Monday, August 31, 2009

The Turfgrass Group Licenses First TifGrand™ Growers

The Turfgrass Group, Inc. (www.theturfgrassgroup.com), of Fort Valley, Georgia, has licensed the first growers for TifGrand™, the world’s first sterile triploid hybrid Bermudagrass with significant shade tolerance.

Coosa Valley Turf of Centre, AL; Holland Gardens of Lubbock, TX; NG Turf, of Whitesburg, GA; Pike Creek Turf of Adel, GA; Patten Seed Company/Super Sod of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina; and Sod Atlanta of Cartersville, GA are the first licensees to grow TifGrand™.

TifGrand™ is a dense, semi-dwarf Bermudagrass with thin, dark green blades. Developed by Drs. Wayne Hanna and Kris Braman of The University of Georgia’s internationally renowned turfgrass program, testing and evaluation over a decade has proven its outstanding tolerance of 60% to 70% shade and its excellent tawny mole cricket non-preference. It spreads by both stolons and rhizomes and requires lower fertilizer (nitrogen) and water inputs than previously released Bermudagrasses.

Tom Wolfe of Coosa Valley Turf, believes “homeowners will love being able to have the same Bermudagrass in their shady backyards as is in the sunny fronts. The appearance is better and the maintenance is easier.”

Pike Creek Turf’s Jimmy Allen is excited about the ability to mow TifGrand™ to 0.5” for golf fairways in sun and in shade. He says ”it stays very dense and gives the golf ball a good, clean lie that the players will really like.” Allen is trialing TifGrand™ at 5/32” for course tee areas and thinks it will do very well.

Aaron McWhorter, owner of NG Turf, noted that “TifGrand™ is a nice, dark green, fine-bladed turfgrass – very attractive,” and says it should appeal to a wide variety of users.

Hampton Gardens will be growing TifGrand™ in plug trays for direct retail sale to those homeowners whose landscaping has matured, grown larger and created canopied shade. Wayne Hampton is pleased that “where their Bermuda formerly thrived is now too shady...TifGrand™ gives them the opportunity to keep both their Bermudagrass and their beloved larger trees.”

TifGrand™ will be grown exclusively as a certified turfgrass and all licensed growers will be required to meet stringent crop certifying agency requirements and undergo careful, continuous monitoring to insure the ongoing purity and uniformity of this outstanding new hybrid for both producers and users.

For more information on TifGrand™ and licensing opportunities, please contact Bill Carraway, Vice President of Marketing, The Turfgrass Group, Inc. at (770) 207-1500.
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

How a Bad Plant Stays Bad

The Venus flytrap, with its spike-like teeth and snapping jaws, is a carnivorous wonder of nature that appeals to the dark side of our imaginations.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, curious about how and why the "snap trap" flytrap evolved, have delved into the ecological background of the plant and combined the data with new computer modeling.

The Venus flytrap can trace its roots back 65 million years, when the snap trap carnivorous plants diverged from the sundew plant, which catches bugs by trapping them in a sticky goo.

Today there are only two living "snap trap" species – the Venus flytrap and an aquatic plant called a waterwheel that eats tiny invertebrates. The flytrap is an advance over its sticky trap cousins because the snapping jaws can catch larger, and therefore more nutritious, insects, the researchers said.

"As the insects get larger, you have to change your tactics," said botanist Don Waller. "The snap trap is one way to do that."

In addition to being unique, the Venus flytrap is also a very efficient killer, the researchers noted. It has hinged, jaw-like leaves, teeth, and digestive glands that are recessed for protection against a struggling fly. It also has sensitive trigger hairs on the inside surface of each leaf, and the leaves can snap shut in a fraction of a second. And outside of horror movies, the Venus flytrap cannot grow large enough to threaten much more than flies.

"The physiological demands of capturing and digesting larger and larger prey limits how big the plants can get – even the largest leaves on an average Venus flytrap are … an inch or less across," the researchers said.

The paper on the flytrap appears in the August issue of the journal New Phytologist.

By Jim Dawson
Inside Science News Service
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When a Bad Plant Goes Good

Kudzu, the invasive southeastern plant that is the object of intense research on how best to kill it, may actually contain a substance that could help some 50 million people in the United States suffering from metabolic syndrome.

The roots of the plant, which has overgrown almost 10 million acres in the Southeast U.S. and is known as"the vine that ate the South," contain isoflavones, which are widely used as a health supplement in China and Japan.

In a study done at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, kudzu root extract was fed to lab rats that are used to model metabolic syndrome in humans. Metabolic syndrome is a widespread condition that leads to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and problems regulating insulin.

After feeding the kudzu extract to the rats for two months, the researchers noted that the rats had lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and better insulin levels than a control group not given the extract.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, concluded that long-term, regular use of the kudzu extract could have the same beneficial effects in people, decreasing the "risk and severity of stroke and cardiovascular disease."

By Jim Dawson
Inside Science News Service
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In the Green Room: Ryan Klesko hits a home run for clean air




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Flowering bulb favorites

Paul Thomas loves bulbs that produce fragrant flowers.

“I absolutely adore hyacinths,” said the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulturist. “I’ve found that a good grouping of hyacinths puts a fragrance all over the garden. I love paperwhites for the same reason. I like to have my nose in the garden.”

Hyacinths come in various colors and have a large, cylinder-shaped mass of flowers at the tops of their stems. Paperwhites have smaller, white flowers.

He also adds old timey jonquils to the fragrant list. These jonquils look like smaller versions of daffodils. Unlike their larger cousins, the plants have very thin leaves, and their flowers have a longer trumpet shape.

At an old home site in Georgia, Thomas found jonquils from cultivars that are almost 200 years old. He now has some of them in his garden.

Spanish eyes “put up an awful lot of foliage first. It comes up as this big green pincushion of fairly large leaves and then it puts up a stunning bunch of sky blue flowers,” he said. “You can’t kill them, and they’re just marvelous.”

For a flower that is “tough as nails,” Thomas likes Star of Bethlehem. These bulbs have very grass-like, variegated leaves and hundreds of star-like flowers. “If you have an area in full sun that has poor soil where other things die, put this plant there, and at least once a year, you’ll have a solid green and white carpet that explodes into millions of white flowers.”

Most bulbs do best in full sunlight, but rain lilies will grow in the shade. Their white flowers will only appear after prolonged wet periods, “when we get a rare frog-strangler” of two to three inches of rain, Thomas said.

For early color, gardeners should plant crocus and paperwhites.

“There’s a bit of misinformation that you can just take crocus bulbs and throw them on the lawn,” he said. “That may work up north but not in Georgia.” Instead, open the ground under turfgrass at a 45-degree angle with a trowel. Plant the crocus, and then push the sod back. It won’t hurt the grass, and the crocus will be dormant in time for spring green-up.

“I can plant about 100 crocus bulbs in 7 to 10 minutes using this method,” Thomas said. “Always pick a day when the sod is wet so the work will go quickly.”

Other plants he considers worthwhile are hyacinthus orientalis, which have fragrant purple flowers, and star lilies, which are related to the onion but are not edible.

By Stephanie Schupska
University of Georgia

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back by (Un)Popular Demand: Wasps Thrive in Late Summer and Autumn

BUSINESS WIRE--The end of summer may mean the end of flip flops and lazy days by the pool, but it certainly does not signal the end of wasp season. In fact, at this point in the season, wasp populations are reaching their largest numbers, having had the entire summer to reproduce. With more than half a million people being sent to the emergency room every year due to wasp and other insect stings, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds people to take extra care, especially now, to avoid wasp stings and infestations.

“Wasps are known for their unprovoked aggression,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “In the late summer months, these pests are busy scavenging for food to prepare for the colder months ahead, and are often attracted to backyard barbeques and picnics, which increases your chances of being stung. Proper pest control is crucial to protect against their painful stings.”

NPMA recommends that homeowners inspect their properties frequently for signs of a wasp infestation. Common nesting sites include under eaves, on ceiling beams in attics, garages and sheds, and under porches. If homeowners find a nest or suspect an infestation, it is critical that they hire a pest professional. Attempting to remove a nest can be extremely dangerous, as wasp colonies can have upwards of 15,000 members.

The NPMA offers the following tips to help protect homeowners from wasp encounters:

* When outdoors, wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
* Do not leave drinks or food in accessible areas.
* Keep windows and doors properly screened.
* Keep garbage in sealed receptacles.
* Do not swat at wasps as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.
* If stung, seek immediate medical attention as reactions can be severe.
* Call a pest professional if you find a wasp nest on your property or suspect an infestation.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Let wildlife call your landscape home

It seems a little strange writing a landscaping article about attracting wildlife. I’ve spent much of my career telling folks how to keep critters out of their landscape.

As a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulturist, I get lots of questions about how to stop deer from eating flowers and how to deter squirrels from digging up bulbs.

Lately, however, I’ve seen a noticeable shift in landscape- and wildlife-related calls. People actually want to encourage wildlife into their landscape and enjoy bragging to neighbors and family about furry creatures visiting their landscape and feeders. As a wildlife enthusiast, I think this is a great trend.

You can have an attractive landscape and still make it eco-friendly for wildlife. You just have to realize that some plants are like salad bars to deer.

All animals look for three critical elements: food, water and shelter. Many landscape plants add beauty to your landscape while providing one or more of the basic elements.

Water is critical. Incorporate a water element by adding a small pond and a few bird baths. Deer, raccoons, birds and opossums are just a few of the critters that may visit your landscape watering hole.

Ponds don’t have to be large or fancy. Water tubs from farm supply stores or even metal wash tubs placed into holes dug in the ground make a miniature oasis for many animals.

To help fight evaporation and keep the water cool, put bird baths in the shade.

Food is the next major element to attract wildlife. Depending on what wildlife you like and what lives nearby, many different plants can draw them into your landscape.

Birds love to feast on berry-producing plants. Consider shrubs that fruit, such as Japanese hollies, inkberry, phyracantha and wax myrtle. There are many others to choose from.

Squirrels and deer appreciate nut-bearing trees such as oak, hickory and Chinese chestnut. It’s also good to include some fruit producers like crabapple, plum and persimmon trees or muscadine vines.

If you have room, plant a small food plot of wheat, clover, rye or oats to attract deer or turkey. Planting these near escape cover encourages daylight feeding. A one-eighth to one-fourth acre food plot provides a good food source year ‘round.

I set a digital trail camera close to my food plots to capture images of what visits when I’m not around. These cameras, available at sporting goods stores, are fun and easy to use.

Humming birds are also fun to watch and are easy to attract. Humming birds love plants that flower for a long time. They prefer trumpet-shaped blooms. Vines such as trumpet creeper, honeysuckle, crepe myrtle, or Carolina jasmine bring them in. You can add hummingbird feeders visible from your window.

Set up feeders for birds, squirrels and whatever else shows up. There are many great feeder designs out there to compliment any landscape design. I like natural looking wooden feeders.

Cover or shelter is the final element that wildlife needs. They need a place to escape from enemies, find refuge from weather and feel secure while they rest.

Different animals need different types of cover. Woodpeckers and flying squirrels like dead trees. Rabbits make nests in tall grass and weedy areas. Deer like to spend their afternoons in a secure shrubby area.

Include trees, bushes, brush piles and rock piles to attract more wildlife. Place different sizes of bird houses around the landscape, too, to bring in feathered friends.

Provide water, food and shelter, and your landscape can quickly become a wildlife sanctuary.

By Bob Westerfield
University of Georgia

Bob Westerfield is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension consumer horticulturist.


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The proper care and feeding of your fall lawn

(ARA) – Most people view spring and summer as the peak time for lawn care, but it’s fall that actually marks the beginning of your lawn’s growing season. There are simple but crucial steps to take now to promote a strong, beautiful lawn through next season and beyond.

Whether you have the best yard in the neighborhood or you haven’t had much success with your turf, you can improve and maintain the condition of your lawn if you take these three steps:

Build a foundation
The ideal conditions that come with fall -- cool nights and warm soil -- make it the best time to feed your lawn. The autumn window of opportunity to repair summer damage and achieve long-term lawn success is small, but it’s also a critical time to build and strengthen the root system. A product like Scotts Turf Builder Winterguard helps build strong, deep roots for a better foundation in your existing lawn. The better the root system, the more robust your lawn will be next year. A good fall feeding will keep your turf strong and green throughout the fall, winter and into spring.

Encourage new growth
Fall is also the best time to seed your lawn. The soil is still warm, but the air is cooler, meaning weeds have less opportunity to compete. Trees are shedding their leaves so grass receives more sun, and diseases that attack grass seedlings are less active in the fall. Overseeding with Scotts Turf Builder grass seed promotes (or helps create) a thick, lush lawn at the start of spring, making it difficult for airborne weed seeds to root in the soil. Seeding autumn bare spots will thicken the lawn and make it more resistant to future bare spots.

To reseed your bare spots, dig up bare areas, mix in compost, sow your seeds and cover with more compost. If the weather is dry, keep the seeded soil moist until new grass begins to grow.

Leave the rake behind
Don’t spend time raking and bagging leaves this season. Mulching leaves into dime-sized pieces by mowing over them and leaving them on the lawn provides valuable nutrients needed to produce thick, green turf in the spring. Mulching helps build a better foundation and returns much-needed organic matter back into the soil.

For more information on fall lawn care, visit Scotts.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Guarding Against Sinister Stingers

(NAPSI)-It's that time of year again, when unwelcome pests put a stinger in everyone's fun. Stinging insects such as yellow jackets, hornets and wasps are most active in late summer and well into fall. More than just a seasonal nuisance, these pests can pose a significant threat to your health as well. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room every year.

Yellow jackets, which have a yellow and black face/head and patterned abdomen, are considered one of the more dangerous stinging insects due to their unpredictable and aggressive nature. They build their nests in the ground or cavernous areas but frequently invade human space in search of sugary and protein-rich foods. They sting repeatedly when their nest is disturbed and reactions can be severe.

Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees and create nests by drilling tunnels into soft wood. Over time, these tunnels can severely compromise the structural stability of a home. Males are in charge of guarding the habitat, but only their female counterparts have stingers. Females will only sting if threatened, but reactions to these stings can range from mild irritation to life-threatening respiratory disease.

A lesser-known stinging insect is the velvet ant. Despite its name, it is actually a wasp. With short, brightly colored hairs (generally red and black), they can be seen running in open areas. Females lay eggs directly in the habitat of ground-nesting bees and wasps. Only the males have wings, but what the females lack in wings, they make up for in stings. Females use a needlelike stinger to inflict a painful poke that can cause allergic reactions.

The NPMA offers these tips for avoiding stinging insects:

• Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.

• Overseed grassy areas to get better coverage, as this will deter ground-nesting insects.

• Paint/stain untreated wood.

• Remove garbage frequently and keep trash cans lined and covered.

• Don't swing or swat at stinging insects.

• Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes.

• Seek immediate medical attention if stung, as reactions can be severe.

• Do not attempt to remove a nest on your own. If you have an infestation, contact your local pest professional.

For more information, visit www.pestworld.org.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Coweta-Fayette Rotary and Operation Boot Camp Team Up for Line Creek Nature Area

The Coweta-Fayette Rotary Club and Operation Boot Camp, and their families, joined together August 8th to help spread mulch at the Line Creek Nature Area in Peachtree City across from McDuff Parkway.
The Line Creek Nature Area is managed by the Southern Conservation Trust and is open from dawn to dusk, 7 days a week.
The Coweta-Fayette Rotary meets every Monday night for dinner and a program at 6:30 in The Avenue on the second floor. Visit www.coweta-fayetterotaryclub.org for more information about our club.
Operation Boot Camp is an out door 30-day fitness training and nutrition coaching program working out at Drake Field. Visit www.operationbootcamp.com to get more information.
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

For gorgeous grass next season, start with soil, end with seed

(ARA) - Summer is winding down and soon it will be time to drain the gas from the lawn mower and safely store the string trimmer. You may feel like summer yard work is done for another year. But don’t turn your back on your lawn just yet.

Take care of some essential lawn chores this fall and you’ll reap the rewards next spring – in the form of a lush, healthy, beautiful lawn. In fall, lawn grasses need to become especially strong as the weather cools. Give them some TLC now, and your lawn will reap the benefits over the winter and into next spring. During the fall, your lawn is getting ready to go dormant for the winter. Your grass will rely on its roots throughout the winter season to obtain nutrients until spring.

Following these five (surprisingly fast) simple steps will ensure a sensational start to lush lawns next spring.

1. Start with the soil and aerate

The healthier your soil is the healthier your grass will be. Good, aerated soil will make room for water, nutrients, air and roots to move with ease. Aerated, healthy soil will hold water like a sponge, but at the same time promote drainage. Aerating also creates a good environment for the micro-organisms, worms and other life forms necessary for healthy turf. Without good soil you will find yourself doing lots of weed control and over-fertilizing.

2. Don’t delay dethatching

Thatch is the layer of dead grass that settles in between the soil surface and the green foliage of the grass. Too much thatch interferes with nutrient and water absorption. To gauge thatch’s thickness, take a 6-inch-deep plug of sod and soil from the lawn and measure the thickness of the packed thatch. If your thatch layer is more than 1/2 inch thick, your grass will struggle to grow.

3. Supply soil conditioners

Also called soil amendments, soil conditioners added to soil improve plant growth and overall health. Soil conditioners are not fertilizers, but they do improve soil’s drainage and some will also increase the water holding capacity of your soil.

4. Sow your seeds

Sowing grass seed will increase turf density and improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn. Seeding in the fall helps the lawn recover from heavy summer traffic and it influences the lawn's look for the following spring. A dense lawn is also the best natural defense against weed and insect damage. For a wide variety of grass seed choices specifically formulated for your geographic region visit www.outsidepride.com.

An increasingly popular addition to backyard beauty is planting wildflowers instead of grass in hard to maintain, problem spots, like slopes and banks. Outsidepride.com offers a wide variety of blends for nine areas of the country, from the rainy Northeast to the dry Southwest. Adding wildflower seed this fall to your backyard will add beauty and diversity to your landscape next spring.

5. The easy way is the better way

When it comes to labor intensive fall lawn chores like aerating, dethatching, and soil conditioning, brute force isn’t necessarily the best, most efficient way to get the job done. You could rent a core aerator to pull up finger-sized cores of soil, but it takes a strong back and plenty of time to manage the heavy equipment. If your lawn is small enough, you can do the dethatching job using a thick-bladed thatching rake. But bigger lawns call for a power thatching mower. Soil conditioning is easier, yet still time-consuming.

Try a labor-free, easy, all-natural option that’s a liquid product, like LazyMan Liquid Gold. You can tackle the tasks of aerating, dethatching and soil conditioning with a hose-end sprayer in a matter of minutes.

Non-toxic and all natural, LazyMan Liquid Gold’s polymers penetrate hard soil and alternately attract or repel water molecules, opening pathways to allow free passage of moisture and nutrients. A brew of microbes feeds on dead plant tissue in the thatch layer, reducing thatch by half with just three applications at four-week intervals. Finally, humic acids and soil fungi promote soil fertility and plant growth.

After one-step spraying of LazyMan Liquid Gold, you’ve already accomplished three essential fall lawn care tasks. Now, all that’s left to do is seed and feed.

By following these simple lawn care practices in the fall, you can put your lawn to bed and sleep easily knowing that when your lawn awakens from winter it will be healthy and super-charged for spring. To learn more about lawn care, visit www.outsidepride.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Garden of Novelist Ferrol Sams and Sams Lake Featured in September Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Tour

Six Distinctive Gardens on Display Southeast of Metro Atlanta

Six gardens in Fayetteville and Peachtree City will demonstrate how people can preserve the region’s wildlife and, more broadly, its biodiversity by cultivating native plants and other essentials for wildlife survival at this year’s Atlanta Audubon Society Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Tour.

The tour will take place Saturday, September 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Advance tickets are now on sale for $12 by calling Atlanta Audubon Society at 678/973-2437. Tickets are also available on the day of the tour for $15 at the first and last sites. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

This year’s tour includes six exciting properties:

#1 214 Smokerise Trace, Peachtree City, GA 30269
This three-acre property is owned by a Georgia Certified Landscape Professional and Georgia Master Gardener. The site includes a one-acre hardwood forest, and a 10-acre adjacent forest harbors many species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Over 125 bird species have been seen on this property.

#2 233 Smokerise Trace, Peachtree City, GA 30269
This acre and a half of professionally maintained gardens has beautifully constructed waterfalls, ponds and meandering creeks.

#3 Two Doves Farm, 380 Ebenezer Church Road, Fayetteville, GA 30215
A certified organic farm of 15 acres. Organic plants, vegetables and botanicals produced at the farm are on sale. Go to www.twodovesfarm.com for more information.

#4 Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary, Old Senoia Road, Fayetteville, GA 30215
A 56-acre nature preserve donated by the Sams family to replace lost wetlands when the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was built. The site is now owned and managed by Southern Conservation Trust. The lake area hosts beaver, wild turkeys, egrets, heron, hawks, deer and muskrat and many species of birds. A half-acre mulched trail and three observation decks provide great wildlife viewing. Go to www.sctlandtrust.org/community-preserves/sams-lake-nature-area for more information.

#5 685 Glynn Street South (GA Hwy 85) Fayetteville, GA 30214
Part of Turnipseed Nursery and Gardens, this garden has been featured on HGTV's “A Gardener's Diary.”

#6 Garden of Drs. Ferrol and Helen Sams, 355 Beauregard Blvd., Fayetteville, GA 30214
A mature natural woodland garden of more than 30 acres with many native azaleas and wildflowers such as trilliums. The garden has been featured on HGTV’s “A Gardener’s Diary.”

These sites have all been certified by Atlanta Audubon Society as wildlife sanctuaries. They show how homeowners and gardeners can cultivate their own yards to preserve native plants and habitat for wildlife. The four essential components of a wildlife sanctuary are:

Shelter: Active nesting areas or shelters that attract and protect birds and other wildlife.
Food: Feeders and plantings that offer seeds, flowers, and berries to wildlife.
Water: Birdbaths, water gardens, or natural features with flowing water.
Nesting Sites: Bird boxes, natural cavities, or wood piles and vine tangles.

For more information on the Wildlife Sanctuary Program, go to
http://atlantaaudubon.org/aaswww/conservation/sanctuary.htm.

For a map of the tour and directions to the sites, go to www.atlantaaudubon.org.

The Sanctuary Tour and Program are designed to encourage residential homeowners and homeowners' associations, business park owners/managers, and golf course owners/managers to become involved in the preservation of native plants and habitat for wildlife.
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Friday, August 07, 2009

Soldier Launches Recycling Effort in Iraq

The Army teaches soldiers to leave a place better than they found it. One soldier has applied this adage to the Multinational Division Baghdad area of operations by thinking "green."

Army Sgt. Tanisha Manning, with 1st Cavalry Division's Company B, Division Special Troops Battalion, has started a recycling initiative at Camp Liberty, Iraq.

"It's about saving money [and] helping the environment, and it's part of a responsible drawdown, because we want to leave this place better than we found it," the New York native said. "I started this about two months ago, and it's just now getting off the ground and totally on the move."

A recycling program was in place on Camp Liberty before, Manning said, but it wasn't getting much attention.

"I thought to myself, 'We drink so much water, we use so much water, and we throw away so many plastic bottles; what are we doing?'" she said.

Manning decided to take action. She formulated a plan, made contacts, and helped to publish an order on the subject.

"When I found Sergeant Manning in [division supply], she inspired me to do something about the recycling situation here on [Camp] Liberty," said Army Maj. Mindy Kimball, with 1st Cavalry Division's Company A, Division Special Troops Battalion.. "The bottom line is that the landfill on [the complex] is near capacity and can't possibly last through 2011 with the current rate of solid waste disposal."

With the assistance of a contracting organization in Iraq and Kuwait, Manning's plan came to fruition. A partnership enabled the company to come onto the complex and take materials away for recycling.

Now, blue recycling bins are in place throughout the complex and the Multinational Division Baghdad area.

"It's important that we use these recycling bins -- it's too easy," Manning said. "Everybody on [the complex], at least, has a point of contact for recycling."

Manning explained that the bins are vital to the recycling program.

"When I went out to the recycling facility, they were picking through the garbage, looking for recyclables," she said. "So it's important for us to separate the recyclables out beforehand to make it easier on them."

Kimball noted recycling is every soldier's responsibility. "The Army's policy is very clear -- it doesn't say 'try' or 'should' [recycle], it says 'will,'" she said. "But unless every soldier and leader enforces it, then nothing will get done, and nobody can enforce policies they don't know about."

Thanks in part to Manning's efforts, soldiers now can recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, printer cartridges and cardboard easily.

(By Army Sgt. Joshua Risner, Special to American Forces Press Service. Army Sgt. Joshua Risner serves in the Multinational Baghdad public affairs office.)
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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Perennial Daylily Wins A Dream Designation

(NAPSI)-Daylilies are a perennial treasured by America's gardeners. These sunny flowers supply bright drifts of color throughout the warmer months, and every year brings beautiful new varieties.

One of the newest additions to the growing family of winning All-American Daylilies is the Dream Souffle, which placed first in the Exhibition category.

It is the 17th winner and the first double-bloom daylily to win this award. Lilies don't win the award just for being pretty. They also have to demonstrate superior performance in dozens of criteria across at least five USDA hardiness zones.

Winning for both looks and hardiness, Dream Souffle features fluffy, double-petaled blooms that are a pastel rosy-pink blended with cream and flushed with yellow in the center.

The lily blooms in mid-season at 24 to 30 inches in height, above 16 to 20 inches of arching green deciduous foliage. It then repeat blooms, giving a total bloom period that ranges from 30 to 80 days. Unlike some doubles, this flower has consistent, fluffy double blooms that can create an eye-catching focal point in any garden setting. Stunning eye appeal is combined in this variety with hardy growth habit and good rust resistance.

The lilies were tested by the All-American Daylily Selection Council (AADSC), an organization that performs rigorous evaluations of daylily cultivars, taking into account over 50 criteria, including rust resistance.

The designation can help today's gardeners select the right lily from more than 40,000 different registered cultivars.

So far, nearly 6,000 hemerocallis (daylilies) available in commerce have been tested using methods that involve careful scientific methodology.Ê

Thanks to such rigorous evaluations, gardeners can purchase All-Americans with confidence, knowing that these low-maintenance, high-impact, sun-loving beauties will thrive in backyard beds, front-walk borders or sundeck containers.

Past winners include:

• Black-Eyed Stella, best known for its performance as a nearly continuous bloomer.

• Lullaby Baby and Starstruck, honored for exquisite beauty and balance in the Exhibition category.

• Bitsy, which features a petite personality with a very powerful performance.

• Leebea Orange Crush, a rare daylily that exhibited such balanced performance it won in both the Landscape and Exhibition categories.

• Frankly Scarlet, a vibrant red that not only sustains but builds color intensity in the heat.

• Buttered Popcorn, a large buttery-gold bloom on sturdy 28- to 33-inch scapes. The golden beauty boasts nearly continuous blooming from mid-season into fall and up until frost.

• Persian Market, a large, showy salmon-pink with a rose halo on blooms 6 to 7 inches across. It produces loads of buds and has an exceptionally long bloom season in several zones.

• Lavender Vista, which pairs profuse lavender blooms with lush evergreen foliage.

• Summer Valentines, with striking pink blooms, a magenta eye and picotee edges.

For more information, visit www.allamericandaylilies.com.

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Knowledge Cure to Snake Fear

The grace and beauty of a snake’s slither is often overshadowed by the paralyzing anxiety it can cause. But knowledge is a cure for that fear, says a University of Georgia expert.

“Snakes are like any other wildlife. We should enjoy them. Look at it, learn about it and let it go on its way,” said Wade Hutcheson, the UGA Cooperative Extension coordinator in Spalding County. “Take a few moments to talk about snakes with children so they are aware they are in their environment. And so they can know to go the other way.”

Snakes typically steer clear of humans. However, if your house is surrounded by woods or has streams or swamps nearby, you may see an occasional snake.

Poisonous or not

While any snake can bite, only six of the state’s nearly 50 snake species are venomous. Georgia is home to three kinds of rattlesnakes -- the Eastern diamondback, timber and pigmy -- along with cottonmouths, copperheads and coral snakes.

“Without getting real close, there is not a fool-proof method to determine if a snake is poisonous,” he said. “Knowing their markings and proper identification is the only sure way.”

Get a good guidebook with descriptions and photos to learn which snakes to avoid. The UGA Extension guidebook Snakes of Georgia and South Carolina costs $5 and is available through UGA Extension county offices.

For information on how to identify snakes and color photos, see the UGA Savannah River Ecology Lab's Herpetology Web site at www.uga.edu/srelherp/.

Remove the welcome mat

Snakes need food, water and shelter to live. Removing these necessities from your landscape will keep them out of your yard and house.

“The best thing a homeowner can do to reduce the chances of seeing a snake is to clean up and clean out,” Hutcheson said. “Reduce clutter that will attract the rodents and insects snakes eat or items that could be hiding and resting places.”

Clean up brush, rock and trash piles, mow tall grass and weeds and remove things snakes hide under.

Clean up clutter in yards, open garages, on porches and in open storage buildings. Remove shrubs right next to the house foundation and other things close to the ground, especially around buildings. Keep things such as firewood and lumber stacked 12 inches above ground or off the floor and away from walls.

Snakes like damp, cool and dark spots. Look for these areas and change them if possible.

Don’t let pet or bird food sit out. This attracts rodents, which in turn attract snakes. Clean food storage areas regularly and keep pet food and trash sealed.

“Keeping the area clean will reduce the reasons why the snake wants to be there,” Hutcheson said. “If he can’t find what he needs, he will move out.”

Unwanted house guest

To prevent snakes from entering your home, seal holes around and under the house.

If one does find its way into your house, use a damp burlap bag to remove it, he said.

“The damp burlap will attract the snake, and there is a good chance he will crawl under it,” Hutcheson said. “Then, you can pick it up (with a shovel) and take it outside.”

Hardware stores sell glue-board traps. Once the snake is trapped on the board, take it far from the home and pour vegetable oil on the snake and trap. The oil will cut the glue and allow the snake to escape.

Several companies remove wildlife from homes for a fee and take measures to prevent them from returning.

Remember, most snakes in Georgia are nonpoisonous. If you are bitten and not sure if the snake is poisonous or nonpoisonous, go to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

By April Sorrow
University of Georgia

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