Rainfall in the Florida Panhandle can be described as feast or famine, alternating between daily rain and weeks without a drop. Plants can struggle in these circumstances and if not well adapted to the area may need a little help from gardeners. One plant that is perfectly happy without intervention in these extreme climatic conditions is the resurrection fern (Pleopeltis polypodiodes).
Resurrection fern is a semi-evergreen epiphytic fern that grows along the branches and trunks of shade trees, rocks, stumps, and other suitable spots. An epiphyte obtains water and nutrients from the air and organic matter on the surface where it is attached; it is not parasitic. This native plant thrives in part to full shade and is cold hardy into Zone 6A. Resurrection fern has fibrous roots and creeping rhizomes that allow this clumping fern to spread and attach itself to trees or objects. Like other ferns it reproduces by spores that are born on the underside of fronds.
When rainfall is scarce, the normally lush fern turns brown, and fronds curl up and it looks dead. Once moisture returns, the fern hydrates and returns to its normal lush look earning the name resurrection fern.
Since 2020, we have delivered timely webinars using Zoom and Facebook Live to reach Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! viewers. In 2024, we are changing things up just a bit. Due to changes in the way Zoom and Facebook interface we will only be transmitting live through Zoom.
What does that mean for our Facebook viewers? We will still post Events about upcoming programs with links to register for the episode and will continue to share videos after they are uploaded to YouTube (usually this is within 24 hours). Thank you for your patience as we make this change
Below is our lineup for 2024 – we hope you will join us!
In case you missed it, you can watch our last session of Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! that aired on October 12th by visiting our YouTube Playlist with all the past episodes of our gardening webinars.
We had a great conversation about herbs and cool season edible plants last month and this article compiles the links shared by the expert panel in the episode. Thanks for watching!
Weeds can be the bane of the gardener’s existence and Extension Agents get a lot of questions on how to manage them throughout the year. Whether you are growing edibles, ornamentals, or turfgrass you have probably encountered a plant out of place which is basically the general definition of a weed. Just like with any other landscape challenge the first thing you need to do when dealing with weeds is accurate identification. Understanding the life cycle of the pest (weed in this case) you are targeting will be key for the most effective control with minimal inputs. Your local Extension office can assist with weed identification, and you can find a list by county here.
If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch the video on YouTube
Below are the links that were shared during the episode in the order discussed if you would like to follow along:
Weed control is never ending in Florida landscapes. If there is a bare area of soil, weeds take advantage of that void and make themselves at home. Ideally, we would use good cultural practices that minimize weed invasion, but if prevention is ineffective and you need to use an herbicide, make sure you are using that tool properly.
When I talk to homeowners and commercial applicators about weed control, many times they have selected the appropriate product but are still struggling with management. While troubleshooting the problem, many times I discover, the reason is related to poor uptake because the client is not making herbicide applications to what I like to call “happy weeds.”
When using an herbicide, you need to think about how it works. Not the deep level chemical reactions, but rather consider how the active ingredient is going to be delivered to whatever physiological function of the plant it is targeting.
Does the herbicide need to be absorbed by the leaves/stems/roots?
Once absorbed, does it need to travel through the vascular system of the plant (translocation)?
What effect will temperature, moisture, mowing/trimming have on product uptake?
All these factors are very important because if a plant is stressed, the primary response is survival. During excessively hot weather plants close off stomata, form waxier surfaces, and do everything they can to retain moisture – which also includes reduced absorption of herbicides. In cool weather, the plant may be dormant or have slowed growth that will reduce translocation.
Mowing and trimming reduces leaf surface area minimizing uptake. Overcoming injury also triggers the plant to go into water conservation mode which also limits product uptake.
So, what do I mean by “happy weeds”? For herbicides to be effective, they should be applied when growing conditions are ideal for your target plant. Optimum soil moisture, soil temperature, ambient temperature, and minimal stress lead to “happy weeds” that are primed to accept herbicides and translocate if needed. Plants in survival mode will have their defenses activated and this decreases herbicide efficacy.
Always read and follow entire label instructions of all pesticides.
Chamber bitter is a weed commonly found in Florida landscapes.
Photo by Beth Bolles, UF Extension Escambia County