Video: Evergreen Shrubs in the Fall

Video: Evergreen Shrubs in the Fall

Fall is the season for leaf color changes on many plants, but we are often concerned when we see evergreen plants with brown leaves. Learn what is normal browning for evergreens and when to seek more help from UF IFAS Extension Escambia County.

Beginning Beekeeping Publications from GIP Live

Beginning Beekeeping Publications from GIP Live

We hope that you enjoyed the live Q&A with the University of Florida Extension Agent Evan Anderson and Research Coordinator Chris Oster of the UF Honey bee Research and Extension Lab. Below are the questions with the publication links that were provided during the discussion.

What is the best way to get started with a 0.25 acre, residential yard?
How to keep the bee colony in the winter?

How much room should I have for a couple small hives? How many hives should I start with…3?

How much time is involved in the care of the bees and their hive?

Is there a small hive available for a tiny back yard?

What equipment is needed to get started?

Does placing bee hives a certain minimum distance apart help to reduce honey bee colony mortality?

Does Dr. Leo Sharashkin’s Russian concept of horizontal hives fit the environment of the Florida Panhandle?

What is the best treatment for varroa mites?

Identifying behaviors displayed, in order to split the hive. Best time to add supers?

What are good plants for honey bees?

I live near farm fields that use commercial pesticides, can I still bee keep? What are the concerns and how do I mitigate them?

As a first year beekeeper, does all of the rain we’ve experienced this year create any problems that I should be looking for?

Should we be worried about the Asian Giant Hornets in the Florida Panhandle?

We have identified honey bees, cutter bees and carpenter bees in our garden. Should we provide a bee house?

Any killer bees in the area?

Plant Growth Abnormalities

Plant Growth Abnormalities

Every so often while I am enjoying a walk through the garden, I notice a growth pattern on a plant that is just not normal.  One of the more interesting patterns I see is called fasciation.  This is a distortion of plant tissue that often causes flattened, curved, or the thinning of plant tissues.  I recently noticed this on the stem of a Coral Porterweed in the Escambia County Demonstration Garden.  The leaves were a normal shape but several inches of the stem were flattened and curved.

The distorted stem tissue of a Coral porterweed. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County.

So what is causing this type of growth pattern?

The most common cause of fasciation is usually some type of genetic mutation in the growing points of the plant.  The other possible causes could be a physical injury to new tissues, a bacterial infection, chemical injury, or even an insect injury.  Fasciation will be random in its occurrence and many gardeners may never have it occur on a plant in their yard. I have seen it on both woody and herbaceous plants in my own yard and in the demonstration gardens.

If you see a plant exhibiting this distortion of growth, you don’t need to take any action.  If the growth is unsightly to you, prune out the affected plant tissue.  It is probably best that you not propagate material from an affected plant just to prevent any transfer of the distortion to a new plant if the cause is genetic or from a living organism.

Easy Identification for Leafcutter Bees

Easy Identification for Leafcutter Bees

In a garden with a variety of flowers, pollinators will be abundant.  Sometimes we don’t always recognize the specific pollinator when we see it, but there are some native pollinators that leave other signs of their activity. One of our medium-sized native bees will leave a distinctive calling card of recent activity in our landscape.

Leafcutter bees have collected circular notches from the edges of a redbud tree. Photo by Beth Bolles, UF IFAS Extension Escambia County.

If you see some of the leaves of trees and shrubs with distinct circular notches on the edges of the leaves, you can be sure the Leafcutter bee is present.  The females collect the leaf pieces to make a small, cigar-shaped nest that may be found in natural cavities, such as rooting wood, soil, or in plant stems.  Each nest will have several sections in which the female places a ball of pollen and an egg.  The emerging larvae then have a plentiful food source in order to develop into an adult bee.

When identifying a leafcutter bee in your landscape, look for a more robust bee with dark and light stripes on the abdomen.  These bees also have a hairy underside to their abdomen where they carry the pollen.  When loaded with pollen their underside will look yellow.

Leafcutter bees are solitary bees that are not considered aggressive.  A sting would only be likely if the bee is handled.  Your landscape will have many plants that a leafcutter may use for nesting material.  The pollinating benefits of these bees far outweigh any cosmetic injury to the plant leaf margins.

Visit Featured Creatures to see a photo of the leaf pieces made into a nest.