
Kane states, "the thought of clones im-
mediately comes to mind. From an eco-
logical standpoint, we do not support the
planting of single clones; rather, the best
alternative consists of a composite of
many micropropagated genotypes from a
local area. The survival and excellent
growth performance of micropropagated
Florida wetland plant ecotypes in both
the nursery and the field have been ex-
tremely promising. However, our re-
search with wetland species collected
from distant populations as far away as
wetland Rhode Island and grown under Florida
Conditions tells us that there are definite
limitations. Our genetic studies with sea
oats demonstrate significant differences
in population structure and genetic diver-
sity within and between Atlantic and Gulf
coast populations. The field growth
performance of micropropagated sea oats
genotypes indicate that these genetic
differences are expressed by marked
differences in growth, morphology and
flowering. We still need to better under-
stand what these differences mean from
an ecological standpoint. It is gratifying
to that commercial micropropagation labs
and nurseries are beginning to use the
protocols that we have developed."

Seed propagation of endangered
Florida native plant Ziziphus celata.

a, 'LU
During his trip to Russia's Komi Republic,
Bijan Dehgan visited natural areas to look
for samples of unusual plants. Here he is
pictured with a rare edible forest mushroom.

Dr. Bijan Dehgan, a professor in
Environmental Horticulture, was awarded
a USDA TSTAR grant in 2001 to study
invasive exotic species in the Caribbean
Basin, including Florida. One area of his
research focuses on Lantana camera,
which appears to be overwhelming the
native Lantana species. It has already
extensively hybridized with and almost
eliminated L. depress, a Florida
species. Dr. Dehgan traveled to Jamaica
in August to collect germplasm for DNA
and other studies in order to understand
why the weedy invasive L. camera is so
successful. He also wants to find out
which of the many cultivated varieties
produced in Florida are sterile in order to
recommend only those varieties be grown
by nurserymen. In spite of the fact that
Lantana camera is so weedy, its sales in
Florida nurseries still amount to $7.5
million per year, a fact that distinguishes
it from the other major Florida pest

plants that are not sold, such as
Melaleuca, Australian Pine and Brazilian
Pepper, among others.
Dr. Dehgan also traveled to Russia's
Komi Republic to Syktyvkar State Univer-
sity in September to present his work at a
international conference. The Russian
scientists were interested in his method-
ology for studying and controlling exotic
pests as a model for their own work with
invasive species.
Lantana camera is well known as one of
ten most invasive weeds in the world.
We know it has been in Florida for a very
long time, thanks to William Bartram, the
noted American naturalist who traveled
North Florida between 1773 and 1776.
He gave a full description of it occurring
in the islands of Lake George and the Isle
of Palms (all near Jacksonville) in his
1791 work "Travels Through North and
South Carolina, Georgia, East and West
Dr. Dehgan was also recently awarded
the Environmental Horticulture Club's
Professor of the Year Award.

The most common form of the extremely
invasive Lantana camera.

On December 10th t 12th 2002, the UF/IFAS EH Department's floriculture team
hosted the National Poinsettia Variety Trial. This annual event is sponsored by
international poinsettia breeding and production firms and attracted over 600
industry specialists and consumers from as far away as Europe, who came to see the
latest introductions of this popular holiday crop.
The industry field day focuses on issues for poinsettia
growers, breeders and researchers. This day details
commercial production methods for new varieties
and summaries of research conducted by UF on plant
growth regulators, crop scheduling and post-harvest
Attendees of the public field day enjoy the wealth
of color on display, sample the latest trends in poinsettias,
and mob plants offered for sale by the EH Student Club.
Information from the most detailed consumer evaluation in the country of the 100+
varieties on display help commercial growers and breeders select future varieties.
Some of the new poinsettias on display included: 'Carousel Pink', 'Enduring Pink',
'Chianti', 'Christmas Wish' and 'Sonora White Glitter'.

Biian Dehaan Studies Pest Plants

D Carl Loop (BS) was featured in
Impact Summer 2002 for his influence on
the agricultural industry, state wide,
nationally and internationally.

O Mark R. Wilson (MAg) was fea-
tured in Grower Talks December 2002
with his article Fine-Tune Your Produc-
tion Schedule for Angelonia. Wilson is
technical manager for Ball FloraPlant,
West Chicago, Illinois.

:.Tom Wichman (BS) was presented
with the National Association of County
Agricultural Agent's achievement award
at their August 2002 annual conference in
Savannah, GA.

D Udom Jierwiriapant (MS '89)
manages a garment factory in Thailand.
In addition he does extension work for
the King of Thailand and is helping hill
tribe people to convert from growing
opium to ornamentals and vegetables in
the golden triangle. He has a 13-year-old
daughter and an eight-year-old son.

4 Heidi Wernett (PhD) owns and
operates a horse farm in Kunming,
Yunnan Province, China and works on
orchid research. Wernett has a seven-
year-old daughter, Christina.

Q Ze Monteiro (PhD) received the
Outstanding Ornamentals Publication
award for his 2001 paper, Postproduction
of Potted Miniature Rose: Flower Respi-
ration and Single Flower Longevity. The
award was presented by the American
Society of Horticultural Science at the
International Horticultural Society meet-
ing, Toronto, Canada, August 2002.

4 Lissette Castillo (BS) teaches at
Felix Varela High School in Miami, FL,
where she is in the agriscience program
and deals with landscape operations and

Q Laurie Trenholm (MS), Assistant
Professor of Environmental Horticulture,
was featured in Impact Magazine Summer
2002 for her influence on the turf indus-

Marcus Carter (BS) is working as land-
scape superintendent for the Jack
Nicklaus Bear's Club in Jupiter, FL. He

and his wife have 2-year-old twin sons,
Robby and Andy.

4 Michael Marshall (MS) of Marshall
Tree Farm, was recognized as an out-
standing woody ornamental division
member at the Florida Nurserymen and
Growers Association meeting, Summer

Q Betsy Spillers Gardner (MS) The
owner of the Plant Shoppe in Greenery
Square, Gainesville, FL was featured in
CALS Connection, May 2002 and Impact

Erika Gubrium (MS) is a graduate assis-
tant in the Center for Jewish Studies at
UF and has served as assistant coordina-
tor for SHIFT The Summer Holocaust
Institute for Florida Teachers. Gubrium
is seeking a PhD in the Department of
Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) within the
School of Teaching and Learning at UF

Tucker Taylor (BS) has left the organic
greenhouse operation in Portland, OR and
has moved to Athens, GA, where he is
managing another certified organic farm,
Woodland Gardens. They grow a wide
variety of quality specialty fruits, veg-
etables and flowers for restaurants and
markets in Athens, Atlanta and surround-
ing areas.

0 Jennifer Norris Bray (BS) is em-
ployed by Rentokil Tropical Plant Services
where she does plant maintenance at
many commercial operations in the
Gainesville area.

Sonja Skelly (PhD) is employed by Cornell
University, Ithaca, New York, as the
Director of Education for Cornell Planta-
tions, the botanic garden, arboretum and
natural areas of Cornell University.

0 Gale Albritton (MS) was recog-
nized as an outstanding landscape divi-
sion member at the Florida Nurserymen
and Growers Association Convention
Summer 2002.

Nathan Eisner (MS) is working for the
State of Wisconsin.

Stephen Toomoth (BS) is employed by
Cherry Lake Tree Farm, where he is
supervisor of production and sales for 15-
30 gallon material.

0 Jenny Lee Hayes (BS) received
the Outstanding Female Leader Award,
Spring 2002. Hayes entered Vanderbilt
University Law School in Fall 2002.

Summer Plant Tissue
Culture Workshop
For Teachers Held
The Environmental Horticulture
Department hosted fifteen high school
and college faculty of the workshop:
Introducing Plant Tissue Culture Into the
Classroom July 29 -31st, Dr. Mike Kane
organized and taught this three-day
hand-on workshop with the assistance of
Dr. Carol Stiff, President, Kitchen Culture
Kits, Inc. The overall objective of the
workshop was to provide instructional
resources, conceptual background
information and hands-on laboratory
experiences to facilitate the introduction
of plant tissue culture into classroom
curricula. The participants attended
lectures and completed numerous hands-
on laboratories. The workshop culmi-
nated in a field trip to Agri-Starts in
Apopka, Florida. Financial support for
the workshop was kindly provided by
Dean Jimmy Cheek, Academic Programs,
Agri-Starts I & III, Inc. and Oglesby Plants
International, Inc. The workshop will be
offered again in Summer 2003.

a it
"Hands-on" experience marked the Plant Tissue
Culture Workshop

Internship Night
The Environmental Horticulture Intern-
ship Night was held on Tuesday evening
November 19th. This event has proved to
be very popular with students in our
department as well as other agricultural
related majors.
This year's guest presenters were Ray
Gillis (MS 95) of Agristarts II Inc., Chris
Neff (BS 96)of Timuquana Country Club,
Brandon Bryson from Valley Crest, and
Dr. George Banez of Marie Selby Botani-
cal Garden.
The purpose of the program is to raise
student awareness of internship opportu-

nities within the state of Florida as well
as the United States that touched on a
diversity of horticulture programs. Stu-
dents were exposed to information on
greenhouse production and tissue cul-
ture, golf course maintenance, landscape
design, installation, and maintenance,
and public gardens operations.

Homestead's Tropical Research
and Education Center
Produces its First Graduate

Jorge Abreu became the TREC Academ-
ic Program's first graduate this past fall.
Born and raised in Miami, both his par-
ents are Cuban and his father has always
kept in touch with the agricultural end of
things. Jorge says: "I guess this is where
I get my inspiration." His father pur-
chased land to develop a nursery in 1988,
planted field palms to bring in revenue
and also had horses. Jorge showed hors-
es, became a pre-vet student in UF-IFAS,
and received a BS in Animal Science.
Thinking he might not move back to
Miami, Jorge decided not to work for the
family business, and for two and a half
years, he worked for a veterinary phar-
maceutical company based in Gainesville.
He was doing sales and the Miami sales
territory became available. Jorge moved
and worked there successfully for more
than a year, but was not happy. So he had
a change of heart and decided to join the
family business. Remembering that UF
had a South Florida research facility and
new academic program, he inquired
about it and became the first student to
enroll at Homestead.
"The two best ways to learn about an
industry is working in it and educating
yourself through schooling. I have en-
joyed my two years at Homestead," says
Jorge. Jorge's family business is the 11-
acre West Kendall Nursery, specializing in
container-grown plants. Jorge says that

he crashes heads with his dad because
"...it is the old school versus the new
school...which is good because we are
looking at things in different perspec-
tives. We have lots of things we want to
do...but we are taking our time...and not
getting in over our heads." Jorge is now
looking into pursuing his MS in Agribusi-
ness. A N,

Student Intern
Goes Hawaiian

lan Cole, a public Gardens specializa-
tion major spent this past fall as an in-
tern at the National Tropical Botanical
Garden in Kaua'i, Hawai'i. He had the
opportunity to experience international
diversity, as he was one of twelve interns
from all reaches of the USA and from as
far as Japan, Dominica and Samoa.
The internship program included an
extensive lecture series and daily practi-
cal work experience. The lectures in-
cluded topics such as ethnobotany, tropi-
cal plant systematics, entomology, indig-
enous cultures, the role of botanical
gardens, and many others. Students also
experienced different aspects of botani-
cal garden management from basic horti-
cultural practices to tissue culture and
propagation of rare plants. lan also
enjoyed the exposure to a culture unlike
any other and thought the Hawaiian
people were amazing.
When asked what he most benefited
from lan stated, "I learned so much
about the importance of native plant and
habitat conservation. In Hawaii exotic
plants and animals have drastically and
permanently changed the ecosystem of
the area, causing the loss of many native
plants, animals and habitats. Florida is
very similar to Hawaii. There are the
same risks and threats affecting this state
that I know and love. This internship
opened my eyes to the responsibility we
have as residents and horticulturists in
the state of Florida."

Environmental Horticulture
Student Club

The ENH undergraduate club hit the
ground running upon their return in Au-
gust. They have been busy raising funds
for their spring trip to Costa Rica. Some
of their fundraising activities include
arranging flowers for the University's
150th Anniversary celebration, which is
kicking off on January 10th. They also
had their annual poinsettia sales during
the departmental field day and sold
Gator Pride Hibiscus plants that bloom an
orange and blue flower during Homecom-
Some of their service activities include
working with the Gainesville Lions Club
and Alachua County Society for the Blind
on 'The Dreamers Garden". The garden
is designed for the enjoyment of people
with visual challenges. They are also
working with the Alachua County Youth
Fair in the Horticulture judging program
this spring.

Turfgrass Club

In November the Turf Grass Club and
Environmental Horticulture Club visited
the Villages Golf and Retirement Resort,
just south of Ocala. With the help of
fellow UFAlumni, Keith Kirchoffer of One
Source Management, the clubs were
pampered on a tour of the massive re-
tirement resort, including a lunch stop in
one of the resort's clubhouses. The re-
sort can be described as an adult version
of Disney World. With over ten courses to
play and out door activities happening
around every corner, the place would
make any one want to head into an early
retirement. One Source Management,
which oversees the courses and employs
many UF alumnus, did an excellent job of
pitching their operation to future UF
graduates. The golf courses, which in-
cludes two bunkers next to one another
in the shapes of a "U" and "F", are all in
above par conditions. One Source Man-
agement limits their pesticides usage and
continues to work towards their goal to
be Audubon Certified. With the goal of
making this an annual trip, both clubs
had a great time visiting a facility that
would make anyone envious to be part of.

If you have alumni or student
news to share with our readers,
contact Lisa Hall, our Academic
Coordinator. Email her at:
LHall@ifas.ufl.edu or
phone (352) 392-1831 x 333.

Environmental Horticulture
Students Win SNA

Two undergraduate Environmental
Horticulture students brought back top
honors from the Bryson L. James student
competition, held in conjunction with the
Southern Nursery Association (SNA) re-
search conference in Atlanta, GA. Josiah
Raymer, (UF/WFREC Milton) placed first
and was awarded $500; Henry Bryant
(Gainesville) placed second and was
awarded $300.
Students were judged on the purpose
and nature of their work, how well they
discussed and conveyed their results, and
significance to the industry.
Josiah researched the genetic diversity
of red and green leaf Imperata cylindrica
(Cogongrass), studying the potential of
red leaf forms of this popular ornamental
plant to cross with invasive species. His
research, using RAPD/PCR of extracted
DNA, found that 'Red Baron', or 'Blood-
grass' Cogongrass is capable of crossing
with invasive types, and that these red
forms are not all genetically identical,
which increases the likelihood of out-
crossing to invasive forms.
Henry Bryant, under the direction of
Dr. Tom Yeager, researched growth of

Erin Eckhardt received the E.T. York,
Jr. Award of Merit, Spring 2002. Erin is
an ENH major, sister of Sigma Phi Alpha,
member of the Golden Key National
Honor Society the Ag. Education and
Communication Society and the ENH
Club, and is also a College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences (CALS) ambassador.

Arthur Andres Sch.
Aventis Sch.
Bartlett Tree Foundation
Batson Scholarship
Bloom 'N Grow Garden Society
Col Frank Ward
Edgar Martin Sch.
ENH Graduate Student Sch.
Farm Credit Bureau
Floral Rural Rehabilitation Sch.
Florida Fdn. of Seed Producers
Action Chapter
Big Bend Chapter
Royal Palm Chapter
Brevard County
Ft. Lauderdale Garden Club
FTGA General Sch.
Grad. Student Council Travel Grant
Grad. Student EHC Travel Grant

Spathiphyllum using three different irri-
gation methods. He found that overhead
sprinkler, capillary wicks, and capillary
mat irrigation produced similar growth
indexes. However, the wick irrigation
system used 86% less water than the
overhead sprinkler and 81% less than the
mat. Also wick irrigation did not result in
water runoff. The significance of this
research to the industry is producing
viable healthy crops using significantly
less water with less potential for pollu-
tion to the environment.
Both presentations were well received
by the audience of over 150 researchers
and industry leaders.

Henry Bryant and Josiah Raymer placed second
and first in the SNA Student Competition,

Fatma AI-Saqri graduate student with
Dr. Jim Barrett received an award for
the best student poster presentation at
the International Society for
Horticultural Science in Toronto,
Canada, August 11 17, 2002.

$2,000 Gulf Coast Superintendent's Assn
1,000 Halifax Country Garden Club
975 IFAS Scholarship
8,500 IFAS Travel Grant
5,000 James H Davis Memorial Sch.
1,500 Joiner Graduate Student Sch.
1,000 Lawn & Garden Marketing
2,000 & Dist Assn
1,000 Lisa Burton Memorial Sch.
3,000 Lykes Sch.
600 Max McQuade Memorial Sch.
Orlando Garden Club
1,000 Phelps Sch.
1,500 Plant Tissue Culture Travel Grant
500 Sweetwater Oaks Sch.
3,000 Gordon Conf. Travel Grant
1,000 UF Alumni Fellowship
1,000 Vic and Margaret Ball Internship
1,000 William Ward Sch.
175 Windermere Garden Club
250 Total Awarded



Student Honors



Wagner A. Vendrame,
Assistant Professor (TREC Homestead)
Wagner A. Vendrame
joined the faculty at
the Tropical Re-
search and Education
Center (TREC) in
Homestead in July,
2001 as an Assistant
Professor in the
Environmental Horti-
culture Department. He received both
his B.S. and his M.S. from the Universi-
ty of Sao Paulo, and earned his Ph.D.
in Horticulture from the University of
The bad economic situation in his
native Brazil during the 1990's moti-
vated him to further his education.
While working toward his M.S. at the
University of Sao Paulo, he did re-
search at the University of Georgia's
(UGA) School of Forest Resources un-
der the tutelage of the late Dr. Harry
Sommer. Dr. Hazel Wetzstein in the
Horticulture Department at UGA invit-
ed him to return for his Ph.D. Wagner
then joined Dr. Scott Merke at UGA's
School of Forest Resources, and spent
two years on clonal propagation of
hybrid sweetgum and hybrid yellow
poplar trees.
Wagner has already enhanced the
academic program at TREC by teaching
popular classes such as Orchidology
and Nursery Management. He is cur-
rently developing a Palm Production
and Culture course for Spring 2003,
which promises to be an intriguing
course for students, especially in
South Florida, where palms are such
popular landscape ornamentals. Also,
Wagner has encouraged some of his
students to do an independent study
class on Micropropagation of Horticul-
tural Crops. Wagner already has a
waiting list of students who wish to
take this class.
Dr. Vendrame has established good
relations with the ornamental industry
in Miami-Dade County and the FNGA
chapter in Homestead, and has met
with local growers to find how his
research can help their most pressing
needs. Wagner says: "I want to learn
with the growers, and I am always
open to ideas and suggestions."

This year our students again brought in a phenomenal amount of scholarship
dollars, the total increasing 21% from last year's figure of $83,000.

Dr. Robert). Black

Bed Preparation and
Maintenance of Annuals

The time spent preparing the planting
bed is important if you are to be success-
ful with annual flow-
ers. Flower beds
should be spaded or
tilled at least six
inches deep several
weeks before plant-
ing. Florida's sandy
soils have very low
capacities for hold-
ing nutrients and
water. Incorporation
of two to three inch-
es of organic matter L
Loosen and untangle
into planting beds
will increase the
nutrient and water
retention of these
soils. Organic mate-
rials such as leaf
mold or peat should
be thoroughly mixed
into the soil. '-
Garden soils, espe- 4 ..
cially in recently
developed areas, are
frequently infertile. Fertilize planting b<
Flower beds should
be fertilized prior to planting or at plant-
ing time and repeated on a monthly basis.
Apply 6-6-6 or a similar complete fertiliz-
er at the rate of two pounds per 100
square feet of bed area. Controlled re-
Lease fertilizers are ideal for Florida's
sandy soils. Plants usually grow much
better with a continuous nutrient supply
and labor is reduced since controlled
release fertilizer application frequency is
less than for rapid release fertilizers.
Controlled release fertilizers can be incor-
porated uniformly throughout the soil
before planting and applied on the soil
surface of established plantings.


Annuals purchased in compartmental-
ized plastic flats usually have pot-bound
root systems. If planted intact, the root
system will be slow to establish in the
surrounding soil and plants will suffer
moisture stress. A preferred method is to
loosen and untangle the root system with-
out breaking the soil ball. Plants recover
rapidly and establish quickly. Tall and
spindly plants should be pruned to half
their original size to produce more attrac-
tive plants with more flowers.
Weeds should be controlled either by
hand weeding or mulching. Black plastic
mulches should never be used except
when a layer of organic mulch (wood-
chips, pine bark, etc.) is added on top of
the black plastic. Temperatures of 117-
119'F have been recorded 1 to 3 inches
above uncovered black plastic mulches.
The addition of organic matter over the
plastic reduces heat absorption and masks
the artificial appearance of black plastic.
Mulching materials
should not come in
contact with plant
stems. The high mois-
ture environment
created by mulch
increases the chances
of stem rot which can
result in plant death.
Some annuals such as
petunias develop
yellow leaves (chloro-
sis) when mulched
t-bound root systems with cypress or pine

condition is not due
to a nitrogen defi-
ciency and can not be
corrected by the
4 addition of fertilizer.
SAnnual flowers
require more mainte-
nance than most
other landscape
plants. However,
their brilliant colors
s prior to planting, add an atmosphere of
warmth and life to a
landscape which more than justifies the
additional maintenance.

Remember, you can access the full
collection of Dr. Bob's gardening
tips at the UF Environmental
Horticulture website:

http://hort.ifas. ufl.edu

Click on
"Home Gardening"

Dr. Robert J. Black

"Dr. Bob"

Retires From EH

After 28
years of untir-
ing and dedi-
cated service
to the Universi-
ty of Florida,
Dr. Robert
Black retired
November 30th,
Writer of
many award-
winning publi-
cations, Dr.
Black has also
been editor and author of several books
useful to professionals and home garden-
ers alike, such as the "Florida Lawn
Handbook", "Your Florida Guide to
Shrubs", and "Your Florida Guide to Bed-
ding Plants." His upcoming book on salt
tolerant plants, co-authored with Dr. Ed
Gilman, "Plants for the Gulf and South
Atlantic Coast: A Guide to Selection,
Planting and Maintenance" promises to
be an invaluable publication for the resi-
dents of Florida's coastal areas.
Beside traditional publications, Dr.
Black's informative series of articles in
the Home Gardening area on the depart-
ment's website entitled "Dr. Bob's Gar-
dening Tips" (http://hort.ifas.uft.edu/gt)
has had an enthusiastic response from
many and varied readers around the
world (See page 8, where we have re-
printed a couple of Dr. Bob's gardening
Dr. Black has also been recognized by
national professional associations, and
has served as statewide coordinator for
the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs
Short Course, from which has received
many accolades. His outstanding contri-
butions to the University, IFAS, Environ-
mental Horticulture Department, State of
Florida, the 4-H program, the Coopera-
tive Extension Service, and students
made it a simple matter to grant Dr.
Black Professor Emeritus status.
His retirement party, held at Fifield Hall
this past November, which was a sumptu-
ous potlock luncheon. It featured pre-
sentations and well-planned gifts, and
was well-attended by his friends and
colleagues. We all look forwarding to
continuing our professional association
with Dr. Black, and hope that he keeps
turning out the famous "Dr. Bob's Gar-
dening Tips!"


Growing a Happy, Healthy,
Friendly Lawn

Laurie E. Trenholm
Urban Turfgrass Specialist

Lawns will be greening up all over north
and central Florida in a few months. In
south Florida, where lawns may stay
green year round, spring will signal a
time of new and active growth. For a
happy, healthy, and environmentally
friendly lawn, follow these tips:

Lawns Wake Up Hungry: All lawns will
benefit from regular fertilizer
applications throughout the growing
season. Applying the proper amount of
fertilizer for your grass species will help
to promote a vigorous, healthy lawn that
can out-compete weeds and serve as a
filter to protect Florida's ground and
surface waters. Spring fertilization is
especially critical as the grass begins to
grow again. For most lawn grass species
used in Florida, application of 12 pound of
water-soluble nitrogen per 1,000 square
feet of lawn will get your lawn off to a
good start. In south Florida, you can
apply fertilizer approximately every 60
days throughout the year, but in north
and central Florida, wait until danger of
frost has passed before you apply
fertilizer in the spring. Look for a
fertilizer with a low phosphorus level (2nd
number on the bag) and a high potassium
level (3rd number on the bag) such as a
15-2-15 or something similar. Soil testing
is now recommended to determine
phosphorus levels. Florida soils are often
high in phosphorus and addition of more
than 2% is not necessary in many home
lawns. Check with your local County
Extension Office for information on how
to submit samples for phosphorus testing.

Let the Mowing Begin! Mowing may seem
like the bane of your existence through
the summer months, but it is actually one
of the most important management
practices. Follow these suggestions for a
healthy, happy lawn:

* Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf
blade at any one time. Removal of
more than this can stress your lawn and
leaves it susceptible to other problems.
* Mow at the highest height for your grass
species. For St. Augustinegrass and
bahiagrass, this is 3.5 to 4". If you have
St. Augustinegrass cultivars Delmar or
Seville, mow at 2 to 2.5". Mow
centipedegrass at 1 to 2".
* Leave grass clippings on the ground
they do not contribute to thatch and

Seashore paspalum growing in North Florida

A highly maintained seashore paspalum lawn
growing under optimal conditions in Central

-Wm I

A happy lawn on Sanibel Island

actually return a small amount of
fertility back to the lawn.
* Keep your mower blades sharp -dull
blades tear the leaf blades, making
them look bad and leaving the lawn
susceptible to insect or disease
* Don't mow your lawn when it's wet
this is dangerous for you, tough on the
mower, and bad for the grass.
* If you miss a weekly mowing, raise the
mower height so you don't remove too
much tissue. Bring the height back
down to the recommended level slowly.

Irrigation or Irritation? More lawns are
killed due to improper irrigation
practices than any other single cultural
practice. Train your grass to be more
drought tolerant through the following

* Irrigate less frequently but for longer
periods each time. This will help train
your roots to grow deeper in the soil,
which will make your lawn more
drought tolerant. Grasses irrigated in
this manner will survive once a week
watering restrictions.
* Turn your automatic sprinkler system
off. Irrigate your lawn on an as-needed
basis. It is ready for water when the
leaf blades start to fold in half
lengthwise or when footprints remain
visible in the lawn long after being
made. Irrigate when at least 30% of the
lawn shows these signs UNLESS rain is
forecast in the next 24 hours.
* Irrigate to apply V2 3" of water when
you do irrigate. To determine how long
you need to run your irrigation to
achieve this, place straight-sided cans
around the perimeter of the irrigation
and see how long it takes to reach this
amount. If you are in a very sandy soil,
you want to apply the higher amount of
water. Heavier clay soils can handle the
V2" rate.
* Irrigate every two to three weeks
during the winter months, even if your
grass is dormant. The roots are still
viable and this will help the grass green
up more quickly in the spring.
Irrigate around sunrise to fully allow
leaf blades to dry out during the day.

This best defense against weeds or other
lawn problems is to grow a happy,
healthy, environmentally friendly lawn
by following the fertilization, mowing,
and irrigation tips as described above.
Happy growing!

April 7th, 2003
email: ufmilton@ufl.edu

The Lakeland Center, Lakeland, FL
April 29th 30th, 2003
phone: 407-678-5337

Ft. Lauderdale Marriott North
May 19th -22nd

The Environmental Horticulture News is published twice yearly. Contributors: Lisa
Hall, Judy Wilson, Bart Schutzman, and Mary Ann Andrews. Editing, layout and design
by Bart Schutzman and Mary Ann Andrews. Contact us at (352) 392-1831, fax (352)
392-3870, or visit our website at http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu.

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