by Sheila Dunning | Dec 3, 2021
No previous experience or accreditation it required to be a landscaper in the state of Florida. So when homeowners are searching for service providers, it is important that they question potential companies about their skills. One good measure is completion of voluntary certifications such as the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association (FNGLA) Certified Horticulture Professional (FCHP). The FCHP program has been the industry’s standard for measuring horticulture and landscape knowledge since 1984. The training is also useful for property managers, homeowner associations, retail garden center employees, or anyone that wants to know more about Florida’s plants and their care.
Plants are complex and variable living things that range from microscopic to the largest of living organisms. With steady population growth in the state of Florida, environmental damage risks created by the use of improper products and practices has continually risen. State and federal natural resource protection agencies have restricted certain horticultural practices including fertilizer and pesticide application. It takes scientific knowledge to properly maintain lawns and landscapes, not just a “green thumb” in order to keep plants healthy while reducing contamination to the soil, air and water that we all need.
The Florida Certified Horticulture Professional training covers 16 areas, including identification, fertilization, irrigation, pest management, safety and business practices. Lecture and hands-on activities are utilized at each session. The 60-hour course will enhance anyone’s knowledge and will provide the basis for professionals to deliver a skilled service to clientele. The course is available in-person or virtually via Zoom.
If you are a green industry worker or a concerned citizen interested in attending a FCHP preparatory course, there is an opportunity coming up in Crestview. Beginning Thursday, January 6, 2022 and continuing for 8 weeks to February 24, 2022, the Okaloosa County Extension office will be providing training for $185, which included the newest hard copy manual and plant identification book. Contact Sheila Dunning, 850-689-5850, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For more details and to register go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/florida-certified-horticulture-professional-fchp-training-tickets-215748017127
by Sheila Dunning | Dec 3, 2021
Here in Northwest Florida, finding horticultural supplies and plant material available locally is a challenge. Due to our location, looking to the neighboring states is very practical. A great resource to fill these needs is The Gulf States Horticultural Expo (GSHE) trade show and education event for green industry professionals will be held in Mobile in January, 2022. Attendee profiles include wholesale growers, landscape professionals, retailers, manufacturers, and distributors. Produced in partnership between the Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association (ALNLA), the Mississippi Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA), and the Louisiana Nursery & Landscape Association (LNLA), the Expo’s goals are to increase commerce, networking, and professional development among the green industry and allied suppliers. Since the first Expo in 1999, GSHE has grown to become THE premier winter trade show of the South.
Awareness of pest problems present in neighboring states helps Northwest Florida green industry personnel develop more effective scouting programs. On Wednesday, January 19, 2022 researchers, professors and faculty from well-known Southern universities and colleges across the United States will present valuable information during the Pest Management education session. You can earn up to 8 Florida CEUs in multiple categories including all the Lawn & Ornamental, Demo & Research, Forest Pest, Natural Areas, Ag Tree, Private Applicator, and Right-of-Way. Please note that no CORE CEUs will be available at this event.
If learning more about business management or new plant varieties appeals to you, plan on attending the Business and Culture or Plant Conference session. Jeff Manus from the University of Mississippi delivers a two-part session on Weeders to Leaders during the business training. Speakers from Southern Living, Bracy’s Nursery, Proven Winners, Louisiana State University, Ball Horticultural Company and Plant Development Services will introduce new and exciting plant selections for 2022 during the plant conference.
If landscape design is your passion, spend all day Wednesday through Friday with Richard Ludwig and Bill Slack in the Landscape Design sessions. Learn the fundamentals of profitability, color graphics and how to create the ultimate landscape design over the three days.
For more information and to register go to: https://www.gshe.org/schedule.cfm
by Julie McConnell | Jun 7, 2021
We’re back! After the COVID-19 hiatus, the Gulf Coast Turfgrass Field Day & Expo returns to the normal third Wednesday in June time slot.
Join us June 16, 2021 for a COVID-19 friendly, in-person field day. Due to COVID-19 protocols, ALL ATTENDEES MUST PREREGISTER before June 15th. There will be NO on-site registration, so get your ticket now!
ATTENDEE REGISTRATION: Choose ONLY one of the four ticket options:
- Field Tour, Scouting Insects, Spill Drills
- Field Tour, Scouting Insects, Natural Pesticides
- Field Tour, Spill Drills, Natural Pesticides
- Field Tour ONLY
MORNING RESEARCH FORUM – Everybody is ready to get back to “normal” and so are the University of Florida scientists who are coming to the Turfgrass Field Day in full force – even a few you’ve likely never met in person! Change abounds and this year’s field day is no different. The line-up this year will have four focus areas and will allow greater time for interaction with the researchers.
Future Urban Landscapes – water quality and quantity concerns are major drivers leading to changes in what future landscapes will look like.
- Agustin Boeri, Graduate Research Assistant
- A.J. Reisinger, UF Soil and Water Scientist
- Mark Lusk, UF Soil and Water Scientist
- Michael Dukes, UF Irrigation Specialist
- Adam Dale, UF Turf Entomologist
- J. Bryan Unruh, UF Turf Specialist
Pest Management – pests continue to create challenges when managing turf.
- Billy Crow, UF Turf Nematologist
- Adam Dale, UF Turf Entomologist
- Phil Harmon, UF Turf Pathologist
- Pawel Petelwicz, UF Turf Weed Scientist
Turfgrass Breeding & Cultivar Development – tremendous effort is underway to bring improved turfgrasses (color, quality, reduced water and nutrition) to the market.
- Kevin Kenworthy, UF Turf Breeder
- J. Bryan Unruh, UF Turf Specialist
- Chase McKeithen, UF Turf Biological Scientist
Cultural Management – research on how to better manage turf.
- Jason Kruse, UF Athletic Turf Specialist
- Marco Schiavon, UF Turf Specialist
- J. Bryan Unruh, UF Turf Specialist
VENDOR EXPO – This year’s vendor expo will be an open air “tail-gate” style event to allow for social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols. Vendors will be stationed in the grassy areas around the perimeter of the turfgrass research plots. Attendees will have opportunity to visit before, during, and after the research tours.
A limited number of tables and chairs will be available for the vendors. Vendors should plan to bring a pop-up tent if you have one!
Please note: To see all ticketing options please do the following: Upon entering Eventbrite site using link below, click “Tickets” link and then “I want to get tickets” “As an individual” to see all ticketing options.
LUNCH – BBQ Buffet lunches aren’t the most COVID friendly so we are changing up the menu and the venue a bit. Box lunches will be provided out on the research plots. Grab your lunch and find a shade tree, huddle under a vendor tent, or head back to your vehicle for a bit (you may want to turn your A/C on to cool off!).
AFTERNOON PESTICIDE LICENSE CONTINUING EDUCATION – Three sessions will be offered this year. All three classes will be available from ~ 12-1 and 1-2; each class will repeat with different audience so attendees can choose to get 2 different core or 1 category and 1 core CEU.
Scouting for Insects in the Landscape. This session will focus on identification of signs and symptoms of common insect pests in landscape plants. 1 Category CEU O&T, LCLM, LLO, Comm L&O will be requested for this session.
Spill Drills. Do you know what to do in an emergency? This session will cover multiple spill scenarios and what action needs to be taken to prevent injury and environmental harm. 1 Core CEU will be requested for this session.
Natural Pesticides for the Landscape. Many property owners are interested in using “natural” or low-risk pesticides but are they really effective? This session will discuss pesticide products that are labeled as natural and/or organic. 1 Core CEU will be requested for this session.
REGISTER NOW: https://2021gcturfgrassexpo.eventbrite.com
by Matt Lollar | May 3, 2019
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 FDACS CEUs available in LCLM, Limited Lawn & Ornamental, Commercial L&O, O&T, Natural Areas, ROW, or 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 email@example.com or 850-623-3868.
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
by Sheila Dunning | Jul 12, 2018
As of January 2015 the labels on fertilizer bags have changed. Florida Rule 5E-1.003 required fertilizer manufacturers to modify their package recommendations and wording.
“Specialty fertilizers” was one of the more significant changes. This included packages that weigh 49 pounds or less and are labeled for home (residential) lawn use. The new labeling requirement for fertilizers labeled for use on urban lawns included that these products must be no phosphate or low phosphate. “No phosphate” fertilizers will be expressed as zero in the guaranteed analysis. “Low phosphate” fertilizers typically have 2% when labeled for residential lawns. Additionally, the recommended application rate must not exceed 0.25 lbs. P2O5 / 1,000 square feet per application and cannot exceed 0.50 lbs. P2O5 / 1,000 square feet per year. The only exception is “starter fertilizers”, which is a fertilizer formulated for a one-time application at planting or near that time to encourage root growth. A starter fertilizer can recommend a one-time application rate of 1.0 lb. of P2O5 / 1,000 square feet.
The Label is the Law
Application rates cannot be exceeded and the site must be on the label. The “site” refers to the specific grass area that the application is intended for. So, for fertilizer packaging under Rule SE-1.003 there a few definitions you need to understand:
- “Urban Turf” or “Lawns” means non-agricultural land planted in closely mowed, managed grasses except golf courses, parks and athletic fields.
- “New Urban Turf” means residential lawns established less than 12 months.
- “Actively Growing Turf” means turf that needs mowing at least once every two weeks to maintain the grass blade height according to the UF/IFAS recommendation.
- “Established Urban Turf” means residential lawns older than 12 months.
In addition to restrictions on phosphate, the Urban Turf Rule restricts the use of nitrogen. The amount that can be applied at once, as well as, annually and the seasonal application timing are defined based on the different regions of Florida. Local ordinances may be even more restrictive than the fertilizer label.
The following language must appear on all fertilizers sold at retail:
- “Apply only to actively growing turf”.
- “Do not apply near water, storm drains or drainage ditches”.
- “Do not apply if heavy rain is expected”.
- Apply this product only to your lawn and sweep any product that lands in the driveway, sidewalk or street back onto your lawn.
Finally, the labeling requirements for fertilizers that come in 50 pound bags or larger include that the directions for use cannot exceed rates recommended in the document entitled “Florida Friendly Best Management Practices for Protection of Water Resources by the Green Industries” (GI-BMP). The GI-BMP restricts nitrogen applications to less than what the label states. If the slow-release component of the overall nitrogen percentages is 30% or greater, the product can be applied at 1.0 lb. of N / 1,000 sq. ft. If it is less than 30%, then the rate is only 0.50 lb. N / 1,000 sq. ft.
The next time you are shopping for fertilizer, take the time to read the bag. Know that you are applying it correctly and legally.
By the way, if you are being compensated for applying fertilizer, FDACS requires a Limited Urban Commercial Fertilizer application certification with a pre-requisite of GI-BMP training.
Upcoming classes in Northwest Florida
Statewide GI-BMP classes
by Julie McConnell | Apr 10, 2018
In December of 2017, a new Commercial Lawn & Ornamental Pest Control Operator exam was launched in Florida. This updated exam covers materials found in two new manuals not previously recommended as study guides: “Identification Guide to Common Florida Lawn and Ornamental Weeds,” and “Lawn and Ornamental Pest Management.”. Photographic pest identification including knowledge of life cycle have nearly tripled when compared to the prior exam.
Because this exam is a statewide license, many pests may not be familiar to industry professionals in NW Florida if they are more commonly found in peninsular or South Florida.
The new exam also includes Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) topics, Florida Statutes, Administrative Rules, safety concepts from “Applying Pesticides Correctly” and label reading – both fertilizer and pesticide calculations and label interpretation.
The paper exam has been offered twice in Apopka since the launch last year with pass rates below 50% at both sessions.
Panhandle Horticulture Agents in partnership with FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) will be holding a review class May 10-11, 2018, in Panama City. This class is designed to reinforce lawn and ornamental pest control concepts with a focus on newly introduced material for the CPO Commercial Lawn & Ornamental exam, but is not a replacement for independent study.
Exams will not be given in conjunction with this class. Anyone interested in taking the CPO Commercial Lawn & Ornamental exam is still required to meet all mandated qualifications of education and/or experience. Applicants must then apply online https://aesecomm.freshfromflorida.com/ with FDACS to obtain a voucher and schedule the test with a local Extension office.
This class will also provide CEUs for current license holders in the following categories (please check 2018 CEU Commercial L&O Flyer for dates – not all CEUs available both days): Commercial L&O, Limited L&O, LCLM, O&T, Private Ag, Limited Urban Fertilizer. Core CEUs will be available both days.
Registration is customized based on attendees needs as one-day of your choice or two-day. If you plan to take the Comm. L&O Exam, it is strongly encouraged that you attend both days.
For questions about the class, please contact Julie McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org