Protect your palms against disease

Take a look at the photo of the Sylvester palm, submitted by a Hillsborough County resident. Does it look normal? Do the leaves appear to have a nutrient or disease problem? Many palm species are now listed as susceptible to the disease called lethal bronzing. Lethal Bronzing Disease was formerly known as Texas Phoenix Palm Decline. When we first learned about Lethal Bronzing … [Read more...]

Transition made easier, with a little love

When Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano first learned about the Luggage of Love program, he committed to helping meet its goal of providing displaced children and families with new and/or gently used suitcases. Luggage of Love is a coordinated effort in Pasco County by the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)  Pasco County Extension Office. In … [Read more...]

Controlling noxious weeds in your yard

Central Florida is home to some of the most diverse plant life in the state. Cool, dry winters and hot, wet summers create a transitional zone where a variety of plants thrive, or can at least get by with a little help from their owners. With the good news, comes the bad news — there are dozens of weeds that cause grief for property owners and managers. Noxious weeds, which can … [Read more...]

Plant growers benefit from new website

The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) hopes to help growers with solutions for their plant problems. The school’s Plant Diagnostic Center has launched a new website,, to expedite the process of finding answers to plant questions. Carrie Harmon, director of the Plant Diagnostic Center, said in a release, “Maybe it’s a … [Read more...]

Pointers for easy pest control in your garden

Spring gardening is upon us, a time when many Florida gardeners plant vegetables, trees and landscape shrubs. If we have turf, we pay attention to bare spots, patches and insects. As your plants and turf grow, be on the lookout for pests and problems. Try to notice issues early and get help from your local Extension office, if needed. Some of the easiest and least expensive strategies … [Read more...]

Workshop sheds light on cottage food industry

A workshop focused on the ins and outs of operating a cottage food industry drew a crowd — and offered practical information to those attending the session. The daylong event was presented by the Pasco County Extension Office, which is part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences branch in Dade City. The workshop consisted of sessions regarding the … [Read more...]

Keep your lawn healthy during winter and fall

As we move into fall and winter, there are some things you can do to keep your lawn looking good. First things first: Identify the type of grass you have in your lawn. Next, read the appropriate University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) publication for your type of turfgrass. For example, Central Florida has St. Augustinegrass (the most common lawn in … [Read more...]

San Antonio gardening fest offers lessons, vendors and fun

“Come one, come all - it’s a family event,” said Dorothy Moore, issuing an invitation to the upcoming Gardening 365 event at San Antonio Park. Pasco County Master Gardeners, who are part of the University of Florida/Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, are hosting the festival slated for Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Now in its second year, the festival’s theme this year is … [Read more...]

Food safety issues aren’t confined to the kitchen

Several high-profile cases of food poisoning and related illnesses recently have caught the attention of home gardeners. Infections caused by rat lungworm from slugs, and infections caused by E. coli and Salmonella bacteria contamination are not new. Thousands of food safety fact sheets, videos and classes are available regarding our understanding and prevention of these illnesses, … [Read more...]

Ways to water wisely during summer months

Water is essential — not only for life itself, but also to support Florida’s landscapes, recreational activities and beautiful vistas. Residents and tourists enjoy our waterways and participate in recreational activities such as fishing, swimming and boating. We use water from public municipalities and private wells for household, industrial and agricultural uses. Water also is … [Read more...]