The Neighborhood Gardener – February 2014

Hello, gardeners!

This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

Fruit affected by citrus greeningCitrus Greening — It seems news agencies everywhere are discussing citrus greening and the effect it’s having on Florida’s citrus industry. While many people know that it’s ravaging citrus trees, there is some confusion as to what citrus greening actually is. Citrus greening, or huanglongbing (HLB), is caused by a bacterium that causes trees to deteriorate and eventually die. Learn more about this disease and what researchers are doing to fight it in our Citrus Greening FAQ.

An illustrated garden layoutPlan Your Garden — Spring is just around the corner and that means it’s time to start thinking about changes you might want to make to your landscape. Whether you’re interested in a complete redesign or simply making a few improvements, there are some important factors to consider before you start planting. Check out “10 Important Things to Consider when Planning your Landscape Design.” These tips will help you develop a plan and put you on the road to creating a beautiful home landscape.

Potted philodendronPlant of the Month: Heart-leaf Philodendron — If you’re looking for a fool-proof house plant, you couldn’t do much better than a heart-leaf philodendron. These easy-growing foliage plants thrive with indirect light and very little maintenance. They’re often grown in hanging baskets which allow the thin stems and heart-shaped leaves to beautifully spill out of their container. While philodendrons are easy to maintain, too much water or too little light can cause yellowing leaves, and too much fertilizer can cause the leaf tips of your plant to brown and curl.

February in Your Garden – February is a good time to plant bulbs like crinum and agapanthus. It’s also the perfect time for pruning roses to encourage new growth. Remove any dead, dying, or crossing branches, and shorten the mature canes by one-third to one-half.

Rose plant affected by virusFriend or Foe? Foe: Rose Rosette Virus — Rose rosette virus (RRV) has infected Knock Out® roses in three counties in Florida. Spread by a microscopic mite, RRV causes bizarre symptoms, including severe thorn proliferation, rapid elongation of branches, and unusual reddening of leaves. Plants infected with RRV usually die within one to two years. However, confirming the disease is difficult, as it is often confused with other ailments, such as herbicide damage.

Read the full February issue.

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The Neighborhood Gardener – November

Hoya flowerThis month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

  • Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Recruits a Master Gardener – Michelle Atkinson, Manatee County Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Coordinator, shares the story of a local homeowner who enjoyed creating her Florida-Friendly garden so much, she became a Master Gardener.
  • Grant Alert: Fiskars Project Orange Thumb – Do you work with a community garden? Apply for a grant from Fiskars. Selected groups receive tools and other gardening materials. The deadline to apply is December 31.
  • Plant of the Month: Hoya – Also called wax plant, hoya is an easy-care houseplant with small clusters of sweet-smelling, star-shaped flowers.
  • November in Your Garden – Create a display of fall colors with calendula, pansies, and ornamental cabbages. Bulbs to plant this month include amaryllis, crinums, and daylilies.
  • Friend or Foe? Foe: Citrus Greening – This bacterial disease can rapidly destroy almost all varieties of citrus, and there is no cure. Infected trees show yellow leaves, twig dieback, and mottled or blotchy leaves. If you suspect your trees have been infected with citrus greening, call your local Extension office. Do not bring samples to an Extension office or plant nursery—you could infect other trees.
  • Bird Feeders – Not only do they provide food for the birds, bird feeders provide you with the enjoyment of watching wildlife. If you want to feed birds, provide them with three essential elements: the right variety of quality seed, fresh water for drinking and bathing, and safe cover, preferably provided by native plants.
  • Master Gardener Specialist Update – This month, we are featuring an update from Dr. Amy Shober on soil pH and how it impacts our plants.

Read the November issue.

Or subscribe today, and received directly by e-mail.