University of Florida

The Neighborhood Gardener – January

30 Years of Florida Master Gardeners!

2009 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Florida Master Gardener program. Since 1979, more than 5 million hours have been donated for a value of over $72 million! Over the next few months, we'll be releasing items that you can use to promote this special event in your community. If you have stories of outstanding or long-term volunteers, please let us know.

Subscribe to the e-Newsletter using the link below so that we can keep you up to date on state happenings. Happy gardening!

--Tom Wichman, State Master Gardener Coordinator and Esen Momol, State FYN Coordinator

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Florida-Friendly Article of the Month

Setting Your Irrigation Controller

It's best to run your irrigation system manually in order to follow water restrictions, but if you must use the auto setting, here are a few tips. More...

Highlighted Resource

IPM Florida

Integrated pest management, or IPM, is a sustainable approach to managing pests through biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes risks to the community. The IPM Florida Web site provides up-to-date information with special emphasis on practices relevant to our state. It's divided into three primary sections: agriculture, community and natural area IPM, with a fourth section on applying IPM. More...

Friend or Foe?

Foe: Air Potato

air potato vine around tree trunkThis non-native, invasive plant spreads faster than kudzu! Air potato is a vigorously twining vine, which grows from an underground tuber. It produces large numbers of potato-like growths which drop off to form new plants. The stems can rapidly grow to 60 feet in length. More...

Plant of the Month


Broccoli is a popular and easy-to-grow winter crop here in Florida. Plus, it's incredibly nutritious, providing good amounts of riboflavin, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. More...

New Pest Alert

Blue Gum Chalcid

Galls on plant from blue gum chalcidGalls were found on the stems and leaves of a Eucalyptus tree in Lauderhill (Broward County). It was suspected that the galls were caused by the blue gum chalcid, Leptocybe invasa. The blue gum chalcid produces galls in the form of distinct swellings on the petioles, leaf midribs and stems on new foliage of both young and mature trees. Galling causes the leaves to curl and may stunt the growth and weaken the trees.  This pest can cause substantial damage or death to young trees. More...


Q: How do I protect my plant from cold snaps?

A: When you know a frost or freeze is coming, it’s time to protect the plants you’ve nurtured so carefully.

Plants in containers can be moved into the garage or any other structure where heat can be supplied or trapped. In the landscape, low-growing plants may benefit from heat held in the soil, and mulch helps to keep the heat in. Fabric covers, like cloth sheets or quilts, can also trap ground heat, as long as they extend to the ground and are anchored to prevent them from blowing off in high winds. A lamp or other heat source which is safe and appropriate for outdoors can provide added heat under the cover. Remember to remove covers during the day once the danger of frost has passed. More...

January in Your Garden

Select and plant camellias this month.  Visit local nurseries now for the best selection of colors and forms.  Prune non-spring flowering shrubs and trees this month to improve form.  In the more northern parts of the state, frost or freezes are likely.  Be ready to cover tender plants to minimize damage. 

For more month-by-month gardening tips, check out the Florida Gardening Calendar. Three different editions of the calendar provide specific tips for each of Florida's gardening regions—North, Central, and South. More...

Success Stories

Master Gardeners Restore Beauty to Wilmot Gardens

Dark pink camellia blossomFor many years, Wilmot Gardens was a centerpiece of the University of Florida campus.  Located near Shands Hospital, it contained the largest collection of publicly owned camellias as well as providing a wonderful spot for students and faculty to get away and relax.  Established in the 1940s, Wilmot Gardens fell out of use in the 1970s, but is now making a comeback with the help of Florida Master Gardeners. More...

Gardener's Note

Arbor Day

Florida observes Arbor Day January 16th. To celebrate, plant a tree in your yard or community.  You’ll add shade, greenery, and oxygen to the world.  Remember to choose a tree that fits your situation. More...

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