Friday, June 26, 2015
Thursday, June 11, 2015
A native vine that you may never have considered is a relative of other similar and more familiar landscape plants – the Allamandas. Specifically, the Wild Allamanda or Urechites lutea is a vine-like shrub, very adaptable to our soils, and can easily be managed to the size you want it. Blooming now in landscape near you – the Wild Allamanda!
In nature, the wild allamanda would grow more like a vine and sprawl over the trees and shrubs found in its environment. The yellow two and one-half inch wide flowers are produced pretty much year-round. The ability of this plant to be trained or at least supported on structures ranging from espalier frames, trellises and arbors, to small fences is a great attribute. The woody stems also have the stiffness to be trimmed as a low hedge. Regular clipping will keep this flowering evergreen in bounds and in neat condition. We have one growing in our Demonstration Garden trained on a small lattice trellis which is about six-foot tall and six-foot wide. It is presently in full bloom and putting on quite a show.
The wild allamanda is very drought tolerant and has moderate tolerance to coastal conditions and salty air. It is also very happy in alkaline soils of which we have an abundance in our residential-fill soils. While full sun will stimulate more flowers, the wild allamanda can tolerate part shade. If you are planting multiple specimens, give them at least thirty-six up to sixty inches between plants for best results. Propagation can be accomplished by cuttings
Perhaps the biggest pest we have encountered with wild allamanda is the oleander caterpillar. As allamandas are in the same family as oleanders (Apocynaceae) (all parts are toxic by the way) oleander caterpillars have done a job on our plant from time to time. The use of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) will control caterpillars such as this when used as per label instructions.
The wild allamanda can be damaged by frosts, but will normally grow back without a problem. As a vine or a good-natured shrub, the wild allamanda is a great plant and is a suitable landscape subject. For more information on all types of flowering plants that can be used in our local landscapes, please call our Master Gardener volunteers on the Plant Lifeline on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer. Don't forget to visit our other County Plant Clinics in the area. Please check this link for a complete list of site locations, dates and times - http://charlotte.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/Plant%20Clinics%20Schedule.pdf.
Gilman, E. F. ( 2011) Urechites lutea - Wild Allamanda. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Gilman, E. F. ( 1999) Allamanda cathartica. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
The proper application of pesticides is so important, not only to control the targeted pests, but also to protect non-target organisms. This is especially true regarding creatures such as honeybees, beneficial insects, mites, wildlife and desirable plants. The pesticide label has the information needed to help protect these beneficials.
While there are many types of native bees and certain wasps involved in some pollination, domesticated honeybees provide the largest benefits to crop yield and value by far. Many pesticide labels have information under “Environmental Hazards” concerning the toxicity of the product to bees. Accordingly, protect bees by not applying such a pesticide while plants are in bloom. When you pick a pesticide, select one that can be considered least- toxic to bees. Preventing pesticide drift is another important practice keeping in mind that fine spray mists may end up elsewhere. Of all the times to apply a pesticide, evening is the best as most bees have returned to their hives. Early in the day is fine, but midday is perhaps the worst time when bees are very active and have the greatest chance to encounter pesticides.
In addition to honeybees, there are a multitude of beneficial organisms that should be identified and protected in your landscape. Beneficial organisms may best be defined as creatures including insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and others that eat or parasitize pests. These organisms contribute to our pest management “tool kit” and should be preserved. Predatory stink bugs, ladybeetles and green lacewings are just some of the good insects commonly found controlling pests in the average landscape.
Another important category of organisms that you must take into consideration when you apply pesticides are fish and wildlife. Care must be taken to keep pesticides on target to avoid runoff or leaching where fish may be affected. Birds may accidently pick-up pesticide granules, or baits. Some pelleted baits formulated for rodents or snails could be accidently consumed by wildlife, pets or even children. Again, read the label and pay particular consideration to “Environmental Hazards” where special precautions may be spelled out. Keep the treatment on site and be careful when using baits.
One final group to protect is non-target plants. Herbicides can go off-target and cause damage to numerous desirable plants. Some desirable plants could also be damaged from a pesticide when applications were made in excess or even applied during high temperatures. The pesticide label is an important document that must be read and followed. Properly applied as per label directions, pesticides can target pests while protecting your beneficial organisms. For more information on identifying beneficial organisms in your landscape, please call our Master Gardener volunteers on the Plant Lifeline on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer. Don't forget to visit our other County Plant Clinics in the area. Please check this link for a complete list of site locations, dates and times - http://charlotte.ifas.ufl.edu/horticulture/Plant%20Clinics%20Schedule.pdf.
Fishel, F. M. (2014) Pesticide Effects on Non-target Organisms. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.