Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Landscape trees ready for springtime snack

Whether your landscape has fruit trees, shade trees, ornamentals or a blend, a University of Georgia expert says now is the time to fertilize.

“Unfortunately for homeowners, finding a fertilizer to use all over the landscape can be challenging,” said Jim Crawford, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Jefferson County.

Different plants need different fertilizer recipes to meet their individual needs, he said.

“Just like farmers, homeowners will be paying more for fertilizer this year,” he said. “You don’t want to purchase a lot of bags just to use a few pounds of each.”

One stop shopping

To avoid extra expense, Crawford recommends using “good ol’ 10-10-10 fertilizer.” The number pattern on the bag means the mix contains 10 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus and 10 percent potassium.

“This fertilizer will be sufficient for all your needs,” he said.

For plum and peach trees, apply 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer per year of age, up to 12 cups for mature trees. After harvest, apply 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter up to 5 pounds.

“Just be sure you have the fertilizer down by the time the plants bud out,” he said.

Fertilize a pear tree at a rate of 1 cup per year of age, up to 12 cups. Apply half before the tree buds out and the other half after fruiting.

Figs should be fertilized in late winter, mid-June and mid-July. Apply one-third pound per foot of tree height each time.

Old, established muscadine vines need 3 to 5 pounds of fertilizer now and half of a pound in early June. To make sure newly planted vines get what they need, give each one-fourth pound of fertilizer now. Do it again in late May and again in early July. Two-year-old vines need the same as the newly planted ones. However, three-year-old vines like 2 pounds in March and 1 pound in May.

Shade trees okay

Crawford said most shade trees get enough residual fertilizer when you fertilize your home lawn.

“If you are fertilizing the lawn under shade trees, they can get enough from that and no extra is needed,” he said.

If you want to fertilize shade trees individually, Crawford suggests applying 5 pounds per thousand square feet of canopy now and again in June.

For ornamental bulbs, use 3 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet of bed.

Ornamental shrubs should receive 1 tablespoon per foot of height or 3 tablespoons per 10 square feet, he said. This should be applied in March and repeated in May and July.

“I can put a bucket under my arm and throw it out just about as fast as I can walk, estimating height as I go,” Crawford said.

Special plants, special blendsAzaleas and specialty plants require specific fertilizer with micro-nutrients added, he said.

For more information on how to care for your landscape plants, contact your local UGA Extension agent at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.
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Put out welcome mat for springtime hummingbirds

Hummingbirds will soon make their way back to Georgia after wintering in Central America. Welcome them to your house by providing their favorite plants and the right food in the right places.

Attract, then maintain

“Think like a hummingbird,” said Paul Thomas, a floriculture specialist with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

They spend a great deal of their life in the tropics living in the tree canopies. Providing them a similar habitat will increase the chances of them setting up housekeeping in your backyard. Remember, they can be spotted as late as January in some areas. They usually return in March.
If a male hummingbird sees the native plant horse chestnut, or Aesculus glauca, he knows the area is suitable habitat. Males are attracted to bright red flowers like those on Lonicera sempervirens, or the native honeysuckle.

Later in the summer, babies prefer flowers such as Salvia guaranitica, or blue sage, which are blue. Planting a variety of flowers that provide nectar all summer long will ensure an appropriate area for breeding.

Other recommended plants are red flowering chestnut, abelias, summer phlox, chaste tree, columbine, cardinal flower, bee balm, red hot poker, hibiscus and most salvias.

In addition to planting appropriate flowers, provide stable artificial nectar sources.
“Have a feeder present and ready during migration, or they will fly right by,” Thomas said.
Place a few feeders in the open for males, but put twice as many in the tree canopy for females, he said. “That way the females don’t have to compete with the males for food and then are usually very successful at raising a new brood.”

Female hummingbirds naturally look for wooded areas near nectar sources for nesting.
Nests are usually found between 12 and 18 feet above the ground. Feeders should be placed this high from the ground just inside the canopy.

Take a wire shaped in an “s” and hang it on a tree branch. Attach a large wire loop to the feeder for easy hanging. Use a pole with a coat hanger hook to hang it, he said.

Put a shallow ceramic bird bath with a water level less than half an inch at any time five to six feet off the ground in full sun, too.

Feeder etiquette

Feeders should be kept up year round in Georgia. Birds will leave an area where feeders are not maintained.

A sugar solution made of four parts water and one part table sugar is the best mix to put in feeders. The mix should be boiled for a few minutes and then cooled. Never add fruit juice, honey or red dye. Hummingbirds get their daily protein from eating gnats and tiny flies, so they really don’t need any extra in the nectar solution.

“A clean feeder is a welcome sight to hummingbirds,” Thomas said.

Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned every two to three days. Insects introduce bacteria to them. This can sicken or kill the birds. To limit this problem, only fill feeders half way and replace solution every other day.

To clean feeders, dump the leftover food. Wash thoroughly by rinsing three or four times before refilling. If really dirty, place feeders in boiling water for a few minutes. Never use bleach.
“You have to be a good steward with feeders, so be very consistent, and your hummingbirds will reward you with a healthy population and many more birds that return each year,” Thomas said.

Author April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oh what a beautiful day!

I treated myself today --- I spent the day in the yard. First, I joined untold numbers at our local Lowe's store. I picked up flats of marigolds and other annuals, grabbed a few hummingbird attracting hanging baskets and filled the Jimmy up with soil, fertilizer, soil conditioners and other assorted items.

The place was packed! I think everyone must have been bitten by the same bug today. The Master Gardeners from Fayette were there to share bits of wisdom. I decided to put in some grape tomatoes while there, one of those spur of the moment things... the Master Gardeners were a lot of help as it has been over ten years since I had a "real" garden.

Not one to settle for just one spur of the moment decision, I also decided to take out an entire bed, fix it up and turn it into a herb garden.

The sun is sinking and I'm sure I'm going to be sinking once all the activity of the day catches up with my poor body! However, the hummingbirds have been going bonkers trying to decide which plant to sample. I now have a garden filled with marigolds, tomatoes, sweet basil, lavender, oregano, lemon balm, chamomile, and other herbs. I stuck a shepherd's hook down in the soil and popped a hummingbird feeder on it just for fun. We'll see if they'll leave the plants on the back porch and travel to the feeder.

What a gloriously perfect day! Hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow and find all the plants still intact. The deer love to hang out in our yard. I tried to grab things they usually shy away from, but I swear they change their dining habits to include whatever I happen to plant.

Hope you managed to find a bit of time to enjoy the weather.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Governor Perdue Announces Additional Funding for Silver Lake Property in Decatur County

Governor Sonny Perdue joined conservation leaders and Decatur County representatives, for his third stop of the day to highlight Conserve Georgia, on the banks of Lake Seminole to announce funding for the second phase of acquisition at Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Decatur County near Bainbridge. Governor Perdue also signed two pieces of legislation to support conservation efforts: HB 1176 and HB 1274.

“As good stewards of our natural resources, it is vital that we seek to conserve the natural beauty of our state and the recreational opportunities it affords to all of our citizens and visitors,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “This is possible because of generous partners who have joined with us in recognizing that conservation is a worthy and necessary cause, and I thank them for their support.”

The second phase of acquisition will include approximately 2,594 acres at a cost of $10.8 million. He also announced that the property would be open to the public on August 1, 2008, with public hunting opening with the start of small game season on August 15, 2008.

In December 2007, Governor Perdue announced the state’s plans to purchase the 8,430-acre property from The Conservation Fund in phases for a cost of approximately $38.6 million. The first phase of acquisition included 3,790 acres at a cost of $19.8 million and included $15 million from the Georgia Land Conservation Program.

The second phase of acquisition funding includes $3.75 million from the Woodruff Foundation, $3 million from Decatur County, $2 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and $1 million from a partnership between Southern Company and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Longleaf Legacy Program. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expects to have the remaining funding needed to complete the second phase later this spring.

“The combined efforts of the multiple levels of public and private partners made this a success and is an example for other local governments to follow,” said Rex Boner, vice president and southeast representative for The Conservation Fund. “Because of the Governor’s leadership, IP’s patience and cooperation and Decatur County’s recognition of this property as an important resource to their community, this historic property will be open to local residents and to all citizens of Georgia for the first time and for generations to come.”

The Conservation Fund purchased this property from International Paper (IP), which had managed it as part of a private forestry research site for more than 50 years. Only a handful of these types of research sites exist across the country. It features numerous critical habitats identified in Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan. Most prominently, Silver Lake contains one of the finest examples of a mature longleaf pine forest. This highly imperiled habitat type supports a host of threatened and endangered wildlife including red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise. It also provides valuable habitat for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, and the declining northern bobwhite quail.

A key to the collaborative funding for the second phase of acquisition of the Silver Lake WMA was the interest of Decatur County in conserving this unique property and providing recreational opportunities for their residents. The Decatur County funding is the result of a $3 million low-interest loan that the Georgia Land Conservation Program approved earlier today.

“This property is a tremendous asset for the people of Decatur County and all Georgians,” said Decatur County Board of Commissioners Chairman Palmer Rich. “We are excited to be one of the collaborative funding partners to conserve this unique property for today and future generations and look forward to the increased outdoor recreational opportunities it will provide.”

DNR expects to complete the acquisition of the Silver Lake WMA by early 2009. The final phase will include additional funds from the Woodruff Foundation. In addition, DNR has applied for a Forest Legacy Program grant from the U.S. Forest Service. If awarded, this grant would be administered through the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Today Governor Perdue also signed two bills into law in conjunction with the announcement at Silver Lake WMA and the launch of the Conserve Georgia campaign; HB 1176 and HB 1274.
“I am pleased to sign these two pieces of legislation into law today to strengthen and further Georgia’s vital conservation efforts,” Governor Perdue said. “The passage of this legislation would not have been possible without the hard work of the bills’ sponsor, Rep. Knight.”

Both HB 1176 and HB 1274, authored by Rep. David Knight, strengthen the state’s conservation efforts and build on the Conserve Georgia campaign. They make needed changes to current law and keep Georgia at the forefront of land conservation. HB 1176 will expand eligibility for loans to nonprofit organizations that have the primary purpose of land conservation. It also allows the Georgia Forestry Commission to apply for grants and GEFA to form a 501(c)3 that will promote land conservation projects. HB 1274 will allow the Department of Natural Resources to develop new rules for specific types of conservation projects as well as make technical changes to the land conservation tax credit program.

“I am very proud that we were able to pass both HB 1176 and HB 1274 this session,” said Rep. David Knight. “This legislation provides new and better opportunities to conserve Georgia for future generations.”

For more information on these bills, visit

Conserve Georgia is a statewide multi-agency marketing and public education effort aimed at promoting the conservation of energy, land and water; the prevention of litter; and the promotion of recycling. Conserve Georgia’s website – – is a portal to Georgia’s conservation programs. If anyone or any organization wants to know how they can conserve the state’s natural resources, they can go to and easily access all of Georgia’s conservation programs and information.
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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Atlanta City Councilmember Natalyn Archibong Partners with Big Names for annual Tire Round-Up on

Atlanta City Councilmember Natalyn Archibong is partnering with Scrappy Green Recycling and the world’s largest junk removal company, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? to improve efficiency at one of Atlanta’s largest Earth Day events.

The year’s volunteer tire round-up is expected to collect more than 2,000 illegally discarded tires throughout District 5 waterways, vacant lots and roadsides. Since 2002, Councilmember Archibong’s effort has collected over 6,000 tires!

“We’ve noticed a huge amount of excitement from everyone involved because we’ve partnered with a company like 1-800-GOY-JUNK? “ Archibong said. “They will be on hand with their trucks to help transport all of the tires from various sites and make things easier for everyone.”

Residents of District 5 can drop-off discarded rim-free automotive tires free of charge. Due to capacity limitations, the event is reserved for District 5 neighborhoods only.

For additional information, please contact Councilmember Natalyn Mosby Archibong at 404-330-6048 or 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Owner, Michael Spivey at 404-510-8353.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fayette Family Market Day Features Handmade, Homemade or Homegrown

Back by popular demand, Fayetteville Main Street is hosting the Fayette Family Market Day on the second Saturday of June, July and August from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. around the gazebo at Stonewall Village.

“We’re encouraging vendors with produce, plants and handmade, homemade or homegrown items to showcase your goods at our Market Day,” said Jennifer Cleland, Main Street coordinator. “We constantly receive calls from the public wanting a Market Day in Fayetteville. We want everyone to come downtown and support the vendors and event.”

The dates for the Market Day are June 14, July 12 and August 9. Main Street is accepting applications from individuals and businesses selling homemade goods and food. Booth spaces are available for $35 per month or $75 for all three months. For an application and more information, visit Main Street’s offices located at the Historic Train Depot & Welcome Center at 250 Lanier Avenue West, Mon. through Fri., 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or call 770-719-4173.

This year, there are more than 20 events downtown. View the 2008 Calendar of Events at: under “Events & Headlines” and visit the Villages Amphitheater website for concert and free event information at:
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Fayetteville, Peachtree City, Tyrone

Monday, April 14, 2008

Earth Day Events in Tyrone, Georgia April 19th

Clean Up Tyrone 8 AM – 9 AM

Earth Day Festival 9 AM – 1 PM
Come learn about living a healthy life. Some of the day’s information will include:
composting gardening
wild birds water quality
recycling alternative energy
holistic medicine health foods
Stay and Enjoy a Healthy Lunch!
Local restaurants will be offering a variety of healthy foods.

Give the Gift of Life
The Red Cross will have their mobile blood unit on hand for donations.

Scavenger Hunt 11:00 AM
Kids, join your friends for a nature scavenger hunt around the lake!

Visit our “Kids Korner”
Home Depot will help your child build a birdhouse for them to keep!
Join Cookies By Design and decorate cookies.
Plant a seedling to take home.

“Concert for Planet Earth”
The Tyrone Business Association invites you to the first concert at Triangle Park. The band, 2nd Time Around, begins at 1:00 PM- 3PM.

Don’t forget your blankets!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ends of the Earth: From Polar Bears to Penguins at Fernbank Museum

Ends of the Earth: From Polar Bears to Penguins at Fernbank Museum
Travel from one end of the globe to the other as you explore the fascinating worlds of the Arctic and Antarctic in Ends of the Earth: From Polar Bears to Penguins, a new special exhibition opening June 7, 2008, at Fernbank Museum of Natural History... More