Archive for June, 2012

Professional Disease Management Guide for Ornamental Plants

The University has updated and re-released its Professional Disease Management Guide for Ornamental Plants.  This valuable publication was written for landscape professionals, growers, and other pest control operators as a resource for information about managing diseases in ornamental plants.

Check out this publication for information about prevention, cultural control, scouting, physical control, biological control, and chemical control.  There are four tables that summarize the commercial products available for plant disease management.  A list of websites useful in identifying and managing plant diseases is also provided.

Root Barriers

We’ll be talking about transplanting trees, root pruning, and root barriers on Monday, July 16th, 2012*.

Root barriers can be used to protect underground utilities in locations where space is limited. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski

Large trees in Palm Beach County provide beauty, habitat for wildlife, and shade to keep residents cool and utility bills low. A downside to managing large trees in urban areas is that sometimes we see root conflict with utilities, sidewalks, and other fixtures in the landscape.

Root barriers are a useful solution to root conflicts with sidewalks and utilities. They are often installed vertically to prevent root penetration and redirect root growth. Palm Beach County horticultural professional who do not provide this service may consider adding it to their list of offerings.  For professionals who wish to subcontract root barrier installation, certified arborists can be located with the International Society of Arboriculture’s search function at

Root pruning is conducted and a narrow trench dug between the tree(s) and the sidewalk, driveway, or utility conflict. It is important that care be taken with this step, as major root pruning can compromise the structural integrity of a tree.  After the trench is dug, either a chemical or physical root barrier is installed. A chemical root barrier is a piece of fabric embedded with an herbicide that stops root growth (often trifluralin). A physical root barrier deflects and redirects root growth. Prefabricated models are generally made of an interlocking hard plastic with ridges that direct growth downward. Both types of root barrier are available from one foot to four feet in depth. Root barriers can be installed using a linear or circular configuration. Linear installations are most common and may run along a sidewalk or utility trench. Circular configurations are used to contain the root balls of newly planted trees.

Conflict between root sand hardscapes is common in urban areas. Root barriers may be a solution. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski

Conflict between roots and hardscapes is common in urban areas. Root barriers may be a solution. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski

A final type of root barrier is sometimes referred to as three-dimensional, and is made of gravel. A layer of gravel under a sidewalk can be used to stop root growth and protect sidewalks. The gravel ensures that air pockets remain under the sidewalk. Since roots cannot grow through air pockets, sidewalks remain intact, and roots continue growing below. Research has found each of the types of root barrier to be effective, but some preference has been shown to gravel, three-dimensional root barriers.

It is important to remember to strive to plant the right plant in the right place to avoid major root and hardscape conflicts, although this isn’t always an option. By choosing trees that can reach their full size in the space available, we can avoid future conflicts.

*(This program is the third of eight in the 2012 Strengthening our Community Tree Canopy Series‘ for professionals, a project supported by FDACS and the Florida Forest Service through a 2011 Urban and Community Forestry Grant.  To learn more about upcoming topics in this series, Download the 2012 Urban Forestry Brochure here.  CEUs available for  ISA, pesticide applicators, FNGLA, and LIAF).

GI-BMP Training Available On Site and Online

As a reminder to all green industry professionals ~ Beginning on January 1, 2014, all commercial fertilizer applicators will be required to hold a Limited Certification for Urban Fertilizer Applicators, issued by the State of Florida’s Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control.  The prerequisite of this license is the successful completion of the Green Industry Best Management Practices, or GI-BMP program.  

GI-BMPs teach safe landscaping practices that protect the environment, including our ground and surface waters.  The University of Florida IFAS Florida Friendly Landscaping™  program presents GI-BMP programs throughout the state.  

Remaining Palm Beach GI-BMP options for 2012 are:

  • September 13, West Palm Beach
  • October 19, West Palm Beach *en español 
  • October 23, Boca Raton
  • November 8, West Palm Beach
  • GI-BMP training is also available online (in a format that allows you to work at your own pace – $15.00)
  • Onsite at your location (minimum fee and enrollment applies) 

Corporate, governmental, environmental, and other personnel should attend the GI-BMP program, which was developed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and is endorsed by the pest control industry.

To attend classes or learn more, see the 2012 GI-BMP Brochure.  More information is  available on the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ website. 

Call 561.233.1759 with any questions you may have.

The Great CEU Roundup! July 11

Do you need to catch up on CEUs? In cooperation with the Florida Turfgrass Association, The FTGA/IFAS Great CEU Round-up is being simulcast on Wednesday, July 11 (9:00 – 4:00 EDT).  Topics include herbicide failure, whiteflies and chili thrips, turf diseases, turf and landscape insects, pesticide spill management, plant nutrition, and others.  There are  up to 6 CEUs available for licensed restricted use pesticide applicators, as well as other certifications as follows:

Up to 1 CEU Up to 5 CEUs More CEUs
Ag. Row Crop
Ag. Tree Crop
Aquatic Pest Control
Demo & Research                                       Forest Pest Control
Private Applicator 
Natural Areas Weed Management
Limited Commercial Landscape Maintenance
Commercial L&O
Ornamental & Turf Pest Control Operator
Limited L&O Pest Control  Right of Way Pest Control


Palm Beach County is offering this program at 559 North Military Trail in West Palm Beach (Exhibit Hall A).  The cost for pre-registered industry professionals is $50.00 (walk-ins: $75.00); Public and government: $25.00 (walk-ins: $37.50).  Download the CEU Roundup brochure and registration form.  

Flatid planthoppers ~ a minor pest of palms

Adult Flatid planthoppers and exuviae (exoskeletal remains left after molting). Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski.

Green Industry professionals have seen these interesting insects around Palm Beach County. They’re not a pest to be too concerned about, but they’re definitely interesting to look at! Download a pdf of this Flatid planthopper fact sheet here.

INTRODUCTION ~ Flatid planthoppers (Oormenaria rufifascia) are minor pests of palms in Florida.  They can be found on the lower surfaces of fanlike palm fronds.

HOSTS ~ Flatid planthoppers can be found on cabbage palmetto, Sabal palmetto, and saw palmetto, Serenoa repens. Mexican fan palm, Washingotnia robusta, Chinese fan palm, Livistonia chinensis, Everglades (Paurotis) palm, Acoelorraphe wrigtii, and Red Latan palm, Lantania lonteroides, are among other hosts of this insect.

Adult Flatid planthopper. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski.

IDENTIFICATION ~ Flatid planthoppers are triangular in shape and are flat underneath.  They have yellow-orange eyes and are light green/blue in color, with bright orange markings around their head.  They have two red-orange stripes towards the front of the upper surface of their bodies; their wings are bordered in a lighter yellow.  Juveniles are light green in color, with some orange markings that may be covered up by waxy flocculent.

Numerous adult Flatid planthoppers found on lower surface of palm frond. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski.

LIFE CYCLE ~ The eggs have not been seen; entomologists believe this is because eggs are laid between leaf surfaces.  Flatid planthoppers have one generation per year.  Eggs are believed to hatch around January, and maturation into adults can occur by around May in South Florida.  Juveniles and adults are found mostly on older palm fronds; this is likely due to the fact that these fronds are more horizontal and provide protection.

LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT ~   There is generally no need to treat for this pest in the landscape, as damage is minimal.  Flatid planthoppers, like whiteflies and thrips, have piercing / sucking mouthparts that allow them to feed on the nutrients of a plant.  They also produce honeydew, which can support the growth of sooty mold.   Growth of sooty mold can be of greater concern than direct insect damage.  There are no chemical recommendations or insecticides specifically labelled for management of these insects.  Physical removal, such as that with a heavy spray from a hose, will greatly reduce this insect’s population.

References and Further Reading ~

Howard, F.W., and Halbert, S.  (2005). Flatid Planthopper, Oormenaria rufifascia (Walker) (Insecta: Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Flatidae).  UF / IFAS.  Available at: