Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Caring for Holiday Plants, Through the Holidays and Beyond!

Variegated Poinsettia            PHOTO/Bodie Pennisi
When we see showy red poinsettias, many of us are instantly reminded of the winter holidays. Poinsettias, which now are available in a whole range of colors, are at their showy best at this time of year.

UGA/Forsyth County Program Assistant Heather Kolich points out, in a recent GA FACES article Poinsettias and Christmas Cactus Shine Even after the Tinsel and Lights Come Down , that the vibrant color can be maintained for months:

"With proper care, [poinsettias] can maintain their color for months. These plants need at least six hours of bright, indirect light every day; frequent watering; and a stable temperature between 65 and 70 degrees. When the colored leaves fade, cut the plant back to around 10 inches and move it to a larger pot."

For Christmas cactus, Kollich writes, "Sunny, south-facing windows are the best place for these plants.When blooms fade, pluck them off and give the plant a dose of houseplant fertilizer. In warm weather, holiday cacti can live outdoors in semi-shaded spots."

For the full article, including information about growing cyclamen, select the linked article title above. More detailed descriptions for selection and care of these holiday plants can be found through the Cobb Extension website.

From the homepage, select the tile for Agriculture and Natural Resources, then choose the tile for Cobb Extension Publications and Tips of the Month. On the publications page, scroll down to the section on PLANTS, then select the "Christmas Plants" publication.

This publication includes information on selection and care of both cut and live Christmas trees. The "Amaryllis" publication linked on that same page explains the care of the large amaryllis bulbs that also have become a large part of many homes' holiday decor..

Monday, November 25, 2013

Aquaculture Presentations in Soperton, GA

Fish farmers and aquaponics entrepreneurs will all be interested in an upcoming set of talks scheduled to take place at the annual meeting of the Georgia Aquaculture Association (GAA). 

The meeting is set for January 16, 2014, in Soperton:

Dennard's Pond House 
5111 GA Highway 29 
Soperton, GA

Presentations will provide information about: 
  • Georgia Fish Inspections 
  • Food Safety and Aquaponics 
  • GATE Agriculture Tax Exemption 
  • Fish Stock Checks by Electrofishing 
  • Aquatic Plant Control 
  • Plant Management in Aquaponics 
  • Aquatic Applicator Credits 
Catfish lunch and presentations are from noon until 4:00 p.m. 
The business meeting for GAA begins at 4:00 p.m. 
Tours of local farms will follow the meeting. 
Cost for non-voting interested individuals is $15.

Preregistration is requested (so they know how much catfish to have on hand for frying). To register, please send your contact information to 

Kim and Keith Edge 
2829 Briarcliff Rd.
Soperton, GA 30457 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Egg Candling Class in Paulding County

Paulding County Cooperative Extension is working with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to offer an Egg Candling Certification Class in winter of 2014.

If you would be interested in obtaining your egg candling license by attending a certification class in Paulding County, please:

1. Contact Bradley Brown or Deborah Ingram at Georgia Department of Agriculture (770-535-5955)
2. Provide your Name, Address, Phone number, and Email address.
3. Be sure to specify that you are interested in attending a class in Paulding County
4. Call before December 2. 

A class will be scheduled when enough people have called in to register their interest.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Affordable Care Act and the Green Industry

UGA Cooperative Extension in Cobb County and the Georgia Green Industry Association, Chapter 1, are co-sponsoring a presentation for Green Industry Professionals on how the Affordable Care Act will affect their businesses differently than it does other industries. 

Matthew Chappell, UGA Asst Professor and Extension Horticulturist -- Nursery Production

Monday, December 2, 2013, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Cobb County Water System Training Room
662 South Cobb Drive
Marietta, GA 30060

Free, but please preregister by calling 770-528-4070

For more information: 
Call Neil Tarver, Cobb County's ANR Agent, 770-528-4070

Friday, November 8, 2013

Affordable Care Act -- Need to Know More?

University of Georgia Cobb County Cooperative Extension is offering free workshops covering details of the new Affordable Care Act. Both workshops will be on November 19th.

The morning workshop for November 19, 2013, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., will be held here at this office:

Cobb County Cooperative Extension
678 South Cobb Drive
Marietta, GA  30060

The afternoon workshop will be held on November 19, 2013, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Central Library in Marietta:

Cobb County Central Library
266 Roswell Street
Marietta, GA 30060

Registration is REQUIRED. Register by calling 770-528-4070.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rough Year for Boxwoods in Cobb County

Recently, we have seen a lot of troubled Boxwood shrubs, brought in by County residents, here at the Cobb County Cooperative Extension office. Several samples have been sent to UGA's pathology lab, and although a couple of reports have listed disease pathogens such as Volutella as causing some of the trouble, others have cited root problems as the likeliest cause of decline for the sample.

In particular, wet conditions (remember all that rain we had in spring and early summer?) leading to root decay was noted in more than one report.

Virginia Cooperative Extension's publication Selecting Landscape Plants: Boxwoods explains how to select, plant, and care for Boxwood shrubs, and it includes this information about tolerance of Boxwoods to moist soil conditions:
"Boxwoods can grow in a variety of soil textures (relative amounts of sand, silt, and clay), but too much sand (a low water-holding content) or too much clay (too high a water-holding content and too low an air-holding content) should be avoided. A soil that is well-drained is essential; thus, low areas of the landscape that tend to stay moist or wet do not support boxwood growth."
In other words, Boxwoods are not at all tolerant of soil that doesn't drain well and that stays wet for extended time periods. If more Boxwoods out there are struggling, a closer look at the soil conditions might show that poor drainage is part of the problem.

In addition to being a little bit finicky about soil conditions, Boxwood shrubs here in North Georgia have a full measure of pest and disease problems, but Virginia Cooperative Extension's Boxwoods information page notes that deer typically don't eat boxwood, making it an attractive choice for neighborhoods that are troubled by deer.

For those whose Boxwoods are not doing well right now, Clemson University's publication Boxwood Diseases and Insect Pests contains helpful descriptions and photos of commonly seen Boxwood problems.

UGA's Landscape Alert October 18 blog post Boxwood Blight Update by pathologist Jean Williams Woodward tells about a fairly alarming new Boxwood Blight that has not yet made it to Georgia. The update (click on the linked title to see the original blog post) contains photos and a full description, along with tips that can help keep this disease out of our landscapes. This is the "bottom line" in preventing the spread of this fast-moving disease:
"You won’t get this disease if you don’t bring in any boxwoods. The spores are not wind-borne; they are water-splashed and carried on plants, people, tools, and animals. If you do bring in boxwood plants, make sure they come from a nursery certified to be free of Boxwood Blight."
Specifically, to reduce the spread of this disease, Woodward suggests disinfecting tools that are used on or around Boxwoods and considering propagating your own plants from Boxwoods that are known to be free of this new Blight.

For all Boxwood problems, prevention through appropriate variety selection and careful planting-site preparation and maintenance practices are key to our being able to enjoy healthy, beautiful plants in our landscapes for years to come.