Friday, August 27, 2010

Fight spring, summer turfgrass diseases now

Fall is a great time to guard against spring and summer diseases on warm-season grasses.
Spring dead spot, or SDS, is one of the most common and important diseases on bermudagrass in Georgia. It is difficult to manage without an integrated approach. The disease is most common on intensively maintained turf like golf courses or lawns.

SDS causes dead patches

The characteristic dead patches appear in the spring when the grass is breaking dormancy, and the problem can persist well into summer. The fungus that causes the disease attacks the roots and stolons in the fall and winter. This makes the grass more vulnerable to winter freeze damage, which leads to the dead patches of grass.

Late September through October is the best time to apply preventative fungicide applications if SDS has been a problem this past season. But this won’t provide complete control. Most infections can be eventually eliminated over a period of years by combining fall fungicide applications with sound cultural practices.

But maintaining a disease free lawn in the coming years can only be accomplished by eliminating the stress that allowed the disease organisms to attack the lawn in the first place. Lawns are stressed by poor soil conditions combined with an imbalance of nutrients. Compaction, poor drainage and thatch thicker than one inch are linked to SDS outbreaks.

Follow these tips

Applying nitrogen late in the season or excess nitrogen, especially with a potassium deficiency, can encourage the development of disease. An integrated management program to improve the lawn’s health includes the following steps:
• When planting new lawns, use cold tolerant cultivars.
• Aerate and remove thatch regularly.
• Irrigate deeply and less frequently. (Once per week in the absence of adequate rain.)
• Mow at the recommended height. Low-mowing height stresses lawns.
• Monitor pH and nutrient levels on a regular basis with soil tests. Keep potassium and phosphorus in balance with nitrogen.
• Maintain a pH between 5.5 and 6.0 if disease has been a problem. The pH can be lowered by using ammonium sulfate as a nitrogen source.
• Apply moderate levels of potassium in September and October to increase cold hardiness. If a deficiency of potassium is indicated on a soil test, two applications of potassium sulfate or potassium chloride can be applied at a 3 to 4 week interval for a total of 1 lb. of K2O per 1,000 sq. ft. Excess potassium should be avoided as it can also encourage disease.
• Do not apply nitrogen after August. Nitrogen should be added in recommended amounts in late spring and early summer. Use moderate amounts of nitrogen during the summer so that excess nitrogen is not carried over into the fall.
• Apply fungicides in late September or October if SDS was a problem the previous spring.

Other warm-season grasses, such as zoysia, centipede and St. Augustine, will also benefit from these general recommendations to prevent diseases like take-all and Rhizoctonia large patch. Follow recommendations for fertilizer applications for the particular grass species. A pH of approximately 6.5 is generally optimum for warm-season grasses.

See these sites for more help

For more information on maintaining turfgrass in Georgia, see the website For fungicide recommendations, contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent or consult the Georgia Pest Management Handbook for Homeowners at

By Elizabeth L. Little 

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fire ant treatment time

It’s that time of year again. School is back in session, football is around the corner, fall harvesting will begin, and it’s time to fight fire ants, says a University of Georgia entomologist.

Most people treat when they see active fire ants. “April and September are good times to apply baits, once at the start of the season and toward the end to help control before they come back in the spring,” said Will Hudson, a professor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Fire ants are most active in warm weather. Fire ant season can last 10 to 11 months out of the year in the most southern areas of Georgia.

Controlling ant colonies before they produce a mound is important. However, Hudson says that once a treatment program is in effect, timing is not all that important.

Baits and sprays

The general rule of thumb is if the area is one acre or less, don’t use baits. Re-infestation is more likely from colonies outside of the yard when baits are used.

One important thing to remember is the difference between ‘no mounds’ and ‘no ants.’

“There is a difference between eliminating ants and controlling them,” he said. “Baits do not eliminate ants because there is no residual control. A new colony can still come in and be unaffected by the bait laid down prior to their arrival.”

To eliminate mounds completely, apply baits every six months, Hudson said. “There will be invasion in the meantime, and you will still have fire ants, just not enough to create a new mound,” he said.
The least effective treatment option for most people is individual mound treatments, according to Hudson.

Treating mounds in general is going to be an exercise of frustration, and killing an entire colony by treating just the mound is a challenge, he said.

Hudson recommends treating lawns with a registered insecticide in a liquid solution. Use a hose-end sprayer for good coverage. This should rid the lawn of fire ants for one to three months.

If you choose a granular product, measure carefully to be sure you apply the correct amount of material and get good, even coverage, he said.

Minimal impact

Baits are considered to have minimal environmental effects for those who chose not to use hazardous chemicals. Once the bait is out, there is hardly anytime for anything to come in contact with it before the ants get to it.

Other nonchemical options include using steam or boiling water.

“We recommend using boiling water to treat a mound near an area such as a well where you do not want any chemicals,” Hudson said. “Using hot water is very effective, but the problem is you are not always able to boil the water right next to the area you want treated.”

Carrying the boiling water can inflict serious burns, so extreme caution should be used when treating with this method.

There are products on the market that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and labeled as organic. Hudson says organic designation is a “slippery” definition. There is an official USDA certification and many states have their own set of regulations when labeling a product as organic. This labeling can mean the product is either a natural product or derived from a natural product.

“While there are a few products that qualify as organic, with most baits the actual amount of pesticide applied is minimal,” he said.

Realistic expectations

Hudson says to be careful when choosing a product because the labels can be confusing, even deceptive, and it is difficult to make the right choice. For assistance in selecting a product, contact a pest-control professional or your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent.

“The most important thing to remember is that you need to be realistic in your expectations,” Hudson said. “If you are treating mounds, you need to be prepared. You are going to chase the mounds around the yard.”

By Sarah Lewis

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Trade Your Lawn For A Ground Cover

(NAPSI)-If you're considering what to do about a hard-to-mow patch of your garden, ground cover may have it covered. Most ground covers require less work and fewer chemicals than a lawn--and they never need mowing.

Ground covers do exactly what their name implies: cover the ground with dense plant growth, choking out weeds and lending color and texture to a space. Even hostas and daylilies can be considered ground covers.

Regular turfgrass does a good job if you have a very large, sunny yard. But if you have a smaller area, a spot with shady pockets where turfgrass struggles, a difficult slope where mowing is difficult or another unusual situation, a ground cover can work wonders.

Many ground covers don't like to be walked on, but a few, such as creeping thyme or brass buttons (Leptinella squalida "Platt's Black"), tolerate some foot traffic and look great when planted between pavers and flagstones. Pink Chintz even sports tiny pink flowers in early spring.

If you want color in a partially sunny to sunny area, try the three-part Forever & Ever® GroundCover Sedum Carpet Collection. Golden foliage and flowers from Angelina, bronzy-red leaves and red flowers from Red Carpet and rich green foliage and yellow flowers from Kamschaticum sedum will light up the space.

Many sedums, including John Creech, Sedum divergens, Blue Spruce and Ogon, serve as reliable and beautiful ground covers whose stems can be left for months to provide winter interest. Just clip or break off the old dry stems in early spring before new growth starts.

Ornamental grasses, which come in various heights and shapes, work well in sunny spaces.

In partial to full sun, try a silver-veined winter creeper called Wolong Ghost, a type of spreading euonymus that just needs regular water to stay looking fresh.

Vinca minor, a stalwart ground cover for shade, gets a makeover with "Merlot." Instead of the traditional blue flowers, you'll get burgundy flowers in spring. Or seek out "Double Bowles" vinca minor, with a ruffle of extra petals in a lighter shade of violet.

All these tough ground covers are available at home and garden centers.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jekyll Island to Host Public Meeting for Conservation Plan September 8

/PRNewswire/ -- The Jekyll Island Conservation Planning Committee is hosting a public meeting Wednesday, September 8 in their efforts to attain valuable feedback for the development of their Conservation Plan. The meeting will be held on the island at McCormick's Grill, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This meeting marks the first in a series designed to encourage dialogue between the Committee and the interested public.

"Because this is such a critical platform, engaging the public is the first step our committee is taking," said Dr. Terry Norton, leader of the Conservation Committee and Director of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. "We want to make sure the public's voice is heard within this plan."

AECOM Technical Services, Inc., a global leader in providing integrated professional technical and management support services, is teaming up with the Committee to aid in the development of the Conservation Plan. Dr. Jay Exum, the Principle Ecologist at AECOM, along with Committee representatives will present to the public their key objectives and schedule for the Plan. Feedback from the public meeting will be documented and utilized in the plan development.

The objective of the Conservation Plan is to complete a design and develop a framework and content that will serve as a valuable management tool in protecting and enhancing Jekyll Island's natural areas.

"The Conservation Plan is a key policy initiative," stated Jekyll Island Authority board member and Conservation/Preservation Committee chairman Richard Royal. "I'm pleased to have active involvement from the public and the conservation community. This will make the plan that much better."

It is mandatory that 65% of the island remain undeveloped, for this reason, every aspect of the revitalization is carefully analyzed by the Jekyll Island Authority and its Board of Directors to ensure that each development site keeps to the set guidelines and ordinances.

Jekyll Island's Conservation Plan is anticipated to be completed by the beginning of next year.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

$1.9 Billion – Amount Buying Locally Grown Produce Sales Would Pump Into Georgia’s Economy, Study Says

For the first time we can begin to paint a picture of the impact that buying locally grown produce would have on Georgia’s economy, thanks to research conducted by the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

The study, “The Local Food Impact: What if Georgians Ate Georgia Produce?” reports that, if each of the approximately 3.7 million households in the state devoted $10 per week to produce grown in Georgia, more than $1.9 billion would be pumped back into the state’s economy.

And for every 5 percent increase in local produce purchasing, the state would see 345 additional jobs, $43.7 million more in sales, and $13.6 million more in farmer income.

“These findings are some of the strongest demonstrations so far of what a small change in consumer behavior could mean for farmers, and for the entire state,” says Georgia Organics Executive Director Alice Rolls. “More than that, I hope this study gets leaders state-wide asking why we don’t see every day foods for our Southern diets growing in the fields of Georgia.”

The study also found that Georgians eat less than the national average of locally grown food. The study’s authors generated scenarios that approximate what agriculture production would be like if Georgians consumed the national average of locally grown food. Currently, direct farmer to consumer sales contribute 132 jobs, $4.5 million in labor income, and $14.4 million in sales.

If Georgia produce farmers increased direct farm-to-consumer produce sales to the national average level, the result would be an overall statewide contribution of 228 jobs, $8.1 million in labor income, and $25.8 million in sales.

In addition, study authors analyzed the potential of individual crops by comparing the amount that average Georgians eat, and the amount that Georgia farmers grow.

They found, for example, the average Georgian eats about 30 pounds of fresh lettuce per year, or about 285 million pounds state-wide. Yet the state produces less than 245,000 pounds per year, which is less than one-tenth of one percent of the amount of lettuce that Georgians consume. Closing that gap would generate an additional $83.6 million in lettuce sales.

Similarly, there are major gaps for other produce, including a $228 million gap for apples, a $62 million gap for bell peppers, a $46 million gap for a broccoli, a $12.8 million gap for carrots, a $124 million gap for pecans, a $235 million gap for tomatoes, and a $93 million gap for watermelon.

“Looking at the quantity of foods directly marketed in Georgia, there is a tremendous opportunity there,” says author study Kent Wolfe, agricultural economist with the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. “Georgia’s food product sales directly to consumers account for a small fraction of their total sales. Farmers get to keep a larger percentage of their food dollar when they sell directly to stores, restaurants or other consumers.”

According to the 2007 Agricultural Census, Georgia’s direct sales accounted for .18 percent of their total sales. Rhode Island sold 9.5 percent of its agricultural products directly to consumers and Massachusetts sold 8.5 percent through direct sales.

To access the entire study, which was funded by the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness along with the other partners, click here.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

USDA Reminds Producers of Approaching Sign-Up Deadline for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

 The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that the deadline to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up is quickly approaching. Farmers and ranchers have until close of business on Friday, Aug. 27, 2010, to offer eligible land for CRP's competitive general sign-up. Applications can be completed by land owners at the FSA county office where their farm records are maintained. The 2008 Farm Bill authorized USDA to maintain CRP enrollment up to 32 million acres.

In addition to producers signing up for the first time, CRP participants with existing contracts that are scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, 2010, may elect to re-enroll under a new 10-15 year contract. Cropland that is highly erodible, or within a national or state Conservation Priority Area, or is covered under an expiring CRP contract is generally eligible to be enrolled into CRP, provided all other eligibility requirements are met.

Contracts awarded under this 39th sign-up are scheduled to become effective Oct. 1, 2010.

CRP is a voluntary program that helps farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers protect their environmentally sensitive land. Producers enrolling in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers in exchange for rental payments, cost-share and technical assistance.

In addition to the general sign-up, CRP's continuous sign-up program is ongoing. Continuous acres represent the most environmentally desirable and sensitive land.

For more information on the general CRP sign-up, or the continuous CRP sign-up, producers should contact their local FSA county office, or visit

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Hot tips for cool crops: Get growing on your fall garden

(ARA) - You might think the end of summer means bidding farewell to fresh, homegrown veggies. Not so - many cool-season crops hit their heyday as autumn temperatures drop, and some even taste better when nipped by a light frost.

As long as their basic growing conditions are met, vegetable plants don't care what season it is. If you live in a warmer climate, you may be able to grow your fall garden all winter long. If, however, you live in a colder area, your growing season will be shorter.

In most regions of the country, gardeners plant fall vegetables in August or September for harvest in October and November. You'll need to carefully calculate your growing season so you can ensure plants have time to produce before freezing weather arrives. Generally, you should plant fall vegetables when daytime temperatures range between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (the cooler the better); night temperatures should be above 40 degrees, and you'll need enough sunshine to ensure plants will get at least six hours of sun per day. You'll also need to give plants at least an inch of water per week.

To get started, remove all the debris left over from your summer garden so fall crops have plenty of room to grow. Add compost to your garden beds and landscapes. Soil should be light, well-aerated and well-draining - since fall gardens are more likely to get soggy from rain. Mulch will keep the soil cool and moist during the last days of summer.

You can also mix in an all natural fertilizer like Bonnie Plants, Herb and Vegetable Plant Food, made from soybean oilseed extract, known to contain 150,000 nutritional and organic compounds that include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and proteins, enzymes, plant hormones and carbohydrates. All are vital to plant growth. Next, find out your local frost and freeze dates. For most areas, frost doesn't have to end the fall growing season. Monitor your local weather forecast during late September and early October so you know when frost is coming.

Once you know your local frost and freeze dates, you can begin planning - and planting - your fall garden. Remember, when growing vegetables in the fall, plants need to be in the ground in time to mature before the first frost, and to yield most of their harvest before the first heavy freeze. Some cool-season crops mature in as little as 30 to 40 days, while others may take several months to produce.

Since time is of the essence when planting a fall garden, start out with transplants that are already growing. Choose fast-maturing varieties, like Bonnie Plants, to get the most for your harvest. The gardening experts at Bonnie suggest these fall crops:

* Winterbor kale - This vigorous producer weathers winter easily, even in very cold climates. Cut outer leaves so that the center can continue growing. Space transplants about 12 inches apart

* Georgia collards - Another leafy green similar to kale, Georgia collards are prized for their sweet, cabbage-like flavor. Space transplants 36 inches apart.

* Romaine lettuce -- Romaine packs more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients than other popular types of lettuce. Space transplants 18 inches apart.

* Early dividend broccoli - Popular, productive and easy to grow, this broccoli is high in fiber and calcium. Set transplants 18 inches apart.

* Mustard greens - Offering spicy hot leaves, this is a very fast-growing, nutritious vegetable. Mustard greens always taste sweeter when nipped by frost. Space plants 12 inches apart.

* Bonnie hybrid cabbage - Bonnie's best cabbage is high in beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and fiber. Space transplants 24 inches apart.

* Arugula - These fast-growing leafy greens are super-food for your bones. The leaves are "nutrient dense" and low in calories. Leaves grow best in cool weather.

As winter grows closer, you can extend your garden harvest by using floating row covers on frosty nights, or by planting in containers that can be brought indoors overnight. Be ready with some kind of protection to cover your plants. You can opt for something commercially manufactured, such as cloches, polyethylene blankets and corrugated fiberglass covers, or try simple household items like old towels, bed sheets, or even used plastic milk jugs with the bottoms removed.

You can continue to enjoy fresh, homegrown vegetables through fall and even into winter when you start with some expert knowledge and the right plants. To learn more about growing a fall garden visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Yellowjackets, Killer Bees and Other Stinging Insects Pose Increased Threat in Late Summer & Fall

-(BUSINESS WIRE)--The late summer and early fall are popular times to spend outdoors at barbeques or completing home maintenance projects. But it’s also the season that stinging insects – including yellowjackets, wasps and Africanized “killer” bees – are most active and aggressive, leading to an increased number of stings. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that more than 500,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year due to insect stings, and reminds people to take caution to protect themselves this season.

“By the late summer, stinging insects colonies can contain upwards of 4,000 members”

“By the late summer, stinging insects colonies can contain upwards of 4,000 members,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Most species are busy preparing their queen for the winter ahead, and therefore are more aggressive than earlier in the season.”

One of the most common stinging insects is the yellowjacket, which build nests on tress and buildings as well as in the ground. Yellowjackets can sting several times, although they not normally aggressive unless their nest is threatened. Wasps, however, are known for their unprovoked aggression. They commonly nest on ceiling beams in attics, garages and sheds. Africanized “killer” bees are often confused with honeybees, but their venom is more dangerous and the species is known for attacking in large numbers if their nest is threatened. They can nest in strange places such as tires and empty cars.

NPMA offers the following tips for avoiding stinging insects:

* Wear shoes when outdoors, especially in grassy areas.
* Keep windows and doors screened.
* Keep garbage in sealed receptacles.
* Do not swat at a stinging insect 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 nest on your property or suspect an infestation.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Creating a budget-friendly water garden

Editor Note:  Have a great pond in Fayette County?  Have too many fishy mouths to feed?  Need to prune the plants in your pond?  

The Fayette Front Page is happy to announce a new networking tool for Fayette County Water Gardeners.  Pop us an email to let us know what "extras" you need to get out of your pond and into someone else's!  We'll post what you've got in order to help those plants and fish find new homes!

Send those emails to with "pond exchange" as the subject since she has graciously volunteered to get the givers and the givees together.  Of course, the rest of the staff suspects she wants to prune her own pond and we just know she can't kill those plants!

First up--   "Lizard Tail" plants need a new home.  Our pond is overflowing with them!

A water garden filled with plants, brightly colored koi and goldfish doesn’t have to break the bank. A University of Georgia expert offers tips on creating a water garden on a budget, but says you’re still going to have to pay sweat equity.

Horticulturist Tony Johnson is responsible for three water gardens at the UGA Research and Education Garden in Griffin, Ga. An award-winning landscape designer, he has installed water gardens for more than 25 years.

Money-savings tips

For those who’d like to install a water garden but can only do so on a tight budget, Johnson offers a few tips:

• Instead of buying pots designed for water gardens, improvise. Create water garden pots by drilling holes in the bottom of a new oil pan or plastic trash can lid.
• To make inexpensive floating pots, place the pots in circles made from the foam noodles commonly used in swimming pools. Close the ends with a small piece of plastic tubing the size of the hole in the end of the noodle, he said.
“I know these are strong because they hold me up in the swimming pool when I play with my grandkids,” Johnson said. “An oil pan costs about $3 and the noodle is around $2, so for $5 you can create a unique floating plant island.”
• Don’t buy expensive water garden potting mixes. Plant water garden plants in regular potting mix combined with unscented cat litter.
• Instead of buying plants, find a friend who has a water garden and ask her to share a few plants.

Get plants from other water gardeners

“Most water gardens contain more plants than they need,” he said. “And your friends most likely need to thin out their garden so you’d probably be helping them out.”

When selecting plants, Johnson recommends hardy lilies, ornamental sweet potatoes, creeping jenny and impatiens.

Johnson may offer money-saving tips when it comes to pots, soil and plants, but he stands firm when it comes to buying a water garden liner. He only recommends Permalon or EPDM rubber liners.

Don't cut corners on pond's liner

“Don’t try to save money by buying roofing material or a swimming pool liner,” he said. “They contain chemicals that can kill your fish. And, a blue pool liner will reflect sunlight, and light equals more algae.”

Water gardens should be at least 24 inches deep and the bottom should be lined with 2 inches of sand to protect the liner or underlayment. Lay the liner in place and anchor it with rocks. Next, add the pump and filter system, what Johnson calls the final and most important aspects.

"When it comes to pumps, always buy a bigger pump than you think you need,” he said.

Adding a few fish will keep the mosquito larvae population down and provide visual entertainment. You can often get these from friends, too.

Tending the garden is a must

Once your garden is installed, then you really begin paying – in sweat equity, Johnson said.
“To properly maintain a water garden, you should be doing something in there every week,” he said. “It may be grooming or pruning plants or it could be cleaning the filter.”

When cleaning the pond filter, use water from the pond to help maintain the active beneficial bacteria growing there.

Johnson suggests investing in a pair of wading boots or surf shoes to wear when working inside your water garden.

Don't toss excess plants in ponds, rivers

When pruning water garden plants, he recommends sharing excess plants with other water gardeners. Do not dump them in the neighborhood pond thinking you are helping the environment.

“Most water garden plants are very invasive and you’ll be hurting far more than helping,” he said.

Remove entire stems of spent water lilies and dispose of faded leaves, which are signs of disease. Dead plant material will sink to the bottom of the pond, feed the algae and turn your pond water pea green, he said.

If you don’t prune throughout the year, Johnson says you must at least do a once-a-year pruning or your garden will quickly grow out of control.

For more information on the UGA Research and Education Garden, visit

By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia
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Friday, August 06, 2010

Forest Service Updates Free Guide To Invasive Plants In Southern Forests

 USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) Director Jim Reaves today announced that gardeners, foresters, landowners and others concerned about nonnative invasive plants in the South can now request free copies of "A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests". The long-awaited book is an update of the very popular "Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests: A Field Guide for Identification and Control", published by the Station in 2003.

"The book's lead author, Jim Miller, is one of the foremost authorities on invasive plants in the South, so we're delighted to offer this enhanced field guide at no cost to anyone interested in learning about and identifying invasive plants in the region," said Reaves. "The Forest Service has distributed nearly 160,000 copies of Jim's first book on invasive plants, and with the spread of exotic species across region, we expect there will be even more demand for this expanded version."

SRS Research Ecologist Jim Miller co-authored "Invasive Plants in Southern Forests" with SRS Research Technician, Erwin Chambliss and Research Fellow and Extension Specialist at Auburn University Nancy Loewenstein.

"Invasive Plants in Southern Forests" gives users a more comprehensive identification guide to nonnative trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns and forbs invading the region’s forests and other natural areas. The updated field guide added:

23 more plant species with updated information on the original 33 species
241 new photos and images
Enhanced photo clarity and color
A new "Resembles" section so users can identify plant "look-alikes"

The book's appendix contains the most complete list of nonnative invasive plants in the 13 Southern states, providing common and scientific names for 310 other invading species including, for the first time, aquatic plant invaders. Also, the authors updated the "Sources of Identification Information" section to include the latest books, manuals and articles on invasive plants. The ever-expanding website section lists Internet resources that provide useful information on identification and efficient management.

At the same time, "Invasive Plants in Southern Forests" retains features that attracted users to Miller's first book, such as detailed descriptions of select plants, their stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds, ecology, history and use, and distribution.

"Invasive Plants in Southern Forests" differs from Miller's first book in that the update focuses solely on the "identification" of exotic plants and does not include "control" methods.  Jim Miller and co-authors Steven Manning, president of Invasive Plant Control, Inc., and Stephen Enloe, weed management extension specialist at Auburn University, cover methods for controlling invasive plants in a new, companion book titled "A Management Guide for Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests," available October, 2010.

People can request copies of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests by sending their name and complete mailing address, along with book title, author, and publication number GTR-SRS-119 to:

"Invasive Plants in Southern Forests" is posted in PDF format on the SRS website at In addition, the book is available in html format at People interested in using images from the book can download files at


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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

High school students, teachers get schooled on invasive species

High School students and teachers from all over south Georgia gathered in Tifton earlier this month to learn more about invasive species and what to do if they see them.

The Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System is a web-based system anyone can use to report and document invasive species. The teachers and students attended the first-ever workshop for the system in Georgia.

The workshop was organized by Susan Reinhardt, the K-12 program coordinator on the University of Georgia campus in Tifton. Part of the Young Scholars program, the workshop showed them how to find invasive species, why they are harmful and how to report them using the EDDMapS mapping system. On a field trip, the participants saw and collected information on invasive plants firsthand.

“My goal was to show them that invasive species are everywhere, even in their own backyard,” said Karan Rawlins, an invasive species coordinator with the UGA Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. “They were shocked as we found over a dozen invasive plants including mimosa, Chinese wisteria, Japanese honeysuckle, Chinese tallowtree, Japanese climbing fern, wild taro, and Chinese privet in a small area on (the Tifton) campus.”

As the invasive species were found, the group took pictures of the plants and GPS coordinates to mark each plant. This information was later put into the EDDMapS.

To learn more about EDDMapS or to report an invasive species, go to the website

By Erin Griffin
University of Georgia


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Monday, August 02, 2010

GEHC Offers Special Program on Lady Beetles

These well known garden friends are known by many names including lady bug, lady cow, lady beetle and lady fly. Tradition says that if you catch one, it will bring good luck.

Join your friends and neighbors at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center on all Saturdays in August as we celebrate everyone’s favorite insect: the lady beetle.

“While it is loved by children for its bright colors and spots, the lady beetle is actually loved by farmers for its appetite,” says Jason West, Director of Development for the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Foundation. “The lady beetle eats plant eating insects and is a great protector of crops, so it plays an important role in our food production.”

Education specialists will be on hand at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center every Saturday in August to promote the lady beetle.

“We want people to come see, touch and learn more about this fascinating insect,” says West. “You can meet live lady beetles, do lady beetle crafts, and help release them into the wild to protect our gardens from pests.”

The lady beetle program will be on-going through out each Saturday in August at the following times:

10:30 AM
12:30 PM
2:30 PM

The program is included with admission to the Center and is FREE for Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center Members.

For more information about the lady beetle programs or the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center, visit