Tag Archive: Most

UF Survey Shows Most Floridians Want to Know More about Genetically Modified Foods

Fewer than half of Florida consumers survey by the UF PIE Centersay they would purchase genetically modied food or clothing, even if it cost less or was their favorite food.

Fewer than half of 500 Florida consumers surveyed say they would purchase genetically modied food or clothing, even if it cost less or was their favorite food.  Source: UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education.

While almost half of Floridians acknowledge buying genetically modified foods, a recent survey by the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida reveals that most people want to know much more about those foods. “The study shows that Floridians believe they don’t know much about genetically modified foods and their benefits,” said Joy Rumble, assistant professor in agricultural education and communication at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “Many people are favorable to supporting research, and they think it’s essential that government support it. Floridians see a place for GM foods, but they do have hesitations.”

The PIE Center surveyed 500 Floridians on their perceptions of genetically modified foods. Respondents were largely unsure about the potential benefits of genetically modified food, with more than 40 percent neither agreeing nor disagreeing that food technology such as GMOs allows people to live longer or better lives.

Source: Center for Public Issues Education

A recent survey of 500 Florida consumers shows that only 33% considered genetically modified foods as safe.  Source: Center for Public Issues Education

However, there is a great potential to educate Floridians about the topic, as 64 percent of respondents indicated that they would like to learn more about genetically modified foods. Only 22 percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed that they received information about genetically modified food from a scientist, but 59 percent of respondents would like to learn more from universities.  “This is a great opportunity not only for UF but also for other educational institutions across the country to take the lead in educating the general public about genetically modified foods,” Rumble said.

In addition, many Floridians were favorable toward supporting research, with 42 percent agreeing that studies about genetically modified food are essential for improving the quality of life. Almost half agreed that the federal government should support research on genetically modified food. “The research results show opportunities to continue to educate and communicate with consumers about the safety of genetically modified food,” Rumble said. “Still, there is some negative perception about these foods out there.” For example, fewer than half of Florida’s residents say they would purchase genetically modified food or clothing, even if it cost less or was their favorite food. But, more than 40 percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed they have purchased genetically modified food in the past, while only 27 percent of Floridians believe they currently purchase genetically modified food.


Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/07/02/uf-survey-shows-most-floridians-want-to-know-more-about-genetically-modified-foods/

Doveweed: A Warm Season Turf Problem Most Visible In Fall

Doveweed: A Warm Season Turf Problem Most Visible In Fall

Figure 1. Doveweed patch in St. Augustinegrass sod.

______________________Figure 1. Doveweed patch in St. Augustinegrass sod.__________________________

Ramon Leon, WFREC Weed Specialist

Doveweed (Murdannia nudiflora) is a summer annual weed species that belongs to the dayflower family. Over the last three years, this weed has become an important weed problem in residential lawns and sod production.

This weed has two key characteristics that make it successful. First, its seeds germinate late during the spring when soil temperatures reach 65-70°F. This represents a problem because at this time the effect of preemergence (PRE) herbicides applied in February or March might be too low to provide good doveweed control. Second, the leaves of this weed can be confused with St. Augustinegrass and centipedegrass leaves, and many people do not notice doveweed until the plants are large and are displacing the turf. Doveweed leaves are thick with a shiny rubbery texture. The plant produces creeping stems (stolons), and mowers can break these stolons spreading this weed across the field.

It is very important to keep in mind that doveweed prefers wet areas, so drainage issues or over-watering will favor the establishment and growth of this weed. For this reason, ensuring irrigation is not excessive is a key management practice to control this problem. Another cultural practice that plays a major role on doveweed management is mowing. Mowing too short and too frequently will favor doveweed because its leaves will grow horizontally avoiding the mower blades. Chose a mowing height that allows good ground cover , yet only removes a third of the turf leaf blades.

Figure 2. Individual doveweed plant showing flowers, fruits, and stolons with root in nodes.

___________Figure 2. Individual doveweed plant showing flowers, fruits, and stolons with root in nodes.________


Doveweed is easier to control before emergence than when plants are well established.  Atrazine is one of the most effective herbicides to control doveweed. A maximum rate of 1 lb. of active ingredient (ai) per acre (A) and no more than 2 lb. ai per year are recommended to achieve both adequate control and avoid turfgrass injury. Atrazine should be applied right before or soon after doveweed emerges to maximize control.

For PRE control, S-metolachlor (Pennant Magnum™), dimethenamid-P (Tower™), and indaziflam (Specticle™) are herbicides that can considerably reduce doveweed establishment, especially if the application is done closer to doveweed emergence timing. These herbicides also provide good control of other important weed species such as crabgrass and goosegrass, which emerge earlier in the spring. In order to control early emerging weeds and doveweed, split applications are preferred. For example, the first application is done at the end of February or early March and the second one 4 to 6 weeks after. In this way, we can extend PRE control until doveweed starts emerging.

If we observe doveweed emerging after PRE applications, we have several postemergence (POST) herbicides that will provide control, as long as the plants are less than 2 inches in size and have not produced stolons. Products containing 2,4-D and dicamba can provide fair control of doveweed. However, repeated applications or applications in combination with other herbicides will be required for adequate control. There are commercial products with formulations that combine 2,4-D or dicamba with other herbicides such as mecoprop-p, carfentrazone (Quicksilver™), thiencarbazone and iodosulfuron (e.g., Celsius™, Tribute Total™). This type of three− or four−way combination can provide enhanced doveweed control.  If doveweed has fully displaced the turf in spots, it is probably easier and more effective to kill doveweed with a directed application of glyphosate (RoundUp™) and re-seed or re-sod the area.

Because doveweed seeds can live for several years in the soil, it will take two to three years of continuoous control to eliminate doveweed populations. Although herbicides are useful tools to control doveweed, the most important factor to prevent doveweed problems is to have vigorous healthy turf. Doveweed requires a lot of sunlight, so if the turf effectively shades the ground, doveweed will have a hard time growing and producing new seed.

For more information on managing turf weeds download:

2012 UF Turgrass Pest Control Guide


Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/12/04/doveweed-a-warm-season-turf-problem-most-visible-in-fall/

Make the Most of Your Pond This Year!

Your pond may seem dormant in our icy winters, but it's a good time to think about next year's aquatic plant management.  Photo by Judy Ludlow

Your pond is dormant, but now is a good time to think about next year’s management activities. Photo by Judy Ludlow

During these icy, north Florida winters, you’re probably not thinking much about what needs to be done in your pond!  Aquatic plants have become mostly dormant, fish feeding has slowed down, and irrigation needs are usually reduced as well.  If you’ve had aquatic weed problems in the past though, now is a great time to do some pre-emptive planning for managing them before their likely return in a few months.  This article is intended to provide an overview of aquatic plant management with a number of links to resources to help identify common aquatic plants, and provide information on management techniques, including the use of aquatic herbicides and grass carp.  It will also list a few cold-weather pond-management actions to consider implementing.

North Florida’s fish and farm ponds play an important role in many aspects of agricultural life, from irrigation and recreation, to food production.  Each of these uses determines what types of management techniques you can use to maintain the pond’s efficiency.  

As you, no doubt, have observed, your pond is a dynamic ecosystem which is, literally, influenced from the ground up!  Much of the water-body’s basic chemical and physical characteristics reflect the characteristics of underlying soils (sand, clay, organic, etc.) and major sources of water (ground water, rainfall, runoff, etc.).  These then, in turn, influence the populations of plants and animals that inhabit the pond. 

The soils underlying this north Florida pond determine much of its chemical and biological characteristics.  Photo by Judy Ludlow

The soils underlying this north Florida pond determine much of its chemical and biological characteristics. Photo by Judy Ludlow

So, with this bigger picture in mind, let’s look at managing aquatic plants.  There are hundreds of aquatic plant species in Florida, most are native, but some are not.  The non-native aquatic plants are the ones that tend to cause many costly weed-related problems, although in smaller systems like farm ponds, some of Florida’s native aquatic plants can also cause problems that require management.  An aquatic plant that has become weedy often causes problems for navigation, irrigation, water flow, fishing and recreational activities. 

Aquatic plants provide many important functions in Florida’s waters.  Below is a list of the major aquatic plant growth-types and how they can affect your pond or favorite Florida water body.  (This list is taken from the following UF/IFAS website: Aquatic and Wetland Plants in Florida)

Submersed Plants (plants growing completely under water, like eelgrass):

  • provide habitat for fish and wildlife
  • affect nutrient cycles
  • increase water clarity
  • stabilize shorelines and sediments
  • increase or decrease dissolved oxygen concentrations, depending on abundance and the availability of light
  • contribute to muck accumulation

Emersed Plants (plants rooted underwater but growing through and above the water surface, like cattails or maidencane)

  • provide food (seeds and leaves) for waterfowl
  • provide habitat for wildlife
  • reduce shoreline erosion
  • shed leaves and other plant debris, adding to the sediments.
  • Uprooted plants can form floating islands or tussocks that can pose significant navigational hazards and block access to portions of the waterbody.
  • Tussocks also provide bird and wildlife habitat.

Floating Plants (plants rooted underwater or with free floating roots, with leaves floating on the water surface, like water lily or duckweed)

  • Floating-leaved plant debris contributes to sediment, making a waterbody shallower.
  • provide food and habitat for wildlife
  • If periods of low water are followed by a rapid rise in water level, the roots of dead floating-leaved plants (called rhizomes) can float to the surface, block access, and hinder navigation. In many cases, masses of floating rhizomes (especially from the native plant spatterdock, Nuphar advena) can form floating islands that grow large enough to support trees.
  • Water hyacinth and water lettuce may completely cover the surface of a waterbody and cause major problems for fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, navigation, and flood control.
  • Floating and floating-leaved plants are not generally considered a human health concern, but they provide breeding habitat for mosquitoes.
  • The stems of floating-leaved plants (spatterdock) often contain burrowing insects called bonnet worms that some anglers use for bait.

As you can see, aquatic plants can be an integral part of your pond’s stability.  Keeping or introducing native plants in your pond is important for a number of reasons.  Sometimes, however, plant control is necessary, to preserve the function of the water body.  What are your first steps towards controlling aquatic weeds?  Identify your problem plant and identify the use(s) of the pond.

Native aquatic plants, such as this bulrush provide a number of benefits for your pond.  Photo by   John Rodgers FWC

Native aquatic plants, such as this bulrush provide a number of benefits for your pond. Photo by John Rodgers FWC

Proper plant identification is crucial to success.  Your local UF/IFAS Extension Agent can help you identify the weed as well as provide management recommendations.  The other crucial step in forming a management strategy is to identify the objectives of the pond.  Is it for recreation? Raising fish? Wildlife habitat? Crop irrigation? Ornamental features? Or any combination of these uses?  Objectives are very important to define as certain management tools can only be used in certain situations.

Aquatic plants such as the non-native invasive plant Hydrilla can become extremely weedy causing numerous problems.  Photo by Jeff Schardt, FWC

Aquatic plants such as the non-native, invasive plant Hydrilla, can become extremely weedy causing numerous and costly problems. Photo by Jeff Schardt, FWC

Aquatic plant management tools include, mechanical (plant harvesters), chemical (aquatic herbicides), physical (drawdowns) and biological (grass carp) methods.  The best approach to management is an integrated approach, combining as many of these tools as possible to control the target plant(s).

Grass carp eat aquatic plants and are an example of "biological control."  Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

Grass carp eat aquatic plants and are an example of “biological control.” Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

In addition to thinking about aquatic plant management come springtime, here are a few general winter pond management considerations:

  • Because low water temperature reduces fish activity as well as beneficial bacterial decomposition processes, reduce the amount of feed you provide your fish in the winter.  Use the fish’s feeding behavior as your guide.  Fish will generally slow feeding when water temperatures are at or below 60 degrees.  Uneaten food will cause excess organic matter to accumulate increasing the chances of low oxygen levels and a fish kill.
  • If you have an aerator, keep it operative during the winter, especially during warm spells and cloudy weather.  It is probably not necessary during periods of strong, windy, cold fronts passing through our area, but watch your fish for signs of oxygen stress!  If you don’t have an aerator and your pond is productive with a high number of fish, plants, and algae, consider installing one, especially as the weather turns warmer next summer.
  • Remove dead shoreline plant material that may fall into the pond.  Don’t throw the dead plants into the water.  Doing so will increase the amount of organic material and increase the chances of oxygen depletion and a possible fish kill.
  • Check condition of fish feed, pumps, aerators, and structures around the pond and maintain or replace as needed.·

There is a lot of information in this article, but remember, if you have questions, please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension agent.  They will be able to help you with your pond management in any season! 

As lake and pond managers in North Florida, you can be thankful for the freezing weather we have had this winter.  It is one of nature’s best (and free) aquatic plant control methods!

Further Resources:

Grass Carp: A Fish for Biological Management of Hydrilla and Other Aquatic Weeds in Florida

Aquatic Weed Management: Herbicides

Southern Regional Aquaculture Center Fact Sheets » Aquatic Vegetation Control

Farm Ponds in Florida Irrigation Systems

Managing Florida Ponds for Fishing

UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic & Invasive Plants – Plant Identification

The Role of Aeration in Pond Management

Plant Management in Florida Waters

Aquatic and Wetland Plants in Florida

Cold-induced Fish Kills in Florida Waters


Author: Judy Ludlow – judy.ludlow@ufl.edu

Judy Ludlow is the Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent in Calhoun County, Florida

Judy Ludlow

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/01/25/make-the-most-of-your-pond-this-year/

Manatees: Wakulla Springs Most Interesting Guests!

Check into the lodge at Wakulla Springs State park on a crisp cool evening and you are immediately greeted with the warmth of an open hearth fireplace and the security of stone walls radiating comfort and solace. These stately accommodations meet all your needs for refuge and rejuvenation with opportunities for an old fashion game of chess or checkers, great food, and time to reconnect with cherished friends and family.

Wakulla Springs Lodge offers guests warmth and rest from the winters cooler

Wakulla Springs Lodge offers guests warmth and rest from the winter’s cooler weather just like the springs offers manatees refuge on winter’s coldest days. (Photos by L. Scott Jackson)

Wakulla Springs hosts about 200,000 visitors each year and is one of North Florida’s most popular swimming spots with peak attendance between April and August. It’s a great place to beat the heat on a hot summer’s day. The same cool 250 million gallons of 69F degree water that provides welcome relief to visitors on hot summer’s day also provides an inviting warm refuge on winter’s coldest days to another type of park guest, manatees.

Wakulla Springs is the Gulf of Mexico’s northernmost geographic location where manatees congregate and consistently overwinter in large numbers. Last week, park guides estimated 30 individuals in the springs and river run.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Commission / Florida Wildlife Research Institute’s winter synoptic aerial survey of Florida’s manatees in 2011 totaled 4,834 individuals. Improved survey techniques have resulted in increased estimates for Florida manatees in recent years, however, they still remain listed as endangered.

Daily river cruises on the Wakulla River are a great way to see Manatees and other unique wildlife.

Daily river cruises on the Wakulla River are a great way to see manatees and other unique wildlife.         (Photo by L. Scott Jackson)

Consistent water temperatures below 65F can result in stress, pneumonia, or colds in manatees. Other environmental conditions can also cause problems for manatees. This fall, a large number of Florida manatee moralities have been reported as a result of a harmful algal bloom on the Atlantic Coast in the Indian River Lagoon. Florida manatees are also frequently struck by boat hulls and boat motor propellers; the signs of which are often seen in individuals with tell-tale propeller scars.

Education and stewardship are two of the best ways to help manatees. You can connect with these Florida ambassadors locally on a Wakulla Riverboat Tour at the State Park or through outfitters that provide kayaks and local guiding knowledge. Simple changes in home practices that protect water quality also protect the water resources used by manatees and other wildlife. Observing manatee protection zones and reducing boat speed also have been shown to reduce the impact of boating activities on manatees. To report sick or dead manatees, please call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Read more manatee facts in the following UF/IFAS publication: Life in the Sea.

Manatee Quick Facts



Author: Scott Jackson – lsj@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Leon County Extension
Regional Specialized Agent for Agriculture and Technology, Extension Agent III


Scott Jackson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/11/29/manatees-wakulla-springs-most-interesting-guests/