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Is My Tree Safe? Recognizing Conditions that Increase the Likelihood of Tree Failure

Figure 1. Dead branches pose threat to targets.Urban trees provide shade and beauty and the urban forest as a whole provides a wealth of benefits to neighborhoods and residents. But stresses from the urban environment may lead to problems that pose an unacceptable safety risk to people and property. It is a landowner’s responsibility to ensure that the trees on their property are safe. A key step in reducing the potential for tree-related injury or property damage is learning to identify common tree defects associated with increased risk of failure. This 5-page fact sheet highlights seven easily reconizable tree defects that homeowners and non-professionals in public agencies. may encounter in Florida. Written by Drew C. McLean, Andrew K. Koeser, Robert J. Northrop, and Gitta Hasing, and published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, October 2014. (Photo by Gitta Hasing)

Parana Pine, Araucaria angustifolia: An Ancient-Looking Conifer for Modern Landscapes

Figure 1. Paraná pine has a narrow, pyramidal form when young.Paraná pine is a primitive-looking conifer valued for its unusual horizontal branching, interesting triangular-shaped needles, and neat, symmetrical form. The primitive appearance of this evergreen tree results from its resemblance to and relationship with an ancient group of Araucaria-related conifers that dominated forests more than 145 million years ago. This tree once covered vast areas in southern Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Native Americans harvest the seeds for food. It was an important timber tree for European settlers, and it was logged extensively through the 20th century. Now one of the rarest trees in Brazil, Paraná pine is considered critically endangered due to habitat loss and exploitation. This evergreen conifer grows too large for most residential situations, but is best used as an accent or conversation piece in large-scale landscapes. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Gary W. Knox, and published by the UF Department of Environmental Horticulture, November 2014.

Understanding Pregnancy Diagnosis in Beef Cattle

examples of ultrasound imagesBecause 55 to 70 percent of the input costs associated with a beef cattle operation are related to nutrition, culling open (non-pregnant) cows after the breeding season can save as much as $200 per head that can be diverted to the purchase or development of replacement females, sire selection, increased nutritional management, and other management-related costs. Pregnancy diagnosis can be performed simply during vaccination or at the time of weaning. There are three practical methods: rectal palpation, transrectal ultrasonography, or blood test. This 5-page fact sheet was written by G. Cliff Lamb, Darren D. Henry, Vitor R. G. Mercadante, and Doug E. Mayo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, November 2014.

Potential Bull Buyers Perceive Increased Value to their Operations When Purchasing Bulls from the Florida Bull Test

Florida Bull Test logoSince its beginning in 2000, the Florida Bull Test has been under constant evolution to achieve its goal of helping producers select high-quality sires, thereby improving production and profitability of beef cattle producers in Florida and the Southeast United States. A survey of potential buyers before the 2014 sale succeeded in identifying which characteristics of bulls are most important to buyers purchasing bulls: purchasing bulls from the Florida Bull Test increases the value of calves sired by improving performance, genetics, and feed efficiency of their herds. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Vitor R. G. Mercadante, Darren D. Henry, Francine M. Ciriaco, Paula M. Mercadante, Tessa Schulmeister, Nicolas DiLorenzo, and G. Cliff Lamb, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, November 2014.

Picudo de la melaleuca (nombre comun sugerido) Oxyops vitiosa (Pascoe) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Figure 2. Adult melaleuca weevil, Oxyops vitiosa (Pascoe), on melaleuca leaf. Credit: K. Gioeli, University of FloridaEl árbol melaleuca es una planta leñosa invasiva, nativa de Australia, Nueva Guinea, y las Islas Salomón. La melaleuca, conocida también como el árbol de corteza de papel, cajeput, punk tree, o árbol de cepillo blanco, fue introducida en Florida al final del siglo 19 pero aparentemente no se naturalizó hasta el año 1906. La melaleuca fue sembrada extensivamente como un árbol ornamental, y eventualmente invadió los humedales con y sin bosques en el sur de Florida formando monocultivos densos. This 5-page fact sheet is the Spanish language version of Melaleuca Snout Beetle, Melaleuca Weevil (unofficial common names), Oxyops vitiosa (Pascoe) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Curculionidae), written by J.P. Cuda, S.A. Wineriter, G.R. Buckingham, T.D. Center, and K.T. Gioeli, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, December 2014.

Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness Associated with Melons

food worker cutting watermelonDespite the manner in which they are prepared, melons are commonly consumed raw without a processing step which would eliminate pathogenic bacteria. For those concerned about the safety of melons, including cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon, this 6-page fact sheet lists outbreaks associated with melons in the United States, Canada, and Europe, along with information about the location, pathogen, and incidence of illness. Written by Michelle D. Danyluk, Rachel McEgan, Ashley N. Turner, and Keith R. Schneider, and published by the UF Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, November 2014. (UF/IFAS Photo by Thomas Wright)

4-H Pizza Garden: An Agricultural Adventure

4-H cloverThis curriculum was designed for educators to teach young people about where their food originates by using something children love to eat…PIZZA! According to a recent Gallup poll, kids between the ages of 3 and 11 prefer pizza to all other foods for lunch and dinner. Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second!This 4-H in the Classroom project, originating in Pinellas County, Florida, was designed for grades 3?5, but can be adapted to serve other grade levels. The lessons cover subject areas such as mathematics, social studies, language arts, and science. It has been used in Pinellas County very successfully since 2000 by the 4-H Program in collaboration with their Florida Ag in the Classroom Initiative. This 89-page fact sheet was written by Janet Golden, Joy Jordan, Nan Jensen, Betty Lipe, Millie Ferrer, Anne Fugate, Erin Karkheck, Linda Bobroff, Karla Shelnutt, and Tracy Tesdall, and published by the UF Department of 4-H Youth Development, November 2014.

Estimating Willingness to Pay for New Mandarin Cultivars: A Revealed Preference Approach

Credit: Sugar Belle citrus cultivar. Mix of sweet Clementine and Minneola varieties. UF cultivars, oranges, citrus. UF/IFAS File Photo. 07595SCalifornia has overtaken Florida to become the major US domestic mandarin producer. Despite a shift in consumer preferences toward the ‘Clementine’ mandarin that is widely grown in California, this cultivar is not well adapted to the subtropical climate of Florida. But in 2009, the University of Florida introduced the ‘Sugar Belle’, a cross between the ‘Clementine’ mandarin and the ‘Minneola’ tangelo. Survey test results showed that subjects preferred this new cultivar in terms of overall flavor, sweetness, acidity, and juiciness. survey test results showed that the Florida ‘Sugar Belle’ was preferred over the California ‘Clementine’ mandarin and the Florida ‘Murcott’ mandarin (aka Honey mandarin) in terms of overall flavor, sweetness, acidity, and juiciness. To determine consumer willingness to pay for specific attributes, UF/IFAS economists combined sensory evaluation and experimental auctions in a unique way, by comparing two different types of ‘Sugar Belle’ (SB1 and SB2) with the main competing product to identify the most desirable characteristics and to determine the best marketing and pricing strategy. This 6-page fact sheet was written by Xiang Bi, Lisa House, Frederick Gmitter, and Zhifeng Gao, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, September 2014.

Screening Methods for Southern Chinch Bug Resistance in St. Augustinegrass

Figure 1. Bag test.Relying on insecticides for southern chinch bug control raises turfgrass maintenance costs, increases the risk that insects will develop resistance to insecticides, and may damage the environment. Host-plant resistance is a relatively sustainable and environmentally sound option for management of this damaging insect pest.To develop new resistant varieties, plant materials must be screened for new sources of southern chinch bug resistance. Screening methods to measure host plant resistance of St. Augustinegrass to southern chinch bugs have measured nymphal and/or adult survival in so-called no-choice tests in which only the experimental plant materials were provided. There are four types of screening methods described in this 4-page fact sheet was written by Huangjun Lu and Ronald Cherry, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, October 2014. (Photo credit: Long Ma, UF/IFAS Extension)

Hand Pollination of Tomato for Breeding and Seed Production

Figure 2. Emasculation of the flower leaving the stigma exposed for pollination.Hand pollination is a technique that is used for breeding new tomato varieties with desirable characteristics such as plant vigor, disease resistance, and uniform fruit quality and plant growth; since tomatoes have complete flowers and are self-pollinated, it usually is unnecessary to hand pollinate the flowers for fruit production. This 4-page guide illustrates selection and emasculation of flowers from the plant receiving pollen, pollen collection and drying, and pollination of the stigma. Written by Monica Ozores-Hampton, and published by the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences, August 2014. (Photo credit: Monica Ozores-Hampton)

Economic Value of the Services Provided by Florida Springs and Other Water Bodies: A Summary of Existing Studies

Springs at Ichetucknee Springs State Park.  Water, vegetation, spring, nature.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.Florida residents and visitors place a high value on aquatic natural resources. This 8-page fact sheet reviews nine studies that demonstrate that Florida’s springs have a very large economic value, both for recreation and resource conservation. In these studies, economists measure the value of ecosystem services in dollar terms to assist management decisions concerning natural resources. Willingness to pay studies show that people who benefit from Florida springs place a high value on them. Economic contribution studies show that Florida springs play a significant role in local and state economic health and job creation. Written by Sara Wynn, Tatiana Borisova, and Alan Hodges, and published by the UF Department of Food and Resource Economics, November 2014. (UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.)

Saddle and Tack Care in Hot and Humid Environments

Figure 2.  Particularly dirty saddles may be ?scrubbed? using saddle soap and water. A good rule of thumb for selecting a brush is to select one with plastic bristles that would be appropriate for cleaning your fingernails.The South’s climate is appealing for equestrian activities. While riders enjoy the weather, it creates some challenges in caring for saddles and other tack. When the weather becomes hot and the humidity climbs and the rains are frequent, a tack room can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. There are several things a rider can do, however, to lower the incidence of mildew on saddles and tack. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Joel McQuagge, Todd Thrift, and Ed Johnson, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, November 2014. (Photo credit: Joel McQuagge, UF/IFAS)

The Risks of Obesity, Weight Control Behaviors, and Disordered Eating on (to) Adolescents

UF student gets ready to eat fudge topped with toasted crickets and mealworms.Over the past 15 years, unhealthy weight-loss behaviors among U.S. adolescents are becoming more widespread. This 5-page fact sheet addresses the consequences and risks associated with risky weight-control practices and discusses the prevalence of eating disorders and the role of body image in weight practices. The publication also provides references that can be used to help practitioners educate youth on the importance of setting realistic goals and enhancing body satisfaction. Written by Emily Johnson and Kate Fogarty, and published by the UF Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences, September 2014. (AP Photo/University of Florida/IFAS/Josh Wickham)

Cat's-Claw Vine, Dolichandra unguis-cati : A Showy but Invasive Plant in Florida

Figure 1. Flowers and leaves of cat's-claw vine. The 3-pronged "claws" that replace the terminal leaflet in each compound leaf are visible at the lower right.Cat’s-claw vine is a neotropical, climbing perennial that produces large and showy yellow flowers in the springtime. It is valued as an ornamental, particularly in dry areas, because it needs little water or care and can climb almost anything, covering fences and other structures with an attractive carpet of leaves and flowers. Unfortunately, the aggressive nature of the vine has made it a major weed in China, Australia, South Africa, and parts of the southeastern United States. This 6-page fact sheet provides guidance on identification, control, and similar native vines for home landscapes. was written by Niels Proctor and Jason Smith, and published by the UF Department of School of Forest Resources and Conservation, October 2014.

Mosaic Disease of St. Augustinegrass caused by Sugarcane Mosaic Virus

Figure 1.  Mosaic symptoms on leaf blades of St. Augustinegrass infected with Sugarcane Mosaic Virus Mosaic disease of St. Augustinegrass was first reported in the 1960s in sugarcane producing areas of Palm Beach County, Florida. In the 10 years prior to 2013, less than 5 samples with mild symptoms were brought to the attention of the extension turfgrass pathologist. But in September 2013, an outbreak of the disease occurred in Pinellas County. Leaf symptoms included mosaic, but turned necrotic and the severe dieback that completely killed some infected lawns. In September 2014, lawns infected in 2013 and new lawns started dying in both Pinellas and Palm Beach Counties. Despite the similarity of symptoms to another St. Augustinegrass decline (SAD), as of November 2014, all samples have tested negative for SAD, and positive for presence of Sugarcane Mosaic Virus. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Phil Harmon, and published by the UF Department of Plant Pathology, November 2014.

Talking Local series

Figure 1. Fruit and vegetable stand on Krome Avenue in Homestead.Extension agents can assist Florida farmers and ranchers in the labeling, sale, and promotion of locally-produced products. This six part series of 3- to 5-page fact sheets provides information about Florida consumers’ perceptions of local food to Extension faculty who are interested in local food programming or who work with local food clientele. Written by Joy N. Rumble and Caroline G. Roper, and published by the UF Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, September 2014.

In this series:

Healthy Living for Elders: Use Your Medicines Safely!

Figure 1. Fill all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy to avoid potential drug-drug interactions.Medicines can help us feel better and improve our health, but if we do not use them correctly, they can make us feel worse or even cause major health problems. To use your medicines safely, keep the following tips in mind. This 4-page large print fact sheet was written by Paulina Wittkowsky, Linda B. Bobroff, and Emily Minton, and published by the UF Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences, November 2014. (Photo:

Gulf Coast Tick, Amblyomma maculatum Koch (Acari: Ixodidae: Amblyomminae)

Figure 1. Adult male (left) and female (right) Gulf Coast ticks, Amblyomma maculatum Koch.Gulf Coast ticks are found in grass prairies and coastal uplands throughout much of the western hemisphere. The ticks are ectoparasites that feed on a variety of birds and mammals, and will readily bite humans. Gulf Coast ticks are of increasing concern because of their ability to transmit several pathogens of veterinary and medical importance. This 7-page fact sheet was written by Jeffrey C. Hertz and Phillip E. Kaufman, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, October 2014. (Photo: Jeffrey C. Hertz, edited by Jane Medley)

Tropilaelaps mite Tropilaelaps spp. Delfinado & Baker (Arachnida: Mesostigmata: Laelapidae)

Figure 1. Adult female Tropilaelaps.Honey bees throughout the world are exposed to numerous pests, parasites, and pathogens. One such parasite is Tropilaelaps spp. Delfinado & Baker, an ectoparasitic mite that feeds on the hemolymph of developing honey bees. Four species of Tropilaelaps have been identified and characterized. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Ashley N. Mortensen, Sarah Burleson, Gunasegaran Chelliah, Ken Johnson, Daniel R. Schmehl, and Jamie D. Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, October 2014. (Photo credit: Pest and Diseases Image Library,

De compras para la salud: Alimentos con fibra anadida

snack bar with nuts and dried fruitLa fibra en los alimentos consiste de carbohidratos que no pueden ser digeridos. Aunque muchos alimentos naturalmente contienen fibra, hay ingredientes altos en fibra que comúnmente se añaden a los alimentos para aumentar el contenido de fibra. Los ingredientes con fibra se pueden adicionar por razones funcionales o de salud. This 3-page fact sheet is the Spanish language version of Shopping for Health: Foods with Added Fiber, written by Wendy J. Dahl, and published by the UF Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, October 2014. (Photo: iStock/

2014 ROA information

Annual Statistics for 2014 reports will be available November 17th. More...

What is EDIS?

EDIS is the Electronic Data Information Source of UF/IFAS Extension, a collection of information on topics relevant to you. More...

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