Vine with invasive potential must be kept in check
Q: This plant is growing in one of my clients' yards. It was there when she bought the property 10 years ago. Then I saw it at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville. What is it?
Cindy Kamelhair, Clearwater
A: The plant pictured is a vine called Clematis terniflora. It goes by the common name sweet autumn clematis. It is an introduced species that has the capability of becoming invasive, so you will need to keep it in bounds. I have to thank my colleague Andy Wilson at the Pinellas County Cooperative Extension Service for the correct identification.
Classes can teach about landscaping
Q: I am in the swimming pool business (weekly service, repair, remodeling and soon construction) and am looking to possibly add landscaping services to that list. I am interested in xeriscaping and knowing what plants are best for our region and their care and feeding. I also want to learn what palms and various shrubs and plants require as far as fertilizing, water, etc. Can you recommend any books or classes?
Chad Hoffman, Land O'Lakes
A: It sounds like you have a great idea. There are two main venues in Pinellas County for classes: the Pinellas Technical Education Centers horticulture department in St. Petersburg and the Pinellas County Cooperative Extension Service in Largo. Contact Bonnie Desmond at PTEC to set up an appointment and discuss the courses that will work for you at (727) 893-2500, ext. 1101. For the extension service, call Jane Morse, our commercial horticulture agent, at (727) 582-2100. The extension offers one-day training seminars.
Plenty to do in our yards
Q: Is it a good idea to have our lawn serviced this month? My lawn looks good and only about 5 percent is brown. Should we skip February treatment and wait until March?
Lenora Stewart, St. Petersburg
A: There are plenty of things for your lawn professionals to do. It is a great time to re-mulch plant beds, prune, fertilize, clean the dead-wood out of trees (which can be hazardous), just to name a few. They can even take down the Christmas lights if they're still up! Just because the grass isn't growing doesn't mean there isn't plenty to do. In fact, when the grass is growing, it is hard to get the other stuff done!