Pruning Shrubs And Hedges

How to properly prune a hedge depends on the type of hedge you have. If your seeking a certain look then you should find the right plant to fit your personnal preference or trimmimg style. Pruning requirements differ from plant to plant. Informal hedges are shrubs which develop into a natural shape. Annual pruning is done to thin and shape just enough to maintain a desired height and width.

Formal hedges have a definitive outline of foliage from top to bottom. They should be trimmed while new growth is green. The most common mistake is to trim a hedge into a tightly squared off shape. The top of the hedge should be slightly narrower than the bottom to allow sunlight to reach all the l...

Lethal Bronzing

Lethal Bronzing is a disease caused by a phytoplasma, a bacterium with no cell wall. Phytoplasmas live in the part of a plant where sap is transported (the phloem tissue). Phytoplasmas are transmitted to plants by piercing-sucking insects that feed on sap and move plant to plant causing the spread of Lethal Bronzing. Planthoppers and Leafhoppers are the main insects that transmit phytoplasmas. The first symptom is premature fruit drop on mature palms, this progresses to discoloration of the oldest fronds, then the collapse of the spear leaf or apical stem, meaning the heart of the bud is dead. All this can happen in a few months or much faster, it varies greatly from palm to palm....

The Importance Of Winter Mowing

McGuire's Beautiful Outdoors is about to start our winter mowing schedule in November, so we wanted to reiterate the importance of mowing during these months. St Augustine lawns do continue to grow over the winter months, although it is at a much slower rate. While your lawn may not become overgrown during these months, it's a good practice to keep it mowed, edged, and line trimmed to keep a manicured look. Thatch control is another reason to keep your lawn mowed during winter months. Although it doesn't seem like it's growing, it is indeed still growing and active. Mowing, but at a less frequent rate during the winter months helps keep thatch from accumulating. If at the mini...

Queen Palms

The Queen Palm is one of the most popular palms due to its low maintenance, beauty, and affordability. It is native to Brazil and Argentina. It has a single smooth trunk with leaf scars and topped with dark green fronds. During summer months it produces clusters of flowers on a green stalk that grows underneath its leaves. In early winter orange fruit will appear that turns green as it matures. This fruit is also known as "dates" and has one single seed inside. The fruit smells nice, but it's not edible. The growth rate is fast reaching maximum height of 30-40 feet and 5-10 feet wide and can grow 6 feet per year once established. They can be used indoors and outdoors and can tole...


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 purp...

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 ...


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...

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 ...

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 ...

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 gre...