Friday, May 29, 2009

UGA licenses new Bermuda grass that thrives in sun

An internationally recognized turfgrass researcher from the University of Georgia has developed a new Bermuda grass that thrives in sun and produces healthy turf in areas with less than half the light normally required for other Bermuda grass.

The new grass, licensed by the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc., to New Concept Turf, will soon be available to homeowners for planting lawns; to developers for recreational facilities, sports complexes and golf courses; and to urban area landscapers.

TifGrand was developed by Wayne Hanna, professor of plant breeding and genetics in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“Although TifGrand produces a beautiful turf in full sun, its major contribution will be the production of nice turf in areas with reduced light -- up to 60 percent less light than is normally required for healthy Bermuda grass growth,” Hanna said.

Hanna is a world-renowned plant breeder. During his 37-year career, Hanna has developed winter-hardy, pest-resistant Bermuda grasses able to handle high traffic. These grasses now grow on golf courses around the world and in major sports stadiums.

Hanna has spearheaded the screening of Bermuda grass for hybrids that naturally deter mole crickets, the No. 1 lawn and turf pest in the Southeast. He and his research team have been awarded seven patents.

New Concept Turf, a Georgia-based company specializing in marketing new turfgrasses, has contracted The Turfgrass Group of Ft. Valley, Ga., to exclusively handle licensing of TifGrand for sod production. TifGrand will be licensed to a selected number of growers beginning in summer 2009. It is expected to be available in the general market in 2010.

For more information on TifGrand and licensing opportunities, contact Bill Carraway, vice president of marketing for The Turfgrass Group, 770/207-1500, or visit www.theturfgrassgroup.com.

By Terry Hastings
University of Georgia

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vanishing Habitat Walk at Sprewell Bluff State Park

Join a guided tour with a park ranger on a trail that transverses a globally imperiled habitat – the Montane Longleaf Pine Woodland. Participants will meet at the main parking area near the river at 10:00 am, June 6, 2009. This hike is part of National Trails Day, an event sponsored by the American Hiking Society. There is a $3.00 charge for the hike, and a $5.00 daily park pass fee. The hike will cover about two miles, and lead participants through a variety of habitats, from the river bottomlands, to the unique upland Longleaf community. All wildlife, from birds to dragonflies to butterflies will be discussed on this interpretive walk.

Why is this habitat so important?

The Montane Longleaf Community found at Sprewell Bluff, and the Natural areas across the river, are a rocky slope, ridge top community that is composed of Longleaf Pine, Shortleaf Pine, Sand Hickory, Post Oak, Chestnut Oak, Sparkleberry, and a variety of native grasses and wildflowers. Before European Settlement, natural fires, and fires set by Native Americans, maintained this community. But, with settlement, the old Longleaf Pine was turpentined, logged, or began to disappear as the land was farmed and used as grazing area for cattle. Fire was suppressed, and without fire, other trees like Loblolly Pine, less fire resistant oaks, and sweetgum moved in, and eventually, changed the habitat. Now, only puzzle pieces, little remnants of what used to be, survive as clues about what the forest looked like long ago.

The Department of Natural Resources Non-Game Wildlife Program has begun an ambitious effort to restore what is left. By prescribe Burning, thinning Loblolly Pine, and replanting Longleaf Pine, the native grasses and wildflowers are coming back in under the opening canopy, and young Longleaf Pine are waiting to reclaim their spot back in the forest. To see our efforts, and learn more about this rare ecosystem, join us on this hike and many others to come at Sprewell Bluff State Park.

To find out more information about these programs, or about Sprewell Bluff State Park, please call the park office at 706-746-6026 or talk to a park ranger at the park. For information on these or other programs happening at other parks, please visit www.gastateparks.org.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dwarf crape myrtles offer new uses for old plant

Crape myrtles have long graced Southern landscapes as trees. Now gardeners can enjoy their hardy qualities in their smaller cousins. Miniature myrtles can be grown as shrubs, groundcovers or even hanging basket plants.

Following are a few of the most well-known dwarf crape myrtles. Some you may find locally, while others you may have to shop for at specialty nurseries or on the Internet.

The Razzle Dazzle crape myrtle series are some of the most popular of the new dwarf plants. These varieties were introduced by the Center for Applied Nursery Research in Dearing, Ga. Cherry Dazzle bears deep pink flowers and grows as a compact mound 3 feet to 4 feet in height. Other selections include Dazzle Me Pink with bright pink flowers and mature height of 3 feet to 4 feet, Ruby Dazzle with lavender flowers and mature height of 2 feet to 3 feet and Snow Dazzle with white flowers topping out at 2 feet to 3 feet.

Crape Myrtlettes originate from breeding programs in Louisiana. Most grow 3 feet to 4 feet in height and can be used along foundations, in perennial borders or in large containers. They are available in a wide range of colors including dark red, rose red, pink, rose pink, white, lilac lavender and lavender.

Rosey Carpet is a groundcover cultivar introduced by Hambuchen Nursery in Conway, Ark., in 1997. It grows just a foot high and trails 4 feet in all directions. Other selections for use as groundcovers, in containers, or in large hanging baskets include Delta Blush with pink blooms (1 feet to 3 feet), Bourbon Street with watermelon red flowers (2 feet to 3 feet), Mardi Gras with purple flowers (2 feet to 3 feet), and Sacramento with deep red flowers (1 feet to 3 feet).

There are many other great dwarf selections of crape myrtles on the market.

When selecting dwarf crape myrtles, there are two important things to remember. First, like all crape myrtles, they require full sun for best flowering. Second, they are deciduous, so it’s best to plant them adjacent to evergreens so they can fade into the background in winter.

Gardeners have long appreciated the tough-as-nails qualities of crape myrtle. There is hardly a Southern landscape without at least one of these summer flowering beauties. Some cities and towns use them as street trees, while others hold summer festivals in their honor.

In the 1960s, crape myrtle breeding work by Donald Egolf at the U.S. National Arboretum gave us many superior selections with beautiful bark characteristics and improved disease resistance. His selections were given Indian names, like Natchez, Seminole, Catawba, Cherokee, Potomac, Yuma and Hopi. Most of these selections grow 15 feet to 30 feet tall.

For more information on growing crape myrtles, visit pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/C944/C944.htm.

By Gary Wade
University of Georgia

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Encore Azalea® Spotlights Container Gardening in Latest Online Magazine

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Encore Azalea® has released the 2nd edition of their digital magazine that focuses on container gardening throughout the year. Garden Professionals and consumers can also find insight into all things related to Encore Azaleas: from regional care to spacing suggestions. Novice and master gardeners alike will enjoy the photos and articles while taking advantage of the simple planting instructions and easy care tips found in “Flourish with Encore Azalea®.”

This edition illustrates how to start with Encore Azalea® as a base plant and create versatile, sustainable containers for home spaces in every season of the year. The magazine also offers a wealth of valuable information for avid gardeners including first–time planting and care tips, best time to plant, variety and space recommendations, and specific regional care. There is a feature on Robert E. "Buddy" Lee, the inventor of Encore Azaleas and a well-known plant breeder. Lee offers his tips and techniques on soil amendment, planting, mulching, watering, and pruning. The digital magazine can be viewed and downloaded at www.EncoreAzalea.com/magazine. The magazine features resources including the newly released video, “Care Instructions with Buddy Lee” which is available for free download in Windows Media, QuickTime and a free iTunes podcast.

Encore Azalea® is the only patented brand of azaleas to bloom in spring, summer, and fall. Today, the 23 varieties of Encore Azalea offer a growth habit and bloom color palette for every landscape. The evergreen shrubs enjoy more sun than traditional azaleas, but offer the same easy care.

Encore Azaleas begin blooming each spring like a traditional azalea. Once this initial blooming concludes, new shoots begin to grow and set buds. Then blooms emerge again in mid-summer and continue in many areas until first frost. No other azalea performs like that.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Georgia Becomes National Leader in Statewide Beautification

100% of Georgia Counties Participate in the 2009 Great American Cleanup

Each March through May, people nationwide volunteer their time to collect trash and beautify their communities’ thoroughfares, parks and waterways during the Great American Cleanup. This year, Georgia has joined an elite group of states that can boast 100 percent participation from their counties. In 2008, only Tennessee achieved the perfect participation status.

More than 300 organizations are participating in the Great American Cleanup throughout Georgia’s 159 counties. Organized statewide through the Keep Georgia Beautiful program and implemented locally through area Keep America Beautiful Affiliates, civic organizations and local governments, this demonstration of citizen involvement highlights the pride and commitment that Georgians have for their state.

Fifty-eight thousand Georgians volunteered to pick up 2,450,298 pounds of trash in 2008, and organizers are on track for a similar result in 2009. That’s the equivalent of picking up seven-hundred 3,500-pound automobiles or more than thirty 80,000-pound tractor trailers in just 90 days.
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recycling in Georgia Continues to Grow

Georgia counties are playing an active role in providing recycling services throughout the state. Nearly two-thirds (74%) of the counties either provide or arrange for recycling services in their communities, according to information reported to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Diverting recyclable materials from local landfills not only conserves natural resources, but also fuels Georgia’s economy. Georgia has the second largest end-use market in the country for recycled materials, which are used in the production of everything from carpet to corrugated cardboard. The Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) recognizes the role that county government plays in facilitating recycling efforts and “Greening Our Future” during National County Government Week, May 3 – 9, 2009.

“Georgians want to do their part to protect the environment and recycling is an easy way for us to be green,” said Randy Hartmann, Environmental Program Manager for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. “Our research shows that people are more likely to participate in recycling programs if they have curbside services available, so we are actively working with local government to consider the benefits of increased recycling as one of their waste management options.”

County governments have participated in several grant programs to enhance their recycling efforts. For example:

· Bulloch County received one of four grants funded through Georgia’s Solid Waste Trust Fund to develop regional recycling collection infrastructure in the state. Bulloch County is in the process of establishing a regional recycling hub for southeast Georgia, which will make recycling in the surrounding counties of Candler, Evans, Effingham, Jenkins, Screven, Tattnall and Bryan much easier. The hub will be a single stream recycling center, meaning that it will accept recyclable materials mixed together, and then sort and market them for reuse. As part of this initiative, Bulloch County recently purchased recycling containers to provide single stream recycling collection to the residents in the City of Statesboro.

· Counties are also actively involved in the “Away From Home” Recycling Program which was launched in April 2008 to promote recycling at special events. In the first nine months alone, these counties and their municipal counterparts, collected 53,684 pounds of recyclable materials at 308 special events throughout the state. Twenty-nine communities across the state have received one of these grants, including the following counties: Albany-Dougherty, Athens-Clarke, Bartow, Bulloch, Columbia, Dalton-Whitfield, Decatur, DeKalb, Forsyth, Glynn, Hall, Liberty, Newton and the North Georgia Resource Management Authority (Banks, Lumpkin, Towns and Union). This program is administered through the Department of Community of Affairs and funded through Georgia’s Solid Waste Trust Fund.

Other counties are taking similar steps to increase recycling efforts in their communities. Dawson County implemented a single stream recycling program in February in partnership with Community Waste Services to make recycling more convenient for their county residents.

“We just kicked off our new recycling program earlier this year, and it is a great addition for our county,” said Dawson County Chairman Mike Berg. “We are making recycling easier by not requiring recyclable materials to be sorted, which we hope will result in more participation.

According to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgians throw away millions of tons of recyclable materials each year, including paper (1.9 million tons), plastic (1 million tons), metal (360,000 tons) and glass (240,000 tons). Recycling these materials can help offset energy use. For example, recycling one glass bottle could light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or recycling an aluminum can could run a computer for up to three hours.

“Developing recycling programs is just another way that county governments are promoting responsible environmental management,” said ACCG Deputy Director Ross King. “We are proud to partner with DCA and the Keep Georgia Beautiful affiliates to help encourage recycling efforts throughout the state.”

First celebrated in 1991, National County Government Week (NCGW) was created by the National Association of Counties (NACo) to raise public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of the nation’s 3,068 counties.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

New From SYNLawn(R) - The First Synthetic Landscape Grass Featuring Temperature Controlled Yarn

/PRNewswire/ -- SYNLawn, the company that first introduced synthetic landscape grass to the marketplace, today announces the launch of HeatBlock Technology(TM) featuring Bonar's Coolgrass(R), a major technological advancement that will help keep children, people of all ages and pets almost 20% cooler during the hottest days of the year.

"As summer approaches, SYNLawn is excited to offer a product to help keep grass surface temperatures noticeably cooler with our HeatBlock Technology(TM)," said George Neagle, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the company. "This innovation is combined with SYNLawn's renowned thatch technology utilizing resilient nylon yarn and designed to perform without infill."

SYNLawn has traditionally manufactured the coolest products available on the market by offering a durable yarn cushioning system that eliminates the need for infill. HeatBlock Technology(TM) enhances that effect by lowering surface temperatures by almost 20% compared to ordinary turf products, as verified in recent comprehensive scientific tests. This breakthrough is introduced in two new collections - SYNAugustine and SYNBermuda. Available in four styles, this exciting collection provides kids and pets with a noticeably cooler synthetic lawn.

"Our testing has found that HeatBlock Technology(TM) with Bonar's Coolgrass(R) significantly lowers temperatures by altering the emissivity levels of the grass surface," explained Davis Lee, Ph.D. of the InnovaNet Technology Group, a certified lab that tested the product performance in both indoor and outdoor conditions. "SYNLawn synthetic grass products now have the unique ability to reflect infrared radiation from the sun and reduce the build up of heat at the contact surface."

SYNLawn's sister company, AstroTurf, the world's most recognized brand in synthetic turf, is simultaneously incorporating Bonar's Coolgrass(R) throughout its premium AstroTurf, PureGrass and GameDay Grass athletic field product lines. Bonar's Coolgrass(R) is available exclusively through SYNLawn and AstroTurf in North America.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Simple Tips For Starting Your Own Kitchen Garden

(NAPSI)-Edible gardening is growing in popularity; the National Gardening Association expects a 19 percent jump in the number of Americans growing their own grub this year. The Obama family has even joined the trend by planting the first White House kitchen garden since World War II.

There are a number of reasons growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs is so attractive. Organically grown fruits and vegetables are more healthful, with significantly more nutrients including vitamin C, magnesium and iron. Gardening is a fun activity for the whole family, giving kids an outdoor project. It can even save you money on groceries.

Many people know these benefits but are hesitant to start an edible garden because they're worried about taking the wrong approach. The fact is, by following just a few simple steps, just about everyone can set themselves up for a successful harvest.

• Take the high ground. Gardens do best in the elevated parts of your yard. Lower, indented areas can trap cold air and stifle growth.

• Break out the compass. Edible gardens in the Northern Hemisphere should place the tallest plants on the northernmost plot. Sunlight shines from a southern angle, so smaller plants won't be left in the shade.

• Box it up. Use planting boxes or raised beds whenever possible, because they create soil control for drainage and maximize nutrients. Boxes also protect your roots from critters.

• Keep a close watch. Try not to plant your garden out of sight. If you can see the garden from your windows, it will be easier to identify when the plants are at their ripest or might need extra care.

• Don't be a Luddite. There's great technology out there to help beginning gardeners. For example, after 24 hours in your garden, the EasyBloom Plant Sensor reveals all the plants and vegetables that will thrive there and tells you how to care for existing plants. This handy tool takes detailed readings of sunlight, temperature, humidity and soil drainage to make expert recommendations.

Edible gardening doesn't have to be an intimidating project. With the right planning and support, millions of families will be adding fresh ingredients to their meals this year and you can, too.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grass is Greener at Blue Smoke?

With all of the recent rainfall, our grass and flowers have been beautiful. How refreshing it has been to see so many shades of green.

This big guy, whose shell was over a foot long, was spotted near Blue Smoke in Peachtree City the other day.

He caught our attention as he did not bother to go into his shell as we stood and admired his beauty.

Was he looking for the proverbial grass on the other side of the fence? Or had he heard that our area is one of the best places to live?


Photos ©2009 AS Eldredge

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Timing is everything on ‘Gardening in Georgia’

The most often asked questions from gardeners begin with “Is it time to…?” On “Gardening in Georgia with Walter Reeves” May 9 and 13, show host Walter Reeves and his guests will answer a variety of questions on what to do in the garden and landscape.

Reeves, a retired University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent and gardening expert, and UGA Extension horticulturist Bob Westerfield will show how to determine if the soil is ready to plant a vegetable garden.

Reeves will visit Hank Bruno at Callaway Gardens to show how to divide and move irises. He will also solve a “who-done-it” mystery that’s happening in the cabbage patch.

"Gardening in Georgia” airs on Georgia Public Broadcasting stations across the state each Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., and repeats Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

The show is produced by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and is supported by a gift from McCorkle Nurseries. Learn more about the show and download useful publications at the Web site www.gardeningingeorgia.com.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Georgia Citizens Create Legacies by Planting Trees in The Grove

Georgia Forestry Agencies Create Virtual Community to Educate and Engage Citizens to Protect Urban Forests

In an effort to educate, engage and encourage Georgians to plant trees and protect Georgia’s urban tree canopy, the Georgia Urban Forest Council (GUFC) and the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) have joined forces to create a new Web site and online community called The Grove, GeorgiaGrove.org. The Grove allows families and friends to share the experience of planting trees and commemorating special life moments. The Grove members can share their memories by uploading pictures and stories of their tree planting experiences for others to see and discuss. The Grove members can also create groups, or “groves,” to connect, share and interact with other members within the virtual community.

“This is a great tool that allows families to create a legacy and leave a positive mark on the world for their children and grandchildren to enjoy,” said Mary Lynne Beckley, director of the Georgia Urban Forest Council. “By planting trees, we renew our commitment to protecting Georgia’s green legacy, ensuring future generations will share in the life events we celebrated, while enjoying the benefits of living in healthy communities.”

To be a part of The Grove, Georgia residents can log onto GeorgiaGrove.org. There they can create a free account, plant a tree with family and friends, take pictures of the occasion, then upload their photos and post their stories to share the experience with other Grove members. In addition, The Grove offers an interactive Tree Match Tool that provides guidance on choosing the right tree to commemorate a special event, as well as information on tree planting, tree care tips and the benefits of maintaining a healthy urban forest.

According to GFC, Georgia’s urban forests have been diminishing, due to the rapid growth in development. To counteract the negative impact of tree loss, Georgia residents must be informed, educated and activated to help plant trees and preserve urban forest health.

“Strategically planted trees improve energy efficiency in homes, encourage people to linger and shop longer in business districts, provide shade to keep our cities cool and make communities healthier and safer places to live,” said Larry Morris, associate chief of sustainable forestry with Georgia Forestry Commission. “

It is important to encourage Georgia residents to plant trees and help develop vital green infrastructures, which offset the impact of grey infrastructures such as roads and utilities, and help sustain Georgia’s green legacy.”

The Grove is part of GUFC and GFC’s Create Your Legacy initiative, which aims to educate citizens about the ways tree loss impacts the economy, the environment, our health and our social interactions. For more information or to share a legacy, log onto GeorgiaGrove.org today and share a tree planting experience.
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County Governments Actively Involved in Land Conservation

Celebrate County Government Week, May 3 – 9, 2009
“Greening Our Future”

From small parks of just a few acres that provide an outdoors escape for local residents to large tracts that are nationally recognized for their natural resource and recreational value, county governments are actively involved in funding land conservation projects throughout the state. The Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) celebrates these efforts as part of County Government Week, May 3 – 9, 2009 which focuses this year on “Greening our Future.”

“Just a decade ago, we did not have many requests for technical assistance on land conservation issues,” said ACCG Deputy Director Ross King. “As Georgia’s population grew, people started making the connection between land conservation, water stewardship and protecting their quality of life. County officials responded by proposing Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and bond projects that included funding for green space that have been widely supported by local voters.”

In the metro Atlanta area, Cobb, Cherokee and Forsyth counties all passed bonds in 2008 to support a variety of land conservation projects representing an investment of $150 million. Other counties have actively participated in the Georgia Land Conservation Program which provides grants and low-interest loans for land conservation projects. Some of the counties that have protected conservation lands from funds provided through this program include Bulloch, Wilkinson, Harris, Glynn, Bibb, Bartow and Dougherty.

A common theme in today’s approach to land conservation is partnerships, especially when it comes to funding large acquisitions. County governments are working with the State of Georgia, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service as well as private foundations and conservation organizations including The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, the Trust for Public Land and others to piece together funds and apply for grants to protect conservation lands of statewide significance. Many of these lands have been identified by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as priorities for protection through the State Wildlife Action Plan.

Projects of statewide significance that have involved financial support from Georgia counties include the protection of McLemore Cove in Walker County, Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area in Decatur County, Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area in Rockdale County, and Paulding Forest Wildlife Management Area in Paulding and Polk counties.

“County government is really stepping up and playing a critical role when it comes to land conservation in Georgia. They are anxious to work with us to ensure these lands are conserved for future generations – even in today’s challenging economic times,” said Rex Boner, Southeastern Regional Director of The Conservation Fund. “The Association County Commissioners of Georgia is providing an important link between county government and the land conservation community, and we appreciate the statewide network that they represent.”

ACCG is committed to assisting counties with land conservation efforts throughout the state. In 2008, ACCG launched its Land Conservation Initiative and dedicated a full-time director to assist counties with land conservation efforts including project identification and funding. ACCG also is partnering with DNR and the Georgia Conservancy on the Coastal Georgia Land Conservation Initiative thanks to a grant provided through the Woodruff Foundation. This project involves mapping species and their habitats in 11 counties along and near the Georgia coast and working with those counties to incorporate this information into future land use decisions.

In addition, ACCG is working with the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) on the Green Infrastructure Project through the Sustainable Community Forestry Program. Through this effort, ACCG and GFC are working with counties to protect tree canopies and promote connectivity.

“Land conservation is important to Georgia’s counties, and we want to help facilitate their efforts with state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, private foundations and others to give them the resources that they need,” said ACCG Land Initiative Director Beth Bradley. “We’re excited to see county government taking such a leading role in land conservation and look forward to even more success stories in the years to come.”

First celebrated in 1991, National County Government Week (NCGW) was created by the National Association of Counties (NACo) to raise public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of the nation’s 3,068 counties.
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Monday, May 04, 2009

Choosing Ground Cover For Eco-Friendly Beauty

(NAPSI)-Turfgrass, the nation's traditional ground cover, may be losing ground to the more eco-friendly creeping perennials.

Turfgrass is popular because it covers the soil nicely, but it requires high maintenance and uses a tremendous amount of water, fertilizer and chemicals to maintain its beauty.

Low-maintenance, eco-friendly creeping perennial ground cover is a great substitute for traditional turfgrass. For example, the Forever & Ever GroundCovers line of round covers provides options that grow in sun or shade, come in many colors and textures, and grow in areas where grass will not. They come back every season and look better each year.

Once the eco-friendly plants are established, they require very little water as compared to turf that requires constant watering. The need for fertilizer is also minimal. Most varieties only need one feeding of slow-release fertilizer each year as compared to three to four feedings for traditional turf. Many varieties provide a thick mat of foliage that helps prevent weeds, eliminating the need for chemical control.

Ground covers grow where grass won't and in small areas where it is difficult to maintain, such as on slopes, under trees or in confined landscapes. Many of the varieties will withstand some foot traffic. Varieties such as Platt's Black Brass Buttons, with its wonderfully textured purple-gray leaves, and County Park Pratia, with its showy blue blooms above a dense mat of foliage, are perfect varieties to use between stepping-stones or along walkways.

The collection also features several varieties of sedum that will work well in sunny, dry areas. Sedums work well on slopes and are a classic rock garden plant filling in between rocks, eliminating a haven for weeds. John Creech Sedum, with it purple-pink flowers and dense foliage, and Angelina Sedum, with its uniquely textured golden-yellow foliage, are star performers in sunny, arid areas.

Some ground covers, such as the Yellow Ripple Ivy, also do very well in patio containers. Ivy and other creeping perennials make great fillers for container gardens, drooping or cascading over the edges of the pots.

This line of creeping perennials brings colorful blooms, great foliage colors and unique textures to the garden, all with little care and maintenance. They are available at home centers and independent garden centers.

Ground covers grow where grass won't and in small areas where it is difficult to maintain, such as on slopes, under trees or in confined landscapes.

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