Archive for March, 2011

Oleander Leaf Scorch

A client from northern Palm Beach County requested a site visit in order to diagnose the problem with declining Oleanders in a very large golf course community.

The symptoms reported were marginal yellowing of the leaves, followed by leaf scorching, then die-back of individual leaves and branches.  The following are photos from the site:

It was determined that the disorder is Oleander Leaf Scorch (OLS), which is caused by the bacteria Xylella fastidiosa. OLS tends to mimic salt injury or severe water stress because it clogs the xylem (the tissues that transport water throughout the plant).  You’ll want to pay close attention if you are managing Oleanders that begin to exhibit these symptoms.  On this property, as with most cases of OLS, the first signs showed up on a singular terminal branch first.  Eventually more of the canopy becomes infected.

The Xylella bacterium is spread by pruning tools and insects that feed on the xylem of the plant, including sharpshooter leafhoppers and spittlebugs.  There isn’t a “cure” for OLS, but the disease can be managed.  As soon as symptoms are recognized, infected shoots should be removed at two or three feet below the symptoms.  Pruning tools should be sterilized between plants, using a bleach solution.  If a plant becomes completely infected, it should be removed completely.  Make sure to protect Oleanders from other stresses while managing OLS.  The goal of managing this disease is to minimize the spread to other parts of the plant and to other plants.

The following documents provide further information on Oleander Leaf Scorch:

UF/IFAS: Nerium oleander: Oleander [publication ENH 571] by Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson

UF / IFAS Oleander: Nerium oleander by Juanita Popenoe

University of California IPM Online: Oleander Leaf Scorch

New Water Shortage Orders Effective 3.26.2011

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) issued a new water shortage order which went into effect on Saturday, March 26.  Current restrictions are based on our region receiving only 45% of our regular precipitation levels.

Professionals in the horticulture industry are affected by these restrictions and should be aware of the following:

  • Residential and business landscape irrigation is restricted to 2 specific days per week
    • Odd-numbered addresses may water lawns and landscapes Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 12:00am-10:00am and/or 4:00pm-11:59pm
    • Even-numbered addresses may water lawns and landscapes Thursdays and Sundays, from 12:00am-10:00am and/or 4:00pm-11:59pm
  • New landscape installations may be watered more frequently:
    • New installations may be watered without restriction on the day they are installed
    • Landscapes installed for 2-30 days may be watered on any day except for Friday, from 12:00am-10:00am and/or 4:00pm-11:59pm
    • Landscapes installed for 31-90 days may be watered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 12:00am-10:00am and/or 4:00pm-11:59pm
  • Golf courses are required to reduce irrigation by 15%
  • Agricultural and nursery water users must reduce water by 15%, with times and hours restricted
  • Reclaimed water usage and low-volume irrigation are not restricted, although voluntary reductions are requested

More information, including specific times and hours irrigation is allowed, based on county, property type, and address (golf course, nursery, single-family residences having odd or even addresses) can be located at  A pdf fact sheet, suitable for distributing to customers, is available HERE.

The current water restrictions represent an opportunity for horticultural professionals to provide a higher level of service to their clients.  You might offer to adjust their irrigation to meet current water restrictions.  This is an opportunity to showcase your professionalism and set yourself apart from your competition.  Customers will appreciate your assistance in navigating these sometimes confusing regulations. In the meantime, let’s hope for rain!

Tree Benefits Calculator

Palm Beach County UF / IFAS Extension hosted an International Society of Arboriculture Tree Preservation workshop on Friday March 25, 2011.  One topic presented to attendees was the National Tree Benefit Calculator, which was conceived and developed by Casey Trees and Davey Tree Expert Co.   This tool is a valuable resource that can be used to apply a monetary and environmental value to individual trees.  The user inputs location, land use, species, and size of tree.  Specific data provided includes air quality benefits, atmospheric carbon reduction, volume of storm-water interception,  and energy conserved.   This tool may be especially helpful in communicating the value of tree to your clients and other parties involved in landscape and development projects.

The National Tree Benefits Calculator may benefit horticultural professionals and is free to use.

Palm Beach County UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture is now on Facebook!

You can “like us” right here and stay in touch for educational opportunities, horticultural updates, and new publications.

Crop Insurance ~Tips to Avoid Pitfalls & Make it Work For You

A Nursery Grower

Tank Talk Program

Presented by . . . Palm Beach Chapter of the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association and Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service

Bill Schall, Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent

Tuesday March 22, 2011 / 11:30 am – 3:00 pm


Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service: University of Florida/IFAS, Exhibit Hall A, 559 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL

Workshop speakers have been on the front lines helping many growers to more successfully navigate through critical crop insurance issues.  Speakers will share insights learned through hard won experience to help you better structure a crop insurance strategy.  So, results will best meet your needs and expectations when disaster strikes.

The Speakers:

Joe Cialone, PhDis owner of Tropical Computers, Inc., & is very active as a nursery consultant & speaker on crop insurance and other complex issues.

Leon Libbert… is a highly respected independent crop adjuster from central Florida known for his knowledge of crop insurance & for providing accurate & understandable information.

Susan Ratcliffe… is Director of the multi-state North Central Integrated Pest Management Center at the University of Illinois & works extensively with crop insurance issues.

Paul Walden…is a national expert on nursery crop insurance & an Agricultural Resource Specialist with the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Regional Office in Valdosta, Georgia.

Thank you to USDA Risk Management Ageny for sponsoring the sandwich lunch & refreshments!!

For questions and to register: call Maria at 561.233.1725 or email  [Include Individual Name(s), Company,  Phone, Address, City, State, Zip,  Sandwich choice (Ham, Turkey, Roast Beef,Vegetarian)]

Sign Up for Newsletters and Updates!

UF / IFAS Palm Beach County, Environmental Horticulture, has a new newsletter.  Sign up HERE to make sure you receive educational opportunities and newsletters.

Third Annual SFWMD Water Conservation Expo and Vendor Fair: Improving Water Use Efficiency in Irrigation

UF / IFAS Florida-Friendly Landscaping will be participating in the
Third Annual SFWMD Water Conservation Expo and Vendor Fair:

Improving Water Use Efficiency in Irrigation

Friday, April 8, 2011
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
SFWMD Headquarters
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33406

This year’s Expo is designed to help commercial irrigators, irrigation and landscape industry professionals, and virtually anyone responsible for the irrigation of large landscapes – such as golf courses, parks and homeowners associations – learn about designing and implementing irrigation efficiency initiatives that save water and money.

Landscape and irrigation professionals and water conservation staff across both the public and private sectors will find this event particularly beneficial as they seek to reduce costs, improve irrigation efficiency at their facilities, and implement broad conservation programs for their communities.
A group of water conservation experts with proven on-the-ground experience will discuss irrigation best management practices, new commercially available tools and technology, planning considerations, and benefits of efficient irrigation projects. And you won’t want to miss this year’s conservation technology and services vendor fair featuring innovative products and services that will make your local programs come to life.

Thank you for your interest in water conservation. We look forward to seeing you at the Third Annual SFWMD Water Conservation Expo and Vendor Fair.

Details soon to follow at: