Happy New Year! The Neighborhood Gardener – January 2014

Happy New Year, gardeners!

This month in The Neighborhood Gardener:

tree plantingJanuary 17 is Florida’s State Arbor Day — While National Arbor Day falls on the last Friday in April, many states observe their own Arbor Day depending on the best tree-planting times for the region. Florida celebrates Arbor Day on the third Friday of January, the 17th this year. You can celebrate Arbor Day by planting a young tree in your landscape or helping with tree plantings in your community. Trees can reduce home energy costs and raise the value of your property, while adding shade and visual interest to your landscape.

Charles ReynoldsOutstanding Master Gardener Nominee — Each year Master Gardeners from around the state are nominated to receive the Outstanding Master Gardener Award at the annual state conference. This award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding efforts in several Master Gardener projects and activities. The 2013 Outstanding Master Gardener Award went to Linda Krausnick of Marion County. There were a number of wonderful nominees this year, and this month we would like to focus on Charles Reynolds of Highlands County.

KalePlant of the Month: Kale — Kale is a dark-green leafy vegetable that can be grown during the winter months in Florida. It’s often referred to as a “superfood” because it’s rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K. Kale (Brassica oleracea L.) can be started from seed anytime from September through January or February. Be sure to plant it in a sunny spot and water regularly. To ensure success, pick Florida-friendly varieties like ‘Vates Dwarf Blue Curled’, ‘Tuscan’, ‘Winterbor’, and ‘Redbor’.

January in Your Garden – January is the last month in most areas of the state to plant cool season crops like beets, broccoli, cabbage, and turnips. Now is also a great time to prune non-spring flowering shrubs and trees to improve their form.

Tea scale on leafFriend or Foe? Foe: Tea Scale — Tea scale is a major camellia and holly pest in Florida. It appears as a fuzzy whitish coating on the bottom of leaves and causes yellow speckling on top. Tea scale is a difficult pest to control due to its habit of primarily infesting the underside of leaves, making spray coverage difficult. You can manage the tea scale problems in your landscape with horticultural oil products or choose a systemic product for season long protection.

Read the full January issue.

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