Podocarpus is one of the best low maintenence shrubs for sun or shade areas. It looks great when pruned as a hedge or left alone to grow naturally. It has a moderate growth rate, but given time it becomes full and thick with foliage all the way to the ground, and large enough to work as a privacy hedge. It is versatile enough to be pruned as a hedge, a tree, used along houses and driveways, and even trimmed as a topiary. It is drought tolerant (to a point) once established. Regular watering with time in between to let it dry out a bit is best. The Podocarpus is salt and cold tolerant, so it works well throughout Florida. The female variety produces a tiny flower followed by purple berries which are edible for people and attr...

The Oleander, is it the right addition for your landscape?

Oleanders can be a great addition to just about any Florida landscape. They are used throughout the state and do well in just about any soil type. They do suffer damage in freezing temperatures, so precautions are needed during a frost. They come in many different varieites and colors with blooms that last throughout the year. They can be maintained as a shrub, or pruned into a tree form. They can sometimes suffer from Gall which causes a "Witches Broom" effect on twigs and branches. If this occurs, pruning out the infected areas is necessary. Oleander Moths, Caterpillars, Scales, Mealybugs, and Aphids can be a problem at times as well, so a monthly insect control program is a must. Word of warning, the Oleander although ...


Nandina, sometimes called "Heavenly Bamboo" isn't Bamboo at all, it's and evergreen shrub that can grow 4-10 feet in height. Leaves start out reddish bronze, eventually turning green, then reddish in the fall. Flowers are white and fruits are red with the inner bark being yellow, a characterstic of Bamboo. Fruits often persist until consumed by birds or other wildlife which facilitates the spread of Nandina. It can be very invasive so if not kept under control it can take over other plants in the landscape. This plant is labeled deer resistant, but is any plant really deer resistant? It is cold hardy in all areas of Florida. Plant in full sun or shade, blooming is better in full sun areas. Plant in moist well drained soils rich in nut...

When Is The Best Time To Sod?

Spring is good for sod installation at times, but it can get very hot very fast. Rains can be too much or too little so watching weather patterns at this time of year is a must.

Summer temperatures can be too hot and alot of water is needed if we are in a drought pattern, and as we all know, St Augustine needs alot of water to establish itself. Summer also brings an excess of rain at times which too much of anything isn't good. Too much rainfall can cause fungus which is very hard to control even with the best fungicides applied.

Fall is the best time to sod in central Florida. Fall brings cooler temperatures while grass still continues to grow. This is great for new sod. It's able to root quickly and withstand cooler winter t...

Magnolia Trees

Magnolias are well known for their showy flowers and forms. They prefer to be planted in full sun to partial shade. In extreme heat climates, you may want to plant in an area shaded from the afternoon sun. Magnolias do well in most soils and can adapt to clay, but it's likely if the area is poorly drained your magnolia won't do well. Once established, they can tolerate slight drought conditions. Magnolias in new landscapes will need to be watered 2-3 times per week for the first 3-6 months, obviously rainfall amounts will have to factor in. Rule of thumb is 2-3 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter. Improper irrigation is the reason most newly planted trees die. Scale is a common insect on Magnolias and can be treated w...

Heat And Drought Stress

Heat stress is a problem when a lawn isn't prepared to handle the shift in temperature. As heat lingers, the effects of drought stress begin to take over. Just as people feel the effects of heat stress, so does grass, plants, and tress. Heat causes soil to dry out, so you must pay attention to rainfall amounts and water as needed. Look for indicators such as gaps in the lawn. Heat causes water to evaporate quickly which causes soil to become compacted, causing damage in the lawn. Heat stress and drought can promote excess weeds, and also insects and disease due to its weakend state. Grass, plants, and tress will show stress when the amount of water lost in transpiration is greater than the amount of water available for the...


Loropetalum is an evergreen shrub that looks good in just about any Florida landscape. It can grow 6-15 feet tall but it is usually pruned small and kept as a shrub. Overall it has burgundy foliage and produces a dark pink flower, usually in spring, so you will want to do any pruning before that. With its moderate growth rate, it works well as a screening plant, hedge, or border. Loropetalum is basically pest free but occasional invaders may need to be treated, along with regular fertilization. It prefers full sun for best blooming results, but it will also grow in partial shade and likes slightly acidic well drained soils.


Key Thatch Palm

A Florida native palm that prefers coastal and warmer areas of south Florida. Common along coastal highways, but they do make great landscape specimens. Mostly found as single trunk, they are also grown as multi trunk as well. Slow growing and great for privacy screening. The trunk is thin and narrow which makes it great for tight spaces. It tops out at about 15-20 feet with weeping fan leaves. Sun or shade locations are fine, the more shade, the slower it grows. It is cold sensitive, so protection is needed in areas of possible frost. Most soil types will accommodate this palm, but don't plant in wet areas where soil is thick, remember, most palms natural habitats are sandy soils. Fertilize on a regular basis. Insects...

Roebelinii Palm

The pygmy date palm is one of the most popular palms in small landscapes. It grows about 12 feet high with a canopy spread of about 6-8 feet. Pygmy date palms can be planted in just about any soil type and are cold hardy to 30 degrees or so. They are notorious for Potassium, Magnesium, and Manganese deficiencies, so a good fertilizer program is a must. A couple diseases to watch for are butt rot which has no cure, and leaf spot which if not treated can be fatal to the palm. Mites can be an issue along with scale, so treatments with insect control and fungicides are a good idea. Newer leaflets have a whitish material on it that is often mistaken for an insect infestation, but this is just normal and comes off as the leaf ages...

You Might Have A Mite Problem

Mites usually attack the lower leave surface first, and as their population increases they move to the top. Injured leaves can appear gray, form yellow spots, become completely yellow, turn brown, growth will distort, and the leaf will eventually drop. Some mistake this for chemical damage due to the fact the symptoms can be similar meaning the distorted growth. Mites are thought to have a chemical in their salavary secreations that work as a growth regulator. When they feed, this chemical is injected into the plant killing plant cells by the minute, changing the plant cells behavior. Mites induce plant galls that develop from the injected growth regulator. This usually will not kill an entire plant or tree, normally it wi...