Wednesday, December 31, 2008
You may first notice a low humidity problem as browning leaf tips on your houseplants. As a plant dehydrates, it can start to look withered, puckered or simply drop its leaves.
To insure your houseplants get the humidity they need, first research how much your particular plants actually like. If your house tends to be dry, you can increase humidity around your houseplants by placing a tray of pebbles under the pots, filling the tray to just below the pot’s bottom. Do not let your plants sit directly in the water or you will be creating a whole other problem. You can also provide some humidity by misting your indoor plants daily. If you have a great many houseplants, you may want to invest in a humidifier. It’s good for your skin and even your wood furniture too.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Be sure to remove all lights and decorations before dropping your trees at the park. No wreaths, balled trees or greenery with wire will be accepted. Christmas trees will be chipped to make mulch on Jan. 10 at Jackson Park. Mulch created from the chipping will be given away free of charge, so bring a bag if you’re interested in taking some home.
Call the ECO office at 692-0385 for more information.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
See the picture above for an extraordinary example of their creativity. This Owl is named Frederick Law Olmstead, the father of landscape architecture. The prize money awarded will go to the charity of choice, which is the Bullington Horticulture Learning Center. Please go to www.flyavl.com then click on holiday contest and vote for tree number 7; the tree with the most votes wins.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
When used as a potted plant for a special occasion, the amaryllis provides spectacular flower colors and effects. They come in a wide range of flower colors from red, pink and white to combinations of these.
The bulbs for sale at the Bullington Center are red and a nice shade of pink. When properly handled and cared for properly, an amaryllis bulb may produce flowers for up to 75 years. Good quality bulbs of named varieties may produce up to six flowers on a single stalk.
The bulbs will be for sale at Bullington through December 19th. For more information, call 698-6104.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Selecting the Right Tree
Selection of the "perfect" Christmas tree can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. By following a few simple procedures, buyers can select trees which will meet their needs throughout the holiday season.
Before setting out to purchase a tree, determine where in the home the tree will be located, the size required, and whether all sides will be displayed. Other characteristics such as tree density, color, and fragrance should also be considered. Next, determine whether a cut tree or one "balled and burlapped" is to be purchased, or if a visit to a "choose and cut " farm is preferred. A large number of growers, civic and charitable organizations and retail stores provide trees that only need to be purchased and taken home. "Ball and burlap" trees are sold with roots intact so that replanting is possible after the holiday season. At "choose and cut" farms, trees are chosen where they are growing in the field and then cut for use.
Caring for a Tree After Purchase
Once a tree is purchased, keeping it fresh requires watering on a regular basis and avoiding high temperatures. If the tree is bought several days before it is to be decorated, it should be stored outside in a cool, shaded area. The base should be sawed on a diagonal about one inch above the original cut, and the base placed in a container of water. Sprinkling or misting the tree with water will also help retain freshness, but the tree should not be soaked.
Whether stored or not, before bringing the tree in the house, a square cut should be sawed on the base. The base of the tree should be kept in water throughout entire period that the tree is in use. The water level in the stand should be checked daily. Research has indicated that water additives are not needed and may even result in excessive drying.
The tree should be well supported and placed away from sources of heat. Tree lights should not be left on unless someone is at home, and should be turned off when the family goes to bed. Electrical cords should also be checked for any signs of damage or wear. Trees do not cause fires but will support combustion when dry. Dry trees should be removed before they create a fire hazard.
For more info go to:
Friday, October 31, 2008
Where should we plant our bulbs? We need to plant in soils with good drainage. If the soil is mostly clay, mix in an organic amendment such as peat moss, compost, aged bark, etc., up to 50% in volume, or plant in raised beds. If the soil is mostly sand, add an organic amendment to increase water and nutrient holding capacity. Soil pH is critical! The pH of the planting area should be in the 6-7 range.
Spring flowering bulbs can be used in beds with annuals or perennials, borders, ground covers, rock gardens, and wooded areas. For perennialization, avoid planting them near heated basements. These bulbs do best in areas that do not receive direct sunlight during midday, especially during hot summer months.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
At the same time other chemical changes may occur and cause the formation of additional pigments that vary from yellow to red to blue. Some of them give rise to the reddish and purplish fall colors of leaves of trees such as dogwoods and sumacs. Others give the sugar maple its brilliant orange or fiery red and yellow. The autumn foliage of some trees, such as quaking aspen, birch, and hickory, shows only yellow colors. Many oaks and others are mostly brownish, while beech turns golden bronze. These colors are due to the mixing of varying amounts of the chlorophyll and other pigments in the leaf during the fall season.
Fall weather conditions favoring formation of brilliant red autumn color are warm sunny days followed by cool, nights with temperatures below 45o F. Much sugar is made in the leaves during the daytime, but cool nights prevent movement of, sugar from the leaves. From the sugars trapped in the leaves the red pigment called anthocyanin is formed. The degree of color may vary from tree to tree. For example, leaves directly exposed to the sun may turn red, while those on the shady side of the same tree or on other trees in the shade may be yellow. The foliage of some tree species just turns dull brown from death and decay and never shows bright colors.
Through fallen leaves, Nature has provided for a fertile forest floor. Fallen leaves contain relatively large amounts of valuable elements, particularly calcium and potassium, which were originally a part of the soil. Decomposition of the leaves enriches the top layers of the soil by returning part of the elements borrowed by the tree and at the same time provides for more water-absorbing humus.
North Carolina leads the parade for leaf lookers, and depending upon the season, the species of trees involved, and the relative proportion of the three pigments, just about every imaginable color combination may be seen.
Prepared by Dr. Robert Bardon Extension Specialist
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The "Polistes" or paper wasp colonies are beginning to wind down their activity, particularly in western NC. Some of the remaining workers (who will die in the next few weeks) along along with next year's crop of queens are bailing out of their summer nests. Neither pesticides nor the downturn in the housing market appears to deter these once and future queens from finding affordable housing.
We are getting calls from people who see the wasps outdoors hovering about the eaves, soffits, and porches, particularly on warm fall days. For whatever reason, the wasps seem to orient
to vertical objects so chimneys become an object of their attention. Same is true for cell phone towers, water towers and other such objects.
At some point, the wasps make their way indoors and things can get more exciting. You often see/hear the wasps moving about slowly and bouncing off windows, ceilings, light fixtures, etc.
Trips to the attic can be adventures as people often spot multitudes of the wasps buzzing about. Cold weather stops the activity, but quite likely on subsequent warm winter days you will find wasps flying about indoors or again spot them outside around the roof area.
Here are a few tips to remember:
First - seeing the wasps does not mean that there is a nest in a wall. More likely there is a nest outdoors nearby.
Second - since these are mostly queens looking for overwintering sites and not workers defending an active nest, they are not aggressive and so stinging incidents are rare.
Third - spraying indoors is an exercise in futility because there simply isn't a specific target area you can (or need to) treat.
When does it stop? Your guess is as good as mine. We're not into any real cold weather yet. As I said earlier, you can expect it even after periods of cold weather seems to have brought it to a halt, but when the outside air temperature (and sun heating walls of homes) is adequate for activity to occur you will see a them.
First - Keep a rolled-up newspaper handy. Yes, you can unload an entire can of "Raid" on the beast but then what do you do about its 'sisters' that are likely to show up?
Even that preferred weapon of choice for many homeowners - setting off foggers in every room - won't accomplish much either because any wasps that are not out in the open at that time will not be affected by the chemical mist.
For further information about paper wasps, check out:
Mike Waldvogel, NCSU Entomolgy
Monday, September 15, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
I can't ignore their reputation, and I also can't neglect to mention the 31st Annual Woolly Worm Festival this October in Banner Elk (Avery County), North Carolina (for more information on the festival, see http://www.woollyworm.com/).
Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist, NCSU
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Until mandatory restrictions are lifted, the following restrictions are in place:
- Watering of lawns, shrubs, trees and flowers is prohibited
- Vegetable gardens may only be watered once a week up to one inch of water
- New or existing pools may not be filled
- Washing of sidewalks, decks, driveways, patios, or homes or buildings is prohibited
- Washing cars is prohibited, unless at a commercial car wash which recycles water
- Operation or filling of ornamental fountains, pools or ponds is prohibited
- Drinking water at restaurants shall not be served unless requested by the patron
- Operation of water-cooled air conditioners is prohibited, unless the water is recycled
- Any other unnecessary use or intentional wasting of water is prohibited
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
August 18th – Perennials: New & Tried N True – Carol Ebreo
September 22nd – Design with Your Pleasure in Mind – Barbara Beck
October 6th – Gardening Secrets for Newcomers – Nancy Gilchrist
October 20th – Beauty from Bulbs - Pierre Hart
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
We usually think of the fall webworm as a tree foliage pest of late summer/early fall. That is generally true. However, what was once thought to be a first generation may really be a different race of fall webworm that comes out earlier. There seems to be enough evidence from Kansas State University entomologists to support this hypothesis. True or not, and earlier than I remember, this week I've noticed the beginnings of fall webworm webbing on sourwood. Though it webs other trees, sourwood, pecan and persimmon are among its favorite hosts.Fall webworm damage accrues over the summer. They usually cause little long-term damage to the health of the trees they defoliate unless the trees are completely defoliated year after year. At any one location, the populations of fall webworms wax and wane so that they are conspicuous and damaging for a year or two and then the populations seem to disappear.Through the summer, the webs become filled with cast skins, droppings and dead leaves. The web is enlarged to encompass fresh, green leaves until the web may become two to three feet in length. Small trees infested with several broods of caterpillars may be entirely enclosed in webs. After feeding for four or five weeks, the caterpillars make it to the ground, spin cocoons and pupate in mulch or soil and continue the life cycle. There are two or three generations each year in North Carolina depending upon how early or late in the spring the first moths emerge. They overwinter as pupae in cocoons in the litter.White moths emerge to mate and lay 350 to 900 eggs on the lower leaf surface. The hairy caterpillars spin the webs as they feed. Fall webworms can be destroyed by pulling down the webs and destroying the caterpillars if the webs are in reach of a pole. If the webs are within reach of a hose-end sprayer, several insecticides can be sprayed for control. Insecticides work best when the caterpillars are young. Thus it is best to treat as soon as the webs are first noticed. If the trees are too tall for equipment used by the amateur horticulturist, many professional landscapers and arborists offer tree spraying as a part of their services. Bacillus thuringiensis and Orthene are two of several pesticides labeled for fall webworm control, but there are other choices.Ornamentals and Turf Insect Information Note No. 46 has additional information on the control of fall webworms (see http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/trees/note46/note46.html). You can also view a short QuickTime clip accessible through the Internet at:http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/shrubs/note07/fallwebworm.MOV.
For additional information, contact me at 828-456-3575.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Sevin insecticide can be used to protect foliage and fruit, also, if needed. Ornamentals and Turf Insect Note No. 67 provides information on controlling green June beetle grubs, which is rarely necessary for the homeowner.
The amazing behavior of grubs crawling above ground on their backs is also characteristic of this insect. Click here for a link to a movie clip of this behavior on the University of Arkansas website.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
At this time, FDA recommends consuming raw red plum, raw red Roma, or raw red round tomatoes only if grown and harvested from the following areas that HAVE NOT BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE OUTBREAK!
States that are not associated with the outbreak include North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and many others. Consumers who are unsure of where the tomatoes are from that they have in their home are encouraged to contact the store or place of purchase for that information. If consumers are unable to determine the source of the tomatoes, they should not be eaten.
Click on the link below to read the full article.
FDA article - June 11. 2007
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
For additional information about pruning trees and shrubs, contact your local extension agent.
From: Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist, NCSU
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Periodical cicadas don't bite and really don't do permanent damage to trees. However, you may want to net over any special small trees in your yard. If you have one of those dogs who will eat anything, be prepared for some retching. They don't hurt the dog, but those wings and exoskeletons don't go down without a fight!
See this site for additional information on cicadas
Taken from Insect notes by Steve Toth, NCSU.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Winter Daphne can be fickle to grow. They do not tolerate poorly drained soils or extreme temperature fluctuations. We have ours planted in the front beds so they are protected by the building, and seem to be very happy. They tolerate full sun, but prefer a part shade environment.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Cercospora leafspot (Cercospora puderi, Cercospora rosicola) is characterized by the appearance of numerous tiny maroon to purple oval spots scattered randomly across the leaf surface. Later the center of the spot turns tan to gray in color while the margins remain maroon to dark purple. Heavily spotted leaves will turn yellow and prematurely shed. This infection can be easily confused with Blackspot. Same weather conditions that produce Blackspot will provide optimal growing conditions for Cercospora.
A homeowner may use a fungicide labeled for control of Blackspot to control both of these fungal infections. Fungicides, such as Daconil and Immunox, which are recommended as weekly treatments for blackspot control, should also provide good protection from Cercospora leaf spot when applied on the same schedule.
The University of Tennessee has been conducting a no-spray rose trial for the last two years. A total of 136 cultivars were evaluated for their resistance to black spot and cercospora leaf spot in 3 test locations across the state. Below you will find a listing of the most resistant cultivars of shrub roses. If you would like a full listing of rose cultivars tested, please contact me for a handout.
o Carefree Sunshine (Yellow)
o Hansa (Mauve)
o Homerun (Flame Red)
o Knockout (Cherry Red)
o Palmengarten Frankfurt (Mauve Pink)
o Pink Knockout (Pink)
o Wildberry Breeze (Mauve)
Information provided by Alan Windham, University of Tennessee Extension Service.
American Rose Society http://www.ars.org/
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Spring 2008 Schedule
March 3rd – Growing Herbs – Betty Lockwood
March 17th – Beware of Green Invaders – Alan Mizeras
April 7th – Proper Planting Techniques – Jane Davis
April 21st – Growing Wildflowers - Pierre Hart
May 5th – Learn to Make a Rain Barrel - Kathy Connors & Barbara Patton
May 19th – Vegetable Gardening – Pierre Hart
To register for these or other upcoming Mastering Your Garden Lectures, call the Extension office at 697-4891. Keep checking our website http://henderson.ces.ncsu.edu/ for more information on upcoming lectures.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Sodium chloride or rock salt has been used since the 1940’s as a common deicer that can burn plants and corrode metal and concrete. If you must use salt, use it judiciously, and erect barriers with plastic fencing, burlap or snow fencing to protect sensitive plants and minimize contact with salt. We can also reduce salt damage by mixing salt with sand and/or removing snow before salting.
When possible, use de-icing agents with calcium chloride, or calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), a salt-free melting agent made from limestone and acetic acid. You may also have some success with using cat litter or sawdust to create traction on sidewalks.
Do not pile snow containing salt around plants and trees or put it where runoff will flow over root zones. Plants placed near roadways and sidewalks should be salt tolerant. Many plants can recover from occasional salt spray. If it is a yearly occurrence however, death of the plant may result. See your local Extension office for salt tolerant plants recommended for your area.
Symptoms of salt injury can include desiccation, stunting, and branch dieback or plants. If salt buildup occurs, water liberally before spring growth by applying 2" of water over a 2-3 hour period and repeating this a few days later to "flush" the sodium from the soil.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Subjects to be covered are:
• Maintaining a Water-Wise Home
• Xeriscaping - Planning for Wise Water Management
Tours of Best Practices at the Arboretum -
• Water Systems
• Green Roofs
• Plant Selection
BONUS: Mini Trade Show of Water Quality products and services
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Be sure to remove all lights and decorations before dropping your trees at the park. No wreaths, balled trees or greenery with wire will be accepted. Christmas trees will be chipped to make mulch from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Jan. 5 at Jackson Park. Mulch created from the chipping will be given away free of charge, so bring a bag if you’re interested in taking some home.
Call the ECO office at 692-0385 for more information.