Ten recommended trees for your Northwest Florida landscape lecture


A few of the 10 trees that Wilson will cover include Redbay (Persea borbonia), Fringetree (Chionanthus virgincius) and Sweet Olive (Osmanthus fragrance).

Okaloosa County Master Gardeners will host the final gardening lecture for 2017 this Wednesday. Maria Wilson, Okaloosa County Senior Forester with the Florida Forest Service, will provide a presentation titled Ten Recommended Trees for Your Northwest Florida Landscape.

A few of the 10 trees that Wilson will cover include Redbay (Persea borbonia), Fringetree (Chionanthus virgincius) and Sweet Olive (Osmanthus fragrance).

Redbay is a native evergreen tree with a 30 to 50 foot mature height. It is relatively low maintenance, growing in full sun to partial shade. It will grow in a wide range of soils from dry to swampy. Unfortunately, we have seen a deadly fungal disease called Laurel Wilt become a problem in recent months with this tree in some areas of Niceville, Florida. Wilson will address the current spread of laurel wilt, including how to recognize and control this disease that is spread by an introduced ambrosia beetle. This disease can infect other plants in the Laurel Family, including avocado trees.

Fringetree, commonly referred to as Grancy Greybeard, is an underused small deciduous native tree. It is very showy in spring when covered in its white flowers. The botanical name means snow flower. It is a plant that will get attention when in bloom with some people actually stopping wanting to know the name of the plant. Its best feature is its attractive flowers. Be careful to not plant it too close to the coast as it lacks adequate salt tolerance.


Sweet Olive (Osmanthus fragrans) grows to be a large evergreen shrub to small tree. It produces small fragrant white blooms during October to March. Some people like to plant it close to an outdoor seating area such as a patio or deck to better enjoy its aroma when in bloom.

The lecture will be held on Wednesday, October 18 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Okaloosa County located at 3098 Airport Road in Crestview. There is no cost to attend but space is limited so registration is required. Please call the Extension Office at (850) 689-5850 to register.

Following the lecture, participants are encouraged to enjoy a walk along the native plant trail located behind the office. The trail currently involves a quarter mile walk, which transitions through an upland forest and a bottomland site along a clear creek and ends in a shady upland area. Visitors to the trail can see many native plant species including large mature trees, a number of Vaccinium (blueberry) species, large open areas of deer moss and American beautyberry just to name a few of the treasured natives.

Larry Williams is the Extension horticulture agent with the Okaloosa County Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida. Contact Larry at 689-5850 or email lwilliams@co.okaloosa.fl.us.


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