Monday, August 5, 2019

Sanitation in the Garden
By Louise Weyer

Septoria Leaf Spot

Tubakia on Oak
Bitter Rot on Apple

Do you see these conditions in your garden? They are triggered by various parasitic fungi that cause leaf spots, rusts, powdery mildew, and cankers. They overwinter in the soil, debris under the plants, cracks in the bark, and in spores attached to the plant. Fungi obtain nutrients by inserting root-like organs (mycelium) into host plants or dead organic matter. Warmer weather and rain will promote the production of spores which can be disseminated by wind and rain.
With a few gardening activities, one can focus on ways to lessen future disease problems. Sanitation is one of the most important methods of maintaining a healthy garden. It will reduce the amount of disease causing fungi present in the area thus reducing the amount of potential disease next season. In some instances, an effective fungicide is not available, is too expensive, or is difficult for the homeowner to effectively spray over the entire plant (e.g. trees). In these situations, good sanitation practices can be one of your strongest weapons to help reduce diseases and keep them from spreading.
Your sanitation regiment for ornamental trees, shrubs, fruits, and vegetables should include the following:
·         Employ proper pruning techniques.
·         Prune out and destroy all dead and diseased branches. 
·         Do not leave stubs. 
·         Cut just outside the collar tissue to promote rapid wound closure and healing. 
·         Disinfect pruning tools between cuts.
·         Remove fallen leaves to eliminate this overwintering site.
·         Remove dried, mummified fruits or vegetables.  
·         Remove old flower heads and stalks.
·         If plants were severely infected, it is advisable to remove and destroy them. Do not replace with the same species.
·         Remove weeds because they provide a winter habitat for fungi, insects, and seeds for next year’s weed crop.
·         Where practical, plow the soil to break down small roots and debris that may be harboring nematodes, fungi and bacteria.
·         Mulch plants to prevent splashing of soil containing fungi onto the plants. 

Sanitation is a year-round process. Removal of infected leaves, diseased fruits, berries, and vegetables as soon as a problem appears will reduce the spread of disease.

Sanitation Measures for Limiting Common Diseases in the Home Orchard”, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia www.pubs,
“Disease Control in the Home Vegetable Garden”, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia
“Azalea Diseases in the Landscape”, Cooperative Extension Service, North Carolina State University
“Diseases and Insects of Shrubs and Small Trees”, University of Illinois Extension, “Reduce Pest Problems with Garden Sanitation Practices”, University of California, Davis, www.ucce.ucdavis,edu
“Garden and Landscape Sanitation Important for Plant Disease Management, Missouri Environment and Garden,
The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Storm Damaged Tree


Photo Courtesy of George Hoden 

Storm damaged trees left standing after general storm clearance activities have been completed can become hazardous. Trees that could quickly develop into hazards need to be evaluated and treated or removed. Good storm damage management is much more cost-effective over the long run than cleaning up fallen materials now and reacting to tree problems in the future. Evaluations should be performed by a certified arborist before or at the time of initial storm damage service. The goal is to minimize risk and protect assets, including the tree itself. Always remember to take proper safety precautions when dealing with and fixing storm damaged trees.

Initially, the homeowner can review storm damage according to the following three categories:

Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service
         Category I Damage

  • Dead tree
  • Snapped or twisted stem breaks
  • Roots Broken-tree can be pushed over
  • Leaning or bent pine
  • Pine Lighting strike
  • Branch damage leaving lopsided crown
  • Hardwood with >50% crown loss
  • Pine with >30% live crown damage or loss
  • Large stress crack or twists in main stem

         Treatment: Damage is not treatable and
         the tree should be removed.

Courtesy of The National Park Service

 Category II Damage
  • Hardwood top broken <50% live crown loss
  • Hardwood branches with <50% loss
  • Pine <30% of branches loss or damage

Treatment: Prune the damage (drop the crotch if needed). 
Water the tree as needed and watch for insect damage. 
A soil test is recommended ad fertilize the tree the following year according to the results.


          Category III Damage
  • Hardwood lighting strike
  • Twigs and small branches blown off
  • Foliage destroyed or stripped
  • Mechanical damage to main stem <30% of circumference effected
          Treatment:Minimize stress on the tree by watering as needed. 
          Have a soil test done and fertilize based on results the following year.
          Watch for insect damage while the tree is healing.


Additional Resource Links:

Ask a Certified Arborist: The Georgia Forestry Commission’s on-line service — “Ask the Arborist”. Complete a form and a certified arborist will answer questions and evaluate conditions.

Is My Tree Dying? Is a helpful general publication by the UGA Cooperative Extension Office which discusses signs of a tree in danger.

Certified Arborist List by The Georgia Forestry Commissions:

Managing Storm Damaged Trees Do’s and Dont’s:

Friday, February 1, 2019

Pansies and Johnny Jump Ups

September is the ideal time to plant violas such as pansies and Johnny jump ups.  With a seven-month growing season, and cold tolerance down to 20°F, these violas add color to mass plantings and containers.  The pansy plant is 8 inches across and 8 inches high with 1 - 4-inch blossoms. The Johnny jump up bloom is one inch across on a plant 12 - 15 inches tall.

Sun light
Full sun best; 4-6 hrs. minimum
Plant selection
Select dark green, compact plants with white roots that are not pot bound
Plants in 3”- 4” pots have better root ball
Bed Preparation
Plants require a soil temperature of 45°F to 65°F. Plants will not grow in compacted clay soil. Spread 3”- 4” of quality soil amendment or compost and till in 8”- 12” deep. Adding 1”- 2” composted cow manure adds slow release nutrients. Pansies do not like wet feet. A raised bed 3” - 6“above the original grade will improve drainage.
Make sure plants are well watered before laying out for planting. If they were purchased in advance, water daily to keep from wilting. Lay plants out to determine spacing. Space 7” - 12” apart. Ten inches apart is ideal.  Overcrowding will promote disease. Dig individual planting holes. Press soil firmly around plant. Water bed gently and thoroughly.
During first two to three weeks, keep new plants moist but not soggy. Thereafter, provide one inch of water per week if there is no rain. Keep plants on dry side as temperature cools.
When soil temperature is above 60°F, use a good balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) at 1 pound per 100 sq. ft. When temperatures cool, pansies must have a nitrate nitrogen. Check the label. Nitrate-based or time released formulations for pansies are fine.
Seasonal Care
Remove dead or fading flowers every two weeks to encourage more blossoms.
Remove weeds. They rob pansies of water and nutrients.
If air temperature is below 25°F plants foliage will wilt & turn gray green.
If soil freezes, plants may be damaged.
Special protection is required if air temperature is below 20°F for several days. Cover entire bed with 2” - 4” of pine straw.
End of Season
Pansies are cool weather plants. When the temperature rises the plants will elongate and flop over unattractively. Remove the plants during early May.


This viola does well in full sun and performs better in shade and cool conditions than the pansies.
These are the only exceptions, but all the above instructions are applicable.

References:  The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Christopher Brickell, Judith D. Zuh, 1997
Manual of Woody Herbaceous Ornamental Plants, Steven M. Stil,1994