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Xeriscape is Dead and Florida Friendly Landscaping is the New Mantra of the Greenies for Environmental Protection
by Rick Orr Spring 2012
Dead (literally and figuratively) is the “xeriscape” and in comes the “new” Florida-friendly landscaping. This new way or “redo” of the landscaping philosophy of the Extension Service in Pinellas County seems to be a return to traditional landscaping. So what is the difference between xeriscape and Florida-friendly Landscaping.
The little green worms hanging on a silk thread from Oak trees throughout Pinellas County are basically harmless – a nuisance but harmless. The little green worms feed on Oak Tree leaves and then do what most caterpillars do – form a cocoon and then turn into a moth. Their feeding is usually of little consequence to the oak trees – there are plenty of leaves for the tree and the worm.
Anywhere from 5 to 7 years after a tree has been removed and the stump “ground”, St Augustine grass will decline and often die where the tree was located. The reason: The tree roots have turned into a spongy material that St Augustine grass will not grow on or in. The solution is to rent a backhoe and remove the old stump and replace with good soil.
Recently, I was thumbing through the latest issue of Popular Science and found an interesting article on stump removal.
Sago Palms that look as if they have been painted with white spray paint are likely infested with Asian Tea Scale. This persistent insect will destroy the looks of the plant and in some cases kill the plant. The problem is that there is no long lasting cures and soon after treatment the Asian Tea Scale will reestablish.
Nothing has more Fall color in St Pete than the Golden Rain Tree. This small but hardy tree is best for exactly that: Fall Color. The “flowers” are actually the bracks of the flowers – like Bougainvillea. A Golden Rain Tree planted on the edges of a landscape (not as a specimen) will provide great color in October lasting for months. As you drive about Pinellas County, take notice of how many Golden Rain Tree are thriving.
Most landscapes are a mixture of design elements – plants and hardscapes – that are providing less than maximum potential. Value engineering the landscape seeks to provide the highest level of use from the areas under cultivation and development. Bottom line: Good looks and a good price requires thoughtful and wise use of plants – sod , shrubs and trees – Value Engineering!
by Rick Orr Fall 2008
Myth: Tree Roots are evenly distributed under the tree canopy and the distribution and appearance is like the canopy (What you see above ground is what is underground).
Until recently this plant has had few if any problems. Currently the plant is under pressure from the Snowbush Spanworm (aka inchworm). This small caterpillar feeds on the plant and will completely defoliate the plant.
St Augustine grass is the least tolerant of traffic. A well worn footpath is easy to make in St Augustine grass with a few trips back and forth between two points. A nervous dog pacing back and forth can create a crisscross network of paths in just a few days. It is a known issue. St Augustine grass does not make a good sports turf - The Bucs play on Bermuda grass - a very tough durable grass.