University of Florida

The Neighborhood Gardener – March

Happy gardening!

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Pest Alert: Downy Mildew on Impatiens

Downy mildew on impatiensIn late 2011, the downy mildew disease of garden impatiens was found in Palm Beach County. The disease has the potential for widespread and rapid destruction of this very popular bedding and potted plant. At this time only New Guinea impatiens and Sunpatiens show resistance. Learn how to identify symptoms and manage the disease in this update from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Home Canning & Food Preservation

Ever have extra food from your garden or farmers market?  Save it for a later date by canning your extras at home.  Just make sure that you do it safely and correctly so that you don’t end up with food safety issues. Start with this short guide on home canning and then check out the EDIS fact sheets. 

Plant of the Month: Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangeaIf you need a shrub that can shine in the shade, oakleaf hydrangea could be just what you're looking for. Each spring, this native shrub puts up huge cone-shaped clusters of white flowers that will stay on the plant for months, eventually changing to a light pink or purple. Oakleaf hydrangea will perform best if planted in a fertile, well-drained soil, but it will also tolerate other conditions. More

March in Your Garden

This is a good time to prune many trees and shrubs. Cold damaged shrubs can be pruned back to where new growth appears. Fertilize lawns after all chance of frost is past since fertilizing too early can damage the lawn. Choose one with little or no phosphorus unless a soil test indicates the need for it, and avoid “weed and feed” products. A fertilizer with controlled release nitrogen will give longer lasting results.

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

Friend or Foe? Foe: Mile-a-Minute

Commonly called mile-a-minute, climbing hempweed, Chinese creeper, or bittervine, Mikania micrantha is on both the Federal and Florida state noxious weed lists. As a rapidly growing climbing vine, it has been observed to grow almost two feet per week under optimal conditions, smothering small plants and even large trees. Mile-a-minute was recently found in Miami-Dade County. More

Book Feature: Propagating Fruit Plants in Florida

Grafting, budding, layering, cuttings—they're easier than you think! This field-tested, practical guide takes home gardeners step-by-step through the most useful and successful ways to propagate tropical and subtropical fruit plants in Florida. This new edition of a longtime favorite is completely revised and includes more than 50 full-color photos. By Mercy Olmstead, Jose Chaparro, Patrick Conner, Tim Crocker, and Mike Young. More

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