Stop Biting Insects

This time of the year working in the nursery can be tough. Heat, rain, lightning, tropical storms, and biting insects all take their toll. We can control the weather but you can alleviate the mosquito bites. Here is an article from Chemically Speaking newsletter from the Pesticide Information Office.

The EPA has recently updated its insect repellent Web page (http://www.epa.gov/repellentfinder). By reading and following label directions, the use of repellents can reduce or eliminate the discomfort of insect bites. Ticks can transmit serious diseases such as lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other serious diseases. Repellents also curtail the spread of such mosquito-borne diseases as St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus. The Web page serves as a one-stop-shop for information on registered repellents. It provides up-to-date listings of mosquito and tick repellents as well as tips for choosing the right product. One of the key features of the revamped site is easy access to information about protection time. It will help people choose the right product for the length of time they will be outdoors. (EPA, 5/18/10).

I hope that this info helps you to make better decisions when battling mosquitoes in the nursery. Also remember to make sure that stored, used containers and any old tires are stacked or covered to eliminate water puddling and creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes.


Tree Planting Bills Need Your Help

There are two bills working their way through Congress. Both Houses are considering the Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance Act. This would provide a grant to assist in tree plantings and their care in the landscape. You may want to contact your Representatives and voice your support. Here is the story from NM Production:

National tree planting program would provide an economic impact of $741 million Trees mean jobs and a much-needed boost in a struggling economy. The reauthorization of a national tree-planting program would generate an estimated economic impact of $741 million during the next five years according to a recent study. The report was released in mid-May by Alan Hodges of the University of Florida, and Charles Hall and Marco Palma at Texas A&M University. The program would create a total employment impact of more than 6,000 jobs during those five years, generating more than $87 million in revenue for federal, state and local governments at a time when municipal greening budgets continue to be cut.The Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance Act (SBESA) is currently being considered in both chambers of the U.S. Congress. The SBESA Act reauthorizes the SBA National Tree Planting Program at $50 million annually between fiscal years 2011 and 2015. The money supports planting trees throughout public areas. This program also requires a 25 percent match for any grant under the program, including in-kind contributions such as the cost or value of providing care and maintenance for a period of three years after planting. This match ensures that both private and community investments are made for the installation and care of trees funded by this program. Between 1991 and 1994, more than 18,000 green industry firms were employed to plant more than 23 million trees across the country through the SBA program. ANLA has launched a new Web-based, grassroots campaign in support of the SBESA Act. The full report, as well as more information on H.R. 4509 and S. 3279, can be found at www.treesmeanjobs.com

You can click on the link above for more information.


Low Volume Irrigation Class Being Offered

Here is a class being offered by the Florida Irrigation Society on low volume irrigation. Below are the specifics. To attend contact the Florida Irrigation Society 813-839-4601.

Skip Wright, representing the Florida Irrigation Society, will teach a 4-hour class on low volume irrigation at the District’s Tampa Service office on July 2. The cost is $85 for non-FIS members. The registration form is attached.


Course Description:

Increasing emphasis on water conservation as well as the passage of many local ordinances has emphasized the use of low volume irrigation. The course will serve as an overview of the use, design and installation of low volume irrigation.

Course timeline - Summary – 4 hours total.
1. Introduction to low volume irrigation – Time 15 minutes.
3. Understanding general irrigation design considerations - Time - 45 minutes.
4. Understanding of Pipe sizing - Time – 30 minutes.
5. Understanding of equipment selection - Time – 60 minutes.
6. Understanding of low volume design and layout issues – Time – 30 minutes.
7. Management of low volume irrigation. Time – 30 minutes.
8. Examination – Time – 30 minutes.


1. Introduction to low volume irrigation systems – Time - 15 minutes.
Identifying the general design considerations including, water source, plant materials, plant groupings, and soil types.
Identifying the advantages of low volume irrigation including water conservation, controlling soil moisture, use of low pressure water supplies, reduced weed growth, reducing liability by reducing chance of slips and falls and no spray on building foundations.
Identifying the disadvantages including high maintenance, frequent visual inspection of plant material, filtration and pressure control, pipe & tubing exposed, and consumer’s lack of confidence.

2. Understanding general irrigation design considerations - Time - 45 minutes.
Explaining definitions related to irrigation in general and low volume in specific.
Describing the overview of irrigation components/design.
Describing Water sources including potable, reclaimed pump/well. Pump/surface water, and pump sizing considerations.
Explaining Plant material evaluation – Type of plants and plant groupings.
Describing the different Soil types and the use of low volume for course,
medium and fine soils.

3. Understanding of Pipe sizing - Time – 30 minutes
Explaining sizing considerations for PVC pipe.
Explaining sizing considerations for poly pipe.
Explaining sizing considerations for “spaghetti” tubing.

4. Understanding of equipment selection - Time – 60 minutes.
Emitter types and uses.
Controller selection.
Backflow considerations.
Filter use.
Automatic valve selections.
Flush Valves
Air/vacuum relief valves.
Pressure reducers.

5. Understanding of low volume design and layout issues – Time – 30 minutes.
Hydro zoning - Different irrigation methods should be separated.
Separate trees from shrubs.
Flushing considerations.
Run time consideration.

6. Management of low volume irrigation - Time – 30 minutes.
Maintenance considerations.
Scheduling considerations.

METHOD OF COURSE PRESENTATION – Course will include power point presentation on low volume, student work sheets on low volume design, and group discussion.

METHOD OF EVALUATION - Examination – Time – 30 Minutes.


Knock Out Roses Illegally Propagated

Here is a story from Greenhouse Grower about an unnamed illegal propagator of knock out roses being caught and fined. The nursery was in Central Florida but will remain unnamed due to the clauses of the settlement.

Any plants that are patented are the property of the patent holder and the propagation of those plants will need to be allowed or permission given from the patent holder. This is an easy financial risk to eliminate from your business operation. I have seen people inspecting large nurseries for the potential of illegal propagation. Here is the link to the rest of the story.



Small Farms Conference

Did you know that the majority of farms in the State of Florida are small farms? A small farm is defined as farms that generate less than $250,000 per year. I just wanted to share with you that the Small Farms Alternative Enterprises Conference will be taking place in Kissimmee on July 31 - Aug 1, 2010. This is a great conference for those that are thinking about diversification of their operations. I know that many of our producers have been dabbling in food production. This is a good conference for ideas and networking. Also, Will Allen the CEO of Growing Power will be giving the keynote address to kick off the conference.

Here is a link to the flyer on the conference.

Early registration is $110.00 and will increase to $160.00 on July 16, 2010.

If you would like to register...here is a link: https://mail.ufl.edu/OWA/redir.aspx?C=812cbbfa58ba472aa72caf254169c1ff&URL=http%3a%2f%2fsmallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu%2ffloridasmallfarmsconference%2f2010%2fregistration.shtml


Hurricane Season Predictions

This year is seemingly being predicted as an "very active" hurricane season. Dr. Gray's team at Colorado State University is predicting 18 named storms, 10 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes (Category 3-5 intensity). What exactly does that mean? Well, His research is stating that this season is having similar conditions to the 2005 hurricane season which was one of the most active ever, causing the most loss of property and one of the deadliest seasons on record. This is the same year that Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma hit the US. If this is an early indicator of the season coming up I hope that you prepare for it. It is much easier to clean out ditches and pick up possible debris before you have a deadline to get it done in the face of an approaching storm. It would be a good idea to clean out ditches at the beginning of the rainy season anyway. Also check on insurance, generators, equipment, etc. early so there are no surprises. And have a preparedness plan!!!
For more information on Dr. Gray's report here is a link http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/2010/june2010/jun2010.pdf (it is very technical but has some interesting information).
Also, here is an excellent recap of the 2005 hurricane season from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Atlantic_hurricane_season

New Energy Grants Through NRCS

Here is the latest update for energy savings grants.

Initiative Announced to Improve Agricultural Energy
Conservation and Efficiency in Florida

Applications due June 17, 2010 for 2010 Funding

Gainesville, FL., June 3, 2010- Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced an initiative under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) designed to help agricultural producers in Florida transition to more energy efficient operations. While this is a continuous signup, applications for 2010 funding must be received by the June 17, 2010 cut-off date.

Through EQIP, NRCS will pay up to 50 percent of the cost of an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP). The evaluation of energy conservation activities includes energy used in the cultivation, protection harvesting, processing, and storage of agricultural crops and in the feeding, housing, and processing of animals and animal products. The AgEmp initiative is designed to save both money and energy when fully implemented. Applications will be funded as requests are received and eligibility has been determined.

USDA and agriculture producers have a common interest in improving sustainability of their agricultural operations through the promotion of on-farm energy audit evaluations as well as assistance in the implementation of energy conservation and efficiency measures. Energy audits will be individually tailored to ensure coverage of each farm's primary energy uses. Simple changes in a landowner’s agricultural operations can help farmers and ranchers achieve significant cost and energy savings.

AgEMPs will be developed by a Technical Service Provider (TSP), who is certified by NRCS and placed on an “approved list” to provide technical assistance to producers for specific conservation programs administered by USDA. Your local NRCS office can provide you with the name(s) of certified TSPs. EQIP payments will be made directly to program participants for development of an AgEMP by a certified TSP.

Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Individuals are not eligible for EQIP until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office to begin this process.

For more information about agricultural energy management plans visit http://www.fl.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/flagemp.html or you may contact Kenneth Morgan, Conservation Program Specialist, at (352) 338-9545, or via email at kenneth.morgan@fl.usda.gov.


Sales Help Wanted

Ivan Martinez at Pine Lake Nursery is looking for a sales person. If interested please call him at 813-948-6209.

Live Oak Trees for Sale

I have been speaking with a live oak field owner about the sale of her oak trees. She owns about 1600 live oak trees and is wanting to sell them. They are about 4" - 7" caliper about 20'+/- tall and around 12' wide. They are comprised of about 5% Fancy, 25% #1, and the rest #2 or culls. They will need to be spaded to haul as the owner doesn't have equipment to move/lift/dig. If you are interested please call me at the extension office for more details