Master Gardener Conference

Concurrent Session Descriptions

Click on speaker names to view concurrent session speaker biographies.

Concurrent Sessions 1: Monday, October 19, 2015 | 1:00pm-2:00pm

A-1 | Invasives & Wildlife

What's in Your Yard?: Managing Invasive Wildlife in Your Florida-Friendly Landscape

Dr. Steve Johnson, UF/IFAS Associate Professor and Wildlife Specialist


Florida is home to more than 75 species of established, non-native wildlife that include birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Some of these are commonly found in and around residential landscapes. Learn more about these animals: how to identify them, the problems they may cause in Florida Friendly landscapes, and what you can do about it. Join Dr, Steve Johnson, Extension Specialist and expert on invasive animals in Florida, for a fact and fun-filled session.


B-1 | Hort & Garden

Beautiful Gardens Begin with the Seed

Shirley Barber, St. Johns County Master Gardener Volunteer


Learn how to produce flowers and vegetables from seed for use in Master Gardener programs. This session will help you to create a production set-up as well as what annual and vegetable varieties perform best in Florida. Do you need seasonal plants for MG sales, school programs or extension gardens/ lectures? This session will start you on your way to producing ample materials to make your program a success or to enhance your own landscape.


C-1 | Soils & Diagnostics

Biofertilizer: Mycorrhizae

Abid Al Agely, UF/IFAS Soil Microbiologist


Biofertilizer is a living beneficial bacteria and fungi. Mycorrhizae (fungi-roots-associations) are found in nearly 95% of plant populations along wide variation in soil and environment conditions. The fungi assume the function of additional roots to increase plant-soil absorptive surface area. The result, mycorrhizal plants have more access to nutrients, water, tolerant to drought, salt, heavy metal, and higher resistance to soil pathogens than non mycorrhizal plants.


D-1 | Florida-Friendly Landscaping™

Tips and Strategies for a Successful Demonstration Garden

Joe Sewards, Volusia County Horticulture Agent


Do you have an idea for expanding or developing a new demonstration garden? Get tips and strategies on how to turn your concept into a reality. The Volusia County Urban Horticulture Agent will provide a case study on developing, designing, and implementing a large scale demonstration garden.  


Concurrent Sessions 2: Monday, October 19, 2015 | 2:15pm-3:15pm

A-2 | Invasives & Wildlife

Teaming with Nature: Landscaping with the Natives

Mary Jane Cary, Collier County Master Gardener Volunteer


Have you ever wondered what plants and wildlife called your slice of paradise home before you moved in? If creating beautiful, sustainable and nature-friendly landscapes appeals to you, join us as we explore the unique plant communities that call North, Central and South Florida home. Incorporate a diverse mix of these native plants in your landscape design, and colorful winged, finned, feathered, and furry neighbors will move in next door. Best of all, you’ll enjoy a rich vibrant life among the locals!


B-2 | Hort & Garden

Not Your Average Palm

Christine Kelly-Begazo, UF/IFAS Extension Indian River County Agriculture Agent


Palms are immediately recognizable throughout the world and often give off a romantic, tropical, vacation-like feel to a landscape. For centuries, humans have cultivated palms for food and drink, fiber and housing material. Palms have also been used in fermentation to make alcoholic beverages and for medicinal and hallucinogenic purposes. In some cultures, palms hold a revered place as symbols of fertility, peace and victory. This presentation takes a look at some unusual palms, special anatomical features and the strange adaptations of the Arecaceae family. It also looks at plants that are palm-like and that can lend a Jurassic-era feel to any landscape.


C-2 | Soils & Diagnostics

Soil Testing and Figuring Out What Your Soil Needs

Rao Mylavarapu, UF/IFAS Extension Soil Testing Laboratories


Basic soils, properties, soil fertility, diagnostic soil/water/manure/plant tissue testing, lime and fertilizer recommendations will be covered; these are needed for MGs to help clientele effectively.


D-2 | Florida-Friendly Landscaping™

Frustrated by Fertilizers: Getting to Know Those Nutrients & What’s in the Bag

Laurie Trenholm, UF/IFAS Turf Specialist


Do you want to know more about fertilizing your lawn and what the best fertilizer really is? This talk will go in depth and look at selection of the right fertilizer and how the different sources of nitrogen can affect turf response. It will cover the IFAS rate recommendations and how to apply fertilizer correctly at those rates. It will also go into selected fertilizers for problem soils and sites.  


Concurrent Sessions 3: Monday, October 19, 2015 | 3:45pm-4:45pm

A-3 | Invasives & Wildlife

Coping with Wildlife That Can Be Dangerous or Damaging

Bill Giuliano, UF/IFAS Wildlife Specialist

Holly Ober, UF/IFAS Wildlife Specialist

Dr. Steve Johnson, UF/IFAS Associate Professor and Wildlife Specialist


Most Floridians enjoy wildlife. Many of us go to great lengths to attract wildlife to our properties so we have opportunities to view them. However, certain animals can become problematic in some situations, by causing damage to human property or presenting safety risks. We recently developed a series of EDIS documents outlining recommendations on how to deal with panthers, bears, coyotes, wild hogs, deer, alligators, snakes, and non-native frogs. In this presentation we will provide background information on each of these wildlife taxa, describe the common risks associated with each, and provide advice on how to minimize those risks.


B-3 | Hort & Garden

Garden Art

Dale Galiano, St. Lucie County Master Gardener Volunteer


Turning items into garden art, why not take those bottles and create a bottle tree; turn the rain barrel into a masterpiece; tipsy painted pots for height or a bowling ball bumble bee? It's amazing how creative you can be in the garden!


C-3 | Soils & Diagnostics

Plant Disease Diagnosis: How to Make a Sick Plant Talk

Carrie Harmon, UF/IFAS Plant Diagnostic Center Director


We will introduce the disease pyramid, basic symptoms and signs of plant diseases, what kinds of questions to ask a client, and how to take a sample, package it, and interpret results from the Plant Diagnostic Center.


D-3 | Florida-Friendly Landscaping™

Bridging the Divide: Strategies for Homeowners and HOAs Working Together

Gail Hansen, UF/IFAS Urban Landscape Specialist


Dr. Gail Hansen will present common issues homeowners have with HOAs and give recommendations on how to resolve the issues. The recommendations demonstrate how to bridge the differences between the two groups regarding implementing Florida-Friendly Landscaping™.  


Concurrent Sessions 4: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 | 10:00am-11:00am

A-4 | Edibles

Creating a Sustainable Food System in Your Backyard

Christine Kelly-Begazo, Indian River County Horticulture Agent


Find out how one can live a more sustainably-driven life by living off the average backyard in ten easy steps. By utilizing a holistic approach to yard management, a gardener can truly develop a landscape that will be beautiful, practical, resource-efficient, and produce a bountiful harvest of nutritious food that will nurture both body and soul. Incorporating concepts of recycling, composting, animal husbandry, gardening and edible landscaping can turn the average resource-needy landscape into a beautiful oasis that can be a haven to relax in and find peace after a complicated and stress-filled day on the outside.


B-4 | Hort & Garden

Florida LAKEWATCH: Citizen Scientists Protecting Florida's Aquatic Systems

Mark Hoyer, Florida LAKEWATCH Director


Florida LAKEWATCH is a successful example of a long-term volunteer water quality-monitoring program that started in 1986. Working with thousands of volunteers, these dedicated citizen scientists have collected reliable long-term water quality data for over 1100 lakes, 175 coastal sites, 120 rivers, and 5 springs. These data encompass water resources in 57 Florida counties. This manuscript describes the start and evolution of LAKEWATCH, including discussions of the following two major (of the many) hurdles to the continued success of the program: 1) demonstrating to professional groups that trained volunteers are capable of collecting credible (research and regulatory quality) data, and 2) maintaining consistent long-term funding. Funding is especially critical because trained and committed core staff is needed to work along with volunteers. Quality staff members are also important to provide direction, ensuring consistent data are collected and enough sites are monitored to answer statewide questions such as how geology impacts water chemistry in Florida. Examples are also provided on how LAKEWATCH data have been used to address lake management issues (i.e., “fixing” the problem) in the State of Florida. We hope the Florida LAKEWATCH experience assists other groups who have a vast army of citizen scientists waiting to get involved and then to best develop a successful monitoring program.


C-4 | Soils & Diagnostics

Gardening is Really All About the Soil: Always Was & Always Will Be!

Sally Scalera, UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County Urban Horticulture Agent


The best way to produce healthy plants is to build and maintain a healthy soil! Come learn the cultural practices that create healthy, biologically active soil that will work with your plants to keep them thriving. So many gardeners accept insect and disease problems as expected events when gardening but nature knows better. Plants provide the soil microbes with food and the microbes provide the plants with a variety of nutrients plus much, much more. Come learn about this amazing, unseen world that without its existence, all of life on earth would disappear!


D-4 | Florida-Friendly Landscaping™

Invasive Plants - What You Need to Know!

Deah Lieurance, UF/IFAS Assessment Coordinator


Participants will learn how and why a plant is included on the UF/IFAS Assessment of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas. Review the most common invasive plants and learn how to use the new UF/IFAS Assessment tool. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions from the experts!  


Concurrent Sessions 5: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 | 11:15am-12:15pm

A-5 | Edibles

Vegetable Gardening for the Public

Gabrielle Milch, Seminole County Horticulture Agent


This talk will be about an overview of the Seminole County volunteer MG lead Vegetable Gardening for the public classes. In 2014, we had great interest in home vegetable gardening in boxes and containers. We taught 5 different classes geared to beginner gardeners. We are also expanding the program into the schools and preparing classes to train-the-trainer with the schools volunteers program- Dividends. We also have a class on preparing to present to the public to help our Master Gardeners prepare for teaching in libraries, our office, or in different locations. We have a vegetable gardening team that meets and prepares the gardens and creates different demonstration for the public.


B-5 | Hort & Garden

Attracting Pollinators & Beneficial Insects to Your Yard and Keeping Them There

Catharine Mannion, UF/IFAS Pest Management Specialist


"Bug Hotels" - what are they? Information will be provided on building and using "bug hotels" to increase the establishment of bees and other pollinators and beneficial insects in the landscape and garden.


C-5 | Youth

10 Ways to Use the Junior Master Gardener Program - Thinking Outside the Box

Lesley Fleming, Registered Horticultural Therapist


Beginning with a hands-on JMG activity, explore different ways of using JMG's treasure trove of ideas. Hint: special events, special populations, health and nutrition…


D-5 | Florida-Friendly Landscaping™

Landscape Advisor Training: Navigating the FFL Recognition Checklist

Claire Lewis, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Statewide Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Coordinator


Learn how to conduct a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Home Landscape and Commercial Landscape evaluation. We will discuss how to prepare for the visit, conduct the evaluation process, and follow-up with homeowners. We’ll finish up with real-life amusing scenarios.  


Concurrent Sessions 6: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 | 3:45pm-4:45pm

A-6 | Edibles

Favorite Funky Flowers and Great Plants You Should Grow

Lynn Barber, Hillsborough County Extension Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Agent

Sydney Park Brown, UF/IFAS Horticulturist and Associate Professor Emeritus

Norma Samuel, Marion County Extension Urban Horticulture Agent


The beautiful leaves and blooms of Roselle make an outstanding, low-maintenance landscape plant and parts of the flower are brewed for a delicious drink. Recipe provided! Favorite Funky Flowers provides information and photographs on unusual flowering plants, mostly ornamentals, which thrive in Florida. This presentation will equip attendees with the knowledge needed to locate, plant and propagate these unique flowering beauties in their home landscapes and share them with fellow Master Gardeners and other friends.


B-6 | Hort & Garden

Propagation by Air Layer

Suzanne Greene, Brevard County Master Gardener Volunteer


Discover Propagation by Air Layer, an easy way to quickly produce a tree that was formerly a branch, which thinks it is as old as the “mother” and is tempered to the same growing conditions as the “mother”. The tree Propagated by Air Layer (a clone of the Mother) significantly reduces the timeframe that you would otherwise wait for a seedling to produce fruit and provides fruit that is identical/true to the parent! It is the choice Propagation method of the Lychee and many other trees! An Air Layer may be applied to any woody bark tree, most producing enough roots to support the branch on its own within 4-6 weeks. Specific advantages of Air Layering are preserving the taste and smell and character traits of the fruit of any given cultivar and drastically reducing the anticipation of full fruit production! This presentation will provide proven tips and techniques that focus on increasing your success rate with this method. This easy form of Propagation can be achieved mostly with items that you likely have in your home! Propagation by Air Layer is an established way to preserve and share great cultivars. The timing is right to make Air Layers for Holiday gifts!


C-6 | Awards

Award-Winning MG Project Updates

2013 Florida Master Gardener Award of Excellence Winners


Join the 2013 Award of Excellence Winners for overviews of their programs!


D-6 | Florida-Friendly Landscaping™

Mangrove Conservation Jeopardy: A Homeowner's Guide to Living with Mangroves

Tom Becker, UF/IFAS Charlotte County Extension Horticulture/FFL Assistant


Red, white and black mangrove live along tidal bays and inlet waterways. Which mangroves are protected? What you 'need to know' to assist homeowners, new resident and visitors to Florida. How do mangrove provide protection to wildlife, improve water quality and become a shoreline native necessity? What do I do if I want to prune or plant mangroves? Florida-Friendly Landscaping concepts apply to their proper care and management. Pictures from the Southwest Coast of Florida reinforce each Questions and Answer.


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