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The Neighborhood Gardener – November

This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

blue treesA Tree of a Different Color – Starting October 24th, the University of Florida presents “The Blue Trees,” a social commentary and natural art exhibit by Konstantin Dimopoulos. Dr. Gail Hansen, a faculty member with the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, helped select which trees to paint; “The Blue Trees” exhibit showcases Florida-Friendly tree choices for north central Florida.

Herbicide Carryover – Animal manures and composts are excellent sources of nutrients and organic matter for the fruits and vegetables in your home garden. But you should be aware that some farm manures and composts may be tainted with herbicides that could cause poor seed germination, reduced yield, misshapen fruit, and more. Residual herbicide activity can occur after livestock pastures have been treated, and may be found on horse or livestock manure, composted manures, pasture hay, or grass clippings. Before acquiring compost or manure, ask livestock owners what their animals were fed or what herbicides were applied to their pastures.

A bed of cast iron plantsPlant of the Month: Cast Iron Plant — This tough-as-nails plant makes a reliable accent or groundcover in any shady corner of the landscape. Cast iron plant can be grown outdoors throughout Florida. It can even be grown as a bulletproof houseplant, and it’s especially suited for homes and offices that don’t receive much light. Cast iron plant prefers a rich, fertile soil, but it will tolerate a range of soil conditions.

November in Your Garden – Create a display of fall colors with cool season annuals like pansies. Now that temperatures are lower, use dormant oil sprays to control scale insects on trees and shrubs.

A feral hog in the forestFriend or Foe? Foe: Feral Hogs — Feral hogs have become quite a nuisance for Floridians, rooting up and destroying large portions of turfgrass, landscape, and nature trails. They also carry diseases and can be dangerous if cornered. For gardeners, excluding hogs using fencing can be an effective (but expensive) control option for relatively small areas. Chain link fences or heavy-gauge hog wire buried at least 12 inches under the ground with sturdy supports and posts, and various types of mesh or multi-stranded electric fence provide the best results.

Read the full November issue.

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