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Does Size Matter?

Monday, June 2, 2008

When I go to the nursery to buy a tree to plant in my yard, I remind myself, "David beat Goliath" and "the tortoise beat the hare" . . . and "a small oak, mango, or royal poinciana tree often will beat a larger tree of the same species." That it is advantageous to plant smaller, younger trees as opposed to larger, older trees is a realization that has grown as my knowledge of trees has grown. Over the last three years, I have watched trees planted when they were very small (rootballs 8 to ...

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Heliconia General Information

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The genus Heliconia refers to a group of plants related to gingers, bananas, prayer plants and Birds of Paradise. There are an estimated 350 species of heliconia, the vast majority are found in tropical America. Oddly, six species have evolved in the islands from Sulawezi to the Solomon Islands. Descriptions of 13 Heliconia species. These are rhizomatous, herbaceous plants that range in height from 18 inches to more than 20 feet tall. The "stems" (pseudostem) are the concentric, sheathing...

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What's this white stuff on my cycad?

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's sneaky, it's deadly and it's everywhere. Many of the cycads in South Florida neighborhoods have yellow and brown leaves, and are encrusted with a white substance. You've never seen this before. What's going on here? Miami-Dade County is experiencing the results of a surging population of an insect known as the cycad aulacaspis scale or Aulacaspis yasumatsui. It seems to affect only cycads, particularly favoring cycads of the genus Cycas, which includes the common Cycas revoluta (king ...

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It All Starts With Dirt

Monday, November 20, 2006

Here in the Garden nursery, we are frequently asked what kind of potting soils we like to use for our plants. This is not an easy question to answer since there are many factors-the water holding capacity, aeration, pH, potential shrinkage and more-that have to be taken into consideration. Following are some of the components we use in the nursery with an indication of what they contribute to the mixture. You'll also find recipes for two of our most useful mixes. Please keep in mind that...

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The Art of Pruning

Monday, November 20, 2006

Why do we prune? Most of us know the reasons: to create healthy trees by removing dead wood and awkward branches, to promote fruit and flower production, and to create beautiful trees. But all too often we prune for the wrong reasons... for example, because our friendly neighborhood landscaper planted a large tree directly under a power line. Trying to transform a big tree into a small one usually results in an unhealthy tree and an eyesore. True pruning is an art. It takes intelligence, ...

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Tips for Good Planting

Monday, November 20, 2006

The right plant in the right location. Bigger is better. A one dollar plant in a five dollar hole. You've heard the cliches, but what do they mean? And what really is the best way to plant a tree or shrub? The right plant . . . Begin with the healthiest tree available. New growth is a good sign that the plant is active. Take it out of its container and check its roots. Healthy roots, just as important as healthy leaves, are usually white and fibrous. They should be just beginning to grow to ...

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Ten Great Palms for South Florida

Friday, November 17, 2006

Here's a selection of tried-and-true palms which grow successfully in South Florida yards and gardens, recommended by palm experts at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Many thrive with minimal care. Reliable landscape plants, they have few if any pest and disease problems. In particular, they are generally resistant to lethal yellowing and ganoderma, palm diseases that are ongoing concerns. All are tolerant of South Florida's cool winter temperatures, seasonal rainfall, and alkaline ...

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