- Polk County Residential Horticulture
This link takes you to the web site of the Polk County Urban Horticulturist, Dr. David Shibles. David has
assembled exceptional material on horticulture in Polk County. Every month he publishes
a free newsletter concerning issues appropriate to the season of the
year. The past newsletters are on this internet site. You can also
have a copy of the current newsletter sent to you each month by calling the office
at (863-519-8677) and asking to be put on the subscription list. David also has some informative
feature articles and a number of great links.
Polk County Master Gardeners
Master Gardeners are a group of volunteers with training provided by the University of Florida Cooperative Extension.
Master Gardeners assist the Cooperative Extension through gardening programs and horticultural activities
designed to educate the public. The Polk County Master Gardeners' web site contains information on
gardening in Polk County and what makes it unique in terms of plant selection and care.
They have links to other web sites, frequently asked questions and many other topics that
interest both a new Florida resident and a native Floridian alike. The Master Gardener class is
offered each fall and an application can be obtained by calling (863) 519-8677.
Being a Master Gardener is a great opportunity to volunteer within the community, make new
friends and learn about gardening.
Florida-friendly Landscaping for Community Associations
Community associations and property managers can now access information to help them maintain attractive
landscapes that use less water, fertilizer and pesticides. This educational outreach program is available
through the Hillsborough and Polk County Extension offices.
University of Florida Plant and Animal Information (EDIS)
EDIS is the Electronic Data Information Source of UF/IFAS Extension, a collection of information on topics
relevant to you: profitable and sustainable agriculture, our environment and natural resources,
4-H and other youth programs, Florida-friendly landscapes, communities that are vibrant and prosperous,
and economic well-being and life quality for individuals and families.
This not-for-profit site has a lot of very good information in an easy-to-use format. It covers most of the plants
you will want to use in your garden, has very good pictures and shows how the
plant grows and where to use it. It is a well-designed site with a search capability.
- USF Florida Plant Atlas
This site has an atlas of technical information on plants that grow in Florida.
It has pictures of many plants and excellent advanced search capability. You must know the
scientific name of the plant to access the information. You can often find that scientific name by
doing an internet search using the plant's common name.
Florida Yards and Neighborhoods
The University of Florida, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program provides information to
homeowners on the use of environmentally friendly lawn and landscaping techniques. Water conservation
and the use of water-wise plants are important components of good Florida gardening techniques.
The site contains links to the web sites of county FYN programs, PowerPoint presentations
and other Florida Friendly landscaping materials.
- Florida Yards
The Florida Yards web site contains information to help you design and install
Florida-friendly landscaping. Use the interactive yard to create a landscape for your yard!
Visit the professionals corner to obtain free resources and publications as well as view
Florida Yards and Neighborhoods success stories. A plant list, Florida-friendly yard photos and
yard tips are also available on this site.
- Waterwise Florida Landscapes
This is an excellent online book on water wise Florida landscaping from the Florida Water Management Districts.
The principles of Xeriscaping/Florida Friendly landscaping are covered at a greater
depth than most other sites. It also includes a glossary of terms and a
bibliography for in-depth reading.
- Florida Plants Online -Xeriscape
This site has some very useful internet links for Xeriscaping in Florida.
- Low Impact Development Center
This web site has a lot of information on low impact development projects, research and upcoming
- Living Green
The University of Florida Living Green web site contains television episodes that can be viewed on your computer screen.
Topics include wildlife, conservation and landscaping.
- Polk County Urban Horticulturist
The most important link we have is that of our Polk County Urban Horticulturist (Dr. David Shibles) here in Polk County.
David has assembled some really exceptional material on horticulture here in Polk County.
Every month he publishes a free newsletter concerning issues appropriate to the season of the year.
The past newsletters are on this internet site. You can also have a copy of the current newsletter
sent to you each month by calling the office (863-519-8677) and asking to be put on the subscription list.
David also has some informative feature articles and a number of great links.
University of Florida Plant and Animal Information (EDIS)
Florida has unique plants and plant problems. Many plants that grow in the rest of the country will not grow in Florida.
Conversely, many plants grown in central and south Florida do not grow in the rest of the country.
The University of Florida has hundreds of excellent articles on landscape and commercial plants.
Included in the material is a description of the plants, how they grow best, pests of these plants,
and how to eliminate the pests. There are also articles on common insect and animal problems around
the house and farm. A search engine can be used to find the information you need.
- The Cycad Jungle
This is the web site of a Lakeland nursery that specializes in cycads. We do not endorse or recommend commercial
growers/sellers; however, there are some very good technical articles on cycads and how to grow them.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
The official site of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Keep Polk County Beautiful
Keep Polk County Beautiful contains information on upcoming events and clean-ups in your area.
- Southwest Florida Water Management District
Download or place an order for one of the many informative brochures and bulletins that SWFWMD
produces, get information on creating rain barrels and keep yourself updated with what is going on in
your water management district
- Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program
The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program develops comprehensive conservation and management plans for
the watershed of the Charlotte Harbor. In our area, the Peace River is one of the three rivers that feed
the harbor. You can get updated news and information, download grant applications and publications
and learn about the watershed that you live in.
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
This is a great University of Florida site for finding pictures and information on Florida plants, both native
and non-native. One limitation of the site is that the native plants are mostly aquatic, while the
non-natives are invasive. There are pictures and often a description on how to identify these plants.
Plants can be found by common name, scientific name or type (tree, shrub, vine, grass, etc.).
There are also line drawings of many plants that can be very useful in identification.
- Florida Exotic Pest Plant
Exotic non-native invasive plants are a serious problem in Florida. These plants overrun wild areas,
crowd-out or destroy native plants, and are sometimes a serious problem in our gardens. The
goals of Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FPPC) are (1) to build public awareness about the serious
threat that invasive plants pose to native ecosystems; (2) to secure funding and support for control
and management of exotic plants; and (3) to develop integrated management and control methods to
prevent the spread of exotic pest plants throughout the United States. This web site has useful
information for those who want to identify plants that are pests as well as what to do about them.
Several lists of invasive species are given. Many Category I plants are described, and where possible,
the state management plans for control.
- Florida Native Plant Society
The purpose of the Florida Native Plant Society is to promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of
the native plants and native plant communities of Florida. If you are interested in Florida native plants
this is a good place to start.
- Native Florida
A site that is useful for getting information on not only native plants, but also birds and butterflies.
- Center for Plant Conservation
The mission of the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) is to conserve and restore the rare native plants of
the United States. This site is useful for anyone interested in the conservation of native plants.
The CPC has 34 participating institutions, each of which is the custodian of several rare and endangered
plant species. Historic Bok Sanctuary,
in Polk County, is one of the participating institutions. It is the primary custodian of 39
endangered plants native to Florida.
- Association of Florida Native Nurseries
If you are looking to purchase a native plant for your garden this site can be very useful.
Florida Wildflower Advisory Council
The Florida Wildflower Advisory Council strives to educate the public on the importance of Florida's wildflowers.
They support not only education, but also research and planting. Their web site contains wildflower
information and photos, grant opportunities and you can purchase the Florida wildflower license
plate on the web site.
Sustainable Living / Organic Gardening
University of Florida/IFAS Living Green
This University of Florida web site provides information on living
green in many areas such as water and energy conservation, landscaping, waste minimization and
Council for Sustainable Florida
The Council for Sustainable Florida promotes sustainable best management practices through
collaborative educational efforts throughout Florida. These efforts include convening and working
with regional grassroots sustainability organizations and Florida’s colleges and universities.
- Local Harvest
Local Harvest is a great resource for finding farmers markets, organic farms and restaurants near your city.
You can click on the interactive map to locate whatever products you are looking for.
Green Earth Office Supply
Purchase biodegradable and compostable kitchen supplies such as napkins, plates and utensils.
Other products such as recycled paper, household and cleaning products are available.
- Living Green
This This National Geographic website provides a Green Guide to everyday living.
It provides information on products and things you can do to live green.
- Florida Organic Growers
Florida Certified Organic Growers & Consumers is a non-profit organization which provides an
Organic Certification Program. Their mission is to support and promote organic and sustainable
agriculture and educate consumers, farmers, future farmers (children & youth), businesses,
policy makers and the general public.
The International Society of Arboriculture - Florida chapter
The International Society of Arboriculture is a professional organization dedicated to continuing education
for arborists, tree-care research and serving tree care consumers around the world. The
Florida Chapter of the ISA shares this same dedication, with a further commitment to serving
the needs of Florida's professional arborists and tree-care consumers. This site contains excellent
information on selecting, purchasing, planting, pruning, insect and disease problems and care of trees in
Florida. A list of certified arborists for your area can be found under "Find an Arborist".
- The Tree Link
According to this web site, TreeLink's vision is "to provide the best technology resources to grow the
movement and discipline of urban and community forestry to the widest audience. We plan to expand
the canopy of knowledge about Urban and Community Forestry and reach into widespread community roots
with potent, accessible communications resources." This site has some excellent articles on the
care and maintenance of trees, links to some great tree databases, other tree links, and information
on urban forestry. While not specifically Florida, the information will be useful to anyone
interested in urban forestry and those of us who just want to grow and maintain our trees.
- National Arbor Day Foundation
The National Arbor Day Foundation web site has a plethora of information on trees.
Their pruning guides is especially helpful. It is an interactive guide that shows you the correct
way to prune a tree. You can also find information on when Arbor Day is celebrated in your state.
University of Florida Woody Ornamentals
The University's web site contains plant lists, photographs and information on hundreds of trees and shrubs.
Selection, pruning, planting and maintaining a tree is covered on this web site--it is full of great
- University of Florida Turf Web site
Key information on growing turf grasses in Florida is collected by the University of Florida at
this site. For the homeowner, the material covers the following topics (plus others): selection of
turf grass, maintenance, good cultural practices, fertilization, and insect and weed management.
Most of the information is also available at the EDIS site but the information is easier to find here.
International Water lily and Water Gardening Society
The International Water Lily and Water Gardening Society promotes knowledge, leadership, and standards of
excellence in water gardening and related aquatic plant areas. The Society is a non-profit organization
of multinational membership dedicated to the furtherance of all aspects of water gardens and their
associated plants. As an organization, they support and promote education, research, and conservation
in these areas. The section titled "Gateway to Water Gardening" contains an excellent
introduction to water gardening and aquatic plants. Besides introductory material, advanced material
on such topics and the cultivation of many specific plants is also available along with beautiful
images of many flowers.
Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD)
The purpose of the Southwest
Florida Water Management District is to manage the water
and water-related resources within its boundaries. The
District mission is to maintain the balance
between the water needs of current and future users, as well as
to protect and maintain natural systems. This district contains
Polk and surrounding counties. This is their official site with
their official information.
Lakes Education/Action Drive
Lakes Education/Action Drive (LE/AD)
is a non-profit corporation organized for the purpose of educating the citizens
of Polk County about our lakes and helping us to realize the tremendous benefits
our lakes provide. This is an important site for people living on one of our
lakes or who are concerned about the quality of our lakes.
City of Lakeland Lakes and Stormwater Division
Adopt-A-Lake is a way you can volunteer to help keep Lakeland's lakes clean!
On the city's web site you
will find information on how to volunteer with Adopt-A-Lake. The web site also provides information on
aquatic plants, stormwater and lake projects and rules and regulations you may need to know before
undertaking a lakefront project of your own.
National Groundwater Association
This is the official web site of the National Groundwater Association. The site provides information for
teachers, notices of upcoming events and links to state groundwater associations.
Florida Groundwater Association
In Florida, the Florida Groundwater Association provides information
to those interested in Florida's groundwater systems.
The University of Florida Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences coordinates Florida Lakewatch,
a program that has been in existence since 1986. Florida Lakewatch is an organization works directly with
citizens who live on (or use) lakes, rivers or waterways and are willing to participate in a long-term
monitoring effort. The web site contains valuable information such as a newsletter, brochures and lists
Find Your Watershed
The Environmental Protection Agency has created an interactive map for you to
click anywhere in the United States to find what watershed you live in. We all live in a
Polk County Water Atlas
The Polk County Water Atlas lets you search all of the county's water bodies. You can find out valuable
information about the health of our lakes and what is being done to protect them.
Mister landscaper is a micro-irrigation system that promotes water conservation. Designed and assembled
in Polk County, this system is easy for anyone to install in their landscape beds.
Micro-irrigation is a great way to conserve water by preventing water loss through evaporation by
delivering water to the root system of the plants.
Wildlife & Insects
Florida Wildlife Extension
Part of the mission of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service
is to disseminate and provide
access to science-based information that will contribute to the solution of natural resource
problems of concern to the people of Florida. Wildlife Extension specialists in the
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation serve, advise, and develop educational programs
for Florida citizens in conjunction with county extension agents and other state, county,
and local organizations interested in wildlife issues. Programs are oriented toward the use,
conservation, management, and appreciation of wildlife resources. Extension specialists,
county agents, trained volunteers, and professional wildlife biologists from various
organizations conduct wildlife extension programs on site, through the internet and
other long distance education technologies, as well as printed publications,
and other media outlets.
Your Florida Backyard
Your Florida Backyard contains information on butterflies, birds, native plants and anything else
you may find in your backyard! Lots of plant lists and photographs are on the web site.
The Nature Conservancy
The mission of the Nature Conservancy is to "preserve the plants, animals and natural communities
that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they
need to survive".
Project WILD is a K-12 education program that focuses on wildlife. Resources, workshops and materials
are available for anyone who works with children.
Featured Creatures of the University of Florida
Featured Creatures provides in-depth profiles of insects, nematodes, arachnids and other organisms.
The site is a cooperative venture of the University of Florida's Entomology and Nematology Department
and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Division of Plant Industry.