Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Burn Ban Reinstated

The North Carolina Division of Forest Resources has stated that due to severe drought conditions in North Carolina, all outdoor open burning has been banned until further notice. Burning permits previously issued are invalid. This statement was posted at 1:00pm on October 15, 2007.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Canker Diseases Follow Drought

Sharpen your pruners to remove dead branches on woody ornamentals due to a two punch combination of drought and fungal pathogens such as Botryosphaeria and Seiridium. The long term effects of this summer’s drought are becoming visible in landscapes throughout the Southeast. Much of this dieback has appeared in the last month. Drought stress has predisposed many of our woody plants to infection by fungal pathogens and in some cases wood boring insects. Rhododendron and Leyland cypress are two common hosts for these diseases, but you may see similar dieback on laurel, viburnum, holly and some juniper species.

Chemical treatments are not effective for the control of most fungal canker diseases. The best preventive strategy is drip irrigation during dry periods. Once dieback has occurred, diseased branches should be pruned out below the canker; below discolored wood in the stems.

Taken from article written by Alan Windham, Ornamental Pest and Disease Update, 9/07
Photo of Seiridium canker on Leyland Cypress, credit to J. Williams-Woodward, UGA

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Unwelcome guests

As the weather begins to cool, I am sure to begin receiving calls regarding Multicolored Asian Beetles. These calls range from people simply looking for suggestions to slow their invasion to those who suggest that they are going to have to sell their homes and move in order to escape! I hope that the information here will help everyone to understand what they can do to discourage this annual guest.

What These Insects Do—And Don't Do
Lady beetles are not structure-damaging pests, unlike insects such as termites and carpenter ants. Lady beetles do not chew or bore holes in walls or eat carpet or furniture. They do not lay their eggs in homes.
Multicolored Asian lady beetles are attracted to lighter colors: whites, grays, yellows. So, light-colored houses, especially on hillsides in forested areas, might serve as “homing beacons.”
Once the lady beetles enter the walls of a building through cracks and crevices, they may or may not proceed to the interior of the building. Most stay in the wall spaces.
During warm days of late winter and early spring, overwintering beetles in a wall space may become active. In their search for an exit, they may enter the home's living areas and become a nuisance. Warmer temperatures or lighting in the living areas may attract these active beetles as they search for an exit.

Prevention and Control
Preventing the lady beetles from entering is the best approach to keeping them from becoming a household nuisance in fall and winter. Caulking exterior cracks and crevices--before the lady beetles seek overwintering sites-- is the best way to keep them out. This will also keep out other unwanted insects such as wasps, and will save homeowners money on energy costs.
Lady beetles that enter wall spaces in the fall may remain there, without entering living areas, until they depart in spring to search for food. But some may become active on warm days in late winter or early spring and move into living areas.
Sweeping and vacuuming are effective methods for removing these lady beetles from living areas.

Blacklight traps.
Blacklight traps work well for catching beetles in some situations and this may be particularly critical for commercial facilities, such as hospitals and some manufacturing plants, where biocontamination is a critical issue. These facilities often use the more expensive industrial style light traps (not the traditional "bug zapper" type of trap). USDA scientists in Georgia developed a trap that uses no insecticide and it catches the beetles alive for future release or disposal. The trap is about 12" x 24" and reportedly can be easily assembled or disassembled in as little as two minutes. CLICK HERE to access the details for building your own blacklight trap. Or shop for a commercial one HERE.

For more information see: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Other/goodpest/note107.html

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Pumpkin Tour

Have you dreamed of the GREAT PUMPKIN or are you interested in that cute little pumpkin or gourd that just makes you feel good when you experience the brilliant colors and crisp cool nights of autumn? The autumn season is finally here after a long HOT summer? If this is the case, here is an opportunity for you. Planted in the scenic setting of the Appalachian mountains, there is about an acre planting with over 30 different varieties of pumpkins and gourds to see and enjoy. Scientists from NC State University, University of Tennessee and University of Georgia will be taking photos, weights (those giant pumpkins present quite the challenge) and notes to find those fruits that might just tickle your fancy and provide some additional revenue options for commercial growers. If you would like to come and see, feel and touch, please join in as we walk through the various pumpkin and gourd types on Friday, October 12, 2 pm at the Mountain Research Station, Waynesville. This is an excellent opportunity for agents and their growers, or the interested consumer. The location of the pumpkins on the Mountain Research Station is off Raccoon Rd across from the Haywood County Extension Center. More detailed directions are given below. For more information, please contact the Mountain Research Station office at 828-456-3943.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


If you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, come by Jackson Park for a full day of fun at FARM CITY DAY. The event takes plant October 6th from 10:00am - 4:00pm. Here are just a few of the events going on inside the park on Saturday.

Blacksmith Live Entertainment & Cloggers Food

Antique Farm Equipment Tractor Pull 4-H Activities

Old Timey Demonstrations Games Petting Zoo

Helicopter Rides Wagon Rides Children's Games

Crafter's Corner Sheep Herding Homemade foods

The Master Gardeners are also having a plant sale during FARM CITY DAY located between fields 3 & 4. All plants are reasonably priced and have been donated by Master Gardeners. Swing by between 10:00am and 4:00pm and buy a few great plants.

Monday, October 1, 2007

October Garden Chores

  • Mature lawns can be fertilized early this month if you did not do a September application.
  • You can also overseed bare spots and be sure to mulch newly seeded areas with wheat or barley straw, then keep the area irrigated.
  • Do not prune spring flowering shrubs as their buds have formed for next spring.
  • Do not fertilize shrubs in October or November.
  • Wait until cooler weather moves in to plant spring bulbs and pansies.
  • Think about starting a compost pile if you do not have one. Be sure to throw in plant debris that is not diseased as you clean your gardens for fall.
  • Prepare houseplants to re-enter your home. Check them carefully for insect pests. You may need to bring all tropical plants in on cool nights when the temperature drops below 50 degrees.
  • Clean garden sprayers and lawn equipment not in use.