Thursday, March 29, 2007

What is FruitScapes: An Interview

Visit FruitScapes Website - Click Here

Dr. Jonathan H. Crane

1. What is FruitScapes?

Hundreds of thousands of Floridians have fruit trees in their home landscape and practical information on how to plant and care for these trees is important to their ability to enjoy this edible landscape. Fruit trees provide not only food but aesthetic beauty. FruitScapes is a University of Florida, IFAS website that focuses on growing temperate, subtropical and tropical fruit crops in the home landscape. The website provides information to homeowners, Extension Agents, Master Gardeners, landscapers, and other interested people in written and audio/video formats.

2. What are factsheets, EDIS, and Solutions for Your Life?

Factsheets are relatively short publications on specific topics providing science-based information on hundreds of topics. The factsheets are available from County Extension Offices and through a website called EDIS.
EDIS stands for Extension Data Information Source and is a major repository for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) factsheet publications. EDIS may be accessed via the internet at The website is searchable by key words or through a topics menu. Another way to search the EDIS website is using any of the popular search engines (e.g., Google, Yahoo) and adding the acronym edis after the keyword(s) search. For example: mango edis.
The Solutions for Your Life website is the new University of Florida Extension website. The topics available through this website range from lawn and garden/landscape care, family life and consumer choices, commercial agriculture, community development, the environment and natural resources, and youth development. The Solutions for Your Life website may be accessed at EDIS may be accessed through the Solutions for Your Life website under the IFAS Resources section.

3. How can FruitScapes help me (a home-owner)?

FruitScapes provides current step-by-step information on how to plant and care for fruit trees in your home landscape. For many fruit crops, specific and detailed information may be accessed through the downloadable publications. The video clips provide additional information. Floridians that wish to speak with someone from the University or with questions may call their local County Extension Agent or Master Gardener. If the Agent or Master Gardener does not have an immediate answer they will contact someone at the University who knows and get back to the person.

4. Does FruitScapes provide information on rare tropical fruits?

FruitScapes provides information on over 50 fruit crops that may be grown under Florida’s climatic conditions. It does not provide information on many of the rare tropical fruit crops like mangosteen, breadfruit, and durian which are not adapted to the various climates found in Florida. True there are a few individuals who have found or created micro-climates where some of the very cold sensitive tropicals may grown but, for the vast majority of areas in Florida these crops will not survive our winter temperatures.

5. Who is involved in FruitScapes?

FruitScapes is a collaborative website between the Dr. Jonathan Crane, Dr. Jeff Williamson, Dr. Carlos Balerdi, and Mr. Ian Maguire. The website may be accessed through the Solutions for Your Life website. We are hoping to continually improve and expand the information provided by the FruitScapes website and encourage people to provide us with feedback on how useful they found FruitScapes.

6. Are fruit tree in the home landscape good for landscape? Examples?

Fruit trees in the home landscape provide shade, texture, depth, variety, and best of all fresh fruit for the homeowner. In addition, local fauna like birds and squirrels sometimes benefit from a food supply and nesting area that fruit trees provide. For example from an effect on landscape environment and energy efficiency standpoint for the home, banana plants placed adjacent to a sun exposed wall provides shade and cooling for the wall during the summer months thus lowering the heat load on the home and AC costs. In return, the warmth radiated from the wall during cool or cold weather provides some cold protection to the banana plant.

7. If I have a question about fruit-scaping whom should I call?

People with questions about fruit trees in the home landscape should contact their local county Extension Agent. We have provided a direct link to all the Extension Offices on our website (Florida Extension Agent – Contact List).