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LIFESTYLE

Jeremy Rhoden: Celebrate National Pollinator Week

Jeremy Rhoden
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
European honey bee.

Itֱs almost time for National Pollinator Week! In 2007, National Pollinator Week was designated by the U.S. Senate to take place annually in June as a way of recognizing their many contributions to our ecosystems and agriculture. This year, we celebrate June 17-23, and itֱs a great time to think about how much our pollinators do for us, and what we can do for them in return!

Animal pollinators contribute more than $750 billion to our worldwide economy, and are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat. Additionally, 90% of plants in the wild depend on insect pollinators to survive and reproduce.

So, what can you do for pollinators? There are a ton of great things, such as planting sustainable pollinator habitats, building bee hotels, registering your yard as a Monarch Waystation or certified wildlife habitat through the National Wildlife Federation, or even simply learning about pollinators.

Use your voice in your community and on social media to recognize pollinators and the things you are doing to sustain them and their habitats! Post pictures of pollinators and identify them. Speak to your local governing officials to see if and how they recognize pollinators.

If you live in a Homeownerֱs Association, start conversations with leadership about incorporating more native pollinator plants into the landscapes, or even certifying your home landscape or neighborhood as a Florida-friendly landscape or community.

The fun doesnֱt have to stop at the end of National Pollinator Week! Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to participate in the Great Florida Pollinator Count in August! School groups, churches, garden clubs, HOAs and anyone else interested is welcome to participate in this citizen science research opportunity! For more information, or to learn how to participate, visit or follow on Facebook at .

For more information on National Pollinator Week, visit .

For more information on Florida-friendly landscaping, visit .

June to-do list

Annuals: Continue incorporating plants that can withstand the summer heat, such as portulaca, celosia, vinca and coleus.

Fungi: As we move into the rainy season, be aware that the excess moisture may promote fungal growth on plants. Prevent fungal problems by irrigating as needed at the base of the plant and during morning hours between 7 and 10 a.m. Avoid wetting plant foliage. Ensure plant foliage is not too dense, so air can move freely through. If fungus appears, be mindful that most fungicides only work preventatively and will not treat fungal problems. It is best to remove the infected area without cross-contaminating other plants. Remember that most fungi spread by spores that are blown around through air movement. For more information on preventing fungal problems, visit .

Irrigation: Monitor for drought stress and irrigate plants as needed. If turf needs watering, do not water more than twice a week for 40 minutes. Irrigate before 9:30 a.m. For more information on watering your landscape efficiently and effectively, visit .

Upcoming Events with UF/IFAS Extension, Marion County: UF/IFAS Extension Marion County Demonstration Garden Tour, 9-11 a.m. June 26. Free with registration. UF/IFAS Extension, 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala. Come join us for a free educational tour of our demonstration gardens and propagation nursery. Get inspired on how you can create Florida-friendly landscapes, foodscapes, vegetable gardens, pollinator gardens and more, right here in Central Florida. Register at ; Summer Gardening 101 Series, June 4-Aug. 8. Cost: $35. UF/IFAS Extension classroom, 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala. Join us for hot topics in horticulture this summer! Admission price includes any five classes of your choice. To see a full list of classes and to register, visit ; Great Florida Pollinator Count, Aug. 23-24. Various parks around the county will be participating, including the UF/IFAS Extension Demonstration Gardens. You also can participate from your own property. For more information, visit .

ֱ Jeremy Rhoden is the Urban and Residential Horticulture Extension Agent and Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator at the UF/IFAS Extension Marion County. For more information, contact the office at 671-8400. The Extension Service is located at 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala, FL 34470.