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County Extension

  • Great lawn expectations, even with turfgrasses

     If you haven’t already figured it out, Southeastern North Carolina is one of the worst places in the world to grow turfgrasses. We sometimes have winter temperatures that cause injury to warm-season grasses like centipede and St. Augustine. It’s just too blasted hot in the summer for even the most heat-tolerant, cool-season grasses like tall fescue to survive. Throw in weeds, ground pearls, high pH, large patch, dollar spot, chinch bugs and all of the other issues and you have tough turf growing conditions.

  • Using vines in the landscape to create screens in limited space

    Sometimes, when there is not enough space for a hedge or a shrub, but a screen is needed, vines may be the answer. 

    Vines help add privacy, camouflage wire fences, hide an unsightly wall, or add character to tight places. They can create a shade buffer from the hot sun on the side of a building or cover a romantic walkway into a garden “room.” There are several vines both popular and appropriate for use in gardens of North Carolina.

  • A little ‘Razzle Dazzle’ in crape myrtle selection

    Crape myrtles are important flowering trees for our landscapes and a personal favorite of mine.

    Hot weather makes me and these tough plants happy. Thanks to some of the good folks at the University of Georgia, there is a whole new reason to get excited about crape myrtles; the Razzle Dazzle series of dwarf selections. 

  • Summertime and gardening in Brunswick County isn’t easy

    Do you feel like it’s just too hot to garden? Your plants are feeling the heat also and there are a few things that you can do to help them feel better. 

    If you work a little bit at a time and use the early morning and evening hours to accomplish these few tasks, you and your garden will appreciate your efforts.

  • Flowering cherries: Consider varieties that hold up well in our county

    When most people think about flowering cherries for the landscape, their thoughts go directly to Washington, D.C.’s tidal basin and the Yoshino cherries that herald spring each year.
    This generous gift from the Japanese government back in the early part of the 20th century makes a spectacular, if short-lived, show, but Yoshino isn’t the easiest plant to grow in our conditions. If you must have flowering cherries, consider several others that tend to hold up better in the heat and humidity of southeastern North Carolina.

  • Ticks are here in Brunswick

    Seems like the ticks are trying to take over the world, at least the Brunswick County portion. If you stay outside much, these pests seem to be everywhere. The Extension agents are reporting what seems to be an inordinate amount of these obnoxious little creatures awaiting a meal, and that meal may be you.
    The Master Gardener Hot Line has received calls concerning ticks. Homeowners with natural landscapes will normally have more of a problem than others.

  • Extreme conditions help sort out summer winners, losers

    The brutal heat and humidity arrived a little early this year even though things have moderated somewhat in the last few days. Extreme conditions always help us sort out the plant winners and losers. Let’s take a look at some of those.

  • Some plants work well in rain gardens in coastal North Carolina

    Rainwater picks up pollutants from our lawns, gardens, roads and takes them into the rivers and bays. Rain gardens are a beautiful way to cleanse the environment of pollutants and keep our rivers and bays cleaner for its inhabitants, our cherished sea life.

    Rain gardens are raised beds in reverse. They are mirror images of conventional gardens that are planted high; rain gardens are concave planted in shallow basins. 

  • The cycle of rebirth and heightened garden awareness

     There are probably more folks who associate “nirvana” with a 1990’s grunge band with a self-destructive lead singer than with heightened states of consciousness, but the concept of samsara certainly applies to gardening. 

    This “cycle of rebirth” in the garden means preparing soil well, adding lots of organic matter and learning to work within the constraints placed upon us by our challenging climate and, probably, killing some plants along the way. 

  • 4-H to offer summer programs starting June 17

    The line of school buses at the Brunswick County Government Complex was a sight to see last Thursday, June 10, as they made their way back to the garage to be parked for summer. It was a sure sign school is officially out.
    As the 4-H staff noticed them outside their office windows, it reminded them the Brunswick County summer fun “Exploring the World of 4-H” program would begin in less than 24 hours.