Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best lawn grass for Alachua County, and how do I maintain it?

You have several options on the choice of lawns. St. Augustine and bahia are the most popular, but centipede is very attractive. Each has its advantages and problems. You can read about them in the Florida Lawn Handbook.

Brown spots develop on my lawn during the summer months. What causes this?

Brown spots commonly result from insect and disease infestation, although lack of water and other problems sometimes are to blame. The Florida Lawn Handbook has a good section under "insect problems" that describes the common problems and cures for brown spots on lawns.

My dog (cat) has a terrible case of fleas, and they are all over my house. What can be done about fleas on pets?

Fleas are a major problem of pets in Florida. You can treat the problem yourself, or you can consult a veterinarian or pest control specialist for help. Start by reading the publication on fleas so you understand the problem and are aware of the options.

I just moved here from another area of the country and want to start a vegetable garden. What grows well here and when do I plant?

The sandy soils, abundance of pests, high summer temperatures, and high humidity make Florida a challenging place to grow vegetables. Spring and autumn are good times to grow vegetables. Cool season crops such as cabbages and onions can be grown during the coolest months, but warm season crops such as tomatoes and beans are best grown in spring and autumn. Summer is a difficult period for most vegetables. You can find lots of good information about growing vegetables in Florida in the Vegetable Gardening Handbook.

Moles make tunnels in my lawn. Will they kill grass, and how can I get rid of them?

Moles feed below ground on small invertebrate animals such as insects and worms. They do not feed on grass or roots of grass. Generally it is best to ignore the moles, but if their tunnels are a hazard to your safety because you feel you may stumble and fall, they can be trapped. There is good information on moles in the Wildlife Handbook. You might also want to read about pocket gophers and mole crickets, which can dig up lawns.

Can I grow citrus trees here in Alachua County?

Alachua County is usually considered to be too cold for commercial citrus production, but if you carefully select your varities or provide cold protection you may be able to grow citrus. Satsuma mandarin is usually recommended for its cold-hardiness. You can read all about citrus growing in the Home Citrus Handbook.

I would like to plant some new shade trees. What trees grow well in Alachua County, and are there any that flower?

You can examine the characteristics of numerous trees suitable for growing in Alachua County in Gary Brinen's Fact Sheet Trees for Alachua County (pdf).

My children keep getting into fire ant nests, and receive painful stings. What can I do to get rid of these pests?

Fire ants invade open, sunny areas such as lawns and pastures. There are some good chemical insecticides and insect growth regulators that control fire ants, but fire ant management is a continuing process. See the publication on fire ants for tips on ant control.

My trees have Spanish moss hanging on them. One of my neighbors says I should have it removed, as it will kill the tree, but another neighbor tells me that Spanish moss is harmless. Who is correct?

Trees in north Florida often support growth of other plants, especially Spanish moss and lichens. Neither is really damaging.

 



St. augustinegrass
St. Augustine

grass with brown spots
Brown Spots in Grass

Kitten with fleas
Kitten

tomato
Tomatoes can be grown in spring and autumn.

Mole
Azaleas: Right Plant, Right Place

Mandarin
Mandarin

Magnolia
Magnolia

Fire ant
Fire Ant

spanish moss on pine tree
Spanish Moss on Pine Tree