Archive for the ‘Best Management Practices’ Category

Your Extension Agents are Serving up Coffee and Thursday Morning CEUs: May 30th

Potassium deficiencyYou’re invited to attend:

Fertilizing the Florida Landscape to Minimize Impact on Ground and Surface Waters….

… to enjoy breakfast and time to socialize with other green industry professionals. University of Florida fertilizer recommendations will be presented, with an emphasis on applying appropriate amounts and formulations of fertilizer. This program will include a discussion of the effect of turf fertilizers and reclaimed water on the landscape. An activity will prepare participants to convert water quality data into the amount of fertilizer applied, and consequently adjust fertilizer as needed.  View the flyer.

Two Category CEUs offered in: Private Applicator Ag., O&T, Limited Landscape, Limited L&O, or COmmercial L&O

Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding and Obtaining the GI-BMP Certification and Fertilizer License

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the GI-BMP training and application for fertilizer license 

I’m not sure if I or my employee(s) passed my GI-BMP post-test.  How can I find out?

  • Visit  Click on “Palm Beach” to view all professionals who have successfully completed this training.  Note: this is not proof of Urban Fertilizer License (required of all professionals who apply fertilizer commercially as of 2014), but proof that the prerequisite was earned.
  • Additionally, you can call 561.233.1759 a minimum of 4 weeks after your GI-BMP class (if you took the class through Palm Beach County Extension), with the date you took it, and we can look it up for you.

I passed my GI-BMP post-test, but I need to request a replacement certification card.  How do I order a replacement?

My information on file with the state GI-BMP office needs to be changed.  How do I change my address?

I have my GI-BMP certificate of completion.  What do I need to do to obtain my Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer?

What License do I Need? ~ Guidance for Seeking Green Industry Credentials

What license do I need? How can I stand out as a qualified, licensed professional? These are common questions received from individuals who want to enter or excel in the green industry in Palm Beach County.   A new county fact sheet, What License do I Need? ~ Guidance for Seeking Green Industry Credentials is now available to address questions about some of the credentials that you may want or need. A table of links that will assist in locating licensing and credential information is located at the end of this publication.




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 (


Save the date! Master Landscape Management Course 2013

Details are being finalized for the eight-week Master Landscape Management course for 2013.  The program will be held every Thursday, from January 10th through February 28th.  This course covers the major topics every green industry professional should know, including plant selection, landscape codes, fertilization, managing pests and diseases, tree pruning, and turf care.

Master Landscape Management!

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

FL Whitefly Website ~ Training Reminder & CEU Opportunity

Rugose Spiraling Whitefly Eggs, Juveniles, and Adults. Photo: UF Laura Sanagorski

As a reminder, the relatively new Florida Whitefly website ( has management information for professionals, homeowners, and educators.  For professionals, this site provides access to an e-learning course  titled “Invasive Whitefly Pests of Florida”.   Following the course, an exam will be presented; professionals who successfully complete the exam will be listed on the website.    I encourage horticultural professionals who treat or plan to treat whiteflies to take the class and exam to increase knowledge, earn one CEU, and get on the list.  Potential customers look to this list to hire professionals who are proficient in whitefly management.

The Florida Whitefly website is a result of a partnership between the University of Florida (UF), IFAS Extension, Department of Entomology and Nematology, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Division of Plant Industry, UF/IFAS Extension-Lee, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, Southern Plant Diagnostic Network, IPM Florida, and Pest Management University.

A score of 70% or better on the quiz earns the user one FDACS CEU in one of the following categories: Limited Lawn and Ornamental, Limited Landscape Maintenance, and Commercial Lawn and Ornamental.