Archive for November, 2012

Tree Selection for Limited Spaces

Professionals may be called to manage properties for clients who have limited room for installing trees. Though your palette may be limited there is still the opportunity to install a tree by taking the following into consideration:

  • Be sure to match the mature size and shape of the tree to the space where it will be installed.
  • Conduct research in choosing a tree that doesn’t require pruning to reduce the size or significantly change the shape of the tree. Trimming should be limited to maintaining the health and the natural formation of the tree. This approach is also applicable to shrubs and groundcovers intended for installation.
  • Allow proper spacing for the tree’s roots to develop naturally so they do not grow into the foundation of structures, utilities, and hardscapes.
  • When deciding on shrubs and groundcovers for installation conduct research as to the mature, full size of the plant for the space where it will be installed. In tight planting areas it’s best to utilize smaller, slow growing and upright plants that position themselves better in these areas.
  • Consider using an alternative to sod in a limited planting area. This can reduce the amount of water being used and allows for the possibility of less maintenance.

Some recommended trees for small planting areas:

Dahoon Holly, East Palatka Holly, Lignum-vitae, Geiger Tree, Silver Buttonwood, Wax Myrtle, Jamaican Caper, Simpson’s Stopper, Spanish Stopper, Hibiscus, Crape Myrtle, Desert Cassia, Glaucous Cassia, Jatropha, Wax Privet and Solitaire Palms.

For information about these and other trees and shrubs trees visit: Florida-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design

GI-BMP Training 2013

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.   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.  

In 2013, the GI-BMP program will be offered by Palm Beach County on the following dates:

  • January 9, West Palm Beach
  • February 5, Boca Raton
  • March 15, West Palm Beach *en español
  • April 11, West Palm Beach
  • June 14, West Palm Beach *en español
  • September 4, West Palm Beach
  • October 18, West Palm Beach *en español 
  • November 5, Boca Raton
  • December 12, West Palm Beach

To attend classes or learn more, see the 2013 GI-BMP Brochure .  GI-BMP training is also available online.  More information is  available on the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ website. 

Call 561.233.1759 with any questions you may have.

One Little Change: Hedge Trimming

Pruning Hedges Straight Up and Down Causes Thinning at the Base

Prune shrubs so they are wider at the base.

Have you noticed that many hedges, as they age, tend to become sparse at the base?  Some maintenance professionals tend to prune the sides of hedges straight up and down.   Sunlight doesn’t reach the lower branches and foliage as well, which causes unsightly thinning. We recommend that you prune hedges slightly wider at the base than at the top in order to avoid this.  It doesn’t have to be a major taper, but can make a huge difference in the appearance and longevity of shrubs in the landscape.

Facts About the New County Fertilizer Ordinance

Palm Beach County’s Board of County Commissioners passed its “Florida Friendly Fertilizer Use Ordinance” on October 30, 2012.  This ordinance was required by the state legislature to address water quality related to landscape practices.  It is intended to protect Palm Beach County ground and surface waters.  The following is a summary of the ordinance.  Download a printer-friendly version of this fact sheet here.

  • Florida-Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industries (GI-BMP) is a research-based training program that includes an overview of the training and water legislation, irrigation, fertilization, pest management, and landscape best management practices.  Participants take a post-test following this one-day course.  Those achieving a 75% or better score receive a GI-BMP certificate of training.  This document is the prerequisite for the Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer.  GI-BMP training is available at UF / IFAS Palm Beach County Extension multiple times per year and is also available online.  To sign up for an online class, visit or call 561.233.1759 for local offerings or more details.
  • Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer is the new “fertilizer license”.  It is obtained from the Florida Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control by submitting the GI-BMP certificate of training and a completed application form and must be renewed every four years.  The application can be found at:
  • Commercial fertilizer applicators are those who apply fertilizer for hire, generally working on multiple properties owned by paying individual clients.  Commercial applicators must hold a Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer by January 1, 2014 to apply fertilizer in the landscape.  Businesses must provide proof of successful GI-BMP training to obtain or renew a business license from the PBC Tax Collector.
  • Institutional fertilizer applicators are those who apply fertilizer to properties owned by their employer.  This group includes golf course, municipal and county parks and public works employees, and staff of hotels and multi-family communities.  Institutional fertilizer applicators must hold a GI-BMP certificate of completion by January 1, 2014 in order to apply fertilizer in the landscape.
  • Non-commercial and non-institutional fertilizer applicators include homeowners, nurseries, and farm operations and should follow the University of Florida / IFAS “Florida-Friendly Landscape Program” and label instructions when applying fertilizers.
  • Anyone (including commercial and institutional applicators and homeowners) that applies fertilizer is encouraged to follow the principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping and Green Industries Best Management Practices, which includes the following:
    • No fertilizing during the Prohibited Application Period (when any part of Palm Beach County is under National Weather Service Flood Watch / Warning, a Tropical Storm Watch / Warning, a Hurricane Watch / Warning or if 2 inches of rain, or more is expected to fall within a one-day period).
    • No fertilizing within 10 feet of a water body (3 feet if a deflector shield is used).
    • Fertilize with rates at or below those currently recommended by the University of Florida and the fertilizer label.
    • Deflectors should be used with broadcast spreaders where needed.
    • Fertilizer spilled on an impervious surface must be cleaned up and either applied to landscape or returned to the package. Fertilizer and grass clippings should never be blown into water bodies, storm drains, sidewalks, or roadways, or allowed to wash into these areas.

Find more information in the GI-BMP manual ( and through our many Florida Friendly Landscaping publications (


Master Landscape Management 2013 ~ registration open

The 2013 Master Landscape Management Course schedule has been posted!  See the attached brochure for details on the great schedule planned for you. **2013 Master Landscape Management Course**

Master Landscape Management. UF Laura Sanagorski

The program is provided for all horticultural professionals.  FNGLA, LIAF, ISA, and FL pesticide applicator CEUs are being requested for the program.  Questions can be directed to Laura Sanagorski, Environmental Horticulture Extension Faculty, by e-mailing or calling 561.233.1748.