|June 03, 2013||Spring|
|May 18, 2013||Lunch and Learn, May 22, 2013|
|April 14, 2013||First Plant Sale of the Season--Coming Up!|
|April 04, 2013||Take Pride in Jacksonville Day|
|March 26, 2013||SPRUCING UP YOUR LAWN|
|March 22, 2013||Calhoun County Master Gardeners "Lunch and Learn" Series|
|March 22, 2013||Calhoun County Tree Amigos Master Gardeners Plant Sale|
|March 16, 2013||It is Too Early!|
|March 07, 2013||SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT|
|February 11, 2013||SOIL|
This has been the strangest spring (and it is not officially over for three weeks). I might call it the spring that almost did not happen. It was chilly one day; then the monsoons struck, and now the heat and humidity have set in. Farmers shook their heads as they worked to get gardens plowed and crops in. For us home gardeners, we waited much later than usual to add summer color to our yards. Warm weather annuals are, for the most part tropical in nature, and are not really fond of wet cold earth. Hydrangeas are blooming about three weeks later than usual (although that is not always a bad thing as they were not hit by one of those freak late frosts that sometime happen). Our friends in the mid-west have endured terrible tragedies brought about by weather events. Hurricane forecasters say this will be a busy summer. But we who love our gardens and growing things will deal with whatever strange weather conditions come our way. We will be married to our hoses if late summer droughts come. If the weather is wet and humid, we will take care of plant diseases brought about by inclement conditions. And we will continue to smile.
Please join the city of Jacksonville as we "Take Pride in Jacksonville." It is a day for the residents to spruce up their neighborhoods and their community. Stop by City Hall on Church Street and register at 8:45 AM on April 13, 2013 to help pick up litter around the city.We will take electronics for recycling including computers, monitors, fax machines, etc. Residents can also bring their recycling, including paint cans, to the Jacksonville City Hall beginning at 8:30. There will also be a large truck there to collect discarded household items. The Jacksonville-Piedmont landfill will be free from 7:00 AM until 11:30 for Jacksonville residents.Cub Scout Pack 19 will be at City Hall collecting aluminum cans.The day is sponsored by the City of Jacksonville, RSVP, Calhoun County Recycling Center, Calhoun County Beautification Board and County Commissioner Rudy Abbott. For more information, please call RSVP at 256-435-5091,
Although the weather today on March 26th does not feel much like a spring day, the calendar says that spring is here. Many of you will soon begin to scrutinize your lawns and decide it is time to renew or replace. If your lawn is not healthy, your first step should be a soil test as your soil conditions have a huge impact on the state of your lawn. Your soil report will contain recommendations on how much and what type of fertilizer you might need to perk up your lawn. If you have lots of weeds, disease or fungus in the grass and are not sure what your plan of action should be, you can also send off lawn and soil samples to help identify the problems and possible solutions. There are many givens, such as the amount of sun or shade, that can’t be easily changed. At this point the homeowner may have to decide what level of imperfection he/she can tolerate.
If you have decided to replace your lawn (or perhaps are installing one for the first time), there is a lot of information that you should gather about your site before you choose a turf grass. Just as with ornamentals and trees where we strive to choose the right plant for the right place, we also want to choose the right grass for the right place. Please take note of your environmental conditions: whether the grass will be in sun or shade; whether you have poor or good drainage; whether you are able to keep your lawn watered, the type of soil (clay, sand) in your yard, and what your soil pH (acid or alkaline soil) is.
More questions need answers to help the homeowner determine the best turf for the site: how much time and effort and money are you willing to spend maintaining your lawn? How much work do you personally want to do to keep up your lawn? (Some folks refer to centipede as the lazy man's grass because fertilizing too much can ruin it; however, it is very picky about its growing conditions.) Do you enjoy watering, mowing, fertilizing, etc.? What kind of turf are you looking for: a lawn that looks like a golf course or are you happy with a peaceful green lawn with a few weeds here and there? Another important consideration is how much use will your lawn get. There are lawns, like centipede, which do not react well to lots of foot traffic; thus, if you have a team of young soccer players, perhaps centipede is not for you.
One of the most important considerations for the homeowner to evaluate is how much shade the lawn will get. Grass and full shade do not go hand in hand. The more light a lawn gets the better it will grow, but our blazing hot summers and continued droughts can also be very stressful on a lawn.
Once you have thought through some of these issues, consider consulting the many publications available either online at ACES.edu or at our local Extension Office on Noble Street for information regarding specific turfgrasses, planting times as well as the best planting and care techniques. A healthy lush lawn is a delight but like the rest of gardening requires thought, preparation, and continued effort.
Many thanks to Dr. David Han from Auburn University whose class on turgrasses for our MG intern training class was the inspiration and factual source for this blog.
May 22 “Alabama the Beautiful”
Lisa Harris, Scenic Alabama
June 26 “A Simple Water Feature for the Garden”
Hayes Jackson, ACES
July 24 “Herb Gardening”
Dani Carroll, ACES
August 28 “Getting to Know the Talladega
National Forest: Part 2"
Jonathan Stober, District Biologist
September 25 “Gardening for Dry Places”
Hayes Jackson, ACES
Speakers & topics subject to change.
Contact the Extension Office to confirm. 256 237 1621
Join the Calhoun County Tree Amigos Master Gardeners for the first plant sale of the season. Unusual perennials, trees, and shrubs will be featured at the sale, Saturday, April 20th, 8am - noon, Cane Creek Community Gardens at McClellan.
Sale proceeds benefit the Tree Amigos program. For information please call 256-237-1621.
Two weeks ago at our Master Gardener training class Dr. Jim Jacobi, an Auburn pathologist, discussed the many diseases–viral and bacterial, etc. that can afflict our beloved plants. One of those that really caught my attention was Rose Rosette disease. This is not a new disease but due to the widespread use of Knockout Roses in landscapes the plant pathologists are seeing a huge rise in outbreaks of this disease. Knockout Roses appear to be very susceptible to this disease. It is spread by a mite on wild roses but the mites are finding our Knockouts and having a field day. Symptoms of RRD are witches broom on the rose stem, red pigmentation of new growth, and excessive thorns. Before you completely panic, new growth on all Knockouts is red but when you have RRD the growth stays red. Up in North Alabama hundreds of roses were taken out of a park. There is no chemical to treat this disease. The only way to rid your garden of it is to get rid of the rose–root and all. Then throw it away, do not compost it. The disease is in the branches so good hygiene is really essential when you prune your roses. Clippers should be cleaned with chlorox.
Pay careful attention to the next sentence. If you are concerned you may have RRD in your garden, do not start tearing your hair and roses out. Please take a sample down to the great folks at our Calhoun County Extension Office and let them send the sample to the pathology lab.
Here is a link to a very informative article:
PUBLICATION 450-620. Rose Rosette Disease. Chuan Hong, Extension Plant Pathologist, Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center ...
Our Master Gardener intern class recently had a soils class with Auburn professor, Dr. Charles Mitchell. Good soil is the backbone of a garden, whether that garden contains vegetables or flowers or whether the soil supports a beautiful stand of grass. When we talk about soil we are not talking about dirt (which is soil with all the nutrients and other good stuff removed) but about the soil.
Soils can vary from one neighborhood to another and even from one house to another. Since some plants thrive in a more acid soil (like azaleas and gardenias) and others thrive in lower acid soils (lilac), it is important to know more about the soil you have in your garden. Thus, the first thing all Master Gardeners (as well as any Extension Agent) will recommend when asked most plant questions, especially as the question relates to fertilizer, is that the homeowner do a soil test. It is very easy, relatively inexpensive, and the best thing you can do for your yard and soil and even for the environment. A soil test costs way less than a bag of fertilizer. Phosphorous in fertilizers can end up in the groundwater eventually polluting our waterways. Too much of the wrong kind of fertilizer can even hamper the health of your grass or your plants or your vegetables. If someone comes in and wants to fertilize your lawn without a soil test, just say no. Be an educated consumer. Get a soil test first.
Soil test kits may be obtained from your County Extension Office.