Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hold Off Pruning Grapes

Please pass this on to all grape growers:

I know this beautiful weather is tempting, but please DO NOT PRUNE - even hedging. Pruning helps to stimulate vine growth. I would not be at all surprised if you see grape buds in some degree of bud swell, particularly the European bunch grape varieties. Those varieties have very little chilling requirement and it was likely met in the few cold days that we have had.

The short predicted cooling pattern for this weekend will do little to harden the vines and buds for any potential cold weather in January or February. Apparently the prediction is for temperatures to climb up again for Dec 24-25. A precipitous drop (30-40F) in temperatures after warm weather can cause a lot of damage.

-Sara Spayd, NC State Professor/Extension Viticulture Specialist

Monday, September 14, 2015

Extension Gardener

2015 Fall Mountain Edition


Cover crops
Rapid radishes
White grubs
Fall lawn chores


Creating wildlife habitat
Green bunch onions
‘Welch’s Pink” beautyberry
Improving soil

Monday, August 17, 2015

2015 Extension Master Gardener Western Regional Symposium

'Passionate Mountain Gardening'

October 22nd, 2015
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville - Biltmore

Get registered TODAY to join us for an exciting day on 'Passionate Mountain Gardening'!
  • Registration $50 (before September 15th)
  • 5 Hours of Continuing Education

Friday, June 19, 2015

Latest Issue of Extension Gardener

The 2015 Summer Mountain Edition of Extension Gardener is now available for download online! This issue is all about going NATIVE... edibles, deer, insects, choosing the right native, drought tolerant natives, and much more!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The recent round of warmer temperatures is spurring this activity as the bugs move back *outdoors* particularly in the western parts of our state.  We saw similar activity last fall when the bugs were looking for places to pass the winter.
We're currently seeing the reverse trend - those that moved indoors last fall are now trying to head to the great outdoors but some only succeed in moving into the "great indoors" (meaning the occupied areas of your house). So,there isn't any way to spray effectively indoors because where you see them doesn't necessarily mean that's where they came from and spraying outdoors (such as on your house) might kill some aggregations or clusters of them on your house but in the bigger picture it has relatively little impact on stink bug populations.

I've been asked if the insects will be more or less of a problem this year.  That question is not as simple as it seems for many reasons but particularly because for residential settings, the bugs are "simply" a nuisance whereas to someone with an orchard or other host crop, the brown marmorated stink bugs can have a significant economic impact due to the damage they can cause.

If people find brown marmorated stink bugs n plants in their yards, they can certainly treat them but they stress the need to use products appropriately labeled for application to those plants so that they don't potentially damage the plants or in the case of plants such as edible plants (including fruit-bearing trees) - treat them with some insecticide that can render the fruit inedible).

There's more information about the dreaded bugs at:




Michael Waldvogel, PhD
Extension Assoc. Professor & Specialist, Structural & Industrial Pests
North Carolina State University
Dept. of Entomology, Box 7613, 100 Derieux Place
Raleigh, NC USA 27695-7613
Ph: 919.515.8881    Fax: 919.515.7746     Cell: 919.780-8179
Email: mike_waldvogel@ncsu.edu

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Buzz on Some Household Pests

Carpenter bee activity is increasing with the warmer temperatures.   Although carpenter bees resemble bumble bees, the two can be readily distinguished from one another because carpenter bees lack the yellowish hairs on their abdomens (which are black and shiny).  The male bees are easy to identify because they have white spots in the center of their head (between their eyes) and they are typically seen hovering around prime real estate (from a carpenter bee's perspective) watching for the girl bee of their dreams and chasing off rival males at the same time. Males bees do not sting but their aggressive behavior can intimidate people sitting on park benches.

After mating, the female bee goes hunting for a new place to build a nesting gallery.  Choice locations will be wooden porch rails and balusters, wooden planks and solid wood siding (even "repellent" woods such as cedar). The females handle the workload and excavate a nearly perfectly round hole and gallery that typically follows the wood grain.  She then makes a ball of pollen, sticks it into the gallery and deposits an egg before constructing a partition of chewed wood debris and other materials. She then repeats this process until the gallery is furnished with each of her "children" having their own room (but no internet or cable TV).  At that point, the females die and so for most of the summer, no activity is seen. The offspring will emerge in the late summer/fall and hang around before finding a sheltered location (like an abandoned gallery) where they pass the winter.

We still do not have any pesticides that provide long-term protection of wood for the duration of the bees' activity.  It's also difficult economically and from a safety perspective to spray all of the exposed overhead wooden areas to protect them from the bees.  We still recommend the tried and true method of dusting individual holes with a pesticide dust (some wettable powder formulations are labeled for this use, too) and then seal the holes (to keep out moisture).

We have information online at:  http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/carpenterbees.htm


The next significant rainfall in your area will likely trigger termite swarming.  The point to remind concerned clients is that termite swarms outdoors are just nature's way of reminding you that termites are out there (and if you're the paranoid type, they're out to get you).  Do you need to rush and get your house treated?  No, but it is a good idea to get your house inspected if it's been several years since it was last inspected/treated.  On the other hand, if termites swarm inside your home, we technically call that "a bad thing" because you likely do have an infestation.  Hereto, you shouldn't rush to get your house treated because the more important thing to be a smart consumer and get your house inspected by 2-3 companies and compare what they found and how they recommend treating it.  I discourage the "do-it-yourself" approach to termite treatments primarily because most people have little understanding of what it takes to treat the house.  Most of the consumer products are intended to kill termites where you find them and not really for an entire home treatment which requires a lot of soil excavation (to the top of your foundation footer or 4-feet depending on which is less). and a lot of liquid (four gallons of diluted product per 10 linear feet per foot of depth to your footer) and that isn't taking into account and drilling of concrete or masonry.

We have information online about termites and protecting your home from  termites at:  http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/wood.htm

Mike Waldvogel

Michael Waldvogel, PhD
Extension Assoc. Professor & Specialist, Structural & Industrial Pests
North Carolina State University
Dept. of Entomology, Box 7613, 100 Derieux Place
Raleigh, NC USA 27695-7613
Ph: 919.515.8881    Fax: 919.515.7746     Cell: 919.780-8179
Email: mike_waldvogel@ncsu.edu

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Beginning Adult Sewing Classes

Not quite garden related, but I know some of our gardeners are also sewers...

A series of Beginning Adult Sewing Classes will begin March 28th, 2015 from 9am-12pm at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center. The cost for the series is $25 and can be paid the first day. Participants will make items of their choice, according to their sewing level. Sewing machines will be provided, but please bring other sewing equipment such as pins, pin holder, tape measure, and scissors. 

To register, or for more information, please contact Renay Knapp by phone at (828) 697-4891 or e-mail at Renay_Knapp@ncsu.edu