Arbor Day 2020

Arbor Day 2020

Master Gardeners demonstrate correct tree planting techniques.

Last week, we celebrated Florida’s Arbor Day. “What?” you may say—“Isn’t Arbor Day in the spring?” Well, yes and no. National Arbor Day is celebrated in the spring (April 24 this year), usually within a day or two of Earth Day. However, because of the wide range of climatic environments throughout the United States, each state has its own date based on ideal growing conditions. As it stands, Florida’s is the 3rd Friday in January, as we are situated so very far south. Alabama and Georgia, where so many of us north Floridians experience similar weather, hold their Arbor Days in late February.

Contrary to popular opinion, the optimal planting time for trees is not in the spring, but in fall and winter. Planting during dormancy allows trees to focus their energy resources on growing healthy roots. In the coming spring, a steady supply of warmth, sunshine, and pollinators will bring on leaf growth, flowers, and fruit.

Check with your local Extension offices, garden clubs, and municipalities to find out if there is an Arbor Day event near you! Several local agencies have joined forces to organize tree giveaway events and sales in observance of Florida’s Arbor Day.

Saturday, January 25th

Leon County: UF/IFAS Extension Leon County Master Gardeners will assist with the county’s Arbor Day tree planting at 9 a.m. Martha Wellman Park, 5317 W. Tennessee St., Tallahassee.

 

New Demonstrations in the UF/IFAS Extension Building at the North Florida Fair

New Demonstrations in the UF/IFAS Extension Building at the North Florida Fair

There are hands-on agricultural crop displays and much more in the UF/IFAS building at the North Florida Fair. Photo by Molly Jameson.

There are hands-on agricultural crop displays and much more in the UF/IFAS building at the North Florida Fair. Photo by Molly Jameson.

New Demonstrations in the UF/IFAS Extension Building at the North Florida Fair

Every year during the North Florida Fair in Tallahassee, extension agents from all over the Florida Panhandle showcase their various programming in the UF/IFAS exhibitor building. This includes educational displays and hands-on activities in areas such as horticulture, agriculture, livestock, 4-H youth, natural resources, and family and consumer sciences.

Once you have your fill of fair rides and funnel cake, see a live educational demonstration at the UF/IFAS building! Photo by Molly Jameson.

Once you have your fill of fair rides and funnel cake, see a live educational demonstration at the UF/IFAS building! Photo by Molly Jameson.

For instance, visitors can view and touch agricultural crops grown in our area, play in a giant tub of actual cotton, match images of song birds with their names, make a 4-H craft, and learn about the importance of wildlife habitat for animals.

This year, Extension is including even more to do and learn in the UF/IFAS building. There will be live demonstrations taking place throughout the fair week, which is November 7 to 17 this year.

Did you know you can convert recycled containers, such as milk jugs and soda bottles into self-watering planters? Or that when saltwater reef fishing, if fish are brought to the surface too quickly, it can rupture their organs? Learn all about these concepts and more during the UF/IFAS Extension Live Demonstrations.

UF/IFAS Live Demonstration Schedule:

Turn all types of containers into self-watering gardens, such as planting a strawberry in a plastic jug using strips of old cloth as a wick. Photo by John Edwards.

Turn all types of containers into self-watering gardens, such as planting a strawberry in a plastic jug using strips of old cloth as a wick. Photo by John Edwards.

Saturday, November 9:

  • 1:00 p.m. – Food Safety with Extension Agent Kendra Zamojski
  • 2:00 p.m. – Avoiding Barotrauma while Deep Sea Fishing with Extension Agent Andrea Albertin

Monday, November 11:

  • 1:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m.  – Reef Fish Catch and Release Techniques with Extension Agent Laura Tiu

Tuesday, November 12:

  • 6:30 p.m.  – Rose Propagation with Extension Agent Matt Orwat

Thursday, November 14:

  • 6:15 p.m. – Starting Plants in Recycled Newspaper with Extension Agent Paula Davis
  • 7:00 p.m. – Food Safety with Extension Agents Laurie Osgood and Amy Mullins

Saturday, November 16:

  • 3:00 p.m. – Planting with Recycled Containers with Extension Agents Molly Jameson, Mark Tancig, and Allison Leo

Sunday, November 17:

  • 7:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.  – Reef Fish Catch and Release Techniques with Extension Agent Erik Lovestrand

For more information about the North Florida Fair, visit the website at http://northfloridafair.com/.

See you at the fair!

2019 Panhandle Fruit and Vegetable Conference: Seeking to Bridge the Agricultural Gap

2019 Panhandle Fruit and Vegetable Conference: Seeking to Bridge the Agricultural Gap

Join UF/IFAS Extension on October 2 and 3 for the 2019 Panhandle Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Not only will participants get the opportunity to learn about some of the most current innovations in fruit, nut, and vegetable production; marketing and business; and alternative enterprises in the southeast; they will also have the pleasure of hearing the keynote address from Dr. Cary Rivard, an Associate Professor, Extension Specialist, and Director of the Kansas State Research and Extension Center.

The 2019 Panhandle Fruit and Vegetable Conference keynote speaker is Dr. Cary Rivard, an Associate Professor, Extension Specialist, and Director of the Kansas State Research and Extension Center.

The 2019 Panhandle Fruit and Vegetable Conference keynote speaker is Dr. Cary Rivard, an Associate Professor, Extension Specialist, and Director of the Kansas State Research and Extension Center.

Dr. Cary Rivard knows the horticultural and agricultural industries well, as he grew up helping his parents operate a greenhouse business in Kansas City, Missouri. Embracing his family roots, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural science and biology from Truman State University and his Master of Science and doctorate degrees in plant pathology from North Carolina State University.

But Dr. Rivard knows not everyone gets to grow up witnessing the importance of the agricultural industry firsthand, nor does everyone study agricultural sciences in pursuit of educational degrees. Therefore, throughout Dr. Rivard’s career, he has sought projects that work to connect urban communities with agriculture. As we all know, technological innovations in the 21st century have connected communities in more ways than we could have ever imagined. Yet, it seems a disconnect has arisen among the people in these communities and the food they eat and the farmers who grow that food. But Dr. Rivard sees this disconnect as opportunity. He knows it is agricultural and horticultural leaders – both university specialists and farmers – who can bridge the gap between urban communities and the agricultural products on which they, knowingly or unknowingly, truly rely.

At the Panhandle Fruit and Vegetable Conference, Dr. Rivard will discuss his mission to connect urban communities and agriculture, including his work coordinating the Growing Growers Kansas City program, which provides education to new and experienced growers through farm apprenticeships and an annual workshop series. In addition to speaking as the 2019 Panhandle Fruit and Vegetable Conference keynote speaker, Dr. Rivard will also present one of the conference sessions, where he will discuss his effort to integrate crop diversity and crop rotations into high tunnel production systems.

Register to attend the UF/IFAS Extension 2019 Panhandle Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Post-Conference Tour on Eventbrite (https://panhandlefv2019.eventbrite.com). The main conference will be held on October 2 at the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The post-conference tour on October 3 will be a great chance to chat with farmers, and it kicks-off with breakfast at the Emerald Coast Convention Center. Participants will then ride together by bus to tour local farms, enjoy lunch, and be returned to the Convention Center by 3 p.m.

Weed Control in the Landscape – Alternatives to Glyphosate Workshop – May 23

Weed Control in the Landscape – Alternatives to Glyphosate Workshop – May 23

Are you looking for more selective herbicide options for annual beds and around shrubs and trees? The Santa Rosa County Extension Office will be hosting guest speaker Dr. Chris Marble from the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research & Education Center on Thursday, May 23. Dr. Marble is a Nationally Renowned Weed Scientist who has published numerous research and extension publications. 2 CEUs available in LCLM, Limited Lawn & Ornamental, Commercial L&O, O&T, Natural Areas, ROW, and Private Ag.  Pre-registration fee is $15, or $20 registration at the door the day of the event (includes lunch and resources). Pre-register online at Eventbrite Ticket or bring cash, check, or money order to the Santa Rosa County Extension Office, 6263 Dogwood Dr., Milton, FL before May 23. For additional questions, please contact Matt Lollar at mlollar@ufl.edu or 850-623-3868.

SCHEDULE

9:30  Registration & Welcome
9:45  Presentation Begins
11:30  Question & Answer w/Dr. Marble
11:45  Evaluation & CEUs
12:00  Lunch & Discussion on Glyphosate Registration
12:30  Adjourn

New Tree Identification Trail to Provide Knowledge in the Shade

New Tree Identification Trail to Provide Knowledge in the Shade

Historic live oaks provide shade and wildlife habitat at the Escambia Extension walking trail. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson, UF / IFAS Extension

A recent study of 3-5 year olds found that the average pre-reading American child could identify hundreds of marketing brand logos (McDonald’s, Disney, even Toyota). Most researchers would be mightily challenged to find even a middle school student who can identify more than a couple of trees growing in their own backyard. The fields and forests many of us grew up in are steadily converting to look-alike suburban areas, so this lack of local natural knowledge is commonplace. As the quote by Senegalese forester Baba Dioum goes, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.” If kids and adults do not appreciate and understand the natural world around them, we are unlikely to preserve these priceless wonders.

To do our part towards this aim of educating others, we at Escambia Extension received a grant from International Paper to plant 30 trees around our office’s walking track. Every tree has a clearly marked identification tag listing its common and botanical name.

A newly planted sassafras tree on the Extension walking trail. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson, UF / IFAS Extension

Initially we just planned to add more shade trees to the sunny side of the track, but after a discussion with local foresters, we realized this effort could be an ideal teaching tool. The local middle and high school Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters participate in a tree identification contest, and are tasked with knowing 50 native tree species. While 10 of them were tropical species that do not perform well in north Florida, we have the other 40 planted here on the property. Students and any interested citizen interested in learning these native species can walk along our track, getting exercise and taking in the natural world around them.

A spring walking event will kick off the official opening of the tree identification trail, so join us April 26 to learn more about healthy living and the value of trees. Or, join us for an Extension Open House on April 27 to explore the demonstration gardens, purchase vegetable plants, or learn more about Extension’s wide array of community services.

 

Northwest FL Pest Management Conference

Northwest FL Pest Management Conference

The UF/IFAS Extension and FAMU will be bringing the Florida Pest Management Conference to Milton on April 17th.  Attend to earn CEUs for your PCO License.  Attendance is free and we are currently seeking sponsors at $80 per sponsoring business/organization.  For more details and to register, please visit the conference webpage at Northwest Pest Management Conference.