Great weekend leading twenty adventurous hikers on the 4.5 mile Land Bridge trek for Walk Across Marion County. We had perfect weather to enjoy the vista of long-leaf pines, rusty lyonia, and scrub oaks. Evident also were prescribed winter burns in the preserved Greenway Trails region and the Ocala Forest.
Recent burn on one side of Hwy 19 and the thick underbrush of saw palmettos and wire grasses directly across on the other side.
These burns are necessary maintenance to keep the undergrowth vegetation healthy, reduce the intensity of naturally-occuring fires (from lightning), and encourage new pine tree seedlings. Driving through the Forest, chickasaw plums were in full bloom, along with redbuds.
Blooming cherry laurels will be an integral food source for Florida wildlife in the summer.
On the outskirts of the Ocala National Forest, just outside Umatilla, I had to turn the car around and snap some photographs and video a bald eagle having a fresh meal of rabbit. He didn't mind the heavy passing traffic.
Citrus was the hot topic last week on "In Your Backyard." Issues such as dried out oranges, the sweetness of oranges, suckering, and huanglongbing, or more easily referred to as citrus greening, a devastating disease for the citrus industry.
Here's a great IFAS publication on citrus problems in home landscapes.
Looking forward to your gardening calls today! What's going on in your backyard?