University of FloridaspacerSolutions for Your Life

New and Revised Publications RSS Icon

How to Use a Dichotomous Key: A Tutorial Featuring 10 Common Shade Trees of the Tampa Bay Area

edis pic

A dichotomous key is a tool used to help identify an unknown organism. This twelve-page fact sheet features a key of leaf characteristics for ten common broadleaf trees in the Tampa Bay Area. Accurately navigating this series of paired, either-or choices about leaf characteristics will lead the reader to identify the correct tree from the group of ten. Written by Andrew K. Koeser, Gitta Hasing, Michael G. Andreu, and Melissa H. Friedman and published by the Environmental Horticulture Department.

10 Common Palms of the Tampa Bay Area

Senegal Date Palm

Palms often serve as key specimens in urban landscape designs. Despite this, their identity is often unknown to Florida’s new, seasonal, and even long-term residents. This ten-page fact sheet serves as a quick reference for some of the most common palms found in North and Central Florida and the Tampa Bay Area in particular. Written by Gitta Hasing, Andrew K. Koeser, Melissa H. Friedman, and Timothy K. Broschat and published by the Environmental Horticulture Department.

The Art of Goodbye: Planning Final Arrangements

Thinking, discussing, and acting ahead of time will help reduce the social discomfort associated with death and dying.

The consumer is faced with complex personal decisions while making final arrangements. Final arrangements might include a religious ritual, service, tribute, funeral, and/or burial. This 7-page fact sheet, part of a new series entitled The Art of Goodbye series, is designed to help in the development of a final arrangements plan using a coordinated approach. This document discusses the Funeral Rule, determinants, funeral providers, types of final arrangements, tissue or organ donation, body donation, preplanning, and prepaying. Written by Lynda Spence, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, July 2016.

Identification, Biology, and Control of Small-Leaf Spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis): An Invasive Weed of Virtually Worldwide Distribution

Figure 1. The distinctive white flowers of Tradescantia fluminensis have three petals and five or six stamens tipped with bright yellow anthers. Credits: Jason Seitz

Tradescantia fluminensis (small-leaf spiderwort) is a perennial subsucculent herb native to tropical and subtropical regions of Brazil and Argentina. The species has been introduced to the United States and countries in many parts of the world where it is often considered invasive. This seven-page fact sheet describes the small-leaf spiderwort, its taxonomy, geographical distribution, biology and ecology, reproduction and colonization, its impact as a weed in the southeastern United States, and ways of managing the spread of small-leaf spiderwort. Written by Jason C. Setiz and Mark W. Clark and published by the Department of Soil and Water Science.

Herbicides to Kill Invasive Trees in Home Landscapes and Surrounding Natural Areas

A single-nozzle backpack sprayer is useful for foliar treatment of many woody invasive plants.

Several plant species that are invasive in natural areas of public lands also occur on private property. Invasive plants on private property that thrive within both landscaped and surrounding natural areas can serve as a source of infestation to other natural areas. Therefore, property owners are encouraged to remove invasive plant species from both areas. This 5-page fact sheet is a major revision that discusses different herbicides, hand-pulling, stump grinding, foliar herbicide application, cut stump herbicide application, basal bark herbicide application, hack-and-squirt, frill, or girdle herbicide application, licenses and training, and control of specific invasive plants. Written by K. A. Langeland and S. F. Enloe, and published by the UF Department of Agronomy, revised May 2016.

Opinion Leadership and Local Food

A table of fresh fruit and produce at a farmer's market.
Three new articles have been published as part of a new series on Opinion Leadership and Local Food. These articles look at the role opinion leaders, or individuals who have a large amount of influence within their respective social circles, can have on motivating their peers to join in purchasing local food. The articles are as follows:

1. Opinion Leadership and the Perceived Health Benefits of Local Food (
2. Opinion Leadership and the Perceived Effects of Local Food on the Local Community (
3. Opinion Leadership and the Perceived Economic Benefits of Local Food (

Written by Layne S. Marshall, Melissa R. Taylor, and Alexa J. Lamm and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Worker Protection Standard: Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ)

Pesticide testing.
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a Federal regulation designed to protect agricultural workers (people involved in the production of agricultural plants) and pesticide handlers (people mixing, loading, or applying pesticides or doing other tasks involving direct contact with pesticides).The “Application Exclusion Zone” or AEZ is a new term used in the WPS rule; it refers to the area surrounding the pesticide application equipment. This three-page fact sheet explains this new rule. Written by Fred M. Fishel and Tatiana Sanchez and published by the Agronomy Department.

Body Fat and Health: How Can I Tell if I am at Risk for Health Problems?

Woman getting her weight.

Obesity is called an epidemic because there is a high rate of obesity in the United States. In fact, over 30% of all US adults were obese as of 2012, and more than two-thirds are either overweight or obese. This is concerning because excess body fat is linked to poor health and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. The amount of excess body fat a person has is commonly sorted into weight status categories using Body Mass Index. This three-page fact sheet describes the body mass index and how to calculate it. Written by Kohrine A. Counts and Anne E. Mathews and published by the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department.

A Guide to Tracking Physical Activity

Figure 1. Women running up stadium steps for exercise. Image used in the 2014 Research Discoveries report. Credits: Javier Edwards, UF/IFAS
Being physically active is fun, has many physical and mental health benefits, and can help maintain a healthy weight. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults be purposefully active for at least 150 minutes per week for overall health and wellness. One proven strategy to make sure you reach your activity goal is to track your energy expenditure. This three-page fact sheet explains the different free and low cost cell phone apps, websites, and portable devices available for tracking physical activity. Written by Madison K. Keesling and Anne E. Mathews and published by the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department.

Teaching Students with Disabilities

Horticulture Professor Balasubramanian Rathinasabapathi (Saba). Teaching, students, lecture, classrooom.

Seven new articles have been published in the Teaching Students with Disabilities series. This series provides useful information to ag-ed based instructors about different disabilities and how to teach those students in the unique environments posed by ag-ed, including classroom, laboratory, and non-formal environments. The new articles are as follows:

Written by Blake C. Colclasure, Andrew C. Thoron, and Sarah E. LaRose and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Engaging High Water Users in Water Conservation #2: High Water Users' Water-related Behaviors and Willingness to Act

John Cisar, a professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, is studying how turfgrass and other landscape plants can help prevent nitrogen from leaching through the soil into groundwater, Wednesday - Aug. 13, 2003. He said three years of research have shown that turfgrass is most effective in reducing nitrogen leaching and should be used in Florida landscapes. Other plants require more time to become established and slow nitrogen leaching through the soil.

Approximately 50% of Floridians’ daily water consumption is used for outdoor purposes, such as landscape irrigation; this is 20% higher than the national average. In order to alleviate the pressure on the precious water resources in Florida from various demands, increased public awareness and engagement in water conservation is needed especially among high water users. This four-page fact sheet is the second in a series discussing how Extension can improve high water users’ engagement in water conservation with a focus on high water users’ water-related behavior and willingness to act. Written by Pei-wen Huang and Alexa J. Lamm and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

Engaging High Water Users in Water Conservation #1: High Water Users' Experiences and Perceptions of Water

A watering tin and gardening gloves at a home garden.

Florida has an abundance of water, but still faces an increased pressure on water resources because of a growing population, prosperous tourism, and an active agricultural industry. This five-page fact sheet is the first in a series discussing how Extension can improve high water users' engagement in water conservation by focusing on high water users' characteristics, experiences with water issues, and perceptions of water. Written by Pei-wen Huang and Alexa J. Lamm and published by the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication.

How the Veterinary Feed Directive Affects Cattle Owners

Beef cattle feeding in pasture.

The Veterinary Feed Directive is a federal regulation from the Food and Drug Administration that will change the additives that can be included in animal feed, the ways in which cattle producers manage their animals and veterinarians interact with cattle owners, and the products available for use on the ranch. This 3-page fact sheet provides an overview of the new regulation’s nature, functions, requirements, and implications for cattle owners. Written by Matt Hersom, Todd Thrift, and Joel Yelich, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, July 2016.

Chilling Injury in Tropical Foliage Plants: III. Dieffenbachia

Figure 1. Dieffenbachia ?Octopus? showing leaf yellowing from chilling injury. Credits: Jianjun Chen, UF/IFAS

A chilling temperature is any temperature that is cold enough to cause plant injury but not cold enough to freeze the plant. Chilling injury can occur to tropical foliage plants if greenhouses become too cold or if plants are exposed to chilling temperatures outside of the greenhouse during packing and shipping. Dieffenbachia, commonly known as dumb cane, ranks among the top five most popular foliage plant genera produced and sold in the United States. This four-page fact sheet describes the chilling temperatures of Dieffenbachia cultivars in order to assist growers to better manage greenhouse temperatures. Written by Jianjun Chen and published by the Environmental Horticulture Department.

The Florida Bull Test 2014/2015

Closeup of a bull.

The 2014-2015 Florida Bull Test concluded with the evaluation of 103 bulls. The test assessed the performance potential and breeding soundness of bulls consigned to the program at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC). This 9-page fact sheet covers the test procedures, feed efficiency assessment, test rules and regulations, health requirements, test results, and sale summary. Written by Carla D. Sanford, G. Cliff Lamb, and Nicolas DiLorenzo, and published by the UF Department of Animal Sciences, June 2016.

NOTICE: EDIS may be affected by computer outage this Saturday, August 13th

The EDIS website ( may be down on Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m. due to maintenance on the power supply to the main server on UF's main campus. Although EDIS servers are among those impacted by the planned outage this Saturday, we are accelerating our migration schedule in the hopes that we can move off of the affected servers before the end of the week.

If the migration proves too complex to manage on short notice, the website will be down. Print ordering and publication approval (Workflow) sites, as well as the authoring tool, may be down as well.

Prevencion de Caidas: Estilos de vida y riesgo de caidas

Elderly person receiving assistance from a caregiver with everyday tasks. UF/IFAS Marisol Amador

Hay muchos factores que pueden contribuir a las razones por las que usted se cae, pero algunos de éstos, los puede cambiar. A continuación le ofrecemos algunos cambios sencillos que puede hacer para reducir el riesgo de caerse.
This 2-page fact sheet is a major revision of the Spanish version of FCS2230/FY736:Fall Prevention: Lifestyle Factors and Fall Risk. Written by Linda B. Bobroff, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, revised April 2016.

Registration and Licensure of Nutrition Professionals in Florida

Ron Lutz, left, Gail Rampersaud and Lynn Bailey review educational materials developed by the Florida Folic Acid Coalition to promote awareness about the health benefits of the vitamin. Lutz, an advanced registered nurse practitioner, is a coordinator for the coalition based at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Rampersaud, a registered dietitian and assistant in nutrition research and education, and Bailey, a professor in the food science and human nutrition department, oversee the coalition.

Consumers need to know who is qualified to practice nutrition or dietetics before seeking nutrition advice. This 3-page fact sheet is a major revision that provides information about dietetic registration and licensure. Written by Linda B. Bobroff, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, revised June 2016.

Vida Saludable: Fuentes de informacion sobre la diabetes

Hand held electronic diabetes monitoring devices. Metabolic diseases, blood sugar. Image used in the 2012 Annual Research Report.

Muchos recursos sobre la diabetes se encuentra en línea.
This 2-page fact sheet provides a list of resources with information on diabetes. Written by Linda B. Bobroff and Paulina Wittkowsky, and published by the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, revised August 2015.

New Featured Creatures: July 2016

What is EDIS?

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

Author information
Additional IFAS Sites
Follow UF/IFAS on social media