Monday, December 28, 2009
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. 9 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.
Friday, December 18, 2009
While it's true that heavy, wet snows and ice often cause broken branches, snow itself will not hurt landscape plants. In fact, the opposite is true. Snow is a very good insulator against chilling temperatures that may injure plants.
If you are concerned about injury to your favorite plants from the settling snow, protect them by scooping the snow away from the plant. Then, with gloved hands, carefully remove the snow from the branches. Natural snowfall or windblown snow seldom result in plant injury. It's usually the devices we use to remove snow that cause the most damage.
If snow is dumped on plants, it may be better to leave it than to try to remove it to prevent further breakage of the branches. If you do have branches break out of trees and shrubs, be sure to prune the broken limbs as soon as possible after the storm has passed.
For more information, call your local extension agent.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Below are some suggested varieties to use in holiday decorating.
White Pine: This soft, bluish-green, long-needled pine has excellent needle retention but wilts visibly if dry.
Virginia Pine: This native pine has shorter, coarser needles, and is long-lasting, with excellent needle retention.
Junipers: Fragrant, short, green or silver-blue foliage that may be adorned with small blue berries. The needles are often sticky.
Firs: All firs have wonderful scent and good tolerance of hot, dry indoor conditions. The needles are short and flat with excellent color and needle retention. Fraser fir wreaths and swags are commonly available from commercial sources.
Spruce: Wreaths are the main use for spruce greens. The branches are stiff with short, sharp needles. Blue spruce is especially attractive because of its color, and it holds its needles better than other spruce. Needle retention is poorer on spruce than on other conifer greens.
Ivy: This vigorous vine is readily available in many yards. It makes an excellent green for holiday arrangements. The cut ends must be kept in water, or the ivy will quickly wilt.
Holly: This most traditional holiday green comes in several forms, both green and variegated. Female plants display bright red berries. Make sure that holly does not freeze after cutting, or the leaves and berries may blacken.
Mountain Laurel: This is a traditional evergreen in the South for wreaths and garlands. As with other broad-leaved evergreens, however, laurel holds up best when used outdoors.
Magnolia: The large leaves are a glossy, dark green that contrast well with the velvety, brown undersides. Magnolia leaves make stunning wreaths and bases for large decorations. The leaves hold up very well even without water.
Some other excellent evergreens that can be used for holiday greenery include:
* Leyland Cypress
* Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
However you choose to decorate this holiday season, be safe and have a Merry Christmas.
Parts taken from Decorating with Holiday Greenery, Clemson Cooperative Extension
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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 18th. For more information, call 698-6104.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
- Real Christmas trees are plantation grown on American family farms, making an important economic contribution to many rural communities in the United States.
- Real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful “greenhouse” gases and release fresh oxygen into the air.
- A Real Christmas tree has a fragrance beyond compare.
- One acre of Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen requirement for 18 people.
- Real Christmas trees are an all-American renewable, recyclable resource. After the holidays, Real trees are chipped into biodegradable mulch, which replenishes soil in landscapes, parks, and schools.
- Real Christmas trees can be used as a feeding station and winter shelter for songbirds in your yard.
- The safest Christmas tree is a fresh, well-watered tree. A Real tree has never started a fire. Faulty Christmas lights, candles, and fireplaces can start tree fires.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Master Gardener Volunteers are a vital part of the overall consumer horticulture programs of Extension. Volunteers help to answer questions that come into the Extension office, make presentations, work with school gardens, and do a number of other activities to promote horticulture throughout the county.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Many gardeners do not think about the versatility of heathers. They are evergreen, with delicate foliage, woody stems, and small long lasting flowers. Some individuals find these plants to be finicky, but once established they should be long-lived. All heathers do well in acidic soil amended with with organic matter.
Calluna vulgaris, is the true heather and perhaps the hardiest and most varied - from small tufts to spreading ‘carpeters’ and upright shrubs. Flowers in white and every shade of pink, mauve, lavender and red last for 6-8 weeks beginning late summer/early fall. Foliage is scaly, rather than needle-like and often changes to spectacular shades of yellow, orange, gold, bronze and red during the colder months. Callunas must have full sun, acid soil and good drainage. They must not be allowed to dry out their first year, but after that are drought tolerant. Hardy to zone 4 or 5.
Only a handful of the 800 species of Erica are commonly cultivated. The two easiest to grow also happen to be the two winter-bloomers:
Erica carnea or winter heath is a low, fast-growing and spreading plant with needle-like leaves and bell-shaped flowers. Its foliage is not as colorful as the Callunas’. Flowers in shades from white to pink, red, magenta, mauve appear in early to mid-winter and last well into spring. New spring growth often is a lovely contrasting color. Foliage is yellow green to very deep green. Tolerates more shade and more soil types than other heathers.
Erica x darleyensis is another very easy-to-grow species, quite similar to E. carnea, but taller and bushier. Most varieties have pink or cream tips in spring and bronze or dark green foliage. Buds form in late summer or very early fall, and some cultivars begin to bloom as early as late September, lasting into mid-spring. Flowers open pale and deepen as the season progresses. These plants should survive in zone 6 with some protection.
Heathers would be a good addition to any perennial border, rock garden, or as an accent plant with conifers. See website below for more information.
Parts taken from honeybeesandheather.com
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Leaf Management - Mowing
A light covering of leaves can be mowed, simply leaving the shredded leaves in place on the lawn. This technique is most effective when a mulching mower is used.
Leaf Management - Mulching
Mulching is a simple and effective way to recycle leaves and improve your landscape. Mulches reduce evaporation from the soil surface, inhibit weed growth, moderates soil temperatures, keep soils from eroding and crusting, and prevent soil compaction. As organic mulches decompose, they release valuable nutrients for use by your landscape plants.
Leaf Management - Soil Improvement
Leaves may be collected and worked directly into garden and flower bed soils. A 6 to 8 inch layer of leaves tilled into a heavy, clay soil will improve aeration and drainage. The same amount tilled into a light, sandy soil, will improve water and nutrient holding capacity.
Leaf Management - Composting
Compost is a dark, crumbly and earth-smelling form of organic matter that has gone through a natural decomposition process.Compost can be used to enrich the soil by adding a natural source of nutrients, loosen tight, heavy soils, help sandy soils retain moisture and nutrients, add to potting soils for container grown plants, and mulch around landscape plants. If you have a garden, lawn, trees, shrubs, or even planter boxes or house plants, you have a use for compost.
Taken from Don't Bag It: Leaf Management Plan, Texas A&M University publication.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Here are a few tips to keep in mind regarding proper disposal of medications.
1) DO NOT FLUSH unused medications and DO NOT POUR them down a sink or drain.
2) Be proactive and dispose of unused medication in household trash. When discarding unused medications, ensure you protect children and pets from potentially negative effects:
a) Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid pill, liquid capsule, etc.) crush it or add water to dissolve it.
b) Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.
c) Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
d) Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription
label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them into the trash.
3) Check for approved State and local collection programs. Another option is to check for approved state and local collection alternatives such as community based household hazardous waste collection programs. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy or other location for
For more information, see this informative publication. Smart Disposal Publication
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Selected residents will enter a specially designed training program in horticulture and related subjects. Training's will be held on Wednesday mornings at 9:00AM from mid-January through mid-April 2010. Volunteers are expected to attend all training sessions and to pass a final exam. There is an $85.00 enrollment fee to cover cost of materials.
For more information call Diane at 697-4891.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The bird species in our area and their food requirements change with the seasons. A primary food source for migrant and residents birds in the spring is caterpillars and other insects. As we progress throughout the summer, breeding birds feed on insects and fruits as the become available. As migrant birds and their offspring fly south in the fall, they seek out fruits, which are high in energy and help to offset the energy lost during migration.
As you visit local garden centers this time of year for good deals, keep in mind that fall is a great time for planting. Reevaluate your landscape and make sure you include early and late fruiting plants that provide food such as blueberries, spicebush, or a variety of hollies.
If you can tolerate it, and your neighbors will allow, leave an area of your landscape unmanicured to promote additional fruit and seed production. Keep in mind that plant diversity, especially native plants, are as important as the fruit and seeds that produce. You want to plant variety of species that will serve as a home to leaf eating insects that birds devour.
Bird feeders may serve as a supplement to the natural foods in our backyard. Common seeds to consider buying include black oil sunflower, safflower, and white millet. Purchasing these seeds in bulk make prove to be a bit cheaper in the long run. If you decide to provide feeders, remember that you should continue to provide this food source throughout the year.
Normally water is not considered a limiting component of bird habitat in western North Carolina, however it may become scarce in years of drought. Birds normally obtain water from food sources, rain pools, or permanent sources. If you decide to provide a bird bath, remember to keep it shallow (2-3 inches deep). Place the bird bath within 10 feet of shrubby protection and close to the ground. Some birds will not use a bath that is high off the ground.
Dense vegetation will provide birds with a place to escape from harsh weather and predators. A variety of plant types should cover most of the needs for different bird species. Use grasses, shrubs, and trees to cover all your bases. Remember that evergreens are an important component to any wildlife habitat throughout the year.
Learn more about creating habitat for birds and other wildlife with native plants from NCSU’s website, Going Native: Urban Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants,
Photo taken by Fred Hurteau
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
by S. Bambara, M. Waldvogel & S. Frank
Friday, September 25, 2009
How do I get my poinsettia to re-bloom? I normally get this question after Christmas but I just had a question today about how to get a poinsettia to bloom for Christmas.
If you saved your poinsettia from last year, it is time to start thinking about the re-blooming process. By now you should bring your plant back indoors if it has been outside over the summer. Continue to provide bright light and keep the soil in the pot moist.
In early October you should begin to provide different treatments during the day and night. During the day you should provide bright light and a temperature between 70-80˚. During the night you need complete, uninterrupted dark and a temperature between 65-70˚. The plant needs this uninterrupted dark in order to produce the colored bracts. Keep the plant in a closet or other completely dark location from 5pm till 8am each night.
Continue this schedule till around Thanksgiving when the bracts begin to develop color and then discontinue the day/night treatments. At this time it is important to provide at least 6-8 hours of high intensity light until the bracts are completely colored. Once this happens you can move the plant to the location where you want to display it for the holidays.I usually tell people to not even try to re-bloom poinsettias because it is much easier to simply buy a new one each year. But if you must try, I hope this helps and let me know if you are successful.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The wasp-like adult sawfly lays eggs that hatch into larvae, the first instar of which is an almost translucent yellow. Look for groups of these larvae on the undersides of leaves that are being skeletonized. The second instar appears to be covered with a chalky powder, and the last instar is a one inch long creamy-yellow larva that has a shiny black head and black spots (see photo).
Normally damage is short lived, therefore control is not warranted.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
If you have unwanted or unused pesticides that you no longer use, please bring them in a labeled container and they will be gladly accepted. There is no charge to drop off these products. We will not accept paints or paint thinners.
For more information, contact John Vining at (828) 894-8218.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
August 10th - Growing Green: Organic and Companion Gardening
August 24th, - Winter Blooming Plants
September 14th - Beauty from Bulbs
September 28th - Frugal Garden Design
October 12th - Japanese Garden
October 26th - Turning your Beds in for the Winter
For more information or if you are interested in attending any of these lectures, please call 697-4891 to pre-register.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The edible tubers are actually enlarged, underground stems. Normally, most potato flowers dry up and fall off the plants without setting fruit. A few flowers do produce fruit. The variety 'Yukon Gold' produces fruit more heavily than most varieties.
Potato fruit, as well as the plant itself, contain relatively large amounts of solanine. Solanine is a poisonous alkaloid. The small fruit should not be eaten.
Just for fun, clean and save some of the seeds and plant them inside in mid-March. After frost danger has passed, transplant the potato seedlings into the garden and wait. See what you get! You may be surprised at how different the potatoes are from plant to plant.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Without proper preventative measures, late blight can completely defoliate and destroy a crop within one to two weeks. The disease can be severe on tomatoes grown in the mountains of North Carolina, as well as in late plantings in the Piedmont.
The first symptoms of late blight on tomato leaves are irregularly shaped, water-soaked lesions on lower leaves. During high humidity, white cottony growth may be visible on underside of the leaf. As the disease progresses, lesions enlarge causing leaves to brown, shrivel and die. Fruit lesions appear as dark, greasy spots that eventually turn a chocolate brown color, and can enlarge to the point of encompassing the entire fruit.
Refer to the following website for more details on the symptoms of this disease. The application of fungicides plays a significant role in the control of late blight. Fungicides containing copper, chlorothanonil, or mancozeb are recommended for treatment in home gardens.
New breeding lines resistant to some strains of P. infestans have recently been developed at the Mountain Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Fletcher, North Carolina by tomato breeder Dr. Randy Gardner. A new small fruited variety called Mountain Magic that has resistance to some strains of P. infestans, in addition to early blight, should be available to growers in the future.
Taken from Pest News - Volume 24, Number 13, July 10, 2009 - Kelly Ivors, Extension Plant Pathologist, NCSU
As a result of Diane’s last post about bagworms, we received this question: Is that what shows up later in the summer on trees that look like LARGE spider webs? If not, what's that? The answer is no. What you are seeing later in the summer are actually fall webworms (Hyphantria cunea). Although the webbing looks bad and the adult caterpillars devour many leaves, the tree is rarely in danger because it has had ample time to store food for the winter. For more information and control methods, see: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/trees/note46/note46.html
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Beginning in late May through mid-June, larvae of this native moth feed causing defoliation on their host plants. Damage is most noticeable on ornamental plantings rather than in forests and woodlands.
The bags they create are camouflaged with pieces of plant material, and may be mistaken for natural parts of the tree. Females do not look like moths (no wings, legs, antennae, eyes, or mouthparts) and remain in silken bags throughout their entire lives. When larvae are fully grown, their protective bag is 1.0 to 1.5 inch long.
In late summer, male moths (black, with nearly clear wings approximately 1 inch across), emerge from their bags after pupation. One generation occurs per year.
Where practical, bagworms can be removed with scissors or a sharp knife. Chemical control is effective, particularly in June and early July when the bags are small. Recommended insecticides include Dipel and Sevin.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Leaves occur on petioles and are divided into three leaflets which are generally oval in shape. Leaflets may be either toothed, untoothed, or lobed. Older leaves are generally either toothed and lobed or untoothed and lobed.
The two lateral leaflets occur on very short petioles, while the central leaflet occurs on a much longer petiole. Although leaf shape is highly variable, the lateral leaflets are often distinctly lobed on one side of the leaflet and not on the other. Each leaflet is hairless and ranges from 3/4 to 4 inches in length and width.
For more information of poison ivy, visit this site Poison Ivy.
Friday, June 5, 2009
There’s been a bumper crop of slime molds in landscape beds this year, and we’ll see them throughout the summer and into the fall. By far the species most often noticed is Fuligo septica, a.k.a. the “dog vomit” slime mold. Despite the unpleasant name, it is completely harmless to humans, animals and plants.
Slime molds spend most of their lives as amoeboid cells or inconspicuous plasmodia that creep slowly through soil, leaf litter, mulch, etc. A plasmodium feeds by engulfing bacteria, spores, and bits of organic matter. It eventually moves out to a more exposed location on top of mulch, pine straw, a stump, a low-growing plant, or even the foundation of a building. There it stops moving and transforms into a fruiting (spore-producing) body. This is when Fuligo septica first gets noticed as a bright yellow, frothy mass a few inches to up to a foot in diameter. It quickly fades to a dull orange and then a light tan as its surface dries to a crust. After a few days it breaks apart to release its dark-colored spores, which blow away to start the life cycle anew. Within a week or two, all that’s left is a dusting of leftover spores and bits of gray or yellowish crust.
Control measures for Fuligo septica are neither effective nor necessary. If considered intolerably unsightly, they can be removed by hand or washed off with a hose, but there's a good chance that new ones will pop up at a later date, though probably not next year, unless new mulch is applied.
Written by: Mike Munster, Department of Plant Pathology
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
We will be able to collect any pesticide (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc.) that are in original containers and are clearly labeled. There is no charge to the public for this service.
Materials of unknown identity, paints, or other hazardous waste will not be accepted.
For more information contact Tim Mathews at 828-456-3575.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
The Guide provides research-based information to help the gardener deal specifically with local growing conditions that have proven to be a concern. To obtain a copy of the Henderson County Gardening Guide, stop by NC Cooperative Extension in Jackson Park to purchase your booklet for the affordable price of $5.00.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Just because you do not have a garden or a space for a garden, does not mean you cannot grow your own fresh, organic produce close to home.
Come join your neighbors in Jackson Park at the Bountiful Harvest Community Garden scheduled to open on April 22, 2009, Earth Day.
Applications for a soil amended 4’ X 16’ plot are available at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Office, also in Jackson Park. The cost is only $5 for the entire season!
Gardening help from Extension master gardener volunteers, classes, free seeds, and even harvest information are all included with your garden plot at no extra charge.
Call 697-4891 for more information. Watch this video produced by WLOS to see what all the excitement is about.
WLOS Community Garden
Spring 2009 Schedule
March 23rd – Wild Flowers – Alan Mizeras
April 13th – Build a Patio Fountain – Barbara Beck
April 27th – Vegetable Gardening - Pierre Hart
May 4th – Build a Hypertufa Pot – Ginger Brown (additional $25.00 fee)
May 11th – So You Think You Know How to Plant – Tamsin Allpress
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.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The cost of this program will be $20.00.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
March 19, 2009
7 - 8:30 pm
Haywood County Extension Office Auditorium
589 Raccoon Road
Waynesville, NC 28786
Farmland is important to residents of Haywood County. At this meeting we will report on the findings of two three-year studies on the value of farmland and ways to keep farming prosperous in your community. The Farmland Values Project is led by Leah Greden Mathews at UNC Asheville and the Farm Prosperity Project is led by Jeanine Davis at the NC State Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. The Farmland Values Project will share results from surveys and focus groups about what local residents and visitors value about farmland, including their willingness to contribute to local farm protection efforts, with a focus on results from Haywood County. Results confirm the importance of farmland for maintaining residents’ quality of life, access to local food, and the scenic beauty of our region. The Farm Prosperity Project will explain how they worked with local farmers to develop tools to help farmers make decisions about their farms, how to preserve them, and what to grow. They will also discuss the research that has been conducted on organic and heirloom tomatoes. This meeting and three others in surrounding counties are designed specifically for the general public. There will also be a meeting for farmers (March 12) and one for local officials (April 15). Please call Terri Schell at 684-3562 to reserve a seat. Walk-ins are welcome, but we can plan better if you call ahead. Directions can be found at http://haywood.ces.ncsu.edu/. More information is available about these projects at http://www.unca.edu/farmlandvalues and http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/specialty_crops/farmprosperity/index.htm. These projects are funded by grants from the USDA-CSREES Small and Mid-Sized Farms Program.
The Farmland Values and Farm Prosperity projects are supported by the National Research Initiative of the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, grants #2005-35618-15647 and #2005-35618-15645.
Monday, February 23, 2009
For additional information, call (828)456-3575