Skip to main content
Professional landscapers apply mulch to a public park site in Okeechobee, Fla.


The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have affected individuals and industries across Sarasota County. Families and individuals face financial struggles related to housing, utility costs, or childcare, and businesses and non-profit agencies confront work interruptions and operational challenges. UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County programs support businesses in the agriculture, horticulture, green business sectors, and more. We also educate residents, including low-income families. We encourage our stakeholders to take full advantage of all opportunities for assistance.

Financial assistance is available to individuals, businesses and non-profits to help lessen the pandemic's impacts. Visit the Sarasota County CARES Act page or call 941-861-CARE (2273) for more information and to apply. Act quickly, as funds are limited.


The UF/IFAS Extension Commercial Horticulture program provides workshops and research-based information to the pest control, lawn and landscape, nursery and greenhouse, and golf course industries. Select a topic below to learn more (show all items).


Sarasota County presently has nearly 400,000 full-time residents, with a share of Florida’s 70 million annual visitors, a unique ecology and climate, and a wide range of plant material grown year-round. Frequently, residents, visitors and property managers have unrealistic expectations for landscaping, and might encourage customers to use practices that harm Florida’s environment. Many of these people are dependent on professional horticulture service providers to make decisions regarding the landscape management of their properties.

Through improvement of the green industry’s professionalism, the gap between unrealistic landscape expectations and the reality of a Florida-Friendly landscape can be narrowed. In addition, the professional can pass on to the property owner the knowledge and skills appropriate for Florida conditions. With adoption of best management practices, the customer can realize the aesthetic, environmental and economic benefits of a healthy landscape.

The Green Industry

The professional horticulture services industry in Florida has a tremendous economic impact, and industry professionals make thousands of horticulture and pest management decisions daily. UF/IFAS Extension research and science-based educational programs can provide the green industry with best management practices and skills necessary to create and manage landscapes with reduced risk to the environment. Additionally, we are expanding our delivery of Spanish-language courses and events, to greater serve a growing segment of the workforce.


UF/IFAS Extension has the ability to deliver research-based, unbiased technical information to the professional horticulture service industries on a county-by-county basis. Teaching the green industry current knowledge and skills will:

  • Encourage landscape design, installation and management practices that minimize negative environmental impacts and conserve natural resources.
  • Improve business profitability and longevity by providing business and management skills.
  • Improve Florida’s economy through successful business growth.
  • Improve quality of life in Florida by protecting the environment
  • Improve property values through installation of Florida Friendly landscapes and their correct management.
  • Increase green industry professionalism through continuing education and certification programs.

Primary Audiences

  • Professional Horticulture Services/Urban Forestry
  • Builders and Developers
  • Business Owners and Managers
  • County Faculty
  • Pesticide Applicators
  • Professional Horticulture Services 
  • Recreational Turf Managers
  • Regulators and Policy Makers
  • Retail and Allied Service 
  • Tree Care Providers

Topics to be Covered/Subjects to be Taught

  • Plant Biology Soils & Fertilizers
  • Pesticide Safety Education (PSE)
  • Turfgrass BMPs only
  • Ornamental & Tree BMPs Only
  • Integrated Landscape BMPs (Ornamentals and Turfgrass)
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Business Management


Let’s go on a TreeQuest!

Each year, on the third Friday in January, Sarasota County's UF/IFAS Extension & Sustainability Dept. celebrates Florida’s State Arbor Day. Since 2018, the County's urban forestry Extension program Treejuvenation Florida,...

Show-stopping trees: Silk floss

So you may or may not already know, that I am an unapologetic plant nerd, and that I brake for show-stopping trees in full bloom. High on my list of...

Show-stopping trees: Royal poinciana

You may have seen a popular bumper sticker with the phrase "I brake for coffee", but as an unapologetic plant nerd, I brake for show-stopping trees in full bloom. The Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) is one such tree. ...