Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Gardenias are not only about the visual beauty of bloom and leaf; gardenias are about fragrance. Gardenias also known as Cape Jessimine have been cultivated for hundreds of years for its scent.

According to Wikipedia, the gardenia originated in Asia and was named by John Ellis ,a British naturalist, for Dr. Alexander Garden of Charleston who practiced medicine there in the 1750's. Dr. Garden was also a noted botanist.

Depending on the cultivar, Gardenias vary in height from dwarfs(Gardenia Radicans) which grow to about 18 inches to other cultivars which can grow to up to six feet.Plant gardenias in a location with good are circulation and near patios, walks and windows to enjoy the fragrance and lovely foliage and flowers. Gardenias can be used in the landscape as screens, borders or groundcover, in mass plantings or as free standing specimens.

Gardenias grow best in partial shade in well drained,acidic soil (pH 4.5-5.5) improved with organic matter such as compost, peat moss or manure to improve nutrient and moisture-holding capacity. Take soil samples for analysis by the County Extension Office to determine soil deficiencies. Generally, use of a fertilizer designed for azaleas should meet plants nutrient requirements,but check to make sure that the fertilizer contains the nutrients recommended in the soil analysis. Established plants do well with two to three applications of fertilizer per year beginning in March, with the second application in September and a third during the summer.

Gardenias can be susceptible to aphids, mealy bugs, thrips, scale, whitefly and sooty mold. If you are unsure about the type of pest is infesting your plants,your should bring a specimen to the County Extension Office for identification. Mold can best be managed by controlling pests.

Pruning should be done after plants have finished blooming. New plants can be started from cuttings . The cuttings can be planted at any time, but are most successfully started if planted between June and September.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pesticide Training 04/07/2010


Scholarship opportunity for graduating high school seniors

This is a scholarship opportunity for graduating high school seniors enrolling in agriculture-related, four-year degree programs across the nation. The application is open through the end of the month.

Also, any college students planning to transfer to the University of Georgia, the application deadline is April 1. Transfer information is found online at

CAES Alumni Association sponsors a scholarship for transfer students: (Scroll down to “Transfer Scholarship)

2010 FL-GA Game Management Update Series: Food Plot Management: Cool Season Forages Aucilla Plantation - Thomas County, GA Friday, April 2, 2010


Thursday, March 25, 2010


In the late-spring and early summer, homeowners often notice large, black bees hovering around the outside of their homes. These are probably carpenter bees searching for mates and favorable sites to construct their nests. Male carpenter bees are quite aggressive, often hovering in front of people who are around the nests. The males are quite harmless, however, since they lack stingers. Female carpenter bees can inflict a painful sting but seldom will unless they are handled or molested.

For more information visit - Carpenter Bees

or visit the UGA Honey Bee Program

Monday, March 15, 2010

Starting a New Food Business

The next one-day workshop will be held Tuesday, April 27th, at the Food Science Bldg., UGA Campus, in Athens. The cost is $100.00, which includes lunch, workshop materials and notebook.

The deadline to register for this workshop is Friday, April 9th - to register online, go to the CALENDAR link at and look for the Starting a New Food Business brochure and online registration links. The brochure has important information about parking and directions.

Space is limited to 40, so register early!

Tickets online: Cool Season Forages Update

2010 FL - GA Game Management Update Series:
Food Plot Management:
Cool Season Forages April 2, 2010



8:30 am - Registration
9:00 am -Field demo presentations start
12:30 pm - Program Concludes with Lunch

A program for landowners, managers, outdoors men and women and others interested in game habitat management, hunting, and best natural resource management practices.

1. View 30 different mature cool season forages and blends
2. Planning your food plots for summer and fall
3. Recommended warm season forages for SW GA and NW FL
4. Planning food plots for maximum benefit
5. Tips on preparing food plots this Spring

Aucilla Plantation
805 Coffee Rd
Thomasville, GA 31757
Signs will be posted to guide you to the entrance
View the map on the right for directions

Contact the Thomas County Extension office at 229.225.4130 or the Leon County Extension office at 850.606.5200.


Hydrangeas are a lovely addition to the southern garden. They do best in beds with lots of organic matter in partial shade. However, they may tolerate full morning sun if plenty of moisture is available.

New plants should not be fed until established which takes one to two months. After establishment use a balanced fertilizer,but use it sparingly because too much nitrogen can stop flowering.

For pink flowers top dress with dolomite or drench with quick lime solution. For blue flowers, use aluminum sulphate to acidify the soil. Two cups of aluminum sulphate equals one(1) pound. Use one(1) pound per three(3) feet of height or mix one(1) pound of aluminum sulphate in five(5) gallons of water and apply at the drip line of the shrubs and water in. The change in color is not immediate. Use of phosphate fertilizer can "tie up" the aluminum which is what changes the blossoms from pink to blue.

Big leaf or mophead hydrangeas can be deadheaded at any time. To revitalize, the shrubs can be cut almost to the ground.
For more information visit

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Butterfly Gardens

Butterfly populations can be greatly enhanced by devoting a portion of the landscape to butterfly habitat. In addition to their natural beauty, butterflies serve as valuable plant pollinators. The 3 necessary ingredients to attract and maintain butterfly populations all summer are: 1) nectar producing plants 2) larval food plants and 3) a shallow pool of water.

Nectar producing plants provide food for adult butterflies. Characteristics of good butterfly-attracting plants include: 1) sweet, pungent, and highly fragrant flowers 2) red, purple, orange, yellow or pink flower colors 3) simple, open flowers. Flowers that are deep throated or enclosed are not conducive to nectar collection. Most of the plants recommended as nectar food plants are herbaceous or woody perennials.

Although nectar-producing plants are necessary to attract adult butterflies, the ideal butterfly garden requires food plants and habitat for the larvae (caterpillars). Many of the grasses and wildflowers native to Georgia are suitable for larvae food. The plant material should be located in an undisturbed area that is free of pesticides.

If you have a limited landscapes area, 3 of the most commonly recommended plants for butterfly gardens are pentas, lantana, and butterfly bush. With mild winters and heavy mulching, pentas in south Georgia will sometimes survive as a perennial. Lantana and butterfly bush are excellent perennial shrubs that flower through the spring, summer and fall. Both plants should be cut back in February or March since flowers occur on new growth. To attract swallowtail butterfly, you can include fennel in your border plants.

Another necessary ingredient for a sustained butterfly population is a source of water. Butterflies will not drink from open, deep areas. It is necessary to provide one or more shallow water sources. Wet sand or mud makes an excellent watering hole. A saucer designed to fit beneath clay or plastic pots also make an excellent water source - just sand to make it shallow. A rock or other object added to the center of the saucer provides a resting spot for the butterfly.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March Tips for Ornamentals and Lawn

Here is a few tips from our UGA Thomas County Master Gardeners for the month of March.

• If you want flowers on your cactus, plant it in a small pot. Most cacti bloom sooner if root bound.

• Houseplants can be watered more frequently with the onset of spring and new growth.

• Apply a pre-emergent herbicide before lawn weeds get started. These chemicals work by preventing the seed from germinating. It is important that the herbicides be applied in early spring, before growth of the weed seedlings.

• Variegated plants can help add the illusion of light to a dark area. Shade-loving ground covers such as variegated liriope. Ivies, euonymous and hosta, can be very effective for this.

• Shrubs and trees in the home landscape break up sound waves and reduce the nerve-shattering noise of modern society. Plant some new shrubs and trees this spring to improve the beauty and ambiance of your home.

• If you haven’t done it already, check stored tools and outdoor furniture for signs of rust. Remove any surface rust with steel wool, and paint with rust-inhibitive paint.

• If your tiller turns over sluggishly in spring, before trying to start it, move it to a sunny location and cover it with a black garbage bag for half an hour. A few minutes of solar heating will warm up the fluids and make starting easier.

• Some gardeners start seedlings in vermiculite purchased at garden supply stores, but this medium does not contain the nutrients needed for sustained growth, so seedlings should be transplanted to soil when the second pair of true leaves form.

• Catnip is a hardy plant, but grow it in a large pot or tub to contain its invasive growth.

• Don’t buy more chemicals than you can use in a season - - the smaller the bottle, the better. If you overbought in the past and have aged garden chemicals you no longer use, dispose of them according to local regulations. Do not pour them down the drain or into the ground as this can pollute the water systems, damage the soil and possibly injure or kill plants, people and animals that may come in contact with the chemicals.

• A child’s first garden should include sunflowers from seeds. The large seeds sprout quickly and dependably, and the strong seedlings can push their way through crusted soil. If you are shooting for record sunflowers, your plants will need to top 20 feet in height with seed-head diameters of 2 feet to be in the running.

• Cover old stumps with soil to help hasten decay.

• Turn the compost pile and add manure.

• The most common nematodes are saprophytes that feed on decaying organic matter. They play a critical role maintaining the balance of nature in returning nutrients to the soil.

• Bluebells are superb for naturalizing in the same manner as daffodils but prefer a shadier location and will bloom even where they get no direct sun at all

• As tulip, narcissus and other large bulbs begin to emerge set pansy plants between them for added color.

• If weeds occur in bulb beds, do not cover them by cultivation. Pull them by hand so the bulbs and roots will not be disturbed.

• Don’t forget to fertilize naturalized bulbs in the spring as leaves emerge. Do not mow the area until the bulb foliage begins to die back.

• In your flower arrangements, avoid mixing cut daffodils with tulips. Daffodils produce a chemical “slime” that injures tulip blooms. If you wish to use two flowers in an arrangement, place the daffodils in another container for a day after cutting, then rinse off the stems and add to the vase of tulips. Adding 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal or 6 drops of bleach to each quart of water also helps.

• Reposition stepping stones that have heaved or sunk below grass level. Lift them up, spread sand in the low areas, and replace the rocks. A bed of sand under the stones will aid drainage and decrease having to do it again next year.

• Be aware that a brown plastic material that looks and feels like natural burlap, but does not break down in the soil, is now being used to wrap root balls of balled and burlapped plants. Synthetic materials enclosing the roots of trees and shrubs must be completely removed to ensure success of the transplants.

• Potted azaleas, available through Easter, will flower for two to three weeks, if the soil is kept slightly moist. Display in a cool (60 degrees F) bright location, and remove withered flowers. Unless you have room to experiment, discard when blooms fade since most florist azaleas are not hardy enough to be established outdoors.

• Prune evergreen shrubs before growth starts.

• Boxwood should be pruned by thinning the outer foliage of the plant and cutting back the branches to retain desired height.

• Prune spring-flowering shrubs after flowering is completed.

• Plant roses and bare-root shrubs while they are still dormant about four weeks before the average date of the late frost.

• Propagate deciduous shrubs, such as forsythia and winter jasmine, now by ground layering.

Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 FL-GA Game Management Update Series: Food Plot Management: Cool Season Forages Aucilla Plantation - Thomas County, GA Friday, April 2, 2010



8:30 am - Registration
9:00 am -
Field demo presentations
12:30 pm - Program Concludes with Lunch

A program for landowners, managers, outdoors men and women and others interested in game habitat management, hunting, and best natural resource management practices.

1. View 30 different mature cool season forages and blends
2. Planning your food plots for summer and fall
3. Recommended warm season forages for SW GA and NW FL
4. Planning food plots for maximum benefit
5. Tips on preparing food plots this Spring

Aucilla Plantation
805 Coffee Rd
Thomasville, GA 31757
Signs will be posted to guide you to the entrance
View the map on the right for directions

We cannot process online registration after 3 pm two days before the event.
"New participants" - are $25.00 + fee and have never attended a 2009 FL-GA Game Management Series Event.
"Previous participants" - are $5.00 + fee and have attended a 2009 FL-GA Game Management Series Event.

We accept most major credit cards through this site.
To pay by check, choose "pay by other methods" under the "Order Now" button.
If paying by check, please mail your check to the address below by March 26, 2010 in order for it to be processed.

Thomas County Extension Office
Attn: 2010 Game Management
Thomasville, GA 31799

You may also drop a check payment in person at Thomas County Extension office (229.225.4130) or Leon County Extension Office (850.606.5200) before Noon on April 1st, 2010.


New participants have not attended any 2009 FL-GA Game Management Series Events.
Only previous
participants of the 2009 FL-GA Game Management Series should register at the "previous participants" rate.
participants who register at the "previous participants" rate will be billed for the difference.


Pre-registration required
Bring your own camp chair as we will be in the field the whole demo time.
Pre-registration required. No registration on site.
Maps to event sites will be on website.
Registration is limited.


Cancellation policy: if you need to cancel your reservation, you must call the Thomas County Extension office by 12:00 noon on the Monday preceding the program in order to receive a refund. The Thomas County Extension office number is 229.225.4130.


Contact the Thomas County Extension office at 229.225.4130 or the Leon County Extension office at 850.606.5200.

Pesticide Training 04/07/2010

Register online at

Cost: $10 at the door
Date: 04/07/2010
Time: 9AM to 12PM
Location: Thomas County Extension Office
For more info contact or 229.225.4130.

This training will be for persons interested in obtaining
(1) pesticide credit hours [commercial and private] and
(2) also persons needing a private pesticide license (must be used in producing agriculture commodities, ie: row crops, forestry)


Daylilies can be grown successfully in all areas of Georgia. To achieve good growth and flowering, plant daylilies where they receive full sun for at least half a day. Many varieties will do well if plants get full sun during mornings and partial shade in the afternoon. They also do well under filtered shade.

Daylilies will grow in a variety of soils from light,sandy soils to heavy clay. Beds should be spaded or tilled deeply to reduce compaction and underlying hard-pans.Both conditions will impede drainage. Do not plant daylilies in poorly drained soil. Plant in soil that is mildly acidic-a pH of 6.0-6.5. Apply lime if pH is below 5.5.

Daylilies can be planted or transplanted at any time of year, but fall or early spring planting is recommended. After planting, water routinely to encourage new growth and early establishment. Vigorous varieties should be divided every four to five years. Clumps are more easily divides if the soil is washed from the roots. One done it is easier to see the root structure which makes separation easier.

Daylilies should be planted 18 to 24 inches apart to prevent crowding. Dig individual holes several inches wider than the root system and at least 12 inches deep. The soil should be worked until crumbly. Build a cone-shaped mound of soil in the middle of the planting hole. Set the plants' roots over the top of the mound trailing downward into the hole. Adjust the height of the mound so that the plant sits as deep as it grew originally.

A safe rule is to seat the plant so that the point where the plant root and foliage meet is not deeper than one inch below the surface of the soil. Cover the roots carefully with soil. Firm the soil around roots but do not pack it. Construct a small mound of soil around the outside of the planting hole to help direct water toward the root system. Water thoroughly after planting and once or twice a week until established.

Mulching with about two inches of pine straw or pine bark is good for the plants and will aide water retention and reduce weeds.

A weekly application of water during the growing season will promote good growth and flowering. Apply enough water to wet the soil to a depth of ten to twelve inches(1/2 inches of water if sandy soil and 3/4 to 1 inch for clay soils). Sandy soils may require water every four to five days.

Daylilies grow better when fertilized with a fertilizer containing a moderate amount of phosphorous and potash(5-10-15 or 6-12-12). Apply in early spring when new growth commences. A rate of two pounds per one hundred square feet is suggested. Your can find more information at
Thomas County Extension's webpage.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Camellias: Fertilization and Pruning

Camellias have been a part of the southern landscapes for almost 200 years. Camellias flower in the fall and winter, but during the remainder of the year, their evergreen foliage, interesting shapes and textures, and relatively slow growth make camellias excellent landscape plants. Camellias perform best in partially shaded locations which are enhanced by good water drainage and air movement.

Pruning - Camellias should require little pruning if they are properly used in the landscape. Necessary pruning should be done in the late winter or very early spring. Prune by removing undesirable branches to retain a natural shape and branching habit. Shearing should be avoided because it will result in a dense layer of foliage that blocks light from interior branches. Shearing also destroys the natural plant form.

Fertilization - Due to the heavy leaching of nutrients from sandy soils, frequent and light applications are recommended. For example, 1/2 pound of 12-4-8 or 15-5-15 should be applied per 100 square feet of planting area four times a year. Applications are recommended 1) before spring growth begins, 2) after the first growth flush, 3) mid-summer, and 4) early winter after the danger of late growth has passed. Late summer fertilization may cause tender growth which may be injured by early cold periods. Water the plants before and after fertilizer applications.

For more information visit our site -
for more camellia information:

By Martha