Featured Article

Venomous (Poisonous) Caterpillars – Photos

Several kinds of venomous caterpillars are commonly seen in late summer – early fall. They are usually inconspicuous, so when one is encountered it’s “OUCH – what stung me???!!“. Below are photos of those you might find in the Southeast. Because they are so uncommon and because they feed on...

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Turfgrasses (Lawn Grass) – Identifying

Unlike trees, which have distinctive leaves, or blooming plants, which have distinctive flowers, turfgrass identification is much more difficult for the amateur . There are five major lawn grasses grown in Georgia. Following are characteristics that will help you distinguish them: TALL FESCUE is green throughout the year but tends...

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Leyland Cypress – Limited Lifespan

Nothing lives forever. Whether plant or animal, living things seem to have typical life spans: some measured in centuries and some in days. Leyland cypress is enormously popular in Southern landscapes. It’s been planted by the millions.  Even so, it is not particularly suited for heat and drought. Both lead...

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Hydrangea Summer Pruning – Step by Step

The recent summer rains filled the leaves and roots of my hydrangeas with water, making them strong. Now that the flowers have faded in late June I can prune them to the size I want for next year. Look at the photos below to see before and after shots. I...

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Organic Gardening – Resources

Q: I have been all over the Internet and cannot find a good resource about organic gardening in Georgia and what to plant when. We want to start an organic vegetable garden now. What can we plant in the summer and the other seasons as well? Can you give me...

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  • RECENT ARTICLES
  • POPULAR ARTICLES
  • Tomatoes – Beautiful and Flavorless

    Q: My tomatoes this year are big, beautiful and flavorless. I planted the usual varieties but they don’t have good tomato flavor. Could it be all the rain? A: The rain and overcast skies this summer certainly have something to...

    READ MORE

  • Glowing Plants – Old and New

    Q: Is there any plant that has fluorescent and/or phosphorescent properties? A: Hunters have long known of “foxfire”, the glowing tree stumps caused by decay organisms. Likewise, visitors to Hawaii gasp at the glowing blue waves caused by phytoplankton. Certain...

    READ MORE

  • Crapemyrtle – Early Care

    Q: I had giant pine tree cut down and have a pile of chips in the yard. Instead of picking them up I thought I might plant a crepe myrtle in the middle of it. Is this a good idea?...

    READ MORE

  • Cutting Roots – Weakening Your Tree?

    Q: We have a watershed area in our yard that I want to dig out and put in a dry steam bed to control the flow of water during storms. The problem is that there are some tree roots where...

    READ MORE

  • Sassafras – Not Invasive

    Q: I discovered a sassafras sapling in my front yard eight feet from my home’s foundation. I’m trying to remove all plants that have invasive root systems from near my home. Are sassafras roots invasive? A: I don’t consider it...

    READ MORE

  • Magnolia – Beetles in Flower

    Q: What are the beetles that gather by the dozens in magnolia blossoms? Are they harmful to the tree? A: Magnolias are among the most primitive plants we use in our landscapes. Dinosaurs probably enjoyed their shade. They developed the...

    READ MORE

  • Non-flowering Plants for Sunny Spots

    Here are plants that have only small flowers or flowers that are easy to remove. Email me if you have other candidates. euphorbia dwarf chamaecyparis yucca coleus carex dwarf ornamental grasses dwarf boxwood acorus blue...

    READ MORE

  • Tomato Variety – Identifying

    Q: I have a family heirloom tomato I would like to identify. Any way to do this? A: Rutgers University has an excellent website that will do just that! Tomato Variety...

    READ MORE

  • Hamster Raising

    I can’t remember ever getting a question about hamster raising for profit….but if you get one, you can refer to this USDA brochure from...

    READ MORE

  • Cabbage Worm (Cabbage Looper) – Control

    Q: Something is eating my plant leaves. My beautiful collard greens were devastated in two day’s time by a caterpillar. What can I do about it organically? A: You have a fine infestation of cabbage worm (cabbage looper). A small...

    READ MORE

  • Flower, Shrub, Tree, Plant – Identification Resources with Pictures

    It’s frustrating to have a plant in your landscape that you simply can’t identify. Besides my Name That Plant webpage, there are several other good ways to figure out what a plant is. Try these web links for more help:...

    READ MORE

  • Ovulina Petal Blight (White Spots on Flowers) – Infecting Azalea

    Q: I have a few old azalea bushes behind my home. In late spring their flowers develop white spots. Can you tell me what this is? A: It’s ovulina petal blight. This disease is most severe under warm moist conditions....

    READ MORE

  • Cedar-Hawthorn Rust – On Amelanchier (Serviceberry)

    Q: I haven’t seen this before on my amelanchiers. What do you think I have here? A: It’s cedar-hawthorn rust. I have it on my amelanchier (serviceberry) too. Spores travel between the two host plants and cannot survive unless the...

    READ MORE

  • Zoysia Lawns – Slow Green-up in 2014

    I’ve been puzzled by the differences in health between different zoysia lawns. My neighbor 2 doors down has a green and verdant zoysia lawn. My neighbor around the corner has slow and spotty green-up.   The NC State Center for...

    READ MORE

  • Rose – Black Spot Control

    I have never found a rose that was one hundred percent resistant to black spot, the most common rose disease. The tell-tale yellow leaves adorn roses throughout Atlanta to one extent or another. The best way to avoid black spot...

    READ MORE

  • Baking Soda – For Disease Control

    Q: Will a baking soda spray help to discourage fungal disease on tomato plants? A: It might….and it might not. Researchers have worked for several years on the use of various bicarbonates to control fungi. Some results have been positive,...

    READ MORE

  • Cats/Dogs – Repel From Flower Bed

    Q: Is there anything that will keep the neighborhood cats out of my raised beds? A: I think a well-aimed motion-activated sprinkler would send the cats skedaddling. Look online for the Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler (click for sources) or the...

    READ MORE

  • Ash Flower Gall – Identification

    Q: I have a white ash that has weird green cauliflower-looking growths where the seeds clusters used to be. When I break them open, I find a little worm. A: The malformation is caused by ash flower gall. A tiny...

    READ MORE

  • Weeds – Identification with Pictures

    Weed control in the landscape is a tough business. You have to know a lot about the weed in question just to get started! As in most situations, a picture is worth a thousand words. Go through the sites below,...

    READ MORE

  • Diagnosing (Identifying) Holes in the Yard

    Sometimes many heads are better than one when it comes to solving a problem. Wade Hutcheson, my Extension colleague in Spalding county, gets plenty of calls from the citizens of his area asking his help in identifying various holes in...

    READ MORE

  • Brown Patch – Diagnosing

    You have brown patches of dead grass in your lawn. Is it the common lawn disease ‘brown patch’ or is it something else? The answer is important: if it is brown patch you probably need to spray with a fungicide....

    READ MORE

  • Bermuda – Weed Control

    BASIC INFORMATION: Weed Identification Pictures General Turf and Weed Info Lawn Care Calendars THREE METHODS There are three primary methods of controlling weeds. Any one method, when used alone, will not usually control all of your weeds. To consistently control...

    READ MORE

  • Lawn – Timing Pre-emergent Herbicide

    One of the sourest phrases that can be directed at a child or adult is “I told you so!” Whether you touch a hot match, leave tools out in the rain or lift cinder blocks all afternoon, someone is usually...

    READ MORE

  • St. Augustine Grass Seed – Where to Buy

    Q: Please tell me where I can buy St. Augustine grass seeds. Our lawn has some now and we like it a lot, but we’re having trouble finding seeds. A: You can’t buy St. Augustinegrass seed. The plant is very...

    READ MORE

  • Lawn – Growing in Shade

    OK. I admit it. I have given up. I came to the conclusion that grass just would not grow in the corner of my lawn near the ornamental cherry trees. The shade there is so dense that my grass, no...

    READ MORE

  • Lawn – Leveling

    A new home in my neighborhood had bermudagrass sod planted in March. By May, one area was a perfect checkerboard of straight lines, composed of weedy plants, surrounding the individual squares of sod. Evidently the sod installers were in such...

    READ MORE

  • Bermuda Grass – Disease – Brown Patch

    Brown patch is most prevalent on bermudagrass which has been heavily fertilized when night temperatures are above 68 degrees and day temperature are above 80 degrees. Dead patches of grass may start small but can grow and join together to...

    READ MORE

  • Crapemyrtle – Pruning

    One of the most confounding arguments I face is whether and how to prune crapemyrtles. They are mercilessly “murdered” by unaware landscapers and homeowners each winter… yet they still bloom in summer. Some people even believe a crapemyrtle won’t bloom...

    READ MORE

  • RECENT ARTICLES
  • POPULAR ARTICLES

Tomatoes – Beautiful and Flavorless

Q: My tomatoes this year are big, beautiful and flavorless. I planted the usual varieties but they don’t have good tomato flavor. Could it be all the rain? A: The rain and overcast skies this summer certainly have something to...

READ MORE

Glowing Plants – Old and New

Q: Is there any plant that has fluorescent and/or phosphorescent properties? A: Hunters have long known of “foxfire”, the glowing tree stumps caused by decay organisms. Likewise, visitors to Hawaii gasp at the glowing blue waves caused by phytoplankton. Certain...

READ MORE

Crapemyrtle – Early Care

Q: I had giant pine tree cut down and have a pile of chips in the yard. Instead of picking them up I thought I might plant a crepe myrtle in the middle of it. Is this a good idea?...

READ MORE

Cutting Roots – Weakening Your Tree?

Q: We have a watershed area in our yard that I want to dig out and put in a dry steam bed to control the flow of water during storms. The problem is that there are some tree roots where...

READ MORE

Sassafras – Not Invasive

Q: I discovered a sassafras sapling in my front yard eight feet from my home’s foundation. I’m trying to remove all plants that have invasive root systems from near my home. Are sassafras roots invasive? A: I don’t consider it...

READ MORE

Magnolia – Beetles in Flower

Q: What are the beetles that gather by the dozens in magnolia blossoms? Are they harmful to the tree? A: Magnolias are among the most primitive plants we use in our landscapes. Dinosaurs probably enjoyed their shade. They developed the...

READ MORE

Non-flowering Plants for Sunny Spots

Here are plants that have only small flowers or flowers that are easy to remove. Email me if you have other candidates. euphorbia dwarf chamaecyparis yucca coleus carex dwarf ornamental grasses dwarf boxwood acorus blue...

READ MORE

Tomato Variety – Identifying

Q: I have a family heirloom tomato I would like to identify. Any way to do this? A: Rutgers University has an excellent website that will do just that! Tomato Variety...

READ MORE

Hamster Raising

I can’t remember ever getting a question about hamster raising for profit….but if you get one, you can refer to this USDA brochure from...

READ MORE

Cabbage Worm (Cabbage Looper) – Control

Q: Something is eating my plant leaves. My beautiful collard greens were devastated in two day’s time by a caterpillar. What can I do about it organically? A: You have a fine infestation of cabbage worm (cabbage looper). A small...

READ MORE

Flower, Shrub, Tree, Plant – Identification Resources with Pictures

It’s frustrating to have a plant in your landscape that you simply can’t identify. Besides my Name That Plant webpage, there are several other good ways to figure out what a plant is. Try these web links for more help:...

READ MORE

Ovulina Petal Blight (White Spots on Flowers) – Infecting Azalea

Q: I have a few old azalea bushes behind my home. In late spring their flowers develop white spots. Can you tell me what this is? A: It’s ovulina petal blight. This disease is most severe under warm moist conditions....

READ MORE

Cedar-Hawthorn Rust – On Amelanchier (Serviceberry)

Q: I haven’t seen this before on my amelanchiers. What do you think I have here? A: It’s cedar-hawthorn rust. I have it on my amelanchier (serviceberry) too. Spores travel between the two host plants and cannot survive unless the...

READ MORE

Zoysia Lawns – Slow Green-up in 2014

I’ve been puzzled by the differences in health between different zoysia lawns. My neighbor 2 doors down has a green and verdant zoysia lawn. My neighbor around the corner has slow and spotty green-up.   The NC State Center for...

READ MORE

Rose – Black Spot Control

I have never found a rose that was one hundred percent resistant to black spot, the most common rose disease. The tell-tale yellow leaves adorn roses throughout Atlanta to one extent or another. The best way to avoid black spot...

READ MORE

Baking Soda – For Disease Control

Q: Will a baking soda spray help to discourage fungal disease on tomato plants? A: It might….and it might not. Researchers have worked for several years on the use of various bicarbonates to control fungi. Some results have been positive,...

READ MORE

Cats/Dogs – Repel From Flower Bed

Q: Is there anything that will keep the neighborhood cats out of my raised beds? A: I think a well-aimed motion-activated sprinkler would send the cats skedaddling. Look online for the Contech Scarecrow Motion Activated Sprinkler (click for sources) or the...

READ MORE

Ash Flower Gall – Identification

Q: I have a white ash that has weird green cauliflower-looking growths where the seeds clusters used to be. When I break them open, I find a little worm. A: The malformation is caused by ash flower gall. A tiny...

READ MORE

Weeds – Identification with Pictures

Weed control in the landscape is a tough business. You have to know a lot about the weed in question just to get started! As in most situations, a picture is worth a thousand words. Go through the sites below,...

READ MORE

Diagnosing (Identifying) Holes in the Yard

Sometimes many heads are better than one when it comes to solving a problem. Wade Hutcheson, my Extension colleague in Spalding county, gets plenty of calls from the citizens of his area asking his help in identifying various holes in...

READ MORE

Brown Patch – Diagnosing

You have brown patches of dead grass in your lawn. Is it the common lawn disease ‘brown patch’ or is it something else? The answer is important: if it is brown patch you probably need to spray with a fungicide....

READ MORE

Bermuda – Weed Control

BASIC INFORMATION: Weed Identification Pictures General Turf and Weed Info Lawn Care Calendars THREE METHODS There are three primary methods of controlling weeds. Any one method, when used alone, will not usually control all of your weeds. To consistently control...

READ MORE

Lawn – Timing Pre-emergent Herbicide

One of the sourest phrases that can be directed at a child or adult is “I told you so!” Whether you touch a hot match, leave tools out in the rain or lift cinder blocks all afternoon, someone is usually...

READ MORE

St. Augustine Grass Seed – Where to Buy

Q: Please tell me where I can buy St. Augustine grass seeds. Our lawn has some now and we like it a lot, but we’re having trouble finding seeds. A: You can’t buy St. Augustinegrass seed. The plant is very...

READ MORE

Lawn – Growing in Shade

OK. I admit it. I have given up. I came to the conclusion that grass just would not grow in the corner of my lawn near the ornamental cherry trees. The shade there is so dense that my grass, no...

READ MORE

Lawn – Leveling

A new home in my neighborhood had bermudagrass sod planted in March. By May, one area was a perfect checkerboard of straight lines, composed of weedy plants, surrounding the individual squares of sod. Evidently the sod installers were in such...

READ MORE

Bermuda Grass – Disease – Brown Patch

Brown patch is most prevalent on bermudagrass which has been heavily fertilized when night temperatures are above 68 degrees and day temperature are above 80 degrees. Dead patches of grass may start small but can grow and join together to...

READ MORE

Crapemyrtle – Pruning

One of the most confounding arguments I face is whether and how to prune crapemyrtles. They are mercilessly “murdered” by unaware landscapers and homeowners each winter… yet they still bloom in summer. Some people even believe a crapemyrtle won’t bloom...

READ MORE