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Residential Horticulture

Residential Horticulture Topics: 

People are helped through classes, seminars, clinics, and workshops. With most of our residents coming from other areas of the country, delivering research based University of Florida information is very important to help them care for their landscapes in an environmentally friendly manner.

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Hot Topics

Water Your Lawn Wisely – Day Light Savings Time

  1. Did you remember to set your irrigation controller to water up to twice a week now that we are in Daylight Savings Time?
  2. Did you check your irrigation system to see if it needs some adjustment?
    Are you applying 3/4" - 1" of water per week?
  3. Do you have a working rain sensor?

Remember, lawns do not guzzle water, they use what they need and the rest is wasted so don't over water your lawn.

For more information visit the Watering and Irrigation resource page at UF/IFAS Solutions for Your Life.

Fertilizer "Black Out" Period in Orange County

Get your Spring lawn fertilization done before the end of May. Orange County’s Fertilizer Management Ordinance has a Fertilizer "Black Out" Period from June 1st to September 30th. 

Ordinance Requirements in Effect June 1, 2022 

Restricted Season: June 1 - September 30

No fertilizer containing nitrogen or phosphorus may be applied in Orange County from June 1 through September 30.

October 1 - May 31
  • Applying fertilizer with phosphorus is prohibited unless a soil test shows a phosphorus deficiency in that area.
  • If fertilizer with nitrogen is used, at least 65% of the nitrogen must be slow-release type.
  • No more than 1 pound of total nitrogen may be applied per 1,000 square feet of landscape.
  • No lawn may receive more than 3 pounds of total nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of landscape.
  • All areas of property covered by lawn, turf and landscape plants are subject to the fertilizer ordinance.
  • Deflector shields must be in place when broadcast spreaders are used next to streets, inlets, ditches, conveyances and waterways.
  • No fertilizer or grass clippings shall be deposited on streets, driveways or in storm drains.
  • No fertilizer can be applied within 25 feet from waterways.
  • Application sites should maintain a 10-foot low maintenance zone – planted area with no fertilizing, mowing or maintenance – adjacent to water bodies.
  • No fertilizer shall be applied when the National Weather Service issues any advisory for severe thunderstorm, flood, tropical storm or hurricane.

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Residential Horticulture Plant Clinic

Stop by with questions or samples and an urban horticulture specialist will be on hand to help you solve your problems.

The UF/IFAS Extension Orange County Plant Clinic is open for your plant questions from 10:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday - Thursday. It is located at 6021 S. Conway Rd, Orlando, about a mile south of Hoffner. Directions...

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Residential Horticulture Plant Clinic by Telephone

You may call the Plant Clinic from 10:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday - Thursday with questions relating to residential landscape problems or care. A Master Gardener Volunteer will be on hand to answer your questions at (407) 254-9200.

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If you are bringing samples to the plant clinic, this may help:

Insect samples should be placed in a jar or other suitable container. Collect more than one specimen if possible. Bring the insect in a plastic or glass container, they can be dead or alive. Insects may be killed and preserved in alcohol. Very small insects may be collected with a gummed tape.

Plant material samples should include flowers, live leaves, and roots if possible. Bring a sample which includes as many features as possible of the plant you want to I.D. or problem you wish to be diagnosed. Use a plastic bag to maintain the moisture of the tissues. Do not add a wet paper towel or water to the plastic bag. Bring it to our clinic office the day you collect it, otherwise keep it refrigerated until you can bring it to our office.

Sod samples should be about 1 foot square with mostly green turf and some brown turf to determine what pest may be eating your yard. Use a plastic or paper bag, shoe box, or any suitable container to bring the sample to our office. The fresher the material is, the easier it is to diagnose the problem.

Soil samples for pH testing can be dropped off at the Extension office at 6021 S. Conway Rd, Orlando, 32812, Monday - Friday 10 am to 5 pm. All you’ll need to do is bring a cup of your soil sample in a ziplock bag to  Samples are run each Friday and you’ll be notified by phone or email of the results. To get a soil sample follow the instructions here:

Soil samples should be removed from several locations in your garden area at a depth of 6"; mix all samples from that garden area in a bucket and provide a pint of soil for analysis including pH (acidity). Do not include debris such as leaves, sticks or large stones in your sample. You can use any kind of paper bag or zip top bag for your sample.

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Community Garden

When economic problems loom on the horizon, homeowners often turn to gardening in the backyard to provide fresh vegetables and extend their shopping dollars when they visit the grocery store. Community Gardens are a means of providing a gardening space for those who do not have sufficient space in the backyard or do not have a backyard to grow vegetables. Many well meaning organizations and agencies sometime fail to meet these community needs because they do not understand how to start a successful Community Garden. The information below will answer many questions that are asked when considering the creation of a Community Garden.

What is a Community Garden?

A Community Garden is a shared plot of undeveloped land in which the participants share in both the maintenance and the rewards. Community Gardening has its roots firmly planted in the Liberty Gardens of World War I and the Victory Gardens of World War II.

Where do you start?

A very good beginning would be to determine if there is a group of individuals really interested in creating a Community Garden. Select this link get a copy of the Community Garden Start-Up Guide from the American Community Gardening Association . Also select this link to get a copy of the University of Florida Publication "Starting a Community Garden". You will need both resources to understand the responsibilities of starting a Community Garden.

Who do you contact once you have reviewed the Start-Up Guide and have a committee formed that is interested in starting a Community Garden?

Contact the Orange County Extension Education Center then select this link to get a copy of the "Orange County Community Garden Guide".

How do you get started once you have a committee, a group of interested gardeners, a site, and funding?

Contact the County Cooperative Extension Office. The Cooperative Extension System provides education to enable Community Garden development throughout the state. Cooperative Extension Agents and Master Gardener Volunteers can provide educational assistance for Community Garden projects. An Extension Agent or Master Gardener Volunteer may be available on occasion for a garden site visit to assist community gardeners at key stages of garden development. 

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County Fact Sheets 

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Other Gardening References may be selected from the following list:

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