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Making a few New Year’s resolutions for Brunswick County gardeners

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Last year about this time, we looked at some attainable resolutions for gardeners, including enjoying the garden more and obsessing less, using soil and water samples and not trying to grow turfgrasses in the shade. Here are a few suggestions for garden resolutions for 2009:

If having a great looking lawn is high on your priority list, resolve to figure out what should be done and do it in a timely manner. The warm-season grasses we grow are different from cool-season grasses like tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass that are commonly grown in colder climates.

We have lawn calendars for each grass, as well as lots of other information on weed, insect and disease control at the Cooperative Extension. Log on to our local Web site at http://brunswick.ces.ncsu.edu/ or call 253-2610.

Right now is a good time to control winter weeds before they grow large and more difficult to stop. It’s also fine to go ahead with pre-emergence weed control applications in the next few weeks.

All gardeners should resolve to manage irrigation water more effectively. Brunswick County is fortunate not to be in a water crisis like some of our neighbors, but some days in July the county is delivering in excess of 26 million gallons.

The current capacity of the system is around 30 million gallons daily. If we improve the way we irrigate, we can slow down the need for expanding the water capacity. Remember expanding capacity means spending your tax dollars.

Most people water much more than necessary for healthy plants. Turn your automated system off during the winter unless you have new plantings. Use drip irrigation where practical.

Install a rain-check device to interrupt the system during rainfall events. Water thoroughly then wait to see signs of stress before watering again. Unless you have sod that has just been laid or brand new tree and shrub plantings, daily watering isn’t necessary even in the hot summer.

When you have the opportunity, I hope you’ll resolve to do business with local garden centers, nurseries and service businesses such as landscape installers and lawn maintenance professionals. The current economic conditions have created lots of hardships for everyone, but small business owners often are hit the hardest. Supporting the people who have done great work for you in the past will help them stay afloat and create our own local economic stimulus package.

At the risk of repeating one of last year’s resolutions, I hope you will seek to enjoy your garden and not let it drive you crazy. A weed here or there isn’t the end of the world. Plants that don’t perform can be replaced.

I wish you all much success, good health and happiness in the new year.