Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Looking for Reliable Lawn and Garden Information?

Plenty of homeowners like to solve their own lawn and garden problems by looking for information online, but most of us have learned that not all internet sources are equally reliable.

Luckily for those who prefer to do a little of their own research before calling in additional help, Extension specialists at UGA and other land-grant universities have written publications about many lawn, garden, and landscape problems and other topics, and these research-based publications are available to the public.

The UGA Extension Publications webpage has two "Search" boxes that can be used to find relevant publications for many problems. One search box is in the upper right portion of the page, and the other is on the left, farther down the page. Both boxes work equally well.

To use them, just type in a search word or two, click on the "go" button, then wait to see the results. The first few publications in the results list tend to be most relevant, but sometimes a potentially useful publication shows up later in the list, so it's a good idea to look beyond the first several publication titles.

For example, a search using the word "ponds" brings up publications about managing ponds during drought, oxygen depletion in ponds, and using chemicals in pond management. The next few titles in the list are about cattle, irrigation, and wastewater treatment, but then a publication about fertilizing ponds for sport fish production shows up on "page 2" of the results. In other words, the results list for this particular search is a cornucopia of publications on many aspects of ponds and their uses!

For UGA, the Extension Publications page also can be used to find information about household pests, soil and water testing, vegetables, orchards, turfgrass, forage crops, wildlife food plots, canning, food safety, radon testing, and many more topics.

It occasionally happens that a topic of interest doesn't appear in the results list. Sometimes, this is because UGA specialists just haven't written about that topic yet. In those cases, reliable publications sometimes are available though regionally appropriate sources at Clemson University Extension, North Carolina State University Extension, and Alabama Extension System.

Of course, reliable information can also be obtained through your local Extension office!