Tag Archive: Right

Is a Rabbit Right for your Family?

Rabbits are a popular small animal project- but is it a good fit for your family?

With spring in the air, you may be interested in getting a real live bunny.  There are a few things to consider before bringing a bunny into your family:

  1. First consider what purpose you have for the rabbit.  Do you want a pet, a rabbit to show, a rabbit to breed, or one for meat?  Depending on how you answer the question will depend on what breed you choose.  There are many options.  The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes around 47 different breeds.
  2. Rabbits come in various sizes, shapes, fur types, and colors.  Rabbit range from 2 to 20 pounds.  There are several fur types to consider with normal fur being most common to unique fur that require special consideration.  Satin fur is known for its luster and sheen.  Angora fur is distinctive because of its length and its woolen consistency.  Rex fur is a dense fur type, noted for its velvet softness and thickness.
  3. There are five shapes of rabbits: commercial, compact, full arch, semi-arch, and cylindrical.  The most common is the commercial shape.  This type is found most often in meat rabbits.   The compact is similar to the commercial but has a shorter, more compact body.  A rabbit that has a full arch shape is taller than they are wide and have longer limbs.  Semi-arch breeds are not as common, are pear-shaped.  The cylindrical shape is only found in only one bread, are long and slender.
  4. Rabbits have an array of color.  Some breeds are only recognized in one color and other breeds are recognized in multiple colors.  It would be helpful for you to spend time reading about the different breeds as well as spending time with breeders or others who have rabbits.  Make sure you look for healthy and lively rabbits who have glossy coats, clear, bright eyes, and clean teeth and ears.
  5. Rabbits are fun to keep buy need lots of care and daily exercise.   They need a roomy cage to in live. Do not use a cage with a wire bottom as the wire hurts their paws.  Cages should be washed out once a week with warm, soapy water and rinsed with clean water.  Rabbits are like us, they don’t like living in dirty cages.  Remove wet bedding and droppings every day.  Keep unscented wood shavings in the bottom of the cage.  They should have fresh water and hay available at all time.  Food should be put in heavy bowls so that they cannot tip them over and fed two small meals a day.  Wash their water bottle and food bowls every day.
  6. Rabbits can be a lot of fun as they are friendly and love to be stroked.  You must be a good pet owner and learn to look after your rabbits properly, they may live for up to 10 -12 years.  Caring for a rabbit will help you learn how to be responsible for a living animal and how to treat animals properly.

Check with your local 4-H office to see if there is a rabbit club for you to join.  You may choose to join the club to become more knowledgeable about rabbits before you become an owner.  You then would be able to make informed decision about the perfect breed for you and your family.  If you have a passion for rabbits, consider becoming a 4-H rabbit project leader to inspire the next generation of rabbit owners and breeders.  Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit florida4h.org for more information.

4-H Rabbit Project Page

Online 4-H Rabbit Project Book

North Florida Fair Rabbit Show



Author: Monica Brinkley – brinkley@ufl.edu

Monica Brinkley has served as an Extension Agent since 1985 in Jackson, Calhoun and Liberty Counties. She currently is the County Extension Director, Family and Consumer Science, and 4-H Youth Development Agent.

Monica Brinkley

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/04/14/is-a-rabbit-right-for-your-family/

Choosing the Right Tools is Key to Successful Feral Hog Management

Choosing the Right Tools is Key to Successful Feral Hog Management

Despite efforts by public and private land managers, feral hog populations continue to rise in many areas in Florida.  Feral hogs damage crop fields, lawns, wetlands, and forests.  They can negatively impact native species of plants and animals.  Their rooting leads to erosion and decreased water quality.

Wild boar Photo Credit: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

There are several options for controlling feral hogs.  Choosing the right option depends on the situation.

Options include:

  • Hunting with dogs,
  • Hunting with guns,
  • Box Traps,
  • Corral Traps.

Let’s talk about these options.

Hunting with dogs is really not very effective for removing enough hogs to control populations.  Dog hunting can move sounders of hogs from areas where damage is occurring for a period of time.  This can be helpful when crops need to be protected from hog damage until they can be harvested.

Shooting hogs also is not effective for removing large numbers of hogs.  Situations where it is successful include protecting crop fields and for taking hogs that will not go into a trap.  Shooting success depends the education level of the hogs and the sophistication of the shooting equipment available.  Hogs learn quickly to avoid danger.  They learn by watching other hogs who get shot or trapped.  Hunting pressure can disrupt hog patterns and make them harder to trap or hunt.

Box traps can be effective at trapping young hogs that are not trap smart.  A study conducted by a graduate student, Brian Williams, at Auburn University looked at the efficacy of different trap styles.  Young hogs entered box traps and corral traps at similar rates.  The study also found that adult females were 120% more likely to enter corral traps than box traps and adult males were more reluctant to enter either trap style but were more likely to enter the corral traps. (Williams et al, 2011)

Corral traps are shown to be most effective for eliminating complete sounders.  By eliminating a sounder at once, populations can be reduced.  Corral traps are also more economical.  In the Auburn study, the trapping cost per pig for box traps was $ 671.31 and for corral traps was $ 121.28.

Corral traps are best for capturing whole sounders.  Box traps can be effective for capturing young hogs.  When trap smart adult females or males are in an area, shooting or hunting with dogs are options.  Just remember that hunting pressure often just moves the hog problem onto another property.  In order to eliminate hogs from a given area, we must employ several of these strategies.  For example, we may be able to trap a sounder in a given area but still have a group of boars that will not go into a trap.  In this case, we may set up to shoot them after trapping the rest of the hogs in a corral trap.  By using these two techniques, we can drastically reduce the number of hogs in an area.

For more information about feral hogs, go to http://articles.extension.org/feral_hogs.

Reference:  Brian L. Williams, Robert W. Holtfreter, Stephen S. Ditchkoff, James B. Grand Trap Style Influences Wild Pig Behavior and Trapping Success.  Source: Journal of Wildlife Management, 75(2):432-436


Author: Jennifer Bearden – bearden@ufl.edu

Agriculture Agent Okaloosa County

Jennifer Bearden

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/02/04/choosing-the-right-tools-is-key-to-successful-feral-hog-management/

Friday Funny: Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Marriage Right

Friday Funny:  Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Marriage Right

Harold and Jenny live on a farm in the Florida Panhandle.  Though they have been married for many years, and raised three children to adulthood together, their marriage has been challenging for Jenny.  Harold has worked hard his whole adult life to provide for his family, and take care of the family farm that had been passed to him from his father.  While Harold takes care of every detail on the farm, he has not always been as attentive as he needed to be when it came to Jenny.  Jenny knew Harold was not the romantic type when she married him, but did expect him to take care of the important things like birthdays and anniversaries.

Their 30th anniversary was coming up in the second week of June, so Jenny decided not to say anything to see if Harold remembered this milestone for their marriage.  Poor Harold was so busy getting his peanuts and cotton planted and the pre-emergence herbicides sprayed, that he never even thought about the important anniversary that occurred that year.

When their anniversary day arrived, Jenny fixed Harold an extra special breakfast, but said nothing when he commented, “Now this is really nice, thank you.”  At lunch he noticed she kept looking at him funny, but he gobbled up the meal and headed back out to the fields.  Dinner too, was something very special, all the things he liked.  He said, “Wow, I guess this is my lucky day.”  But his mind was still going over all the tasks that remained undone: the irrigation unit that needed repairing, the sprayer that needing new nozzles, and the fence with a tree limb on it that had allowed two herds to mix.  Not one time during that special day did Harold even glance at a calendar.  As the day drew to an end, Harold turned on the late news to watch the weather.  He noticed Jenny was fidgeting and piddling with different things, and was not at all relaxed.  She just seemed anxious and distracted.  Finally he said, “Honey you need to sit down and relax, its almost bedtime and you need to stop all of that or you’re going to have a hard time going to sleep.”  Harold was right, she tossed and turned, he knew something was not quite right, but figured it could wait until morning.   He was exhausted and fell fast asleep.

The next morning he noticed that Jenny was already up.  That was unusual.  He got dressed and headed for the kitchen hoping to find a deluxe breakfast like the day before.  This time there was nothing waiting for him but black coffee and burnt toast.  Jenny was very upset, and he could see it in her face.  He said, “Honey what is wrong with you?”  She snapped back and said, “As of yesterday Harold, we have been married for 30 years.  Yet you just seem to take me for granted.  If you want to stay married to me you had better get to town and come back with something really special.  When I come back from Mamma’s house at 5:00 I expect something sitting in the driveway that goes from zero to 200 in 2 seconds flat!”

Jenny stormed out the door and headed to her mother’s house.  She cried and vented to her mother who calmed her down and reminded her of Harold’s positive attributes.  “He has been a very loyal husband for 30 years,” she told her.  “Go back home and see what Harold has come up with to make amends for his forgetfulness.”

bathroom-scaleSo Jenny headed home, and when she arrived she found a small square wrapped package in the driveway.  Jenny was really ticked off now and growled out to herself, “What is this?  I thought I made this very clear!”  Even so she bent down and picked up the small flat package, and was somewhat surprised by the weight of it.

She opened the package and to her surprise, it was a brand new bathroom scale!

Jenny was arrested for assault and battery with a bathroom scale.  Harold was transported to City Memorial Hospital and is the Intensive Care Unit with an unknown recovery date awaiting a brain transplant.



If you enjoyed this week’s joke, you might also enjoy others from previous weeks: Friday Funnies

Farm folks always enjoy sharing good jokes, photos and stories.  If you have a good, clean joke, particularly one that pertains to agriculture, or a funny photo that you took on the farm, send it in and we will share it with our readers.

Email to:  Panhandle Ag Friday Funny




Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/21/friday-funny-two-wrongs-dont-make-a-marriage-right/

Selecting the Right Lubricant for Your Equipment Saves Time, Money and Frustration

Selecting the Right Lubricant for Your Equipment Saves Time, Money and Frustration


Using the correct engine lubricant with a proper maintenance schedule is essential for long tractor life, and to ensure equipment is running well when you need it most at harvest time.  Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Farming enterprises in the 21st century require many costly inputs to even have a chance of competing successfully. Equipment such as tractors, truck and harvest machinery are necessary, but a major long term expense.

Thorough and regular maintenance is required to get the best performance and longest life from any internal combustion engine powered rolling stock. Engine oils are a key maintenance component, but the array of choices can be confusing.

Frequently the first consideration is the viscosity, a measure of the oil’s thickness. Higher number ratings indicate thicker, more viscous oils. This ranking is an indication of how well the oil flows and the protection it provides to moving parts.

Modern multi-viscosity oils provide the correct flow characteristics across a broad range of temperatures. The equipment manufactures’ handbook will make recommendations for the correct viscosity ratings to be used.

The W following the first number stands for “winter” (not weight) and indicates the cold-start viscosity at very lower temperatures. The range is achieved by additives called viscosity index improvers which thicken the oil as it heats.

Another consideration is whether to use conventional or synthetic oil. Each has distinct advantages, with the cost advantage going to conventional which is also known as mineral oil.

Synthetics are classified as Group I, II, III IV or V. Groups I, II and III are refined from oil pumped from wells. Group IV and V are chemically manufactured from modified materials.

The higher group rating indicates lower sulfur content and a higher viscosity index, an indication of the oil’s ability to reduce friction. Both are important features for modern engines.

The term “Ester” on the label is reflective of Group V oils which have premium properties. These features include high detergency, important for engine cleanliness, and exceptional lubricating qualities.

As with the viscosity requirements, the equipment manufacturer will recommend the type of oil required and a timetable for changing. Strictly following this maintenance schedule will promote long engine life and minimize costly repairs at critical times.

For more information on this subject:



Author: Les Harrison – harrisog@ufl.edu

Les Harrison is the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. He works with small and medium sized producers in the Big Bend region of north Florida on a wide range of topics. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.

Les Harrison

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/08/selecting-the-right-lubricant-for-your-equipment-saves-time-money-and-frustration/

Getting Your Cotton Started Off Right

Getting Your Cotton Started Off Right

Good crop management, early in the season, can lead to a healthier, more established plant stand. Cotton plants that are free of stress are able to be more competitive in the field and have a better chance of overcoming any future issues than those already in a weakened state. Planting season is the perfect time to evaluate a field’s disease and pest history, and decide how these issues can be targeted going into a new crop year. Seed treatments, in-furrow applications, and preemergence herbicides can be used to successfully control an array of insects, soilborne diseases, and weeds.

Female Tobacco Thrips_LyleBuss

Adult female tobacco thrips with normal wings (able to fly), there can also be a morph possessing reduced or absent wings (unable to fly). Photograph taken by Lyle Buss, University of Florida.

Tobacco Thrips Larva_LyleBuss

Tobacco thrips larva. Photograph taken by Lyle Buss, University of Florida.










Thrips: Many of the early season insecticides are applied in hopes of minimizing thrips damage in the field. Populations resistant to the neonicotinoid seed treatments are becoming an increasing threat. It has been reported in some areas that roughly 20% of populations have been found resistant to imidacloprid (i.e. Gaucho), 20% resistant to thiamethoxam (i.e. Crusier), and 40% found resistant to both. Despite this fact, seed treatments are still a worthwhile investment, as they do maintain some level of control and are active for 14-21 days after planting. Thrips feed on the cotyledons and terminal bud of plants, feeding damage can result in malformed leaves, stunting, delayed maturity, and reduced yield potential. Thrips pressure is thought to be higher for earlier plantings, but in recent years peak movement has been around mid-May. Wet planting seasons can help delay thrips movement from wild host plants to cotton fields, as those plants are kept greener for longer periods of time which prevents thrips from needing to move. In cotton, foliar sprays are recommended at the one to two true leaf stage when seedlings are not growing rapidly. Seedlings that are actively or rapidly growing can better tolerate thrips feeding damage, 3-4 leaf stage vs 2 leaf or less.

Disease: Like pests, adequate control of seedling diseases can be achieved the first few weeks after planting through the use of seed treatments and in-furrow applications. Seedling diseases are caused by a number of fungal pathogens (Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Theilaviopsis, and Fusarium) which can be present in cotton fields. Unlike thrips movement, which may be delayed in wetter years, seedling diseases prefer cooler and wetter conditions. Seed treatments can vary, some are protectant fungicides such as Thiram and Captan, verses thosewith systemic activity when absorbed from the seedling such as Vitavax and Ridomil Gold. Following the management practices outlined in the UGA Cotton Production Guide is an excellent way to minimize the risk of seedling disease outbreak in a field setting.

Good management practices to reduce the chance of disease include the following:

  1. Plant in warm soils where the temperature at a 4-inch depth is above 65° F and where the 5-day forecast doesn’t call for cooler or wetter weather. NOTE: Cotton growers should NOT plant cotton, if at all possible, when conditions are cool and wet, or if the forecast calls for such conditions soon after planting, even if they plan to use additional fungicide treatments!
  2. Plant seed on a raised bed since soil temperatures in the bed are generally slightly warmer than surrounding soil, and drainage is likely to be better. Cotton planted with conservation tillage is not grown on raised beds, thus potentially increasing the threat from seedling disease.
  3. Avoid planting seed too deeply. Seed that is planted too deep results in longer periods before the young seedling cracks the soil surface, increasing the likelihood of seedling disease.
  4. Correct soil pH with lime (pathogenic fungi are more tolerant to acidic soils than are cotton seedlings; pH should be in the range of 6.0 to 6.5).
  5. Fertilize according to a soil test to promote rapid seedling growth; however care should be taken to avoid “burning” the seedling with excessive rates of at-plant fertilizers
  6. Avoid chemical injury through the use of excessive amounts or improper application of insecticides, fungicides, or pre-plant herbicides.
  7. Plant only high quality seed, as indicated by the percent germination in the standard seed and cool germination tests. Preferably, cool germination test results should be above 70%, though 60-69% is still adequate.

Source:  2016 UGA Cotton Production Guide

Diseases can include seed rot, preemergence damping off, and postemergence damping off. Seed rot occurs prior to germination, resulting in decayed seed and noticeable gaps in the plant stand. Preemergence damping off also results in gaps in the stand, but in this situation the seed successfully germinated, but was killed by the pathogen before it could break the soil surface. Postemergence damping off occurs after the seedling has broken the soil surface and is identified by a lesion at or near the soil line, which will eventually expand girdling the plant. This condition is commonly referred to as ‘soreshin’ and is caused by Rhizoctonia. Many factors influence the effectiveness and infection of these pathogens including seed quality, soil moisture, soil temperatures under 65°F, soil compaction, and plant stress.

Seedling Disease_BobbeBaker

Effects of seedling diseases from varying pathogens (Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Theilaviopsis) shown in young cotton. Root rot associated with Pythium is shown on the far left, post emergence damping off in the middle (most commonly caused by Rhizoctonia), and on the far right the hypocotyl has turned black and began rotting (Thielaviopsis). Photograph taken by Bobbe Baker.

Herbicides: The application of a preplant or preemergence herbicide is an excellent way to prevent weed infestations before they begin. Early season weeds have the potential to be very competitive with the crop, mostly due to the fact that, if left unchecked, reach or surpass the crop in height. It is important to incorporate preemergence herbicides to improve their reliability, especially yellow herbicides (i.e. Prowl or Treflan). Palmer amaranth {pigweed) has become one of the most difficult weeds to control in crop fields, so it is important to start managing this weed prior to emergence, or when it is very small and easier to control. Examples of early season control tactics for palmer pigweed in cotton are mentioned in the excerpt below, for more information click the link to the full document at the bottom of the page regarding Palmer amaranth control.


A cotton program should start with a good preplant program that includes Valor, Reflex, Direx, or Banvel/Clarity. These herbicides should provide up to 15–30 days of effective control but should still be followed by Prowl, Staple, Cotoran, or Direx at planting. Additionally, Direx + MSMA or Valor + MSMA should be used at layby to effectively control Palmer amaranth with both postemergence and soil residual activity. It must be noted that all preemergence herbicides require activation by either rainfall or irrigation. If these materials are applied and activation does not occur, no control will be realized—particularly if these herbicides were initially applied to dry soil. See Table 3 for more information.

Salvage Treatments. If Palmer amaranth has reached heights of 6″ or greater, it is not likely that any postemergence herbicide option (Staple or Liberty 280) will be effective. Depending on cotton size, a directed application may also fail to be effective. If this is the case, a hooded application may be necessary.  Source:  Control of Palmer Amaranth in Agronomic Crops

Pesticide use can be crop dependent, so it is important to check the label to determine what the product controls, which crops it’s labeled for, the usage rates, and other restrictions. For resistance management, it is important to rotate pesticide applications with products having different modes of action. For more information, check the product label or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Agent. 


Additional information regarding insect, disease, and weed management can be found below using crop production guides and other materials:

Seedling Diseases and Management_p47-50 UGA Cotton Production Guide

The How and Why of Herbicide Incorporation (Panhandle Ag Article)

Control of Palmer Amaranth in Agronomic Crops

Weed Management in Cotton (EDIS)



Author: Ethan Carter – ethancarter@ufl.edu

Ethan Carter is the Regional Row Crop IPM Agent in Jackson County. He earned his BS in Food and Resource Economics, and his MS in Agronomy, both from the University of Florida.

Ethan Carter

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/04/09/getting-your-cotton-started-off-right/

Right Plant, Right Place, Right Time!

Right Plant, Right Place, Right Time!

Those familiar with the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Principles know that the number one rule is Right Plant, Right Place. But proper timing is important and should not be discounted! Experienced gardeners recognize that certain flowering and annual vegetable plants have distinctive seasons, but may not realize that turfgrass is seasonal, too.

Warm season and cool season turfgrasses fall into the classes of either annuals and perennials. In North Florida, the most commonly grown turfgrasses are warm season perennials such as Zoysiagrass, Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, and St. Augustinegrass. These grasses thrive in warm weather and, although they may slow down or even turn brown in the winter, are still very much alive and resume growth readily in the spring. Because they are warm weather lovers, plan to seed one of these species when soil temperatures are warm enough for successful seed germination and when young new grass has enough time to become established without danger of frost damage.

Annual ryegrass label says to plant early spring - but that is too late in North Florida. Photo: Julie McConnell, UF/IFAS

Annual ryegrass label says to plant early spring – but that is too late in North Florida. Photo: Julie McConnell, UF/IFAS

On the flip side there are cool season grasses such as fescue, ryegrass, and bluegrass. These grasses prefer cool weather and do poorly and may go dormant or die when subjected to hot weather. These grasses may be perennials in other areas of the country, but should be treated as cool season annuals if grown in Florida. Cool season grasses may be used as a groundcover in bare spots or to overseed warm season grass from fall through early spring.

When purchasing turfgrass seed, be sure to check with your local extension office to verify that the timing is right for that particular grass. Seed products sold locally may have recommendations that are more relevant to northern climates and performance will differ.

For more information about seeding lawns please read Establishing Your Florida Lawn


Author: Julie McConnell – juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Bay County Horticulture Extension Agent I

Julie McConnell

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/03/02/right-plant-right-place-right-time/

Gardening Success Begins with Choosing the Right Plant

Gardening Success Begins with Choosing the Right Plant

tomato3Last Week’s temperatures have confirmed the winter of 2016 is not 100% over. Now is the time to plan that spring garden!.

Garden catalogs from every part of the nation are finding their way into many area homes. Their pages promise the buyer the potential for legendary success and the envy of their friends and neighbors.

After all, who can resist the full color beauty of giant flowers, large luscious fruit and vegetables which are sure to win a prize at the fair? There is not a runt, reject or cull in all the pages of these publications offering the mortal version of horticultural heaven.

Before ordering, the would-be gardener should consider several factors to increase the likelihood of a positive gardening experience. A failure will waste not only funds, but also much time and hard work and may introduce a long-term problem or two.

Cultivar selection for a tree, shrub, vegetable or fruit is critically important to producing the desired results. While a specific plant cultivar may grow and produce in one environment, it may not do so in all situations.

A common example of this problem is grape vines offered. Only muscadine grapes will grow and produce locally because Pierce’s disease kills other varieties.

Carefully examine the growing zones recommended by the catalog for specific cultivars. Check with fellow gardeners and the UF/IFAS Extension Office to see if they have any information or experience with any cultivars under consideration.

Heirloom varieties are especially sensitive to the variances in growing conditions. While they offer unusual and sometimes unique taste and culinary traits or landscaping characteristics, these antique varieties can be a challenge to grow.

Their genetic potential can make a consistent yield, especially for the novice growers, a real effort. Also, as an open pollinator variety, the results can be inconsistent.

Another question for the catalog company customer is new or untried plants varieties. Some of these plants are patented and few or no trials have been performed with them in north Florida’s growing zone.

Caution should be used when ordering these seed or plants. Being the first in North Florida to cultivate a new variety may require a large commitment of time and resources, and may produce only a large disappointment.

Check with fellow gardeners, local nurseries and your UF/IFAS Extension Office for available information on these new or patented varieties. It may save much wasted motion.

Lastly, be sure the plant or seeds under consideration do not have the potential as exotic invasive pests. As hard as this may be to believe, this does occur.

Some catalog vendors will advise buyers in the ordering instructions or at the time of ordering. Either way, the purchaser should check to verify the plant ordered does not have the potential to escape control and damage the environment.

Check out the following publications to assist with finding adapted fruit and vegetable varieties for North Florida.

The Vegetable Gardening Guide

Dooryard Fruit Guide

Plant Selection and Landscape Design Guide



Author: Les Harrison – harrisog@ufl.edu

Les Harrison is the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. He works with small and medium sized producers in the Big Bend region of north Florida on a wide range of topics. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.

Les Harrison

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/02/16/gardening-success-begins-with-choosing-the-right-plant/

Springtime is “Just Right” for Using Aquatic Herbicides

Springtime is “Just Right” for Using Aquatic Herbicides

Monitor your ponds closely throughout the spring and make any necessary herbicide applications before weed growth becomes too excessive.  Photo Credit: Mark Mauldin

Monitor your ponds closely throughout the spring and make any necessary herbicide applications before weed growth becomes too excessive.
Photo Credit: Mark Mauldin

Similar to Goldilocks’ porridge, water temperature doesn’t need to be too hot or too cold, it needs to be just right for using aquatic herbicides (70o – 80o F). Here in Florida, these optimum water temperatures occur in the spring. Water temperature largely regulates the growth of most aquatic weeds; cool temperatures slow or stop growth and warm temperatures promote growth. Keeping this simple principle in mind can help determine when to use aquatic herbicides.

Generally speaking, aquatic herbicides are not used when water temperatures are below 60o F. When water temperatures are this cool most aquatic weeds are not actively growing. For herbicides to be effective the target plants must be actively growing. Applying herbicides too early in the spring is generally not an issue because winter dieback can make many aquatic weeds hard to find when water temperatures are cool. The weeds are out of sight and out of mind. The much more common issue is waiting too long before attempting to control weeds.

As water temperatures climb above 60o weeds begin to grow. Unfortunately, they often times grow unnoticed throughout the spring until they become completely out of control in the summer. By this point, control, even using herbicides, is a monumental task. If at all possible, control weeds early in the growing season.

As plants grow they are able to build up energy reserves, making them more difficult to control. The longer they are allowed to grow the stronger and more difficult to control they become. Controlling weeds earlier in the growing season eliminates this problem.

Similarly, as the growing season progresses plants produce more and more biomass. If an herbicide is applied and the weeds are killed large amounts of decomposing plant material in the water can cause problems. The decomposition process uses oxygen; dissolved oxygen can drop to levels that are hazardous to fish and other aquatic species. The more plant material that is present when herbicides are applied the bigger concern this becomes. Applying herbicides earlier in the growing season, before large amounts of biomass are produced, can help lessen this problem.

Aquatic weeds can grow rapidly when temperatures are warm. Don't let them get out of control before you begin control efforts. Photo credit: Mark Mauldin

Aquatic weeds can grow rapidly when temperatures are warm. Don’t let them get out of control before you begin control efforts.
Photo Credit: Mark Mauldin

Further compounding the issue, warm water is physically able to hold less dissolved oxygen than cooler water. Late in the summer pond water can be very warm with low concentrations of dissolved oxygen even before large amounts of decomposing plant material are added.

To help reduce the risk of oxygen depletion never treat more than ½ of a pond at one time, if weed growth is already substantial treat no more than 1/3 of a pond at one time and always allow 10 -14 days for oxygen recovery between treatments. Also, avoid treating on cloudy days, another factor that can lead to lowered dissolved oxygen.

Aquatic weed control will be easier and more effective if you monitor your pond throughout the spring and make any needed herbicide applications early, before the weeds have grown too large and the water is too warm. Consult your county extension agent for assistance determining what aquatic weeds you have and if treatment is necessary. Always read and follow all label directions when using any herbicide.


Author: Mark Mauldin – mdm83@ufl.edu

I am the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent in Washington County. My program areas include livestock and forage, row crops, and pond management.

Mark Mauldin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/04/18/springtime-is-just-right-for-using-aquatic-herbicides/

Start the Year Off Right — Plant a Tree!

Start the Year Off Right — Plant a Tree!

Planting a tree is an excellent way to insure clean air and water in the future.  Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson

Planting a tree is an excellent way to insure clean air and water in the future. Photo credit: Carrie Stevenson

Most of us begin a new year with resolutions–to exercise more, to eat right, to spend our time more productively–but few things have as many lasting impacts for the future as the simple act of planting a tree.

Arbor Day (which literally means, “Tree Day”) was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton, a naturalist and journalist in Nebraska. By 1882, it was celebrated by thousands of schoolchildren nationwide, who planted trees and took care of them with their classmates. Today, millions of communities and schools celebrate Arbor Day all over the world. Trees provide endless benefits, including shade, recreation, food and building products, shade and wind protection, wildlife habitat, oxygen production and carbon dioxide uptake.

Arbor Day is typically celebrated in the United States on the last Friday of April, but as ideal tree-planting conditions differ by climate, each state has its own specific Arbor Day, as well. Winter is the ideal time to plant trees in Florida, because it allows roots to develop without expending energy on growing new leaves and shoots. Our state celebration this year is January 16th.

Many local communities in Florida hold special events around this time. Be sure to check with your local Extension office or Native Plant Society chapter to find out if they are offering free trees or public events this month. For more information on the best trees for your area, be sure to take the time to read “Native Trees for North Florida” or peruse the UF Environmental Horticulture web page.



Author: Carrie Stevenson – ctsteven@ufl.edu

Coastal Sustainability Agent, Escambia County Extension

Carrie Stevenson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/01/13/start-the-year-off-right-plant-a-tree/

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right

Photo by USDAgov - no changes made

Enjoy the taste of eating right.

Taste tops nutrition as the main reason why we buy one food over another, as consumer research has clearly shown.  Even though social, emotional, and health factors do have important roles to play, the foods people enjoy are probably the ones they eat the most.  The key message for National Nutrition Month® – March 2014 focuses on encouraging personalized healthy eating styles – showing how we can combine taste and nutrition to make healthy meals.

This year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”.  Because taste is the major influencer of what we eat, it’s important to balance choosing the foods we like with those that provide the nutrients we need.

When it comes to choosing what to eat, nutrition is important, but flavor is the true motivator and the key to eating right.  We have over 10,000 taste buds, so we should use them to discover a world of tasty nutritious foods.

  • Try one new fruit, vegetable, or whole grain each week.
  • When eating out, try ethnic foods from Asia, Europe, or Africa because they often have many healthy options.
  • When cooking at home, try a new twist on old favorites.  Grill vegetables and fish, make kabobs, bake the potatoes instead of mashing them, and use that spice rack to add zest.
  • If you’re sticking with the tried and true foods you know you like, be sure to read the nutrition labels to help you develop a plan for healthy eating that emphasizes a balance of foods.

Return to the basics of healthful eating starting this month.  Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right:  eat right, your way, every day.

Learn more about how you can enjoy the taste of eating right by visiting www.eatright.org and by contacting your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.



Author: ahinkle – ahinkle@ufl.edu

Angela Hinkle is the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Agent in Escambia County.


Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/03/06/enjoy-the-taste-of-eating-right/