Archive for October, 2010

Weeds in your flowerbeds and vegetable gardens can be frustrating and sometimes overwhelming to control. If using herbicides is not your desired method of weed control, the next best alternative is to remove them by hand. Pulling them is a very effective way of controlling certain weeds, such as chamber bitter, crabgrass, purslane and pigweed.  For hand removal to be successful, it is critical to remove weeds when they are young and have a minimal root system. More importantly, remove them before they have a chance to make seed. If a weed is allowed to produce seed and part of the root system is left behind, it will return quickly and in large numbers. Mulching your flowerbeds several times a year with organic mulch at a depth of 2-3 inches will help prevent weed seed germination and growth. Organic mulches like pine straw and chipped or shredded pine bark are effective and have been proven to work best in suppressing weeds in the flowerbed.Using a weed barrier fabric is an effective way of suppressing annual weeds, but it’s ineffective in controlling tough perennial weeds such as torpedo grass, Florida betony or rattlesnake weed, bushkiller vine and purple nutsedge. These weeds are extremely aggressive and will grow through or around these barriers.



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The Northeast Louisiana Master Gardeners will present an AgExpo Horticulture Seminar titled Gardening: Steps to  Success” featuring Barbara Pleasent at the West monroe Convention Center on January, 15, 2011.   Barbara Pleasant, lives and works by her philosophy that, “We are meant to enjoy each day that we spend on Earth, which happens quite naturally when you nurture a garden.” Barbara is a popular lecturer for garden related events and will be the keynote speaker for this new Master Gardener event.  Gardening topics to be presented by Babara Pleasant include “How to Begin Vegetable Gardening” & “Revolutionary Home Composting Methods”.  Additional presenters and topics for the Gardening: Steps to Success horticulture seminar will include Peter Gallagher on “Native Plants in the Landscape”; Buck Bounds on “Know your Soil Type” & “Care for Plants: Fertilizers and Soil Amendments”; and Allen Owings on “Woody shrubs and Ornamentals” & “What’s New for 2011: Results of the Louisiana Trials”.

The program is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. and finish at noon on January 15th.  A pre-registration with fee is required for attendance.  To request a program description and registration form, contact the West Monroe LSU AgCenter Extension Office at (318) 323-2251 or send your request to shotard@agcenter.lsu.edu to recieve the same information by e-mail.

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The Louisiana Super Plant program is an educational and marketing campaign that highlights tough and beautiful plants that perform well in Louisiana landscapes. Louisiana Super Plants have a proven track record having gone through several years of university evaluations and observations. Louisiana Super Plants are “university tested and industry approved”. This fall the LSU AgCenter is promoting three Super Plants. The Amazon series of dianthus which is taller growing than other dianthus.  They come in brilliant colors of rose, neon cherry and neon purple and bloom heavily from late fall all the way until late spring or early summer. Foxgloves can be difficult to grow in Louisiana because they don’t tolerate the heat, but the Camelot series of foxglove stands up to the state’s high temperatures. It is one of the few foxgloves that will grow in our landscapes and a fall planting will give you the best display in the spring. The flower’s spikes are taller than other foxgloves that grow in Louisiana, are more open, and comes in shades of cream, lavender and rose. Camellias are a popular winter-blooming shrub in Louisiana. They reward gardeners with beautiful flowers when not much else is blooming in the landscape. The Shishi Gashira camellia is a low-growing camellia that will reach 4-5 feet, but is often kept trimmed to around 3 feet. It’s a wonderful shrub for foundation planting and blooms beautifully from October to early January with dark pink double flowers and performs well in shady or sunny locations.

Camelot Foxglove         Camellia Shi Shi Gashira          Amazon dianthus Neon Cherry 

   Camelot Foxglove           Camellia Shi Shi Gashira     Dianthus Neon Cherry

  Click here for information on where to find Super Plants.

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Two recent studies by Geoffrey Donavan, an economist and research forester at the Pacific Northwest Research Station, and David Butry, an economist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, yielded specific dollar values for street and neighborhood trees in Portland, Oregon, and for yard trees that provide summer shade in Sacramento, California. Their research demonstrated an increase to home prices from street trees in Portland, Oregon and that shade trees reduce household energy use in Sacramento, California and that these effects can be measured and expressed in dollars all across the country.  For more information go here to read all about “Calculating The Green In Green: What’s An Urban Tree Worth?” written by Gail Wells.

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As demand for blueberries keeps increasing so does the need for more people to grow them. To promote both the production of blueberries and their nutritional value, the LSU AgCenter has developed a new website, www.eXtension.org/blueberries. The website is populated with articles on how to grow blueberries, both conventionally and organically. Topics covered include site selection, soil testing, treating diseases, weeds, insect pests and much more. The website also includes information on the health benefits of eating blueberries as well as how to select fresh berries, cook with them and preserve them through canning, freezing and drying. A recipe section includes salads, pies, drinks, muffins and even a blueberry soup.

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The International Master Gardener Search for Excellence is the premier recognition program of Master Gardener volunteer work throughout the United States and Canada. Search for Excellence has seven categories in which Master Gardeners can demonstrate their outstanding contributions to their communities. They include:

*  Youth Program

*  Demonstration Garden

*  Workshop or Presentation

*  Community Service

*  Innovative Projects

*  Special Need Audiences (Senior, Disabled or Horticultural Therepy)

*  Research (Applied Scientific Methodology)

Applications and guidelines for the 2011 Search for Excellence Award can be found hereDeadline for Search for Excellence applications is February 1, 2011.

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Below is an update from James Quinn, Regional Horticultural Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. With the help of James’ leadership, this project was honored at the 2009 International Master Gardener Conference as a Search for Excellence Award winner. The Central Missouri Master Gardeners (CMMG- located in Jefferson City/Cole County) placed third in 2009 for their innovative greenhouse project. A primary purpose is to produce plants for their annual spring fundraiser. Sales in 2010 were up smartly over the prior year (20%)  to over $38,000. Since costs are controlled with  volunteer labor, recycled pots, and timely purchasing of discounted potting soil the ‘profits’ were about $28,000. This has allowed the Master Gardeners to increase more of its beautification projects, amplifying their volunteer efforts in giving back to the community…….

Learn more >> http://blogs.extension.org/mastergardener/2010/09/26/another-successful-year-for-former-sfe-award-winner/

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Almost any time of year is a good time to “Get it Growing” in Louisiana, and the LSU AgCenter’s latest edition of its lawn and garden calendar can help you do just that.

The calendar offers monthly gardening tips for the seasoned or novice gardener, as well as beautiful photos of plants, flowers and gardens from photographers across Louisiana.

Monthly gardening tips and a special feature on planting fig trees come from LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill, who is known across the region for his expertise on Louisiana gardening. The calendar alerts gardeners to save spring-flowering bulbs and prune ornamental vines, as well as provides other helpful information for their gardening projects.

Photographs for the calendar are chosen each year through a call for entries and competition that begins in the fall for the edition to be published the following year. The 2011 calendar winners include Glenda Balliviero, Lafayette; Norman Balliviero, Lafayette; Shaun Blue, Baton Rouge; Karen Creel, Jena; Robert Faul, Lafayette; Daniel Hart, Lecompte; Pat Hegwood, Baton Rouge; Bob Hines, Bentley; Wanda Klahorst, Hammond; Ginger Kraemer, Hammond; Kathleen Kramer, Slaughter; Catherine Lorio, Oscar; J.P. Morgan, Baton Rouge; Neil Odenwald, Baton Rouge; Tom Pope, Baton Rouge; Conchita Richey, Gonzales; Rhoda Stevenson, Campti; Charlene Troxler, Ama; Vicki Vance, Baton Rouge; and John Wozniak, Baton Rouge.

In addition to the monthly gardening tips for 2011 and the feature on fig trees, the calendar also includes a special, illustrated how-to section on deadheading roses, a list of LSU AgCenter lawn and garden publications, information on Louisiana Super Plants, the LSU AgCenter’s Master Gardener program, Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic and Soil Testing and Plant Analysis Labs.

The Get It Growing calendar sells for $11.95 and is available for online orders at www.lsuagcenter.com/GetItGrowingCalendar.  Phone orders can be placed by calling 225-578-4161. Sample photos and more information are also available through the website.

The calendar, designed as part of the LSU AgCenter’s popular Get It Growing educational campaign on home lawns and gardens, is also expected to be available through a variety of bookstores, garden centers and gift shops across the state this fall.

Proceeds from calendar sales help to support horticultural research and educational efforts of the LSU AgCenter, as well as scholarships for horticulture students.

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