Our Hedges on the South Side Of the Parking Lot Have Been Effected Since Early this Winter

From The PB Daily News

Whiteflies descend on Palm Beach, destroying ficus hedges

A cluster of fig, or ficus, whiteflies are caught in a spider web on a ficus hedge.
Daily News Photo by Jeffrey Langlois

A cluster of fig, or ficus, whiteflies are caught in a spider web on a ficus hedge.

This ficus hedge off North Lake Way is sparse Wednesday after being occupied by the fig whiteflies.
Daily News Photo by Jeffrey Langlois

This ficus hedge off North Lake Way is sparse Wednesday after being occupied by the fig whiteflies.

By WILLIAM KELLYDAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERPosted: 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Scores of tiny white bugs have descended upon Palm Beach, devouring hedges and other plants in town while leaving behind a sticky mess.

    Palm Beach, like much of southeast Florida, has struggled this spring and summer with an explosion of whiteflies.

    A relatively cold winter and dry conditions appear to have aggravated the whitefly nuisance this year, Bill Schall, commercial horticulture agent at the Palm Beach County/University of Florida agriculture extension office, said Wednesday.

    “It may be that the drought has had an effect because stressed plants may be more susceptible to insects and plant diseases,” he said.

    There are mainly three species of whitefly attacking ficus hedges and other plant life in Palm Beach. Two are the ficus whitefly and 
silverleaf whitefly.

    The third and newer strain is the rugose spiraling whitefly, which was found in Miami-Dade County in 2009 and has recently arrived in Palm Beach County. Among the larger species of whitefly, it sucks up plant juices through its needle-like mouth. It covers vegetation with a layer of white, fluffy wax and with its excrement, called honeydew. Adults lay their eggs in a spiral pattern on the underside of leaves.

    “They really make a mess if the populations are high,” Schall said. “They don’t necessarily kill everything, but plants start to decline and do poorly and, at some point, they can die.”

    All three species can be treated with a pesticide applied to the soil at the roots of affected plants. But it doesn’t always work. The poison tends to dry up and lose its effectiveness if there isn’t enough water, Schall said. Another problem is that people sometimes apply less then the recommended amount of the poison.

    Whiteflies only live about 30 days, but they breed quickly.

    With South Florida in store for another hot summer, the infestation may get worse before it gets better. Researchers are at work identifying natural predators, including several species of beetle, Schall said.

    Scott Lewis, owner and manager of Scott Lewis’ Garden and Trimming, said he is seeing a 40-50 percent increase over last year in visible damage to hedges caused by whiteflies.

    “One issue is, you may eradicate yours, but your neighbor may have them and he may be gone for the summer,” Lewis said. “That’s been an interesting challenge.”

    Hedges and plants that are infested over a period of months would likely sustain severe damage or be destroyed, Schall said.

    The rugose spiraling whitefly appears to be especially drawn to the ficus benjamina, also known as the weeping ficus, Lewis said.

    The easiest way to tell if your plants have been infested is to shake a limb or run your hand across the leaves, and the gnat-sized whiteflies will immediately show if they are present, he said.

    Town Councilman William Diamond said he has lost part of the hedge on his Wells Road property to whitefly infestation. He spent $300 on a treatment to protect his half-acre lot, and was told he will need another treatment in three months, he said.

    “It can be devastating,” he said.

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    Our pool might have new heaters but it looks dreadful

    They, the powers that be, ripped up some tiles on the pool balcony in November and they still have not been replaced

    …..it is now February. This weekend they pulled out two bushes and a magnificent very tall palm tree. None of these plants were planted anywhere else  or reused.

    The chaise lounges are all worn. the original color is long gone and the tables have been repainted so many times but are all chipped. We have no umbrellas, no barbecue and lots of dead plants never planted. take a look  near the bike shed, that is 100’s of dollars.

    The utility piping is exposed and there has never been any effort since I have been here, one year, to hide or disguise them. They ripped out the flower bed but it is still barren dirt, isn’t there sod in Florida?

    For a building that has the highest maintainance of similar buildings in the area our pool, especially during high season, looks pathetic.

    Who makes these decisions as I do not know of any garden committee in existence? The last two committees were told not to do anything more even though both of them had green thumbs. Whoever with the brown thumb please  go into the beautifying period soon.

    Gardening on Saturday Morning

    Joan and Ester Sallee put a notice in the elevator and announced at his meeting that he would like some help planting the new beds. He graciously had coffee and donuts for all. But only 3 people came to help. It was a perfect morning to garden as the sun wasn’t very strong and there was a little breeze.

    We were able to make a start in the plantings but will go back on Sunday to try to get it somewhat finished. Thanks to Vicki Ross, Michael in 1205 and Maura some gardening was done.

    Opinion: Lots of opinions about the look of our building but no one wants to help improve it . Maybe there should be an assessment for a gardener?

    Thank you Joan and Ester for some exercise and my connecting to the earth.

    The Garden Committee Meeting

    PORTOFINO SOUTH LANDSCAPE COMMITTEE

    MEETING JUNE 22,2010

    AGENDA

    1. FORMAL EXPRESSION OF THANKS TO RANDY KIRK FOR HIS HARD WORK AND IMAGINATION IN IMPROVING THE APPEARANCE AND ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE BUILDING OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS.
    1. WHO ARE WE AND WHAT ARE OUR OBJECTIVES?  THE COMMITTEE WAS ORGANIZED BY THE BOARD TO ASSIST IT IN MAINTAINING AN ATTRACTIVE AND NEAT PROPERTY WHILE MAXIMIZING THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE RESIDENTS.  A DRAFT MISSION STATEMENT IS ATTACHED.
    1. FINANCIAL RESOURCES:  THE BUILDING HAS IN ITS BUDGET $2,500 FOR PLANT REPLACEMENT, HOWEVER, THESE FUNDS ARE EARMARKED FOR RECTIFYING HURRICANE DAMAGE. ACCORDINGLY THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR GENERAL USE AND ONLY BOARD APPROVED EXPENSES CAN UTILIZE THESE FUNDS UNTIL LATE IN THE YEAR WHEN WE WILL HAVE A CLEAR PICTURE OF DAMAGE, IF ANY.

    THE BALANCE OF CASH CONTRIBUTIONS BY RESIDENTS AT THIS TIME IS $690.45. WE NEED TO SETTLE ON STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE THESE FUNDS. IDEAS MIGHT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

    1. A general solicitation
    2. Swapping certain existing plant and tree assets for more appropriate ones.
    3. A cocktail party and plant auction.
    4. Charging/suggesting a donation for babysitting plants.
    5. Specific targeted requests such as a Gazebo in the trees east of the pool, or activities (croquet pitch, putting green, lawn bowling, badminton, horseshoes, others), or trellis- covered parking for currently open spaces, or other special projects.
    6. Long term examine city/state/federal grants available to condominiums for green programs, energy saving initiatives, and resource preservation or recycling.
    1. SELF SUFFICIENCY:  WE SHOULD RELY ON INTERNAL RESOURCES WHERE POSSIBLE AND THIS WOULD MEAN UTILIZING PLANTS WHICH RESIDENTS NO LONGER WANT, PROPOGATING NEW PLANTS FROM EXISTING PLANTS ON THE PROPERTY, GROWING NEW PLANTS FROM SEEDS, AND SEEKING PLANT DONATIONS FROM FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
    1. PRIORITIZE OUR ACTIVTIES.

    CLEAN UP THE ROUGH EDGES OF OUR EXISTING LANDSCAPE

    ADD COLORFUL SMALL PLANTS IN VISABLE AREAS

    SOLUTION FOR DEAD GRASS

    PLUG HOLES IN HEDGES AND TRIM TO MEET CODE

    PROVIDE REWARDING ACTIVITIES FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO PARTICIPATE

    TO DO/CONSIDER LIST

    Front side:

    1. Fill holes in hedges along front of building.
    2. Rescue red begonias and transplant.
    3. Consider plantings (bougainvillea?) along wire on the north fence.
    4. Review health of the ficus trees and consider having them trimmed.
    5. Review fertigation of plants and hedges.
    6. Manicure trees along entry walkway
    7. Gardenia tree and sick neighbor
    8. Whose responsibility are the trees along the street on both sides?
    9. West walls of both lots across the street might benefit from plantings.
    10. Police garbage in far lots. Reported to Sarah 6/20.
    11. Fallen concrete along the south wall needs to be picked up and disposed of.
    12. Close hole in trees at southeast end of fence with barbed wire.
    13. Combination locks for gates and bike room. Spoke to Sarah.

    Longer term:

    1. Space utilization on top of covered parking.
    2. Plant covered additional covered parking
    3. Concrete wall mural painting
    4. Victory garden with fruit trees
    5. Eliminate certain messy trees and other invasive plants.

    North side:

    1. Fire Dept. requires hedge by hose connectors to be trimmed or taken out.
    2. Ginger by back door to be taken out.
    3. Plug the hole in the hedge along the building wall.
    4. Replace ginger with ground cover.
    5. Trim palms along exit from the building to at least eye level.
    6. Relocate fishtail palms obstructing view of ground floor apartments.
    7. Low, colorful plants for curved boarders of the grass.
    8. Ground cover for the circles around the two big palms.
    9. Same for the 6 lights and 16 palms along the walkway towards Flagler.

    South side:

    1. Relocate fishtail palms.
    2. Take down walking bird of paradise
    3. Consider recommending to the board trimming the Ficus trees.
    4. Plant small, non-palm trees (lemon, lime, grapefruit, avocado).
    5. Replace dead grass in curved spaces with purple lantana.
    6. Make planting beds around green square and include a red brick boarder.
    7. Define a consensus regarding the palm trees.
    8. Planters around pool area?
    9. Wire trellis around metal light posts for vines.
    10. Discuss umbrellas or shade covering for the lounging chairs and tables.
    11. Build a simple nursery at the SW end of the lawn.
    12. Plug holes in the hedge along Flagler.
    13. Project pumpkin. Encourage experimentation- daylilies, lily of the valley, etc.

    Longer term:

    1. Consider changing the grass to paspallum.
    2. Build a Gazebo in the old children’s pool area.
    3. Review possible activities on the lawn: croquet, golf, badminton, lawn bowling, other.
    4. Consider a formal garden at the east end of the lawn.
    5. Benches under the ficus trees.
    6. Build a functional herb garden for the use of the residents.

    MISSION STATEMENT

    IT IS THE MISSION OF THE LANDSCAPE COMMITTEE TO ASSIST THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN MAXIMIZING UNIT VALUES AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE PORTOFINO SOUTH COMMUNITY BY MAINTAINING A NEAT AND ATTRACTIVE ENVIRONMENT AROUND THE BUILDING AND ITS AMENITIES, AVOIDING THE STERILE, OVERLY MANICURED APPEARANCE OF SOME NEIGHBORING CONDOMINIUMS, AND USING IMAGINATION AND ENERGY TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WHICH PROVIDES ACTIVITY AND ENJOYMENT TO ALL WHO CARE TO PARTICIPATE.

    Now Something Positive- The Garden Committee

    Last night The Garden Committee met. John and Ester Sallee conducted the meeting as they are the new heads of this committee. There were about nine owners that came to praise, offer constructive ideas and projects, and to help.

    John had a wonderful agenda and mission statement for us to follow. He is very committed to keeping our gardens and property looking their best. The first thing on the meeting’s agenda was to thank Randy Kirk for all his vision, knowledge and hard work.

    I hope to get his agenda so I can publish it on this blog, so we can help or advise or comment.

    We are meeting on Saturday morning to actually work on some of the projects he has put forth. Anyone wanting to help we are meeting at 8:30am this Saturday morning by the pool. Everyone is invited and encouraged to come as we need every able body.

    The Sallee’s were also kind enough to provide wine and cheese for our meeting.