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image by Saaby

Asian lady beetles
have begun their search for winter quarters.

image by Saaby[/caption] Beetles have begun focusing their attention on finding a place to spend the winter. Among their favorite sites are crevices in tree bark, rock outcroppings, and buildings. In most cases, the beetles are a minor inconvenience but occassionally people's houses have been inundated with literally thousands of lady beetles. The beetles can pinch and some people can develop allergies to airborne particulates from lady beetle carcasses. If you squish them, the beetles excude an odor and leave a yellow-brown stain, however, beetles do not cause structural damage. Management: exclusion vacuume up indoor beetles blacklight traps More Information by Mike Waldvogel and Patty Alder

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image by Saaby

Asian lady beetles
have begun their search for winter quarters.

image by Saaby[/caption] Beetles have begun focusing their attention on finding a place to spend the winter. Among their favorite sites are crevices in tree bark, rock outcroppings, and buildings. In most cases, the beetles are a minor inconvenience but occassionally people's houses have been inundated with literally thousands of lady beetles. The beetles can pinch and some people can develop allergies to airborne particulates from lady beetle carcasses. If you squish them, the beetles excude an odor and leave a yellow-brown stain, however, beetles do not cause structural damage. Management: exclusion vacuume up indoor beetles blacklight traps More Information by Mike Waldvogel and Patty Alder

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Searchable Database of Plants

Searchable Database
of Plants

Searchable Database of Plants[/caption] plants.ces.ncsu.edu  Identify the perfect plant for your yard!  Seach by height, light requirements, leaf color, flower color, ability to atract butterflies and song birds, and much more.

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ScreenPrintTherapeuticHortPortal

Therapeutic
Horticulture

Therapeutic Hort Portal[/caption] Therapeutic Horticulture Portal Horticultural therapy is a dynamic intervention that uses nature-based activities to promote learning and healing.  This website was designed to serve participants and their families, volunteers interested in supporting programs, interns seeking professional certification as well as professionals and service providers interested in offering therapeutic horticulture opportunities.

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Cover-Summer2013

Extension Gardener
Newsletter

Extension Gardener Newsletters Extension Gardener Newsletters[/caption] Subscribe to the Extension Gardener email listserv to receive notification when new editions of the newsletter have been posted to the Extension Gardener Portal . Extension Gardener is a quarterly newsletter written by horticultural experts across the state with regional editions focused on the North Carolina coastal plain, mountains, and piedmont.

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Ice Christmas Tree

Timely Tips for
December

We wish you a joyous holiday season! Gift Ideas Low on cash, but still young and strong?  Give gardening gift certificates.  Offer your manual labor to a loved one in need of help with gardening chores. Gift plants to consider are Christmas cactus, poinsettia, amaryllis, paperwhite narcissus, cyclamen, tulips, rhododendron species, rosemary. Christmas Trees Support North Carolina Christmas tree growers: buy a Fraser fir or other tree from our local growers.  Saw 2 inches off the trunk end of the tree and place the newly sawed end in a bucket of water.  Check the reservoir often since these trees draw water quickly.  A tree can use up to a quart of water per day for each inch of stem diameter. Never mist Christmas trees.  Serious electrical damage may occur. Lawns Treat annual bluegrass, henbit, chickweed and other cool-season weeds now, before they become hard to manage next spring.  Treat wild onions and wild garlic now and again in February. Fallen leaves are a gold mine!  Use your lawn mower to mulch them and "leave" them alone. Ornamentals Use mulch from the old compost pile and continue to add leaves and other organic material to the new compost pile.  December is a great time to improve appearances by mulching. Landscape with container and balled-and-burlapped plants as soil conditions allow. Did you plant new trees this past fall?  Now is the time to remove stakes, ties and guy wires to prevent girdled branches and trunks. Bundle up and walk through a park, arboretum, forest or the neighborhood.  Scout for beautiful plants and try identification this time of year.  It's a great way to plan improvements in your landscape. Fruits and Vegetables Apples can be pruned now.  Wait until after January 1 to prune peaches and plums. Prune muscadine grapes now if you need some clippings for decoration; otherwise, wait until January. Figs in the piedmont seem to do better if mulched heavily. Spread a thick layer of  leaves around the fig. A soil test would tell you if a fig bush needs lime. Propagate blueberries during the winter by digging a side shoot from a plant.  A good root system on the shoot would be best but blueberries will regenerate a root system even with only a small portion of roots available. Mulch blueberries. The three most common perennial vegetables grown in North Carolina are asparagus, rhubarb and Jerusalem artichokes. Asparagus is best known for sandy soil but will grow in most home gardens.  Rhubarb will grow in the cooler parts of the state, but tends to be short-lived in the piedmont and coastal plains.  Jerusalem artichoke will grow across the state.  In fact, it is native or naturalized from the mountains to the coast. The dormant season is the time to order asparagus so it will arrive in February for the coastal plains or in late March for gardens farther inland. There are numerous complicated soil preparation and planting schemes that make asparagus seem more difficult than it is. Make sure the bed has good drainage and prepare the soil like you would for any bulb or heavy-feeding perennial. Plant asparagus 8 inches deep but cover it only 2 inches deep to start with.  Add soil as it grows. Jersey Gem and Jersey Knight are good asparagus varieties for home gardeners. Ice Storms As we head into the winter season, we can expect bad weather.  Ice storms often take care of many tree hazards such as weak crotch angles and excessive end weights.  However, the storms may create additional hazards. The following rules of thumb assume the tree has a target to hit and is large enough to cause damage: Any tree that has been root sprung or is unnaturally leaning from the ground up should be considered hazardous. Soil cracks or heaving is a clue that the roots can no longer be trusted to hold the tree. Any large tree with an injury covering more than 30% of the circumference of the trunk can create a hazardous situation as it decays.   An injury that goes several feet up the outside of a tree trunk can lead to a weak tree.  On the other hand, a tree can become 70% hollow and still retain 80% of its strength as long as the decay isn't exposed to the outside. Remember that landscape trees should be removed when they become hazardous, which is often years before they die. For other questions regarding your home landscape, contact your Cooperative Extension Center in your county. If your home experiences loss of electricity this winter, Cooperative Extension’s family and consumer education agents can provide guidelines on food safety (what to keep and what to throw out).    Visit www.ces.ncsu.edu for local contacts.

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Brochure Costa Rica

Extension Master Gardeners Headed to Costa Rica in 2015

North Carolina Extension Master Gardener Volunteers (EMGVs) are launching an International Travel Study program with a trip to Costa Rica 2/20/2015 to 3/2/2015. EMGVs and other interested individual are welcome. A payment of $2,895 (does NOT include airfare)  is due MORE »

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Backyard Composting

Instead of disposing of yard trimmings and kitchen scraps, you can compost them in your own backyard. Composting is an easy, fascinating, and natural way to recycle. Compost can be made from most MORE »

AG-790  Choosing and Using Edible Flowers

Choosing and Using Edible Flowers

Enjoy the Flavor, Color, and Texture That Flowers Can Bring to Food. “Choosing and Using Edible Flowers” by Cyndi Lauderdale and Lucy Bradley is available on-line for free. Full of guidance on how MORE »

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