Considerations for Selection and Use of Ornamental Grasses

Scouring horsetail in a planter.

Ornamental grasses create interest and excitement in the landscape with their unique characteristics. The availability of a large number of species and cultivars makes these plants very versatile, with many potential uses in the landscape. This publication outlines many of the considerations for the proper selection and use of ornamental grasses. The information and tables should assist the first-time gardener as well as the experienced landscaper in the selection and use of ornamental grasses in Florida. This 9-page major revision was written by Mack Thetford and Mary Salinas and published by the UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture Department.

Dune Restoration Plants fact sheets

Dune Restoration and Enhancement for the Florida Panhandle

A Santa Rosa beach mouse peers out of his hole on an oceanfront dune in this November 2000 photograph taken by University of Florida graduate student Brittany Bird. A study by Bird and other researchers at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences suggests that bright lights from oceanfront development are harmful to threatened and endangered subspecies of beach mouse. (AP Photo/University of Florida/IFAS/Brittany Bird)
Published by the UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant College Program, this manual provides an overview of the coastal ecosystems along the Florida Panhandle and shows how dunes can be restored and enhanced in this region of the Northern Gulf of Mexico.

In addition to direct experience acquired over many years of field work and experimentation, authors Chris Verlinde, Mack Thetford, and Debbie Miller consulted peer-reviewed academic journals, government documents, and various online resources to create the manual. Undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Florida and local professionals worked together with the UF/IFAS researchers to develop and test practical restoration techniques for Florida’s dunes.

Building Coastal Dunes with Sea Oats and Surrogate Wrack

Surrogate wrack (wheat straw) placed around sea oats at approximately 8 inches deep two weeks after planting.

Perennial coastal grasses such as sea oats have long been recognized as the biological engineers of our increasingly stressed beaches and coastal dunes. Sea oats build dunes by capturing blowing sand and stabilizing it, and they’re often planted after dunes have been eroded, fragmented, or destroyed. Managers have tried commercial fertilizers and water-absorbing gels to ensure planted sea oats survive and thrive, but these products are not always effective and can be expensive. Removal of natural beach litter, called “wrack” and defined as “algae, grasses, driftwood, fruits, seeds, and carrion, along with cultural litter,” has frequently had the undesired effect of weakening the establishment and growth of sea oats. A relatively cheap and effective method to restore them is to reproduce the beneficial effects of this beach litter with “surrogate wrack.” This 4-page fact sheet written by Natalie Hooton, Debbie Miller, Mack Thetford, and Sean Claypool and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation describes the promising results of a study into the feasibility and effectiveness of surrogate wrack to help sea oats become established and grow more quickly and vibrantly to restore dunes and beaches.

Guide to Olive Tree Nutrition in Florida

A healthy Arbequina olive grove in Volusia County, Florida.A burgeoning olive industry already exists in the southeastern United States, but research and Extension information regarding olive fertilization recommendations in Florida is limited. While there are data and recommendations for olive from the University of California, the University of Georgia (UGA), and other institutions around the world, there are no data from which we can derive Florida-specific recommendations. This 6-page fact sheet uses many of the existing recommendations for mature, high-density, and traditional grove spacing as guidelines until data specific to Florida production are generated. It discusses leaf tissue sampling procedures, leaf tissue sufficiency ranges, nitrogen fertility, phosphorus and potassium fertility, boron, concerns for olive production in Florida, and other resources for olive production in the state. Written by Michael J. Mulvaney, Rao Mylavarapu, Peter C. Andersen, Mack Thetford, and Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, and published by the UF Agronomy Department, May 2016.

Olives for Your Florida Landscape

Figure 1. A seven-year-old olive tree (Olea europaea 'Mission') in Marion County, Florida, with inset picture of ripening fruit. (Note: the trunk of this tree has been painted white; this is a common practice for olive growers in the Mediterranean region.) Credit: Jennifer L. Gillett-KaufmanOlives have great potential as a landscape ornamental and may also provide opportunities for home fruit production. However, as a relatively new commercial crop to Florida, the cultural requirements of these trees are not completely known and research is ongoing to understand how to manage them for plant health and fruit yield as well as to make recommendations on varietal selections best suited to the southeastern region of the United States. This 5-page fact sheet includes culture and management information, selected references, and a table listing a selection of olive cultivars currently available in the U.S. Written by Mack Thetford, Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman, Michael J. Mulvaney, and published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, February 2015.