Sunday, March 28, 2010


The Bradford Pear trees are in bloom at the Arboretum and across the county.  While the trees make a statement on the landscape with their white blooms showing us the first signs of spring (something we all have been waiting for this year!), you may want to think twice before planting one in your yard.  First, the flower is pretty, but their scent can be offputting.  Given the way their limbs grow out of the tree trunk at a very upright angle and the large number of limbs, as trees mature limb breakage may occur.  This has happened at the Arboretum.   Additionally, it is listed an invasive, exotic tree for the Southeast as noted at this link:  Bradford Pear .  There are several other, more desirable blooming trees.  Come out for our Walking Tour this Thursday (4/1) starting at 10:00 AM and see for yourselves.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Join Master Gardeners on Thursday, April 1st starting at 10:00 AM for a walking tour of the Arboretum.  Some trees are flowering, the perennials are beginning to come alive, the cool season vegetables are thriving, and daffodils and tulips are brightening the landscape.  Come out and get ideas for gardening you can do in your own yard.  No need to sign up, just show up.  The tour begins in front of the Ag Center under the Green Roof Shelter and last about an hour.  Click on the link of the Map on the right side of this page for directions.  Tours are given RAIN OR SHINE!

Monday, March 22, 2010


The Arboretum roses have all been pruned.  Your beautiful Knockout rose has probably started to bud out, too. Now is a good time to cut it back to improve its blooms for this year. Here is a short video on how to prune shrub roses:  How To Video

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


QUESTION:  I have bees burrowing in my lawn.  What can I do about it?
ANSWER:  First, keep in mind that bees are pollinators and needed in our gardens.  The type of bees that make nests in the lawn are not ones that are out to sting you.  They tend to make their nests in areas that are sparsely covered with turf.  Having a healthy, dense lawn is a good defense.  Keeping the area well watered might also discourage nesting.  More details about this bee and methods of control can be found at Bees in Turf.  To get your lawn in tip top shape, call the Master Gardener Hotline and request a year round schedule for the type of turf you have.  Additionally, come out to Lowe's at the Thomas Lanston Road location on Saturday 3/20 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  Extension Master Gardeners will be available to help you with your garden questions.  Danny Lauderdale will be giving a Lawn Care presentation at 1:00 PM.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Tempting as it may be, it is best to hold off planting for a bit longer.  The days have certainly been warmer and some stores are starting to sell all the pretty flowers and yummy looking tomato plants.  However, for us here in Pitt County the last frost date can be as late as April 15th. Keep in mind that some warm season annuals, herbs, and vegetables can be injured if the temperatures get below 40 degrees.  So if you plant now be prepared to keep a close eye on the thermometer.  Follow these steps in Protecting Your Plants from Frost should low temperatures be in the forecast.  It seems to be quite a lot of work which can be avoided by just waiting a few more weeks.  You can call our hotline for a chart showing the best times to plant your vegetables.  This is a good time to evaluate what went wrong/right in last year's garden.  This ariticle reveals some Gardening Chores to Do Now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CLUB SODA vs. FIRE ANTS: Fact or Fiction?

There is a new internet rumor going around that pouring club soda on fire ant mounds will destroy them.  Sound too good to be true?  Sorry, but it is just a myth.  Read  Chemical and Non-Chemical Control and Organic Fire Ant Control to find out the best ways to control fire ants.  As alway, follow the directions exactly as printed on the product.  Timing, temperature, moisture, and method of broadcasting may differ with each method used. 

Friday, March 5, 2010


QUESTION:  Why haven't there been any 'questions of the week' lately?
ANSWER:  Blame the rain, snow, wind, and cold which seems to be keeping everyone indoors staying warm and dry instead of outdoors digging in the dirt.  Hopefully, Spring will soon be here and keep our Hotline phone ringing.