Hydrophyte Volume 24 Issue 1 - January 1, 2020

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The South Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society

The Hydrophyte

South Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society

Volume 24 Issue 1



Prescribed Fire Benefits Wildlife

and People

Plants with Purpose

Wetland Facts

UF/IFAS Researchers Continue

Work on Saving Guacamole’s Key


Low Impact Development Offers

Protection for Waterways

page 2


President’s Message Board Members - 2020

It is an honor to be the president of this great

society. I have served on many boards and been

active in the national society, however our group

is special. We have as many attendees at our

quarterly meeting as the National APMS has at

their annual meeting. Our group is a strong blend

of public and private applicators, manufacturers,

distributers, professors and those who just care

about our environment. We all have one common

goal. Make South Florida’s natural resources


These are trying times for our industry. Put on the

television and you will see a commercial making

false claims about the products we use. We have

also had to deal with the FWC attempt to halt all

herbicide application in an effort to quiet the

“squeaky wheel”. As president, my goal is to

provide our society the best possible meetings

and publications to give us the tools to educate

the public on the importance of our profession.

We all must continue to work together to keep this

society heading in the right direction. The mission

of SFAPMS is to provide a forum for an exchange

of ideas, news and information on plants that

grow in and around water in South Florida. Please

help us achieve this mission. If you have ideas for

talks, speakers or subjects, please reach out to

me or any of the Board of Directors.

I look forward to the next year and hope to

maintain the high standard set forth by my

excellent predecessors.

Andy Fuhrman


Officers 2020

Andy Fuhrman, President

(954) 382-9766 afuhrman@allstatemanagement.com

Dail Laughinghouse, Vice President

(954) 577-6382 hlaughinghouse@ufl.edu

Linda Wolonick, Secretary/Treasurer

(954) 370-0041 linda@expertbizsolution.com

Hughie Cucurullo, Immediate Past President

(561) 845-5525 hcucurullo@avcaquatic.com

Board Members 2020

Rose Bechard-Butman

(954) 519-0317 rbechardbutman@broward.org

James Boggs

(352) 521-3538 boggsj@helenachemical.com

Norma Cassinari

(334) 741-9393 ngcassinari@alligare.com

Lyn Gettys, Ph.D.

(954) 577-6331 lgettys@ufl.edu

Scott Jackson

(561) 402-0682 scott.jackson@syngenta.com

Rory Roten, Ph.D.

(321) 890-4367 roryr@sepro.com

Dharmen Setaram

(407) 670-4094 dsetaram@landolakes.com

Steven Weinsier

(954) 382-9766 sweinsier@allstatemanagement.com

The Francis E. “Chil” Rossbach

Scholarship Fund

Funds from the scholarship are used to help defray

costs for students taking classes related to the study of

aquatic environmental sciences or related areas. The

scholarship is open to anyone, and all are encouraged

to apply. Applications will be accepted throughout the

year and the scholarship awarded when a suitable

candidate is found. Money raised by the Society during

the year partially goes to fund this scholarship, the

intent of which is to promote the study of aquatics.

For an application, please go to www.sfapms.org.

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By: Florida Climate Center at Florida State University

Virtually all summer rainstorms are accompanied by thunder and lighting. No other part of the nation has more

thunderstorms than Florida. In the western half of the peninsula in a typical year, there are over 80 days with

thunder and lightning. Central Florida's frequency of summer thunderstorms equals that of the world's maximum

thunderstorm areas: Lake Victoria region of equatorial Africa and the middle of the Amazon basin. The Amazon

and east African areas maintain their frequency of thunderstorm activity throughout most of the year, whereas

the number of thunderstorms in Florida drops off sharply in the fall and does not pick back up until spring.

The simplest definition of a thunderstorm is a local storm that produces lightning and thunder. The storm itself

can either be a single cumulonimbus cloud, a cluster of several thunderstorms, or a line of thunderstorms. In

order for thunderstorms to form, there needs to be:

1. Moisture - to form clouds and rain.

2. Unstable air - warm air that can rise rapidly.

3. Lift - cold or warm fronts, sea breezes, mountains or the sun's heat can lift air to help form thunderstorms.

Once all of these components are brought together, the thunderstorm then goes through a 3-stage life cycle:

Development or Cumulus Stage:

A cumulus cloud forms and begins

to grow vertical, usually above

20,000 ft. Usually, little, if any, rain

occurs during this stage. There

might be occasional lightning.

Mature Stage: The cloud has

grown in considerable height, now

in the range to 40,000 to 60,000 ft.

Strong updrafts and downdrafts

coexist within the storm. This is

the most dangerous stage of the

storm and is the most likely time

for hail, heavy rain, lightning, strong

winds and tornadoes. Storms

occasionally have a black or dark

green appearance.

Dissipating Stage: The downdraft

cuts off the updraft, which cuts off

the supply of warm moist air to the

storm and therefore, it dissipates.

Rainfall decreases in intensity,

along with winds, though strong

gusts are still possible. Usually, the

anvil top of the cloud is all that

remains of the initial cumulus


www.sfapms.org page 7


Ordinary Cell: As the name implies, this is a thunderstorm with only one cell. It's commonly referred to a 'pulse'


Multi-cell Cluster: These are thunderstorms that are organized in clusters of 2-4 short-lived cells.

Multi-cell Line: Some thunderstorms will form in a line which can extend laterally for hundreds or miles. These

'squall lines' can persist for hours and extend for hundreds of miles. Squall lines can be continuous or with

breaks and include contiguous precipitation. Long-lived squall lines are known as "derechos" and can travel

hundreds of miles, causing considerable damage along their path.

Supercell Thunderstorms: These are potentially the most dangerous form of all thunderstorms types. Supercell

thunderstorms have produced numerous long-lived strong and violent (EF2-EF5) tornaodes, along with

damaging wind, hail and flash floods.

Thunderstorm Hazards

Hail: Hail is a showery precipitation in the form of irregular pellets or

balls of ice more than 5mm in diameter, falling from a cumulonimbus

cloud. Hailstones are formed when updrafts carry raindrops up into the

highest parts of the cloud and the super-cooled liquid droplets collide.

Hail drops back down into the warmer part of the cloud and carried

back up, until the internal up and downdrafts can no longer support the

size of the hailstone, then it falls to the ground.

Hail size typically refers to the diameter of the hailstones. To make it

easier to report, the descriptions to the right are often used. So, why

does Florida have so many thunderstorms, but not that many instances

of hail? The freezing level in a Florida thunderstorm is so high; hail

often melts before it reaches the ground. Even though hail is not

common to the state, there have been about a dozen events of hail of

over 3 inches being reported in Florida. One event in 1996 in Lake

Wales, hail as big as softballs was reported. Damage to the area was

done to windows, roves and cars totaling $24 million. In 2007, the area

of Kendrick (North of Ocala) reported hailstones ranging in size from 2

to 4 inches.

Wind: Damaging winds are more likely to be associated with thunderstorms than tornadoes. In fact, many confuse

damage produced by "straight-line" winds and often erroneously attribute it to tornadoes. The source of the

damaging winds is the downdraft within the thunderstorm. A downdraft is a column of cool air that rapidly sinks

to the ground that is usually accompanied by precipitation in a thunderstorm.

Downdrafts can cause downburst, which can be further classified as either microbursts or macro bursts.

A downburst is a strong downdraft current of air from a cumulonimbus clouds and is often associated with

intense thunderstorms.

Microburst: Downdraft that can affect area of less than 2½ miles wide with peak winds lasting less than 5


Macroburst: A downdraft that can affect an area of at least 2½ miles wide and with peak winds lasting

between 5 and 20 minutes. Intense macrobursts may cause tornado-force damage of up to F3 intensity.

www.sfapms.org page 9

Thunderstorm Hazards

Tornados: Truly destructive tornadoes are most frequently

reported in Florida during the spring and summer; the most

powerful usually strike in spring. Florida has the dubious

distinction of having a higher frequency of tornadoes per 10,000

square miles than any other state, including Oklahoma!

In Florida, measured in frequency of tornadoes for every 10,000

square miles, the coast between Tampa Bay and Fort Myers has

a particularly high incidence, as do the western panhandle and

parts of the Atlantic Coast.

So, what is a tornado? Simply put, a tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is spawned by a severe

thunderstorm. It connects from the thunderstorm to the ground and often appears to have a funnel or column

shape. A tornado, one of nature's most violent storms, can develop suddenly, and have winds in excess of 250


Generally, tornadoes in Florida form

1. along a squall line ahead of an advancing spring cold front from the North,

2. along the squall lines in areas where masses of warm air converge

3. from isolated local summer thunderstorms

4. and/or within a hurricane.

What triggers a tornado is still not altogether clear. Tornadoes spawn inside clouds when there is great turbulence

and winds of various speeds and velocities come in contact with one another. Although there is uncertainty about

the triggers, meteorologists are able to identify atmospheric conditions conducive to tornadic activity.

The intensity of a tornado can be determined only after the event when survey teams from the National Weather

Service can examine structural damage. After the survey is complete, the tornado is given a value from the Fujita

Scale. The Fujita Scale was developed by Dr. T. Theodore Fujita and categorizes tornadoes on the basis of their

intensity and area. The scale relates a tornado's damage to the fastest quarter-mile wind speed at the height of the

damaged structure to determine its intensity. Over the years, problems with the initial Fujita Scale had arisen and

in 2007 the new Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale was adopted. The EF Scale helps determine the intensity of a tornado

when there is no structural damage (as can happen when, for example, a tornado passes through a corn field).

Flash Floods: Except for heat related fatalities, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other hazard. The

main reason is because people underestimate the power and force of water. The effects of flooding can be felt on

local, state and even regional scales. In Florida, flooding occurs frequently, but most of the floods are minor.

However, Floridians must be careful because even minor floods can cause many deaths.

Floods are caused by rain, but flooding is more about how much rain falls, how fast it falls, and what happens to

the rain after it hits the ground. The most common type of flood that happens during a thunderstorm is a flash

flood. Most flash floods are caused be slow moving thunderstorms, thunderstorms that repeatedly move over the

same area, or heavy rains from a tropical storm or hurricane. These floods can develop quickly depending on the

intensity and duration of the storm, the topography of the area, soil conditions and ground cover.

Lightning: Lightning is the most lethal component of the thunderstorm. While the conditions needed to produce

lightning are understood, how lightning forms has never been verified. Forecasters may never able to forecast

when and where a lightning strike will take place. Florida is the lightning capital of the country, mainly due to our

geography. The very elements that make our state a great place for outdoor activities -- warm temperatures and

plenty of water -- also make the environment primed for the production of thunderstorms, which generate


www.sfapms.org page 11 17

Lightning develops during the

violent circulation of air within the

cumulonimbus cloud. The friction

causes the positive and negative

charges within the storm to separate.

In addition, an electrical field

develops between the base of the

cloud and the ground. However, the

electrical field in the cloud is stronger

and most of the lightning

(~75%) is contained within the


Thunderstorm Hazards

As the difference in the charge

continues to increase, positively

charged particles will rise up in

taller objects, such as trees,

telephone poles, and even buildings.

A channel of negative charge,

called a stepped ladder, will

descend from the bottom of the

storm cloud toward the ground.

This is invisible to the human eye.

The positive charge that collected

in the tall object on the ground

'reaches' out to the approaching

negative charge with its own channel,

called a streamer. When these

channels connect, the resulting

electrical transfer is what we see

as lightning. If enough of the charger

is left, additional strokes will

use the channel and give the bolt

the appearance of flickering. Lightning

heats up the air to 50,000

degrees Fahrenheit, and this heating

of the air produces a shockwave

that results in thunder.

Lightning has both negative and positive polarities. Most lightning forms at the bottom of the cloud, though less

than 5% of all lightning occurs from the top of the anvil, making it a positive lightning strike. Positive lightning is

very dangerous for several reasons. Since it comes from the top of the anvil cloud, the electric field is much

stronger than a negative strike (almost ten times greater!). Some positive strikes can strike the ground beneath

the cloud; however, most positive strikes occur near the edge of the cloud or can strike more than 10 miles away.

Positive lightning is often responsible for the phenomenon commonly referred to as a "bolt from the blue".

Positive strikes are more lethal and cause greater damage than negative lightning.

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· 1 pound Florida alligator tail, sliced thin

· 2 large Florida mangoes, peeled and sliced


· ½ cup Florida sweet peppers, sliced thin

· 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine

· 1 lime, juiced

· 1 cup dark rum

· 1 tablespoon blackened spice mix

· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

· 1 cup coconut milk

· 1 cup heavy cream

· Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a medium bowl combine mango, sweet pepper, cilantro, and lime juice and season with

salt and pepper.

Preheat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and carefully add

rum to hot pan, then place back on heat (be extremely careful when adding rum to the hot

pan). Cook until rum has reduced by half. Add vanilla, coconut milk, and heavy cream and

stir to combine. Cook on low until thick and coats the back of a spoon. Transfer to bowl and

set aside.

Wipe out pan and reheat over medium-high heat; add one tablespoon oil. Lightly season

both sides of the sliced alligator tail with blackening season. Pan sear both sides for 30

seconds to 1 minute; do not overcrowd. Remove from the pan and repeat the process until

all the alligator is cooked.

Serve warm with rum sauce and mango relish.

Alligator meat can be purchased at the following local meat markets:

Wild Forks Food

Florida Fresh Meat Company

2847 N University Drive 1940 N 30th Rd #040

Coral Springs, FL

Hollywood, FL

www.sfapms.org page 19

As Florida Grows, Low-Impact Development

Could Offer Protection for Waterways

By: Tory Moore

(Public Relations Specialist with UF/IFAS Communications)

The University of Florida Institute of Food and

Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension is

working with local communities to educate and

encourage sustainable water runoff solutions

amidst Florida’s rapid growth.

Low-impact development (LID) is a design

approach for real estate developers to manage

future stormwater runoff needs. When used

effectively, rain gardens, permeable pavement,

rain harvesting and other LID methods can

often improve nutrient removal, use a smaller

footprint and provide additional benefits when

compared to a traditional stormwater pond


“UF/IFAS Extension works with developers and

local government to provide resources on LID

and help them understand the benefits of these

practices,” said Eban Bean, UF/IFAS

agricultural and biological engineering

researcher. “Once people start to understand

how easy it is to implement this practice and

that it can be a cost savings, they see why it

makes a lot of sense to move in this direction.”

LID techniques aim to mimic how the water

moves through the landscape before being


Permeable pavement

driveway allows

water to infiltrate

through the surface

rather than running

off into stormwater

ponds and


Bioretention and rain

gardens can capture

runoff from roads

and other impervious

surfaces filtering the

water before it



The University of Florida Institute of Food and

Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension is

working with local communities to educate

and encourage sustainable water runoff

solutions amidst Florida’s rapid growth.

Low-impact development (LID) is a design

approach for real estate developers to manage

future stormwater runoff needs. When used

effectively, rain gardens, permeable pavement,

rain harvesting and other LID methods can

often improve nutrient removal, use a smaller

footprint and provide additional benefits when

compared to a traditional stormwater pond


“UF/IFAS Extension works with developers

and local government to provide resources on

LID and help them understand the benefits of

these practices,” said Eban Bean, UF/IFAS

agricultural and biological engineering

researcher. “Once people start to understand

how easy it is to implement this practice and

that it can be a cost savings, they see why it

makes a lot of sense to move in this direction.”

LID techniques aim to mimic how the water

moves through the landscape before being


www.sfapms.org page 21

As Florida Grows, Low-Impact Development

Could Offer Protection for Waterways

Bioretention, or rain gardens, are another

technique where areas of slightly lower

elevation are distributed around a landscape to

capture a small amount of water that will

infiltrate the soil. This allows plants to take up

water, nutrients and pollutants and retain them

at the site instead of flowing into a storm

system, pond or other water body downstream.

Rainwater harvesting systems are another

common practice used within a LID system.

Cisterns and rainwater harvesting barrels

capture runoff from rooftops that is then used

for irrigation or other non-potable water uses.

Across the state, LID is gaining traction but

adoption of the sustainable practice has been

slow, according to UF/IFAS Extension Osceola

County agent Krista Stump.

“LID is not very well known amongst

homeowners and residents,” Stump said. “In

the future, we want LID to be included in the

county’s land development code. In order to do

that, decision-makers need to see that

homeowners and residents are interested and

invested in more sustainable practices.”

Osceola County is the fifth-fastest growing

county in the United States, according to the

U.S. census, with a 35-percent population

increase between 2010 and 2018. The need for

sustainable practices with the increased

development is high, Stump said.

“Florida is defined by its water, but we have a

lot of water issues,” Bean said. “LID

implementation is one way we can encourage

development that is sustainable for the future

to preserve the paradise of Florida we all


Runoff from

developed areas can

transport nutrients

into nearby

waterways, leading

to algae blooms

such as the one

shown here

On Nov. 6, UF/IFAS Extension Osceola County

will hold its first LID Symposium.

“Anyone from local government and

policymakers, developers, engineers, builders

and even homeowner’s association

representatives would benefit from attending

the symposium,” Stump said. “If you are

considering implementing LID, you could

benefit from attending.”

“One of the greatest barriers that planners,

engineers and decisionmakers express is that

they are worried about the regulatory

requirements,” Stump said.

“Right now for stormwater

management, you have to prove

that you have a plan in place that

will adequately address the amount

of runoff that is occurring. We are

hoping attendees can understand

how LID can be successfully

incorporated into those plans and

correct any misperceptions.

page 22


www.sfapms.org page 23



Continue Work on

Saving Guacamole’s

Key Ingredient

By: Lourdes Rodriguez, a public relations specialist at UF/IFAS Communications

Dr. Edward "Gilly" Evans-Center Director for the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center

There is no shortage of interest or appetite for

guacamole. When you consider the endless variety

of recipes for dishes and dips that you can dig into,

coupled with an annual designation of September

16 as National Guacamole Day, you might consider

chanting “Viva la Guac.”

Sadly, the guacamole needs some help these days.

A team of researchers at University of Florida

Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

(UF/IFAS) have been at ground zero of a pest

problem that is endangering the sustainability of

guacamole’s key ingredient in South Florida– the


Laurel wilt disease (LWD) is an invasive, lethal

disease in the southeastern United States spread

by a fungus transmitted by the ambrosia beetle.

The disease wilts and then browns tree leaves,

killing entire trees in only a few weeks. Since 2003,

it has killed millions of native forest trees and has

impacted commercial avocado production in

South Florida, said Jonathan Crane, a UF/IFAS

professor of horticultural sciences and Extension

tropical fruit specialist stationed at UF/IFAS

Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) in


Given the destructive nature of this disease, there

have been major concerns over the future of the

Florida avocado industry, which provides an annual

economic impact of nearly $100 million (USD),

adds Edward “Gilly” Evans, a UF/IFAS professor of

food and resource economics and director of TREC.

Since 2012, the disease has been directly and

indirectly responsible for the death and destruction of

more than 120,000 trees which is the equivalent loss

of about 16.5 million pounds of potential guacamole.

There are over 500 registered commercial avocado

producers operating on about 6,250 acres with the

bulk (close to 99%) of the production occurring in

Miami-Dade County (USDA, 2007). The industry is

valued at $21 million with an economic impact of

$100 million. Roughly 65% of the crop is sold outside

of the state. Regardless help is on the way.

The IFAS Tropical research and Education Center,

which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, has

been at the forefront of the research to find pest

management and eradication methods for the

disease. An area wide management program

centered on early detection and destruction of

affected tress has slowed down the spread of the

disease as research continues.

Research results indicate that the benefits of the

program far exceed the costs. The program has

played a significant role in minimizing the rate of

spread, thus providing time for scientists working

around the clock to continue their effort towards

developing a more cost-effective treatment, added


page 24


UF/IFAS Researchers Continue Work

on Saving Guacamole’s Key Ingredient

“A cost benefit analysis shows that our modeling of

the disease spread at that time and indicates that in

a ‘do nothing situation’, meaning if growers did not

adopt some aspects of our recommendation in

about 5 years the industry would become

nonexistent,” he said.

In the meantime, UF/IFAS scientists at TREC and

throughout the state are committed to developing

ongoing integrated pest management practices to

protect the valuable commercial crop industry that is

valued at $100 million a year to producers who are

mostly in Miami Dade County.

Daniel Carrillo, assistant professor of entomology

and nematology and his biological scientist, Rita

Duncan, conducted work at TREC for avocado

growers that compares an integrated pest

management system involving common chemical

pesticides and entomopathogenic fungus, or

Beauveria bassiana. Entomopathogenic fungi infect

and kill only insects, and so pose no harmful threat to

humans, non-insect wildlife or plants. The fungus not

only kills the ambrosia beetles that carry the

disease-causing pathogen, but also inhibit the pest’s

ability to bore into the wood where it can spread the

plant pathogen.

Another new tactic to manage healthy and

productive avocado trees involves growers

maintaining healthier soils and even considering

adjusting the pH in their groves. Because the fungus

that causes laurel wilt is halophilic, it shows a

dramatic decrease in growth at high pH values, and

this could help in reducing persistence of the

pathogen in soils, although effects on

beetle-vectored transmission are likely to be


Florida has a rich history with the Guacamole’s main

ingredient. The Florida avocado industry is the state’s

third-largest fruit industry behind citrus and blueberry.

The first varieties in the United States date back to

Florida in the 1800s as reported in a UF/IFAS

Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS) publication.

“When we think of diseases that we have yet to find a

cure for, we have learned that steps are taken to

manage the disease. We continue to learn more about

the pathogen each day and are drawing closer to a

solution,” said Evans. “While as scientists we are not

happy with the fact that we have yet come up with a

cure for the LWD, the truth is that without our

recommendations and research that we do have, the

Florida Avocado Industry would be history.”

Little Known Florida Facts About Guac’s

Main Ingredient

• The first recorded importation of the avocado into

Florida was in 1833.” Henry Perrine is credited with

introducing the avocado to Florida in 1833. (California

wasn’t introduced to the fruit until 1856). It is believed

that this was the first domestic avocado planting in

the US. The effort of growers in Miami Dade led to the

establishment of University of Florida/IFAS Tropical

Research and Education Center (TREC), then called

the Sub-Tropical Experiment Station in 1929. It made

way for scientists at UF to conduct research that

would enhance and solve agricultural challenges

related to production problems of tropical crops like

avocados, mangoes and citrus.

• The first avocado planting at UF/IFAS Tropical

Research and Education Center was 10 seedling trees

in 1932. From then, additional seedlings, seedling

selections, and cultivars were planted at T REC.

www.sfapms.org page 25

UF/IFAS Researchers Continue Work

on Saving Guacamole’s Key Ingredient

This continues to the present, currently the Center

has about 78 avocado cultivars in its collection.

• In Florida, there are over 600 varieties of avocados

while worldwide there is are more than 2,000


• Avocado fruit do not ripen on the tree, they must be

picked when mature (horticulturaly mature i.e., able

to ripen off the tree) and then allowed to ripen.

Commercially fruit are picked when horticulturaly

mature, then washed, sorted, packed and stored at

cool temperatures, shipped, then bought at the

market. Fruit bought at the market should be placed

at room temperature to ripen, then refrigerated.

Placing your avocados in a paper bag with a ripening

banana or apple will help to speed the ripening of the

avocado because bananas and apples emit ethylene

– the natural plant hormone that induces ripening.

• The United States (USA) is the tenth largest

producer of avocados worldwide, following Mexico,

Dominican Republic, , Peru, Indonesia, Colombia,

Brazil, Kenya, Venezuela and Chile (FAOSTAT, 2018).

Total US production for 2017 was about 133

thousand tons valued at about $392 million. There

are two main commercial avocado regions in the

USA, namely southern Florida and southern

California. While production in California is based

largely on the Guatemalan and Mexican races of

avocados, the Hass variety, production in Florida is

based primarily on the West Indies varieties. Florida

is the only area of the continental USA where West

Indian and Guatemalan-West Indian cultivars can be

grown commercially; thus, to a certain extent, the

two regions complement each other.

Dig Into These Easy Recipe Ideas

Florida Guacamole

(Provided from Fresh from Floirda.com)


2 Florida avocados, pit removed and mashed

1 Florida tomato, diced small

2 Florida Key limes, juiced

½ red onion, diced small

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

½ teaspoon cumin

Several dashes hot sauce to taste (optional)

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste


Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and

stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as

needed. Store in an airtight container in the


Guacamole In your Dish

Not sure how to diversify your guacamole? Here

are some tips from BuzzFeed:

• Load your tacos with guacamole

• Add a little pomegranate

• Layer the guac on your chicken burger

• Add grilled peaches, jalapeno and bacon to the


• Add roasted tomatoes and feta cheese for a

festive change

page 26


www.sfapms.org page 27

Plants with purpose

By Lauren Garcia-Chance, John Majsztrik, and Sarah White

Nursery Management

Growing up I heard about the sunflower and its ability to

remove heavy metals from the ground, a process called

phytoremediation. Sunflowers, and many other

organisms, have adapted to survive removing

contaminants from water and soil. Bioremediation

(using both plants and microbes to remove

contaminants from water and soil) has been used over

the years in many forms. Nursery growers can

implement a bioremediation strategy to effectively treat

irrigation water.

Biological and ecological treatment

A natural wetland can be viewed as a living water filter.

As water enters a wetland, it slows down and the

contaminants within the water are removed through a

series of physical and chemical processes. Wetland

plants, or macrophytes, serve many functions within this

wetland system. The shoots and sometimes roots can

cause water to slow, which help suspended sediment to

settle or fall out of the water column. Some

contaminants, especially nutrients including nitrogen

and phosphorus, are removed by plants and

microorganisms. Wetland plants often promote the

establishment of microbial colonies, which can help

transform or inactivate contaminants. By understanding

how these natural systems work, they can then be

developed into cost-effective options for ornamental

growers. Many constructed system designs have

been developed including surface flow wetlands,

sub-surface flow wetlands, floating treatment

wetlands, and vegetated buffers or channels, all of

which will be discussed below.

Surface flow wetlands

Free water surface (FWS) wetlands (also called

surface flow wetlands) closely mimic natural

wetlands such as bogs, swamps, and marshes.

Water flows over a planted soil surface and through

plants from an inlet to an outlet, allowing the water

to contact plant shoots, the exposed surface of the

bed, and to a limited degree the roots and

subsurface material of the wetland. FWS wetlands

are often lined with clay, a membrane liner, or an

alternative impermeable material to prevent leaks.

Leaks can short-circuit a treatment system and

reduce treatment effectiveness. Typical plants used

to establish FWS include cattail (Typha spp.),

bulrush (Scirpus spp.), and reeds (Phragmites spp.),

though many other plant species colonize wetlands

over time. Much of the biological treatment of the

system occurs at the point where sediment and

water meet, where plant roots, soil, debris, and

microbes interact. Wetland hydrology is designed

so that sediment (total suspended solids or TSS)

can fall out of the water column. Sediment often

carries phosphorus, as well as trace levels of

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Plants with purpose

metals, pesticides and other organic chemicals. Over time, plants and

microorganisms can take up or break down these chemicals, with

typical reductions of 22 percent of TSS, 25 percent of nitrogen and 50

percent of phosphorus. Construction costs for FWS wetlands are

generally lower than conventional wastewater treatment systems.

Due to their passive nature, they also minimize mechanical

equipment, energy, and maintenance requirements. However, FWS

wetlands require a relatively large land area and annual maintenance

(pump maintenance, removal of invasive woody plant species),

especially when working to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus levels.

Wildlife also use FWS as habitat — birds, amphibians, and reptiles all

use FWS for food and shelter, with positive (species diversity and

habitat restoration) and negative (humans v. snakes) results.

Subsurface flow wetlands

Subsurface flow wetlands (SF) move water through a substrate (all water

is below the surface of a coarse substrate); making substrate choice very

important. Coarse rock, gravel, sand and other soils have been used, but a

gravel medium is most common in the U.S. The substrate is typically

planted with similar plants to the FWS wetlands described above, although

the shoot portion of the plant is typically completely above the water as

the flow is designed to remain below the substrate surface. The main

advantage of this system is the reduced size needed to treat the same

volume of water because of the increased volume where treatment can

take place. This system also reduces mosquito populations, odors and

human and animal contact with the water. There are some disadvantages

to be aware of. These systems tend to have low oxygen levels. While this

is ideal for removal of nitrate, it drastically reduces the removal of

ammonia. Introducing aeration into a portion of the wetland can help solve

this problem. The substrate can also clog over time, particularly if

sediment is not removed before water is introduced for treatment.

Horizontal vs vertical flow wetlands

Most SF wetlands operate as horizontal flow (HF) wetlands, where water flows horizontally from the inlet to the

outlet, directing the water across the system. These systems typically have a 1- to 3-percent slope, which must

be maintained. Vertical flow (VF) wetlands place influent water on the substrate surface. The water filters down

through the substrate to the bottom of the basin where it is collected in a drainage pipe. These systems typically

are cyclically filled and drained, which helps with aeration, and have been shown to remove double the ammonia

of the typical SF wetland.

Vertical flow wetlands can be installed either above or below ground. The use of multiple substrates and plants

has resulted in variable treatments and results. Pumps are used in VF wetlands, to control the water level, while

HF wetlands simply have a single pump that introduces water into the system (like the FWS). Whether using a

VF or HF wetland, water movement is necessary to ensure subsurface flow and avoid stagnation. Furthermore,

these systems are susceptible to clogging within the porous substrate if proper pre-treatment does not occur.

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Plants with purpose

Floating treatment wetlands

A more recent form of constructed wetland treatment has been floating treatment wetlands (FTWs). A FTW

consists of a floating mat (think yoga mat with holes) that suspends the plants on the surface of the water. This

allows the roots to have direct access to the water, while maintaining foliage above the water surface. Physical

entrapment of particulate pollutants by the root system is a significant removal pathway and is efficient at

reducing TSS, particulate zinc, copper and nitrogen and phosphorus. While removal of TSS, N and P can be

substantial (12 percent nitrogen reduction and 10 percent phosphorus), the lack of contact with a substrate

reduces the efficacy of FTW systems in comparison with FWS and SF wetlands since the plants are only able to

remove nutrients from the water, and the limited sediment they capture in their roots. These FTW systems, do

allow for a greater variety of plants, including some ornamental plants. In a FTW system, plants must be in water

at least three feet deep, so roots do not grow into the pond sediment. Worker safety is an important consideration

when installing and removing plants, particularly in ponds that are deep or have steep sides.

Researchers are currently assessing these systems as a potential hydroponic production system, in which the

plants grown in the FTW are removed and sold. A major benefit of FTWs is that current infrastructure (ponds and

water retention basins) can be used, without having to add space. Furthermore, FTW systems are free floating,

allowing them to adjust to variable water levels and flows and cannot be clogged. Performance of FTWs depends

heavily on coverage, pond volume, climate/season, and the plant selection.

Vegetative swales and buffers

A final option for nursery water management is vegetative swales and buffers. Most growing operations have

these biological treatment systems in place, but may not realize the function or how to maximize their potential

as a bioremediation technology. Vegetative swales or ditches are broad shallow channels designed to convey

water runoff to ponds or wetland areas. The swales are vegetated along the bottom and sides of the channel.

Vegetative swales serve to stabilize the soil, reduce the volume and velocity of the water runoff and increase the

flow path length and roughness. They are commonly used to redirect surface water at an operation. Vegetative

buffers are a variant on this concept and have a similar function. Vegetative buffers have vegetation along the

sides and above the channel, rather than planting the channel bottom. This slows down and filters the water prior

to entering the channel and allows a faster, free flow of the water once it has entered the channel. Depending on

the operation, plant selection can focus on one of two broad groups of plants. The first group of plants are those

that can handle both wet and dry conditions, for example if you have variable amounts of runoff, including dry

periods over the course of the year. The second group of plantings would be those that prefer to remain

consistently wet (think plants in the FWS or SF). Vegetative swales and buffers often become wildlife habitat and

can also be colonized by weeds. Maintenance is required to ensure that plantings do not become too dense to

restrict the flow of water through the swale.

With each of these systems, it is important to remember that both plant growth and senescence is cyclic.

Nutrient removal will be highest during active growth, and in some situations, plants can release nutrients back

into the system at the end of the growing season. For free water surface wetlands, this can be partially avoided

by removing either the above-ground portion, or the whole plant.

While perhaps not as “magical” as sunflowers, constructed wetlands and plant remediation systems have a

promising role in our nursery industry. Using these natural systems reduces potential problems with chemical

treatment or mechanical treatment techniques which can be expensive and require training and maintenance.

Using nature to better perform water treatment practices can result in surprisingly effective and low-cost

remediation practices.

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· The Romans drained the great marshes of the Tiber River to build the city of Rome. Closer to

home, parts of New Orleans and Chicago were built on drained wetlands.

· Sixty-four percent of the world's wetlands have disappeared since 1900.

· Only 3 percent of the world's water is fresh (and most of that is frozen). On average, each person

uses five to 13 gallons of water per day for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Wetlands help

provide the clean, reliable supplies of freshwater people need for daily life.

· Seventy percent of all the freshwater that is consumed by people is used for crop irrigation.

· Researchers at the University of Cincinnati discovered that the ancient Mayans built their cities

adjacent to shallow lakes and perennial wetlands. The Mayans used peat-moss soil taken from

these nearby wetlands to fertilize their corn crops, which were a staple of their society.

· A study by the Nature Conservancy concluded that coastal wetlands prevented an estimated

$625 million in property damage during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

· Fish provide the daily protein needs of 2.9 billion people. Seventy-five percent of all fish species

depend on wetlands at some point in their life cycle.

· Rice provides the majority of the daily calories consumed by 3.5 billion people. Flooded rice

fields act as surrogates for natural wetlands, providing valuable habitat for waterfowl and other


Credit: Ducks Unlimited and Dale James, Ph.D, and Ellen R. Herbert, Ph.D

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Jodi Miller




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2020 Calendar of Events

SFAPMS General Meetings

February 27, 2020

Sunset Community Center

City of Miramar

June 25, 2020

Holy Cross Hospital

Fort Lauderdale

September 24, 2020 - TBD

UF/IFAS Short Course

May 4-7, 2020

Coral Springs, Florida

FAPMS State Conference

October 5-8, 2020

Daytona, Florida

FLMS State Conference

August 26-28, 2020

Bonita Springs, Florida

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