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An Introduction to USGS Topo Maps

Photo of a landscape featuring a white sand road disappearing into pine trees on the horizon. Sunbleached grass and a palm tree in the foreground, bright sun contrasts with dramatically dark sky and advancing storm clouds.


Topographic maps provide both a detailed and accurate representation of cultural and natural features on the ground and a quantitative representation of relief, usually using contour lines. They can be used to address spatial questions in disciplines related to natural resources, hydrology, forestry, agriculture, or ecology. In 1879, the United States Geological Survey began to map the topography of the United States, producing new map versions of each area at semi-regular time intervals. US Topo maps are the current generation of USGS topographic maps. Unlike traditional topographic maps, the US Topo product is automatically generated from national map databases with topographic maps and produced every three years for all 48 of the contiguous United States, Hawaii, and the United States territories. They are published as freely available geospatial PDF documents that facilitate coordinate readings and spatial measurements (e.g. distance, area) through built-in georeferencing technology. This 7-page fact sheet written by Hartwig H. Hochmair and Adam R. Benjamin and published by the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation focuses on US Topo quadrangle download procedures and layer structure.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr342

The Passion Fruit in Florida

Passion fruit cross section, showing juice-filled arils and black seeds. Credits: Mark Bailey, UF/IFAS

Passion fruit is a short-lived evergreen perennial vine that produces an aromatic and tropical-tasting fruit. This new 13-page publication of the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department provides a description of passion fruit and its various species and cultivars, as well as a guide to culture and management, harvest and storage, its pests and diseases, and food and marketing. Written by Mark Bailey, Ali Sarkhosh, Amir Rezazadeh, Joshua Anderson, Alan Chambers, and Jonathan Crane.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1406

Pitaya (Dragon Fruit) (Hylocereus undatus) Pests and Beneficial Insects

A photo of a young pitaya fruit on the plant. It is yellow-green mostly but each petal is edged in brilliant pinkish purple.

Pitaya or dragon fruit is a recent crop in south Florida. Dragon fruit has grown rapidly and shows a good potential for commercialization. This 13-page fact sheet written by Daniel Carriollo, Rita Duncan, and Jorge E. Peña and published by the Entomology and Nematology Department lists some of the pests and beneficial insects associated with this promising fruit crop and includes a section on control, precautions, and restrictions.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1292

Useful Image-Based Techniques for Manual and Automatic Counting Using ImageJ for Horticultural Research

Strawberry plants in the field, shown in ImageJ.

Counts (e.g., number of leaves, fruits, seeds, or plants) are a common type of data gathered in horticultural research. In many instances, using ImageJ can increase the ease and accuracy of gathering count data. When image processing can easily separate objects of interest from the background, automatic counting with ImageJ can eliminate tedious manual counting processes. Furthermore, additional plant growth data, such as leaf area, plant width, and canopy area, can be collected from the same image. The image processing and analysis techniques introduced in this article are easily accessible and simple to use and thus can be adopted not only by researchers, but also by Extension agents and students. This new 10-page publication of the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department is part of a series introducing various image-based measurements with ImageJ for horticultural research. Written by Lillian Pride and Shinsuke Agehara.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1405

Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides

photo of a bee hovering near a cluster of a citrus flowers, blue sky in the background

To safely solve a pest problem, growers and pesticide applicators must be aware of the potential impacts of some pest-control strategies on bees, other pollinators, and beneficial arthropods. This 14-page fact sheet written by J. D. Ellis, J. Klopchin, E. Buss, and others and published by the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department explains the issue and provides strategies to protect honey bees and other beneficial insects from pesticides.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1027

Living Shoreline Monitoring: How do I evaluate the environmental benefits of my living shoreline?

A living shoreline including elements such as sills of materials made to recruit oysters. Credit: Mark Clark, UF/IFAS

Living shorelines are structures made of natural materials such as oyster shell, sand, mangroves, salt marsh plants, and other organic materials built to protect properties from erosion. In addition to increasing shoreline stability, living shorelines enhance many valuable ecosystem functions. In this new 11-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences, we provide homeowners, land managers, and Extension agents materials lists, protocols, and data sheets for measuring change in ecosystem function. Measuring and interpreting these measurements will help evaluate living shorelines projects as well as provide the foundation for monetarizing the value of these structures. Written by Laura K. Reynolds, Natalie C. Stephens, Savanna C. Barry, and Ashley R. Smyth.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss694

The Road to Recovery #3: Facilitating Community Resilience for Effective Pandemic Response

The virus that causes COVID-19

This third publication in the Road to Recovery series provides information and recommendations to support Extension professionals’ ability to facilitate capacity building and resilience development for communities during COVID-19 and potential future pandemic situations. This new 5-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication was written by Cody Gusto, Colby Silvert, and John Diaz.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc380

The Road to Recovery #1: Introduction

The virus that causes COVID-19

This first publication in the Road to Recovery series provides a brief introduction to some core concerns and considerations for Extension professionals as they adapt their outreach, education, and evaluation efforts during a pandemic and recovery. This new 3-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication also includes an overview of the subsequent articles in the Road to Recovery series. Written by Cody Gusto, Colby Silvert, and John Diaz.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wc379

Downy Mildew of Lettuce in Florida

Rows of research lettuce at the EREC in Belle Glade. Photo taken 10-22-15 by Tyler Jones.

Lettuce Downy Mildew (LDM), caused by the oomycete Bremia lactucae, is the most important disease of lettuce worldwide. LDM has a direct effect on both yield quantity and quality because it may infect lettuce at any growth stage, affecting the marketable portion of the crop. This new 6-page publication of the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department introduces the LDM disease in Florida lettuce and available control methods and strategies. This publication also introduces the work on LDM in the UF/IFAS Lettuce Breeding Program, which was created to release cultivars adapted to Florida conditions. Written by Lis Rodrigues-Porto, Richard N. Raid, and Germán V. Sandoya.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1403

Use of Recycled Potting Medium for Containerized Production of Squash

The different potting medium treatments tested in the study. Credits: Marie Dorval, UF/IFAS

Vegetable growers are keen on cost-cutting measures to increase profitability. Containerized vegetable production can be done in a shade-house or garden, and it often requires commercial potting media. Although expensive, potting media are lightweight and provide high water- and nutrient-holding capacities, and thus they are widely used by growers. Growers often discard or compost the potting media after a single season due to issues such as diseases, pests, and weeds. However, old potting media could be reused for containerized production if appropriately sterilized and amended with fertilizer salts. The current study was conducted to determine the feasibility of using sterilized recycled potting medium amended with fertilizer salts for containerized production of squash. This new 4-page publication of the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department was written by Marie Dorval, Riphine Mainviel, Vincent Michael, Yuqing Fu, Bala Rathinasabapathi, and Geoffrey Meru.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1404

Fondos de Inversion: Un Glosario para Principiantes

This image was taken prior to national guidelines of face coverings and social distancing. Using IFAS-generated budgeting tools, young people can learn to manage their money and begin saving and investing in the future. UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones. IFAS Extension calendar 2009.

El mejor momento para comenzar a invertir o ahorrar es ayer, ya sea para la jubilación, para enviar a su hijo o hija a la Universidad o para el pago inicial de una casa. Para poder tomar una decisión acertada sobre que vehículos financieros escoger para una cartera de inversiones o plan, es primero fundamental conocer las opciones disponibles en el mercado y entender los mecanismos y principios detrás de cada uno de estos vehículos de inversión. Hay libros enteros escritos sobre estos temas, pero con el propósito de este artículo es proporcionar un glosario breve, pero completo de los fondos principales de inversión financiera. This 3-page document is the Spanish version of FCS3352, Major Asset Classes: A Brief Glossary. Written by Jorge Ruiz-Menjivar, Nelly Nelson, and Jarrett Tsai, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, December 2020.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1494

Transitioning from Conventional to Organic Farming Using Conservation Tillage

Organic corn planted in a cover crop of roller-crimped rye and hairy vetch.

Organic farming is one of the fastest-growing segments of the agricultural industry in the United States and in Florida. Conservation tillage is often employed to reduce soil erosion, improve physical and biological properties of soil, and increase water use efficiency. This 5-page article aims to provide recommendations to row crop farmers who wish to implement conservation tillage practices during their transition to a certified organic system. Written by D. L. Wright, J. Moyer, D. Treadwell, I. M. Small, and S. George, and published by the UF/IFAS Agronomy Department, revised November 2020.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag246

Nematode Management in Cole Crops

Photo of broccoli florets and leaves.

Many different plant-parasitic nematodes cause yield loss in cabbage, broccoli, collards, and other valuable Florida cole crops. This 13-page fact sheet written by Z. J. Grabau and J. W. Noling and published by the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department lists common symptoms, explains how to submit samples to a nematology lab such as the UF Nematode Assay Lab for diagnosis, and describes key cultural practices to help agricultural professionals spot and manage nematode problems in cole crops.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ng024

Stormwater Pond Management: What You Need to Know about Aeration

A stormwater pond in a residential neighborhood in Gainesville, FL. This fountain provides important functions to the pond while also providing aesthetic benefits. Credits: Samantha Howley, UF/IFAS

This new 6-page document is intended to provide Floridians and their communities with information on a specific management practice in stormwater ponds: the use of fountains and other aeration approaches. These practices may provide opportunities both to improve water quality within the pond and protect downstream water quality. Specifically, this document gives basic information on fountains and the pros and cons of fountain installation and use. In addition, we provide information for pond managers or community decision makers on how to best manage ponds for effective pollutant removal in the pond and downstream water quality protection. Written by Samantha T. Howley, Steven P. Hohman, and Alexander J. Reisinger, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss695

Soil Health Response of Histosols to Flooded versus Dry-Fallow Conditions during Summer

Flooded rice land management practice in the EAA during summer. Credit: Jehangir H. Bhadha, UF/IFAS

Evaluating changes in soil properties associated with flooded fields during the summer months in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) provides us an opportunity to assess the effect of soil management associated with flooded versus dry-fallow field conditions on Histosols. This information will be beneficial to current and potential growers farming flooded rice in south Florida, as well as Extension agents who work on rice and soil conservation agencies such as the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This new 6-page publication was written by Jehangir H. Bhadha, Jay Capasso, Abul Rabbany, Nan Xu, and Matthew VanWeelden, and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ss697

Leches a base de plantas: Avena

A mug of oat milk next to a small metal measuring cup brimming with oats, sitting on a wooden railing outside. Credit: Lincoln Zotarelli, UF/IFAS

La leche de avena es una de las alternativas lácteas más recientes en llegar a los estantes de los supermercados, y actualmente hay varias marcas disponibles en los Estados Unidos. La leche de avena está hecha de avena en grano. Esta publicación describe cómo se elabora la leche de avena, sus ingredientes y perfil de nutrientes, y los posibles beneficios y riesgos para la salud del consumo.
This new 4-page publication of the UF/IFAS Food Science and Human Nutrition Department is the Spanish translation of FSHN20-52/FS419, Plant-Based Milks: Oat, written by Hannah Cooper, Daniela Rivero-Mendoza, and Wendy J. Dahl.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fs427

Lightning Damage to Landscape Palms

Palm trees on the beach of Seahorse Key near Cedar Key, Florida. Photo Credits: UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

Florida is considered by some to be the lightning capital of the world. Florida has on average 3,500 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes per day and 1.2 million strikes per year. Given so many strikes, the probability of damage to certain palms is significant. Coconut palms, royal palms, and Washington palms are particularly vulnerable due to their great heights, but other tall palms may be equally susceptible. This new 6-page publication of the UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture Department describes and includes many helpful photos of symptoms of lightning damage as well as lightning protection systems. Written by Stephen H. Brown, Douglas Caldwell, and Ralph Mitchell.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep598

Organic Blueberry Production in Florida

Patricia blueberry variety. Photo taken 04-24-18 Photo Credits: UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

There is a growing market in the United States and globally for fresh fruits and vegetables with reported health-enhancing properties. This includes blueberries, which are high in antioxidants and have been reported to improve heart health and contain anticancer properties. Fresh-market blueberry sales (conventional and organic) increased by 27% between 2013 and 2017, and that trend is expected to continue. In addition, there is an increasing level of consumer interest in organically grown produce (for environmental conservation, taste, and other perceived benefits), for which some consumers are willing to pay a premium over the price for a conventionally produced crop. This new 8-page publication of the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department discusses various aspects of organic blueberry production in Florida and is intended for use by those currently using or interested in pursuing organic production. Written by Douglas A. Phillips, Peter J. Dittmar, Philip F. Harmon, Oscar E. Liburd, Danielle D. Treadwell, and Jeffrey G. Williamson.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1400

Chinese Mustard Cultivation Guide for Florida

Chinese mustard and finely chopped ginger root served in a salad mix (left) and stir-fried with oil (right). Credit: Guodong Liu, UF/IFAS

Chinese mustard is a nutritious leafy vegetable in the family Brassicaceae. Chinese mustard also goes by many common names, such as brown mustard, mustard greens, leaf mustard, Indian mustard, Oriental mustard, and vegetable mustard. Although it is considered a weed in a few states, such as Michigan, this species is not listed as invasive in Florida and has been cultivated in several counties, including Levy, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade. This new 8-page publication of the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department provides a short cultivation guide as well as information on the uses and marketability of Chinese mustard. Written by Yuheng Qiu, Mary Dixon, and Guodong Liu.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1402

Management Options for Improving Flowering in Citrus Production

Hamlin variety oranges flowering. Credits: Miurel Brewer, UF/IFAS

The final fruit yield and, ultimately, returns a grower receives from any given harvest is directly related to the number of viable flowers that are generated and the proportion of those flowers that produce fruit. A grower can improve the ability for their trees to consistently produce a profitable crop of fruit by understanding the steps involved in flowering and controlling the transition to reproductive growth. This new 6-page publication of the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department was written by Leigh Archer, Miurel Brewer, Bikash Adhikari, Eduardo Esteves, Christopher Vincent, and Tripti Vashisth.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs1399

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