FI­CUS

Palm Beach Daily News - - FRONT PAGE -

chi­tec­ture, wants the Town Coun­cil to con­sider a ban on plant­ing fi­cus ben­jam­ina.

Town law re­quires chem­i­cal treat­ment for white fly in­fes­ta­tion but “do­ing away with their pri­mary host would be a very pos­i­tive step for­ward,” Sanchez wrote.

When the town re­ceives a white fly com­plaint, it re­quires proof that a chem­i­cal treat­ment has been ap­plied within the prior three months, said Ben­jamin Alma, code en­force­ment man­ager.

“Fi­cus ben­jam­ina is known to be the strong­est host of white fly, whose in­fes­ta­tion has done great harm to our com­mu­nity,” Sanchez wrote in an Aug. 28 let­ter to Town Man­ager Kirk Blouin.

Sanchez’s idea has the sup­port of Coun­cil­woman Bobbie Lindsay. She said she’ll re­quest at today’s coun­cil meet­ing, which be­gins at 9:30 a.m. in Town Hall, that the ban be stud­ied by the coun­cil’s Or­di­nances, Rules & Stan­dards Com­mit­tee. The panel con­sists of Julie Araskog, the chair­woman, and Lew Cramp­ton.

“I am ask­ing that (the) coun­cil con­sider a reg­u­la­tion against the use of Fi­cus ben­jam­ina in new land­scap­ing plans in Palm Beach be­cause of its sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to spi­ral­ing white fly in­fes­ta­tion and the ne­ces­sity to use toxic pes­ti­cides to con­trol white fly,” Lindsay said.

Un­der Sanchez’s pro­posal, any Fi­cus ben­jam­ina would need to com­ply with ex­ist­ing rules or be re­moved. When­ever it is re­planted or re­placed, a dif­fer­ent species would have to be used. The ban would not ap­ply to any other sub­species of fi­cus.

Sanchez said he op­poses blan­ket or­di­nances that limit an own­ers’ abil­ity to cre­ate the gar­den they like. But “ban­ning a plant that can in­fect other prop­er­ties is ob­vi­ously a dif­fer­ent mat­ter,” he said. “We should be con­scious of what can spread harm and make it il­le­gal.”

Two men fish­ing near the Royal Park Bridge were ar­rested Sun­day for al­legedly be­ing in pos­ses­sion of un­der­sized snook, ac­cord­ing to a Palm Beach po­lice re­port.

Aud­ley Young, 20, and Carl­ton Mont­gomery McDon­ald Jr., 43, were ap­proached by po­lice at about 2:40 a.m. while they were stand­ing in the 300 block of South Lake Drive, at the east end of the bridge, the re­port said.

Young was in pos­ses­sion of a snook that mea­sured 26 inches and McDon­ald claimed one that was 22 inches. State law pro­hibits tak­ing snook un­less they are be­tween 28 and 32 inches long, the re­port said.

The re­port notes that McDon­ald was car­ry­ing a mea­sur­ing tape when po­lice ap­proached him.

Places of res­i­dence for Young and McDon­ald were omit­ted from the po­lice re­port.

— JORGE MILIAN

Meghan McCarthy / Daily News

A tiny white­fly lands on a fi­cus leaf on Brazil­ian Av­enue on Tues­day. The plant is par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to the pest.

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