Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gardening with Native Plants for Wildlife

Interest in gardening with native plants is increasing in the southeast for many reasons, but chief among these is a desire to provide food and shelter for native animals such as song birds, beneficial insects, pollinators, and hummingbirds. Research has shown that native animals survive and reproduce more successfully on native plants than on introduced species. Unfortunately we are losing large areas of native vegetation to development, especially in coastal areas. By including some native plants in your yard, you can replace some of what is being lost so future generations can enjoy the diversity of plants and animals that enrich our area.

Learn more! Read the entire article on the Pender Extension website:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Check Now for Colorado Potato Beetles!

If you have potatoes growing in your garden be on the lookout for Colorado potato beetles and their immature stage, known as larvae (picture left). These voracious feeders can quickly devour potato leaves, resulting in greatly reduced yields and even plant death in severe cases. Controlling these beetles early in the season, before populations explode, is essential to protect your potato crop, and to prevent damage to tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, which potato beetles will also feed upon.

Adult beetles are currently laying masses of bright orange eggs on potato leaves so now is the time to search your plants for these insects and take control measures if any are found. Find out how to control these pests (including organic options) - click here to read the entire article on the Pender Cooperative Extension website:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Virus Disease Threatens Area Tomato Plants

While there are many plant diseases that make growing tomatoes a challenge in the Southeast, a relatively new disease threatens to make home grown tomatoes even more difficult for many local gardeners to produce. Known as Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, or TSWV, this disease is different from most tomato diseases because it is caused by a virus rather than a fungus or bacteria. Most virus diseases in plants cause the infected plant to develop strange color patterns on the leaves or flowers and may cause stunting, but usually do not kill their host plant outright. Unfortunately TSWV does, and it has started showing up on tomato plants in our area in the past few weeks.

Early symptoms of tomato spotted wilt virus include bronzing or distortion of leaves, brown or purplish spots, wilting, and stunting of tomato plants. There is no treatment for this disease, which can only be avoided by planting resistant varieties.

Learn more! Read the entire article online from the Pender County Cooperative Extension website:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Reduce Water Use with Water Wise Landscaping!

'Color Guard' yucca (front) , Texas sage (middle), and pink muhly grass (back) provide fall color in a drought tolerant landscape. Grouping drought tolerant plants together in landscape beds reduces the amount of water needed to keep your landscape healthy. This is one of the principles of water wise landscaping.

Water wise landscapes are designed and maintained to need less water year around, making them more resilient to dry weather and less reliant on irrigation. These are both desirable qualities in our area, considering droughts often occur and the increasing demand for water caused by rapid development. Applying water wise principles to your yard will help you reduce your outdoor water use and grow a healthy landscape. Making your landscape water wise does not require you to redo your entire yard; simply incorporate some basic practices into your landscape design and maintenance activities.

Learn more! Read the entire article on the Pender Extension website: