UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Turfgrass Expo & Field Day Set for June 16, 2021

UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Turfgrass Expo & Field Day Set for June 16, 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:

  1. Field Tour, Scouting Insects, Spill Drills
  2. Field Tour, Scouting Insects, Natural Pesticides
  3. Field Tour, Spill Drills, Natural Pesticides
  4. 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

COVID-19 Update April 2, 2020: What Does the Office of the Governor Executive Order 20-91 Mean for Landscape Companies?

COVID-19 Update April 2, 2020: What Does the Office of the Governor Executive Order 20-91 Mean for Landscape Companies?

Following the issuance of the Governor’s Executive Order 20-91 we have had a lot of questions from the Green Industry concerned about their status as essential employees. As noted in the excerpt below from the State of Florida Office of the Governor Executive Order Number 20-91 (Essential Services and Activities During COVID-19 Emergency)  landscapers are included under the Public Works and Infrastructure Support Services Category.

PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT SERVICES

  • Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations, including bridges, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personnel, construction of critical or strategic infrastructure, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities, maintenance of digital systems infrastructure supporting public works operations, and other emergent issues.

  • Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC Technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response.

  • Workers who support, such as road and line clearing, to ensure the availability of and access to needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications.

  • Support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste, including landfill operations.

  • Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential dams, locks and levees.

  • Workers who support the inspection and maintenance of aids to navigation, and other government provided services that ensure continued maritime commerce.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) recommends that all essential employees carry a letter from their employer that describes their role as an essential employee.The Governor’s Office has provided a template that can be found at the following link. Download and modify to fit your business role.  http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/nfrecsv/files/2020/03/2020-04-01-Essential-Worker-Movement-Letter-DRAFT-2.0-2.pdf

Please be mindful that although the landscape industry can continue working, it is imperative that all citizens follow CDC recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These can be found here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

In addition to this resource, consider incorporating recommendations from The Urban Ag Council of Georgia where appropriate.

*Stagger start times so that each manager will only work with their team.  No more than 5-person crew.
* Employees are required to keep 8-foot separation between colleagues and/or any other people.  Focus on social and work distancing.
*No more than 2 people per single cab truck and 4 people per crew cab truck (exceptions are made for employees who need to use personal vehicles to accomplish this).
*Wear dust masks when in vehicle and outside.
*Trucks are to be thoroughly cleaned at the end of every day.
*Crew leaders must clock in their crew.  Do not pass phone around for them to clock-in.
*Daily – every employee (office and field) is screened with questions before starting work.

  1. Do you currently have a fever? Or have you had a fever in the last week?
  2. Do you have a cough?
  3. Do you have shortness of breath?
  4. Do you have vomiting/nausea?
  5. Do you have diarrhea or stomach issues?
  6. Have you been in contact with anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of the COVID-19?

Any employee that answers yes to any question will be asked to return home and HR will be notified to receive additional instructions.

Please be safe and let us know if we can assist in any way.

Your UF/IFAS Panhandle Commercial Horticulture Team

Bay – Julie McConnell juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu
Escambia – Beth Bolles bbolles@ufl.edu
Okaloosa – Sheila Dunning sdunning@ufl.edu
Santa Rosa – Matt Lollar mlollar@ufl.edu
Walton – Evan Anderson eanderson350@ufl.edu
Washington – Matt Orwat mjorwat@ufl.edu
Calhoun – Daniel Leonard d.leonard@ufl.edu
Leon – Mark Tancig tancig00@ufl.edu

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 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 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

Fertilizer Label Requirements for Urban Turf (Lawns)

 

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:

  1. “Urban Turf” or “Lawns” means non-agricultural land planted in closely mowed, managed grasses except golf courses, parks and athletic fields.
  2. “New Urban Turf” means residential lawns established less than 12 months.
  3. “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.
  4. “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

 

New Exam Review and CEU Class Offered in Panama City: May 10-11, 2018

New Exam Review and CEU Class Offered in Panama City: May 10-11, 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.

To register please visit https://lawn-ornamental.eventbrite.com

For questions about the class, please contact Julie McConnell at juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu

April is National Safe Dig Month

April is National Safe Dig Month

This month, recognized by the Senate and Florida’s governor, reminds diggers why calling 811 before all outdoor digging projects is important to your safety. Before installing a mailbox, fence, deck, garden or tree make sure to call Sunshine 811 to have underground lines marked. 811 is the free national number designated by the Federal Communications Commission.  It notifies utility companies, who in turn send their professional locators to identify and mark the appropriate location of underground line with paint and flags in colors that identify the utility type.  The following colors represent the seven various utilities: red, orange, blue, green, yellow, purple and white.  To see which colors correspond with each utility click on the picture below:

Hitting an underground utility line while digging can cause injuries, utility service outages to an entire neighborhood and damage to the environment. Failure to call before digging results in one unintentional utility hit every eight minutes nationwide.  You could also be financially affected with costly fines and high repair costs.

Calling 811 in Florida is the law. At least two full business days before digging, do-it yourselfers and professional excavators must contact 811 by phone to start the process of getting underground utility lines marked.  This is a free service.  Be sure that all utilities have been marked before grabbing the shovel.  Follow up on your one call ticket by contacting 811 again on the third day.  For more information on Florida’s law, visit www.Sunshine811.com.