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County Extension

  • Fall fragrance is in the air

    Plants from the genus Osmanthus are great large, evergreen shrubs to add to your landscape. Give them a bit of room and they’ll reward you with dark green foliage and tiny white flowers that will perfume your garden. In our area, consider Fragrant Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans), Holly Tea Olive (Osmanthus heterophyllus) and Fortune’s Osmanthus (Osmanthus x fortunei).

  • Fire ants may follow flooding

    Due to the vast amounts of rain, we will be blessed with an abundance of fire ants. As things dry out and we maintain moderate temperatures in many areas of the state, we are likely to see the late season fire ant mounds showing up.

  • Fall irrigation manipulation

    Shorter days and cooler temperatures have finally arrived. We don’t have to mow as much because the grass is slowing down. Trees and shrubs are losing their leaves and getting prepared for the winter dormant period. And, sports fans are enjoying the baseball playoffs leading up to the grand finale—the World Series.

    Somewhere between watching the boys of October and trying to figure out the craziness that is the Bowl Championship Series, you need to give your irrigation system a bit of attention. 

  • Rain relief: Local drought finally broken

    The drought was broken last week with 20-plus inches of rain in some areas. With the abrupt turn from very dry to very wet, lots of people have been asking me, “What does this mean to our lawns, shrubs and trees?” While certainly not a comprehensive list, here are some things to consider as autumn progresses.

  • Solving the mystery of bulbs

    A bulb garden is an easy garden to start because it only has to be planted once. However, when starting a new bulb patch, sometimes flowers that were planted by previous gardeners are unearthed. Use this guide to identify the most common garden bulbs and what they will turn into when in flower.

  • Mintz competes in 4-H Youth Livestock Roundup

    In a county comprised of golf courses and urbanized living, Brunswick County youth often find it difficult to participate in some of 4-H’s more traditional programs like raising livestock animals to show at the county and state fairs. However, over the course of the past four years, their participation in these areas has increased with one youth in particular paving the way.

    In 2006, Elizabeth Mintz began her journey to raising quality livestock by participating in the N.C. State Fair annual Youth Market Turkey Show program. 

  • Common insects and associated pests: attacking bedding plants and perennials

    Charlie Spencer 

    Master Gardener

    Sowbugs and Pillbugs (Isopods)

    Isopods (commonly called pillbugs) are not insects but relatives of the crab and shrimp. They have a head with obvious antennae and a trunk region with 11 pairs of legs. They tend to hide during the day and emerge at night to eat irregular holes in leaves of young plants. These pests are easily detected at night with a flashlight or by pulling back mulch around the plants. 

  • Small trees that handle the drought

    If your “honey-do” list includes new trees for the landscape, you may want to consider how well your plants will hold up under the dry conditions we’ve had this year. Of course, they need to be good plants that perform well in all of our erratic weather. Chinese fringe tree, loquat and several tough flowering cherries are great choices for our challenging growing conditions.

  • Common insects and associated pests attacking bedding plants, perennials

    There have been several calls on the information line in the last couple of weeks complaining about insect problems. Following are some common pests and solutions:

    Bedding plants and perennials provide the homeowner and landscaper with a multitude of colors and textures. Unfortunately, numerous insects, mites and other invertebrates (i.e. slugs, sowbugs and millipedes) consider these same plants as food. 

  • Have you oiled your plants lately?

    Leave the 10W-30 for the guys down at the auto service center. We’re talking about the horticultural oils lots of us use to control scales, spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, mealybugs and other critters. 

    Ever wonder what the difference is between “summer oil” and “dormant oil”? How about “superior” and “supreme”? Let’s try to clear up some of the confusion.