Professional landscapers apply mulch to a public park site in Okeechobee, Fla.


The UF/IFAS Extension Commercial Horticulture program provides workshops and research-based information to the pest control, lawn and landscape, nursery and greenhouse, and golf course industries. Select a topic below to learn more (show all items).


Sarasota County presently has nearly 400,000 full-time residents, with a share of Florida’s 70 million annual visitors, a unique ecology and climate, and a wide range of plant material grown year-round. Frequently, residents, visitors and property managers have unrealistic expectations for landscaping, and might encourage customers to use practices that harm Florida’s environment. Many of these people are dependent on professional horticulture service providers to make decisions regarding the landscape management of their properties.

Through improvement of the green industry’s professionalism, the gap between unrealistic landscape expectations and the reality of a Florida-Friendly landscape can be narrowed. In addition, the professional can pass on to the property owner the knowledge and skills appropriate for Florida conditions. With adoption of best management practices, the customer can realize the aesthetic, environmental and economic benefits of a healthy landscape.

The Green Industry

The professional horticulture services industry in Florida has a tremendous economic impact, and industry professionals make thousands of horticulture and pest management decisions daily. UF/IFAS Extension research and science-based educational programs can provide the green industry with best management practices and skills necessary to create and manage landscapes with reduced risk to the environment. Additionally, we are expanding our delivery of Spanish-language courses and events, to greater serve a growing segment of the workforce.


UF/IFAS Extension has the ability to deliver research-based, unbiased technical information to the professional horticulture service industries on a county-by-county basis. Teaching the green industry current knowledge and skills will:

  • Encourage landscape design, installation and management practices that minimize negative environmental impacts and conserve natural resources.
  • Improve business profitability and longevity by providing business and management skills.
  • Improve Florida’s economy through successful business growth.
  • Improve quality of life in Florida by protecting the environment
  • Improve property values through installation of Florida Friendly landscapes and their correct management.
  • Increase green industry professionalism through continuing education and certification programs.

Primary Audiences

  • Professional Horticulture Services/Urban Forestry
  • Builders and Developers
  • Business Owners and Managers
  • County Faculty
  • Pesticide Applicators
  • Professional Horticulture Services 
  • Recreational Turf Managers
  • Regulators and Policy Makers
  • Retail and Allied Service 
  • Tree Care Providers

Topics to be Covered/Subjects to be Taught

  • Plant Biology Soils & Fertilizers
  • Pesticide Safety Education (PSE)
  • Turfgrass BMPs only
  • Ornamental & Tree BMPs Only
  • Integrated Landscape BMPs (Ornamentals and Turfgrass)
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Business Management


Help your plants survive (or recover from) a cold blast

It's not exactly the icy wonderland shown in the image with this post, but we're experiencing some seriously cold weather for Florida. For homeowners (or renters), the cold blast can wreak havoc on landscapes and gardens. Let us, with the knowledge base from the University of Florida, help you get through or recover from this wintry spell. We've gathered some useful links (as web pages and PDF documents) for you at

I spy… whitefly!

When is a scale insect not a scale insect? When it's actually the juvenile stage of a whitefly. That is what some of the local landscapers found out while scouting for pests. The pupal cases of both Tetraleurodes (e.g., mulberry whitefly) and Aleurotrachelus (e.g., pepper whitefly) species are black, surrounded by white filamentous tissue (pictured here), and closely resemble the juvenile stages of the tuliptree


Florida snow – pretty or pesky?

  What is that white weed-flower that blankets your lawn like snow during the cool season? That’s Florida pusley, also known as Florida snow or Mexican clover. Depending on who you ask, it is either considered pretty, with its dainty flowers, or pesky—a troublesome weed in many Florida lawns. Blowing in the Wind? Part of what makes