Monthly Archive: March 2018

The Beautiful, but Invasive, Mimosa

It is easy to notice the display of bright pink puffs erupting on low-growing trees along roadsides. This attractive plant is the Mimosa tree, Albizia julibrissin. These once popular small trees are commonly found in the yards of older homes in Florida where the display of prolific blooms starts up as the weather warms. This …

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Bats in a Building: What Can You Do?

All 13 species of bats that live in Florida sleep during the day and feed on insects throughout the night. Most of these bats sleep in natural structures such as trees and caves. But when the natural structures these bats prefer are limited or vandalized, the bats may move into buildings. Bats are a great …

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Grass Carp – A Biological Control “Tool” to Manage Invasive Aquatic Plants

Spring is only days away.  Everywhere you look, plants of all kinds are awakening to recent rains, longer days, and fertile soils; and this includes aquatic plants as well!  Florida has hundreds of aquatic plant species, and they are an often-overlooked feature of Florida’s landscape.  Overlooked that is, until the growth of non-native (or even …

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Test your well water at least once a year: Keep your water and your family well

An estimated 2.5 million Floridians (approximately 12% of the population) rely on private wells for home consumption, which includes water for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, toilet flushing and other needs. While public water systems are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure safe drinking water, private wells are not regulated. Private well …

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A Potential Problem, the Cuban Treefrog

As we come to the end of National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), I need to educate everyone on a potential invasive threat, a classic Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) species – the Cuban Treefrog. This treefrog was first introduced into to south Florida in the 1920’s. Like lionfish, it quickly became established and began …

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The Armored Wanderer – the armadillo

The first light of morning can reveal random pockmarks in what had been the perfect lawn the previous evening. The culprit is not likely the neighborhood teenager with a reputation for inappropriate practical jokes. The offender usually is the nine-banded armadillo, sometimes referred to as a Florida-speed-bump or Possum-on-the-half-shell. In addition to manicured landscapes, they …

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It is March and Snakes are on the Move

Most people know that snakes are ectothermic and the environment is what regulates their body temperature. However, many do not know that they like to maintain their temperature close to 98 F like us.  To do this they must move to locations where they can either warm (like basking in the sun or lying on …

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Aquaponics: Growing Fish and Food

There is growing interest in hobby-scale farming techniques. In response to this need, UF/IFAS Walton County Extension Office established a hobby farm featuring a variety of low-input food production options. The farm is a cooperative venture drawing on expertise of the Horticulture, Aquaculture/Marine Science, 4-H, and Agriculture programs. The farm is on a relatively small, …

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NISAW 2018: Invasive Bamboo

Standing in the midst of a stand of bamboo, it’s easy to feel dwarfed. Smooth and sturdy, the hollow, sectioned woody shoots of this fascinating plant can tower as tall as 70 feet. Unfortunately, bamboo is a real threat to natural ecosystems, moving quickly through wooded areas, wetlands, and neighborhoods, taking out native species as …

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NISAW 2018: It’s Growing So Well It Must Be A Good Plant

You know that plant in the corner of the yard that seems to be taking over?  It’s the one that your friend “passed along” because they had plenty of them and wanted to share.  After all, it grows so well.  How can you go wrong? The odds are that vigorous plant is a non-native species.  …

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