Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winter Humidity - Plants Got To Have It

Lack of humidity is a culprit in may indoor plant deaths, especially during the winter. The change in humidity from summer to winter is great enough, but if your houseplants vacationed outdoors for the summer, the transition is even greater. If you did move your houseplants outside for the summer, hopefully you brought them back in before the heat is turned on. Preferably while the windows were open, so the transition is eased a bit.

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

Recycle Your Christmas Tree

The Environmental and Conservation Organization (ECO) is coordinating their annual tree recycling event in conjunction with Henderson County Parks and Recreation. Residents are encouraged to drop off their trees at a designated site in Jackson Park near the covered picnic area. Hendersonville city residents may leave their trees at curbside, where they will be gathered and included in the recycling project.

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

Vote for The Bullington Christmas Tree

Henderson County Master Gardeners have been working hard on creating handmade ornaments for the annual Holiday Tree contest at the Asheville Airport. This year their theme is "The Wise Owl Learning Tree". The decorated tree is on display through the end of December. All of the ornaments are made entirely out of natural plant parts from their gardeners within the mountains of North Carolina.

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 then click on holiday contest and vote for tree number 7; the tree with the most votes wins.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Amaryllis Sale - Bullington Center

The Bullington Center has chosen and potted beautiful amaryllis with lily-like flowers for you to purchase this Holiday Season.

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

Choosing a Christmas Tree

With Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away many people are already beginning to think about purchasing their Christmas tree. I thought this excerpt from of one of our extension publications may be helpful as you consider this years tree.

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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Plant Your Bulbs Now

When should we plant spring and early summer flowering bulbs? The answer is NOW to be sure they are planted in time to develop a root system and satisfy the cold requirement of the bulbs. You will want to wait until soil temperatures are below 60 F (16 C) before planting. In Henderson County, this is usually late October to November.

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

Fall Color is Just Beginning, What is the Cause?

All during spring and summer the leaves have served as factories where most of the foods necessary for the trees' growth are manufactured. This food-making process takes place in the leaf in numerous cells containing the pigment chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green color. Along with the green pigment leaves also contain yellow or orange carotenoids which, for example, give the carrot its familiar color. Most of the year these yellowish colors are masked by the greater amount of green coloring. But in the fall, partly because of changes in the period of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down,. the green color disappears, and the yellowish colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor.

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

Cool Weather Brings Insect Pests

Cooler weather is welcomed by most of us but what isn't welcomed is the accompanying increase in activity by some insects.

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.

Best advice:
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

Master Gardeners Make the News

The Henderson County Master Gardeners have been working hard all summer revamping the gardens at the Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theater of NC. Click the link below to see the article from the Hendersonville Times News.
Group Garden

Monday, September 8, 2008

Woollybear Caterpillar

The banded woollybear caterpillar, Pyrrhactia isabella (also called the woolly worm), is famous for foretelling the upcoming winter severity based on the width of the middle band. The adult is called the Isabella moth. This insect overwinters either as caterpillar or pupa inside a flimsy cocoon. These caterpillars have some chilling requirement in order to resume proper development next spring. In the spring the remaining caterpillars will pupate and the Isabella moths will emerge and lay eggs. Banded woollybears feed on plantain (a common weed). They are quite active and are a barrel of fun to rear, I'm told (I guess some people find their fun in a barrel). There may be at least two generations per year.

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

Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist, NCSU

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mandatory Water Restrictions

As the Mills River continues to drop in flow, the City of Hendersonville is implementing mandatory water restrictions to ensure our ability to meet the core water needs of our customers. By declaring a Phase II water shortage condition, the City and County will enforce restrictions on a number of uses, and violators may be subject to disconnection of their water service or a fine of up to $500.

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
Residents can help with the City’s enforcement effort by reporting violations or problems to the City’s Drought Response Hotline at 828-233-3215. A coalition of Hendersonville water and sewer employees, city code inspectors, city police and county sheriff deputies will be used to enforce the Phase II water restrictions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Master Your Garden Lectures

Henderson Country Master Gardeners are once again offering a series of Fall lectures open to the public. Call the Extension office at 697-4891 to register; each lecture will cost only $5.00 and will be held at 3:30pm at the Bullington Center.

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

Fall Webworms

Fall webworms are beginning to show up on trees throughout Haywood County. In a recent article in North Carolina Pest News, Stephen J. Toth posted the following article.

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 You can also view a short QuickTime clip accessible through the Internet at:

For additional information, contact me at 828-456-3575.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fun Video from YouTube

Occasionally I like to look on YouTube for interesting videos about plants and insects. Here is a great time lapsed video of a beetle skeletonizing a viburnum leaf. Enjoy!

Attack of Green June Beetles

Green June beetle adults often emerge in large numbers following a period of rainy weather that softens the soil. Henderson County residents are already reporting them. They buzz around the yard and may seem menacing, but they are completely harmless to humans. Green June beetles are most common in older lawns and pastures with high organic content soils or which have been fertilized with manure. The adult June beetle is an attractive green and gold-colored beetle, which feeds as a minor chafer on the foliage and fruit of trees in mid summer.

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

Henderson County Pesticide Collection Day

NC Cooperative Extension is pleased to announce our annual Pesticide Disposal Collection Day will be held this year on Tuesday, July 29th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The collection will be located in Jackson Park in the parking lot of fields 8 & 9 (behind the Extension Center). There is no charge and we will collect any pesticides (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc.) that are in original containers and are clearly labeled. Materials of unknown identity, paints, or other hazardous waste will NOT be accepted.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Garden Tour 2009

This year’s garden tour was a great success thanks to our tour committee. We had well over 500 people attend this annual tour that is designed to educate and inspire participants to improve on their own gardens. Our committee has already begun to search out gardens for the 2009 tour. If you would like to have your garden considered for the next tour or if you know of someone who would, please contact me at 456-3575.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Concerned about Salmonella and tomatoes...check this out!

FDA has issued a warning to consumers nationwide that an outbreak of Salmonella serotype Saintpaul, an uncommon type of Salmonella, has been linked to consumption of raw red plum, red Roma, round red tomatoes, and products containing these raw tomatoes.

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

Haywood County Garden Tour

The Haywood County Garden Tour is approaching fast. The date for this years tour is Saturday, June 28th from 9am-4pm (rain or shine). The cost of the tour is $10 per person. You will enjoy seven beautiful gardens filled with flowers, organic vegetables and stunning water features. Bring your cameras and notebooks and take home a wealth of new ideas. This year the tour will begin at Junaluska Elementary School garden located at 2238 Asheville Highway, Waynesvile. Here you will pick up directions to all the other gardens. Your can purchase tickets for the tour by calling the Haywood County Extension office at 828-456-3575 or on the day of the tour at Junaluska Elementary.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fun Online Tree Pruning Guide

One of my fellow extension agents sent me a link to this website about pruning. I thought it was great and I think you will enjoy it. The virtual pruning lesson is especially fun.

For additional information about pruning trees and shrubs, contact your local extension agent.

Look out for rhododendron borers

Adult rhododendron borers active in May and June, are small black moths with white and yellow markings. These moths lay their eggs on the bark of rhododendrons, azaleas, and mountain laurels. Tiny caterpillars hatch from the eggs, bore into the sapwood, and develop into inch-long "worms." The boring by the caterpillars may cause the stem to wilt. If the stem is large enough it may not wilt. However, sometimes the first indication of rhododendron borer infestation is that the stem breaks off. Pruning and destroying heavily-infested parts of the plants is component of the management for this pest.

From: Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist, NCSU

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Garden Jubilee in Hendersonville

Henderson County Master Gardeners would like to invite you to downtown Hendersonville this weekend to the Garden Jubilee festival. We have set up a booth and are selling cookbooks, garden gloves, and other items with proceeds going to future educational projects for Henderson County. Be sure to stop by to purchase a few items or to just ask a gardening question. See you in downtown Hendersonville.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

We warned you. The Asheville area (Buncombe County) is reporting the beginning of the emergence of adult periodical cicadas, much to the distress of the unsuspecting homeowner.

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

Boxwood Leaf Miners

Every year I receive several calls and receive samples of boxwood leafminers. I was just reminded this week as I was walking past my boxwoods that now would be a great time to spray to kill the adult flies. This should be timed as the new shoots begin to appear, which is now at my house. At other times during the year, you can treat with a soil drench or soil injection using a product that contains imidacloprid. For more information about boxwood leafminers, see the NCSU publication provided below or call your local Extension Agent.

Plant Clinic now open

Every year Haywood County Extension trains Master Gardener Volunteers to help answer your horticultural questions. Once trained, these volunteers staff the hotline in our plant clinic from 9am-noon daily, Monday-Friday. Please take advantage of this service by calling 456-3575 or feel free to stop by with your samples.

They're Back!

This past week I was making a field call and saw my first tent caterpillars of the season. At this point in the year, the nests are small and easy to remove from the trees. Although unsightly, this insect does very little damage to their host tree.
For more information, you can contact an Extension Master Gardener at 456-3575 or view my post entitled Eastern Tent Caterpillar.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Winter Daphne

One of my favorite evergreen shrubs is now in full bloom. If you get a moment to stop by the Extension Office in Jackson Park you can enjoy the magnificent aroma of Daphne odora, also known as winter Daphne. Each year we have many people stop in to ask the name of the fragrant shrub outside our door that is blooming in early March. It is not something one can ignore.

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

No Spray Roses for Southeastern US

Black spot (Diplocarpon rosae, Marssonina rosae) is one of the most common and important diseases of roses throughout the world. Black spot will cause a general weakening of the plant so that progressively fewer and fewer blooms are formed if the disease is left unchecked. Spots are nearly circular with fringed or feathery margins and vary in size. Surrounding leaf tissue turns yellow before dropping. Bottom leaves are normally affected first. Conditions that favor the development are 75-85 degrees F, temperatures with relative humidity above 85%, overcrowding and reduced air flow.

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

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Drought Information

While we have received some precipitation over the past several weeks, the drought conditions in North Carolina still exists. I received an email today with a couple of websites that may be of help as you deal with the ongoing drought conditions. I hope you find these sites useful.,SE

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Master Your Garden Lectures

Henderson County Extension Master Gardeners are offering a series of lectures to the public. There will be a small fee of $5.00 per participant for each program to support future educational efforts by the Master Gardeners. All lectures will be held on Mondays in March, April and May at 3:30pm in the classroom at the Bullington Center.

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 for more information on upcoming lectures.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Successful Gardening in the Mountains

Coming soon!
This is a program designed for homeowners who want to learn more about how to successfully manage their home landscapes and gardens. This class consists of 10 participants who will travel to each of the other participants homes to discuss issues related to their specific location. This class meets twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-12pm. Participants will learn about plant selection, pruning, planting, pest issues and other issues that arise during the class. This class is conducted in the field and requires the ability to navigate different terrains. The initial meeting will be conducted at the extension office. This class will last 5 weeks. Cost for this program $25.

The first session of this program will begin on Tuesday, May 13th. For more information call 456-3575

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Beware of De-icers

In WNC for the past few years, we have had minimal snowfall and ice. However, knowing how to properly get rid of snow and ice when we are faced with it, will help gardeners prevent permanent damage to plants.

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

Community Garden

On February 19th, there will be a meeting for everyone interested in participating the the 2008 Haywood County Community Garden. This meeting will be held at the Haywood County Extension Center, 5pm-6:30pm in conference Room A. The garden is located in Canton and is available to all Haywood County Residents interested in growing their own food. During this meeting, we will discuss start dates and rules for this years garden.

There is no cost to attend this meeting but there is a $35.00 fee to participate in the garden. For more information contact Tim Mathews or Erin Freeman at 456-3575.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Compost and Recycling Workshop

The Haywood County Cooperative Extension Center is sponsoring a series of workshops to encourage individuals to practice composting and recycling techniques.

This series of four workshops is designed to raise awareness of and provide practical ways to recycle and compost much of the trash that is currently being sent to our landfills. As a result of these workshops, participants will learn solid waste management alternatives and their consequences and implement strategies that protect the environment.

Workshops will meet on Thursdays, from 9-12pm starting February 7th at the Haywood County Extension Center. Other dates are February 14, 28 and March 6th. There will not be a meeting on February 21. Each sessioin will focus on different subjects so participants are encouraged to attend all sessions.

Cost for this workshop (all four days) is $10. To Register or for more information contact Erin Freeman at (828)456-3575.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

WNC Clean Streams Program

North Carolina Cooperative Extension will be conducting a Clean Streams Workshop on Tuesday, February 26th from 9:00am till 4:30pm at the North Carolina Arboretum.
WNC Clean Streams is an interdisciplinary, multi-county initiative of the NC Cooperative Extension Service to provide training, resources, and support for best practices in a variety of business and residential applications to protect and improve water quality throughout the region. Clean Streams is the umbrella for a range of Extension programming aimed at various audiences — urban, agricultural, residential, and commercial. Protecting water quality must be everyone’s business.

Subjects to be covered are:
• Maintaining a Water-Wise Landscape
• Maintaining a Water-Wise Home
• Raingardens
• Xeriscaping - Planning for Wise Water Management

Tours of Best Practices at the Arboretum -
• Water Systems
• Raingardens
• Green Roofs
• Plant Selection

BONUS: Mini Trade Show of Water Quality products and services
Cost for this prgram is $30.00
For registration information or questions call 456-3575

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Christmas Tree Recycling

The Environmental and Conservation Organization (ECO) is coordinating their annual tree recycling event in conjunction with Henderson County Parks and Recreation. Residents are encouraged to drop off their trees at a designated site in Jackson Park near the covered picnic area. Hendersonville city residents may leave their trees at curbside, where they will be gathered and included in the recycling project.

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.