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									                           A BIT OF DIRT
                         Published by the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners
                       June-July-Aug. 2008 Summer Edition Volume 14 No. 3

                                                     PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
 INSIDE THE SPRING EDITION                                by John Atkinson
                  Page 1
                                          ADVANCED MASTER GARDENER TRAINING
            President’s Message
                                          There is so much to learn and so little time. Marco
                 Page 2
                                          Fonseca, State MG Coordinator, and others at the
        Comment Request & HB 1281
                                          University of Georgia have put together the
                                          Advanced Master Gardener Training Program to
                 Page 3
                                          provide continuing education for the Georgia Master
        Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Alert
                                          Gardener. Participants in the program found it a
                                          rewarding experience and well worth the effort. UGA
                 Page 4
                                          recognizes your participation with a certificate that
    Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms
                                          can be placed in a prominent location at your home
                                          or office.
                Page 8
 Gwinnett Clears up Water Restrictions
                                          What’s an advanced class like? It is more than a
                                          refresher of the training you have already
                Page 9
                                          experienced as an intern. It has much greater depth
 Taking the Quiz: Watering Certificates
                                          and specificity. The instructors are highly qualified in
                                          their field and the presentations are designed to be
               Page 11
                                          of timely interest and educational importance to the
  Deer Deterrent Recipe & Cogongrass
                                          Master Gardener. There is a pre-class exam to
                                          determine your level of knowledge before the class.
               Page 12
                                          An exam at the end of the class to determines how
  Gwinnett Master Gardener Activities
                                          much you’ve learned. The exams are fairly
                                          straightforward so there is no need to panic.
                 Page 15
        Monthly Garden Suggestions
                                          Sign up as soon as you see the announcement in the
                                          Georgia Master Gardener Association’s “The Georgia
              Page 17
                                          Scoop” newsletter or receive an email notice from
   Summer Treat: Ice Cream in a Bag
                                          Krissy Slagle, State MG Program Assistant, or Kathy
                                          Parent of the Gwinnett Extension Office. All the
                Page 18
                                          classes have a limited enrollment and fill up quickly.
          Membership Application
                                          The topic and program description provide an idea
                                          whether or not the training class would of interest to
                                          you. The training definitely builds your confidence
                                          and increases your horticultural knowledge. The
                                          knowledge gained in these classes will make you a
          GCMG MEETINGS                   better Gwinnett County Master Gardener.
Date:     3rd Monday of each month
                                          If you can’t participate in the Advanced Master
Location: Gwinnett Senior Center          Gardener Training Program, spend some time
          225 Bethesda Church Road        reviewing the material in the Master Gardeners
          Lawrenceville, GA 30044         Handbook and the Pest Management Handbook. This
                                          will increase your ability to contribute to the
Time:     6:30 PM - Social                knowledge of the citizens of Gwinnett County who
          7:00 PM - Speaker               rely on the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners for
          8:00 PM - Business Meeting      sound, reliable guidance.
                                                                                   A BIT OF DIRT

 Gwinnett County Cooperative Extension
          750 S. Perry Street                 YOUR COMMENTS ARE SOLICITED
     Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045                   by John Atkinson, President
           678-377-4010      Your comments on the Gwinnett County Master
                                           Gardener     Association    programs     would    be
                                           appreciated. As the calendar ticks by, the Executive
 GCMG BOARD MEMBERS 2008                   Committee must plan for an orderly succession of the
                                           President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.
                                           We also need your input so a comprehensive plan can
             OFFICERS                      be developed for next year’s activities. We welcome
                                           your constructive comments about where we’ve
                                           been; how we are doing; and where we’re headed.
     PRESIDENT - John Atkinson
    VICE PRESIDENT - Debbie Bush           Please take some time out of your busy day to e-mail
      SECRETARY - Julie Weaver             your     comments       to    John     Atkinson    at
                                 , Webmaster Glenn
       TREASURER - Anne Heath              Parsons at, or Kathy Parent
                                           of       the       Gwinnett         Extension      at
           COMMITTEES             If you would like
                                           to increase your participation in the Gwinnett County
                                           Master Gardeners Association, please let us know. To
HOSPITALITY - Kay Phiel & Joyce Cowan      quote Glenn Parsons on our website: “Those who can
      PROJECTS – Renee Beard               do, those who can do more volunteer.” I ask “CAN
  PUBLIC RELATIONS - Jackie Kujawa         YOU DO MORE?”
   MEMBERSHIP - Michele Templeton
 BETHESDA GARDENS - Sharon Mathews
     FIELD TRIPS – Glenn Parsons
       HISTORIAN - John Bailey                           HOUSE BILL 1281
        PLANT SALE - RS Buell
                                                  by Dan Willis, Newsletter Editor
                                           On May 14, Governor Sonny Purdue signed into law
      DIRECTORS-AT-LARGE                   House Bill 1281. It is an “Act to amend Chapter 5 of
                                           Title 12 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated,
                                           relating to water resources, so as to prohibit local
       Glenn Parsons, 2007                 government restrictions on outdoor water use during
                                           periods of drought that are more restrictive than
          Dan Willis, 2006
                                           those imposed by the state without certain
       Shannon Pable, 2005                 approval.” It also is: “to provide that political
        Gayle Hayes, 2004                  subdivisions may be exempted from outdoor watering
     Michele Templeton, 2003               restrictions imposed by the state; to prohibit placing
      Sharon Mathews, 2002                 certain restrictions on use of surface water for
                                           swimming pools; to prohibit placing certain
       Karen Brandon, 2001
                                           restrictions on use of ground water for swimming
       Judy Hoffman, 2000                  pools; to provide an effective date; to repeal
     Sheila Wilbur, 1998-1999              conflicting laws; for other purposes.”
     Gail Holliman, 1996-1997
     Beverly Howerton, 1995                To view the new state rules online for outdoor
         Don Freidus, 1994                 watering rules go to

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3       Page 2 of 18                    Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                          A BIT OF DIRT

                           HEMLOCK WOOLY ADELGID ALERT
                                   from the Lumpkin Coalition
(Ed. Note: Lumpkin Coalition        is   a   non-profit
organization in Lumpkin County.)

Our forests are threatened with the loss of our native
hemlocks, eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and
Carolina hemlock (T. caroliniana). They are being
decimated by the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), a
tiny, aphid-like insect accidentally introduced to the
east coast from Asia in the 1950s. The HWA attaches
to the stems at the base of the needles making an
incision and draining the tree of its sap. The tree
often dies within just a few years. The devastation
from this tiny parasite has spread from Virginia, north to Maine, and then south to Georgia. Infestations
of the HWA have already reached Rabun, Towns, Habersham, Union, White, Fannin, Whitfield, and
Lumpkin Counties and are traveling fast. If nothing is done to combat HWA, more than 80 percent of
our hemlocks may die in the next six to 12 years.

The Lumpkin Coalition, which is working to educate the public about this threat, is warning us to be on
the lookout for infestations in hemlock trees and to take action if this pest is found. Their Hemlock
Hotline website link ( offers tips and information about the
HWA threat.

During the months of March through June, the “crawlers” are active and most easily seen on the
underside of hemlock branches. They look like tiny cotton balls at the base of the needles. In one year,
one bug can produce as many as 90,000 offspring. In as little as two to three years, your hemlocks can
die. More information about the hemlock woolly adelgid, as well as photos, can be found at the
Lumpkin Coalition website,

Fortunately, the Lumpkin Coalition says there are steps you can take to prevent this calamity:

    1. If you have a few small trees (up to 8 feet tall), you can spray them with insecticidal soap,
       horticultural oil, or any insecticide that kills aphids. These chemicals are available at most
       hardware stores. Be sure to coat the whole tree, including the underside of all limbs and
       leaves. The best times to treat them are April to June and October.

    2. If you have just a few large trees on level ground, you may use Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub
       insect control as a soil drench. This product is available at most hardware stores. Follow the
       directions on the label carefully.

    3. If you have many large trees and want to keep your costs down, you may borrow a Kioritz Soil
       Injector from the Forestry Commission in these counties: Lumpkin, Union, Habersham, and
       Towns. You will have to pay a $250 refundable deposit, and staff members will show you how
       to use the injector and tell you where you can purchase the chemicals for it.

    4. If you and your neighbors want to join forces to protect large numbers of trees, you may call
       Scott Griffin, the Forestry Commission’s Forest Health Specialist. He will come to your group
       and provide training on how to use the injector and how to plan your preservation efforts.
       Scott can be reached at 770-531-6043.

    5. If you have limited time and/or want to avoid handling the chemicals involved in treatment,
       you may call a professional. There are two individuals in North Georgia who do this kind of

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3              Page 3 of 18                    Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                            A BIT OF DIRT
        work at a reasonable cost and are willing to travel to your property: Kevin Johnson of Grow It
        Green in Blue Ridge at 866-883-2420 and Mark Shearer in Dahlonega at 706-864-4787. These
        individuals will inspect your trees and give you an estimate for treating them. They will also
        advise you on when you will need to re-treat your trees, since the chemicals are effective only
        for up to three years.

For more information about the hemlock woolly adelgid and the Lumpkin Coalition, visit their website.

                                      by Dan Willis, GCMG Member

La Rochefoucauld said that “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” Nearly everybody
in his or her life has had at least a small desire to get out of the fast lane and resort back to a simpler
way of life. Not the least of these instincts are the pleasure of eating foods provided by nature and
becoming, at least for a day, independent of the supermarkets. Edible wild plants and mushrooms grow
in our woodlands, marshes, fields, pastures, and in our own landscapes. Some of the best tasting and
healthy foods are available “free” for the eating, provided you know which plants and mushrooms are

One of our early cave dwelling ancestors encountered a pretty cluster of mushrooms on the ground and
    o What can I do with it?
    o Will it feed me?
    o Will cure my ills?
An intrepid ancestor ate it and promptly died. Fear of poisonous plants and mushrooms is traceable to
stories like this.

The term “POISONOUS” used in this article does not imply that the plants or mushrooms are deadly.
Plant and mushroom poisoning can vary from dermatitis to a minor stomach upset, hallucinogenic
‘trips’, or a rather painful, protracted death. There are a number of variables that determine how
severe the poisoning symptoms maybe, such as the plant or mushroom species and the person’s age,
weight, and health status in relationship to the quantity of the plant or mushroom ingested. Also
impacting the severity of the symptoms is the form of plant or mushroom at the time of ingestion (i.e.,
cooked versus raw, fresh versus aging, etc.).

Don’t be paranoid. Build your knowledge of plants and mushrooms and whether or not they are toxic or
edible. Garden centers, nurseries, florists, and Cooperative Extension can assist in plant identification.
Plant samples taken in for identification purposes should be fresh and include leaves, stem, flowers,
and fruit. For mushrooms, take in the entire fruiting body from cap to base (the part in the ground).

Most of us are familiar with common poisonous plants that cause skin irritation such as Poison Ivy or
Poison Oak. More than 100 species of common landscape plants in Georgia, however, can cause illness
or death. Many ornamental plants found in the landscape were selected from wild populations due to
their foliage, flowers, and scent. In many cases, little or no consideration was given to plant toxicity.
Landscape plant toxicity is good in once sense since many herbivores, such as deer and rabbits, and
insects, like Japanese beetles, tend to avoid them.

In the vegetable garden, many plants also contain toxins. For example, the stems and leaves of
tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and potatoes (members of the Nightshade family) contain alkaloid toxins
that can cause liver damage. The edible fruits of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants and tubers of
potatoes do not contain toxic levels of these alkaloids. Potatoes, however, may turn green in response
to light and become toxic. Another member of the Nightshade family, tobacco contains the alkaloid

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3              Page 4 of 18                      Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                         A BIT OF DIRT

Most adults would not knowingly eat leaves, stems, roots, or fruits from an unknown plant in our
pastures, lawns, or forests. This does not apply to our children, livestock, or pets.

Children love plants and love to put things into their mouth just for a taste. Teach them not to eat any
plant unless they have permission from a knowledgeable adult and don’t decorate the table with
poisonous plants.

Since pets and livestock can’t read, always provide them with plenty of water and palatable feed. Walk
the lawn, pasture, and forest to identify potentially poisonous plants. Your local veterinarian can help
you learn about local plants that may harm your pets or livestock.

The physiological effects that generally categorize plant poisonings are:

Abortifacient and Reproductive Toxins: Substances that can cause mutations, birth defects, abortions,
and infertility or sterility. Broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) is an example.
Cardiac Glycoside-Containing Plants: Cardiac glycosides primarily affect cardiovascular, neurological,
and gastrointestinal systems and can be found in foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea).
Cyanide or Prussic Acid-Containing Plants: Prussic acid, cyanide, or hydrocyanic acids are all terms
relating to the same toxic substance. It is one of the most rapidly acting toxins. Chokecherry (Prunus
spp.) is an example.
Gastrointestinal Irritants and Toxins: The juice, leaves, roots and seeds of plants containing
gastrointestinal irritants can produce stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Examples are
aloe, daffodils, and geraniums.
Alkaloid-Containing Plants: Alkaloid toxicity may result in moderate to severe liver damage.
Gastrointestinal symptoms are usually the first sign of intoxication, and consist predominantly of
abdominal pain with vomiting. Death may ensue from 2 weeks to more than 2 years after poisoning.
Groundsel (Senecio riddellii) is an example.
Neurotoxic and Myotoxic Plants: All parts of the plant contain toxic steroidal alkaloids that cause
cardiovascular failure. An example is Jimson Weed (Datura stramonium).
Oxalate-Containing Plants: Toxic oxalates form insoluble salts that crystallize and damage vessels and
renal tubular epithelium and can be found in Larkspurs (Delphinium spp.).
Photosensitizing Plants: The poisonous compound in the plant, hypericin, reaches the skin from an
internal route (stomach to blood to skin) where it sensitizes the skin to sunlight. Pigments in the skin
shield colored skin from sunrays so that only white or unpigmented areas are affected. St. Johnswort is
an example.

For a complete listing of Georgia’s poisonous plants including toxic plant parts and symptoms, go to
UGA’s Horticultural Fact Sheet “Poisonous Plants in the Landscape” written by Robert Westerfield and
Gary Wade at: .

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3             Page 5 of 18                     Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                                                A BIT OF DIRT

                                 SOME TOXIC ORNAMENTAL PLANTS
                       *Reported to be fatal when ingested in quantity
 Common Name          Botanical Name        Plant Part       Common Name          Botanical Name                Plant Part
Air Potato         Dioscorea bulbifera    Raw fruit         English Ivy          Hedera helix           Leaves, stem, fruit
Algerian Ivy*      Hedera canariensis     All parts         Holly                Ilex spp.              Berries
Allamanda          Allamanda spp.         All parts         Honeysuckle,         Lonicera japonica,     All parts
                                                            Japanese and         Lonicera
                                                            Trumpet*             sempervirens
Amaryllis          Amaryllis spp.         Bulbs & seeds     Hydrangea,           Hydrangea              Leaves, bark
                                                            Oakleaf              quercifolia,
                                                            Hydrangea,           H. macrophylla,
                                                                                 H. arborescens
American           Thuja occidentalis     Leaves            Impatiens,           Impatiens spp.         Leaves, stem, root
Arborvitae*                                                 balsam
Angel’s Trumpet*   Datura spp.            All parts         Iris                 Iris spp.              Underground stems
Anise-tree*        Illicium floridanum,   Leaves            Jack-in-the-         Arisaema spp.          All parts
                   Illicium anisatum
Azalea             Rhododendron spp.      All parts         Juniper              Juniperus spp.         Berry-like seeds
Barberry           Berberis spp.          All parts         Lantana*             Lantana spp.           Fruit
Black Locust       Robinia pseudoacacia   Bark, seeds       Lily—of-the-         Convallaria majalis    All parts
Boxwood            Buxus sempervirens     Leaves            Lilies*      (Rain   Zephyranthus spp.      All parts
                                                            Lily, Atamasco
                                                            Lily, Easter Lily)
Buckeye            Aesculus spp.          All parts         Mahonia              Mahonia spp.           All parts
Caladium           Caladium bicolor       All parts         Mimosa               Albizzia spp.          All parts
Calla-lily         Zantedeschia spp.      All parts         Morning Glory        Ipomoea spp.           Seeds, root
Castor Bean        Ricinus communis       Seeds             Mountain Laurel*     Kalmia latifolia       Leaves, twigs,
Century Plant      Agave americana        Leaves            Oleander*            Nerium oleander L.     All parts
Clematis           Clematis spp.          All parts         Ornamental           Nicotiana spp.         All parts
Crinum Lily        Crinum spp.            Bulb              Periwinkle (vine)    Vinca minor            All parts
Delphinium*        Delphinium spp.        All parts         Plumbago             Plumbago spp.          Leaves, stem
Elephant Ear*      Colocasia esculenta    All parts         Privet               Ligustrum spp.         Fruit
False Indigo*      Baptisia spp.          All parts         Sago Palm            Cycas revolute         Seeds, root, trunk
Firethorn          Pyracantha spp.        Berries           Sweet shrub          Calycanthus            Seeds
Four-o-clock       Mirabilis jalapa       Root, seeds       Trumpet              Campsis radicans       All parts except fruit
Ginkgo (female)    Ginkgo biloba          Fruit             Wisteria             Wisteria spp.          Pods, seeds
Gloriosa Lily      Gloriosa superba       All parts         Yew*                 Taxus spp.             Berries, foliage

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3                       Page 6 of 18                               Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                        A BIT OF DIRT
Wild mushrooms are found in all parts of the Georgia landscape: pastures, lawns, forests, and organic
mulch of all types. Also on stumps, living trees, and in the home, particularly in basements, plaster
board walls, and flower pots. Mushrooms can be found throughout the year, mostly early spring through
the fall, if temperature and moisture are suitable for their fruiting.

Mushroom poisoning is caused by the consumption of raw or cooked fruiting bodies (mushrooms or
toadstools). The term toadstool is from the German Todesstuhl or Death Stool and is generally applied
to poisonous mushrooms. For individuals, who are not expert at mushroom identification, there are no
general rules to distinguish between edible mushrooms and poisonous toadstools. Old wives tales
notwithstanding, toxic mushrooms cannot be made nontoxic by cooking, canning, freezing, or any other
means of processing. The only way to avoid poisoning is to avoid ingesting toxic species.

Mushroom poisonings in the United States commonly occur among:
   o Expert and novice wild mushrooms hunters.
   o Among recent immigrants that eat wild mushrooms that resemble those of their native land.
   o Persons who intentionally consume psychedelic mushrooms.

Accurate figures on the relative frequency of mushroom poisonings are difficult to obtain. The Centers
for Disease Control in Atlanta lists 44 cases reported between 1976 and 1981. The number of
unreported cases is unknown. Poisonings tend to be grouped in the spring and fall when most
mushrooms are in the fruiting stage. As Americans become more adventurous in their mushroom
collection and consumption, poisonings are likely to increase.

About 98% of all “wild” mushrooms are not poisonous but about 1% are dangerous (1% are woody or too
small to attract any interest). Wild mushrooms should not be eaten unless YOU personally can identify
them as safe. Do not rely on the identification any wild mushroom by a neighbor or “expert” amateur
mushroom hunter. Remember that “specialists” or “experts” have also been poisoned.

The physiological effects that generally categorize mushroom poisonings are:

   o   Protoplasmic Poisons: Poisons that result in generalized destruction of cells and with amatoxins
       results in irreversible liver and kidney damage that is fatal.
   o   Neurotoxins: Compounds that cause neurological symptoms such as profuse sweating, coma,
       convulsions, hallucinations, excitement, depression, and spastic colon.
   o   Gastrointestinal Irritants: Compounds that produce rapid, transient nausea, vomiting,
       abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.
   o   Disulfiram-like Toxins: Produce no symptoms unless alcohol is consumed within 72 hours after
       eating them, in which case a short-lived acute toxic syndrome is produced.

To identify unknown wild mushroom species, I would recommend the Federal Food and Drug
Administrations website at Since the retirement of Dr. David
Porter, UGA’s Plant Pathology Department is ill prepared to identify questionable mushrooms species.

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3            Page 7 of 18                     Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                         A BIT OF DIRT

Georgia is home to several species of mushrooms that could cause death if only a single mushroom is
eaten. Two such deadly species are the Destroying Angel, Amanita virosa, and the Autumn Skullcap,
Galerina autumnalis. Some mushrooms that are not toxic under normal conditions can have a toxic
reaction if consumed with alcohol.

                                     SOME TOXIC MUSHROOMS
                             *Mushrooms contain protoplasmic toxins
Common Name             Botanical Name        Common Name                Botanical Name
Slender Death Angel*    Amanita tenuifolia    Autumn Skullcap*           Galerina autumnalis
Death Angel*            Amanita bisporigera   Browning Parasol*          Leucoagaricus brunnea
Fool’s Mushroom*        Amanita verna         Little         Brown       Lepiota     josserandii,  L.
                                              Mushroom (LBM)*            helveola, L. subincarnata
Destroying Angel*       Amanita virosa        Green Gill                 Chlorophyllum molybdites
Deathcap       (White   Amanita phalloides    Gray Pinkgill              Entoloma lividum
Deathcap       (green   Amanita phalloides       Tigertop Mushroom       Tricholoma pardinum
Death cap (Yellow       Amanita phalloides       Jack O’Lantern          Omphalotus olearius
Cleft Foot Deathcap*    Amanita brunnescens      Naked Brimcap           Paxillus involutus

In the event of a poison emergency call the Georgia Poison Center any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a
In Metro-Atlanta Call: 404-616-9000
Outside of Metro-Atlanta Call: 1-800-282-5846
Teletype for the deaf and hearing impaired only: TTD 404-616-2987

If the poisoning occurs and the person is having trouble breathing, experiencing seizures, or will not
wake up, Call 911 immediately.

Be prepared to give the attending physician:
    o The name of plant or mushroom, if known, or description (save uneaten parts).
    o How long ago it was eaten.
    o How much and which parts were eaten.
    o Age of individual.
    o Symptoms.
If hospitalization is required, take a portion of the suspect plant or mushroom with you for positive

                    by Camie Young, Gwinnett Daily Post, May 2, 2008

LAWRENCEVILLE: The rules for watering became clearer for Gwinnettians on Thursday, when county
officials decided to echo state mandates instead of using their own rules.

The new restrictions are slightly looser than the most recent county rules, changed a month ago to
allow hand watering.

“I have every confidence that Gwinnett’s businesses and residents will do the right thing by adhering to
the state’s outdoor watering restrictions,” said County administrator Jock Connell, who was given

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3             Page 8 of 18                     Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                          A BIT OF DIRT

authority in March to make drought-related decisions by the Board of Commissioners. “I would
encourage everyone to keep up their water conservation efforts.”

According to Gwinnett Water Resources Acting Director Lynn Smarr, the biggest change to the
restrictions involves newly installed landscapes. Since December, the county has only allowed 10 days
of watering out of the first 30 days after new plantings, but the less restrictive state rule allows 30
days during the first 10 weeks.

All water users of established landscapes must abide by an even-odd schedule, based on address, and
only water for 25 minutes between midnight to 10 am using a hand-held hose with a shut off device.

New landscape plantings may be watered with a hose end sprinkler or irrigation system between
midnight and 10 a.m. on the odd/even system only for the first 10 weeks. New landscape plants may
be watered anytime during installation. The property owner and/or installer needs to complete the
outdoor water use registration program that can be found at Cost on line
is $4.59. The outdoor certificate must be posted prominently near a mailbox or in the builder’s box.

Smarr said the changes do not mean that the county is not concerned about drought since Lake Lanier,
the county’s major water supply, remains about 13 feet below its full level.

“This is to be consistent with the state. It’s a little bit easier for our customers if we are all on the
same playing field,” she said. “We’re heading into the summertime, and our customers need to be
conservative. But this makes it a little easier.”

Residents can go to for information about the watering restrictions, as well
as a toilet-rebate program and a program allowing customers to truck reclaimed water from the F.
Wayne Hill Water Resources Center in Buford for street sweeping, dust control, irrigation, and other
uses. “It is important to know the rules because the Department of Water Resources will be enforcing
them,” Smarr said.

         by   Stacy Shelton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 15, 2008

(Ed. Note: The State now requires Landscape Watering Certificates for new landscapes and lawns.)

Starting today, home and business owners who want to sprinkle new plants can take an online water
conservation quiz. If they answer 14 of 20 questions correctly, or 70 percent, they can print out a
certificate that allows them to sprinkle new grass and plants for as long as 10 weeks on an odd-even
schedule. That’s only if their water provider is following the state rules.

The quiz, which takes a few minutes, is preceded by about a 30 minute slide presentation. It provides
perspective on the value of water, explaining that 97 percent of the world's water is saltwater, 2
percent is frozen in glacier ice caps, and 1 percent is available fresh water.

It also tells you that tall fescue grass is a big water hog, while hybrid Bermudagrass is the most
drought-resistant. The materials were prepared by the University of Georgia with input from the
Environmental Protection Division, water professionals, landscapers and others.

Shana Udvardy, the water program manager for the Georgia Conservancy, a statewide environmental
advocacy organization, gave the quiz a good review. "The quiz is efficient, easy-to-do and has some
great educational tips," Udvardy said. "I thought it was a great way, an efficient way to get people
started on thinking about good ways to water their landscapes." Udvardy said she is still concerned
about whether local governments will be able to enforce the new, relaxes rules. She also questioned

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3             Page 9 of 18                     Summer Edition 2008
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Gov. Sonny Perdue's timing in deciding to relax the water ban in the state's northern 61 counties since
the historic drought is expected to continue.

"The governor made the changes without really knowing the impact on the health and viability of our
waterways," Udvardy said.

The EPD estimates the relaxed rules will allow homes and businesses to use 73 million gallons of water
a day on their lawns and gardens, or less than 10 percent of the total water used in the northern third
of Georgia.

It costs $4.95 to review the presentation, take the on-line quiz, and receive a certificate. The money
goes to the Georgia Urban Agricultural Council, which developed the Web site at the direction of the

Mary Kay Woodworth, president of the council, which includes landscapers, growers and retail garden
centers, said the convenience fee will pay for the development of the program and radio spots to
advertise it —- a cost of more than $200,000. That can be recouped if more than 40,400 people pay for
the certificate program. Retail garden centers also should have the program materials and test
available, which may also come with a fee. The free option is to go to a county extension service
office, Woodworth said.

The green industry hopes the ability to use water on even a limited basis will resuscitate revenues. The
industry estimates it has lost more than $3 billion of its $8 billion-a-year business. The program "is
driving the homeowners back into the retail garden centers, which is what we needed," Woodworth
People are ready to get out there and plant now." The quiz is available at

   1. 25 minutes of hand watering allowed between midnight and 10 a.m., three days a week on an
      odd/even schedule.
   2. Odd-numbered addresses may water Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; even-numbered
      addresses may water Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
   3. Starting today, homeowners may use sprinklers on newly planted foliage three days a week for
      10 weeks after taking an online water conservation class and obtaining a watering certificate at
   4. Swimming pools may be filled.

   1. Irrigate at ____ to avoid evaporative loss of water.
      a. midday
      b. mid-afternoon
      c. night or early morning
      d. mid-morning
   2. More plants are killed in Georgia from ____ than from drought.
      a. over-mulching
      b. over-watering
      c. over-pruning
      d. over-fertilizing
   3. 9.5 million people currently reside in Georgia which is the ____ fastest-growing state in the
      a. 3rd
      b. 5th
      c. 10th
      d. 15th
      Answers: c, b and b

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3             Page 10 of 18                     Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                           A BIT OF DIRT

                                  DEER DETERRENT RECIPE
                                   by Sue Shaw, GCMG Member
I cut this article out of the heirloom roses catalog a while back and thought it might be worth a try!!
Here it is: (Ed. Note: Disclaimer from UGA: This is not a UGA approved recommendation.)

Mix in a blender:
1 cup Water
3 Eggs
1/3 cup Tabasco sauce
1/3 cup liquid dish soap (non-detergent)

Pour into a 1 Gallon tank sprayer & fill with water to make 1 gallon. Spray thoroughly once a week.
As an additional deterrent, add 1 beef bouillon cube to the mixture. It is recommended that you wear
gloves & goggles when spraying as Tabasco can irritate skin & eyes & be very painful!!

So…add this one to your recipe collection!!! Yummy!!

                     The Bugwood Network, The University of Georgia

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrical) is a perennial
colony-forming grass that grows up to 3 feet tall.
Leaves have an off-center and whitish midrib and
rough edges. Sharp, branched, white rhizomes help
identify this plant. It is best identified by the large
fuzzy panicle of flowers and seeds, giving the plant a
cottony or silky look. Flowering occurs in late spring.

A native to Southeast Asia, it was first introduced
into the southeastern Untied States in the early
1900’s. It was initially planted for forage and erosion
control; however it is unpalatable for livestock and
not well suited for erosion control due to its
aggressive behavior. Currently it is found in the southeastern United States and is sparse in South

It is an extremely aggressive invader with the capability to
invade a range of sites. It forms dense mats that exclude all
other vegetation, leading to its inclusion on the federal
noxious weed list. It spreads both by rhizomes and wind-
dispersed seeds. Infestations often occur in circular patterns.
It is very flammable and creates fire hazards, especially in

Congongrass is a federal noxious weed and any occurrence
should be promptly reported. The recommended herbicides
for control are a foliar spray of Arsenal AC, Glyphosate, or a
combination of both.

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3              Page 11 of 18                      Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                         A BIT OF DIRT

                             MAY 9, 2008
The Master Gardener Annual Plant Sale was a huge success thanks to all of the volunteers who jumped
in and helped out this year. Our Treasurer, Anne Heath, estimates that we brought in about $6,000,
less some outstanding expenses. A big thank you to R.S. Buell for his second year heading up this event
and gathering all of you talented people who came out to do your best job yet on pulling this off and
making it so successful. Don Stewart and Tammy Morrissey were the set-up heads for this year’s sale
and it all finally came together very early Friday morning after the threat of a big storm Thursday
night. The Speaker's Demo Tables were a new addition and seemed to pick up attendance as the day
went on. Many good questions were asked at the Master Gardener Information table. Sharon and "Capt.
Bob”, Rob Matthews as usual kept those dollars rolling in for the raffle drawing. I believe their income
was over $200. The Yard Art offered this year was fantastic! The ladies know what is in demand each
year and the quality is always great. I believe the yard art amount came in around $1,300. Thanks
again R.S. and all the volunteers from the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners!!!

                                 JAPANESE MAPLES
                            GCMG MEETING – APRIL 16, 2008
                              Mike Francis, Maple Ridge Nursery
 Our April Master Gardener meeting was very interesting with the topic being on Japanese Maples. Mr.
 Mike Francis from Maple Ridge Nursery was very informative about the many varieties of these unique
 trees. He discussed, drawing from his own personal experience, what works and what doesn't work in

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3             Page 12 of 18                     Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                              A BIT OF DIRT
our area as well as the characteristics of each variety shown. From listening to his talk, there are a lot of
varieties that will definitely work in our gardens. Thank you Debbie Bush for inviting him to our meeting.

                  PIKE NURSERIES NEW OWNER
                       Armstrong Garden Center

Pete Pike (on left), Founder of the 50-year-old Pike Nurseries and Mike
Kunce, President of the 119-year-old Armstrong Garden Centers and new
owner of Pike Nurseries, reaffirm their commitment to work together to
provide Pike Nurseries' customers with the finest gardening plants, products
and knowledgeable service that has been Pike's hallmark for 50 years. Both
Pete Pike and Mike Kunce are long-time nurserymen.

        GCMG MEETING – MARCH 17, 2008
              Shannon Pable, GCMG Member

The Master Gardener meeting was at full capacity with Shannon
Pable as our speaker for March on 'Creating Curb Appeal in the
Drought'. She had some great examples and information to share
with everyone.

She covered an ode to the mailbox, pruning frenzy, dump truck
front lawns, ugly fences, rustic relics, and other eyesores. She
started her “Creating Curb Appeal” with tips on site analysis,
design plans, creating a bedline, foundation plantings, design
sequence of selecting plants, first impressions, defining your
pathways and garden beds, garden accents, and a whole parcel
of plants. Thanks Shannon for a great talk.

           May 10, 2008
Old McDaniel Day’s went very well on Saturday. We
had several volunteers answering questions and
helping the children plant seeds. The volunteers
who worked Saturday were: John and Maria
Atkinson, Carole Teja, Jo Krumhus, and Sandy

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3               Page 13 of 18                       Summer Edition 2008
                                                            A BIT OF DIRT

 Gwinnett County
  March 12 & 13,
The Gwinnett County Master
Gardeners volunteers turned
out in good numbers and
spent many hours unloading
the trucks and loading
customer’s cars and trucks.
As you can see from the
photograph, it was a rather
cool day.

                   Gwinnett Senior Center, April 14, 2008

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3   Page 14 of 18   Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                       A BIT OF DIRT

                           MONTHLY GARDEN SUGGESTIONS
                                    By Dan Willis, GCMG Member

Time to reap the rewards of the season – fresh vegetables and summer blooms.
   1. Start new hanging baskets for summer accents. Basket plants for sun may include portulaca,
       lantana, verbena, petunias, dwarf and creeping junipers. Shade baskets may include begonia,
       impatiens, ferns, spider plant, and wandering Jew.
   2. Control powdery mildew on crape myrtle using fungicides.
   3. Aphids may secrete honeydew that blackens the foliage of crepe myrtles. Control sooty mold
       by controlling the aphids.
   4. Check your landscape plants for insects such as spider mites on junipers, roses, verbena, and
       marigold; lacebugs on pyracantha and sycamore; and bagworms on junipers.
   5. Continue to spray rose bushes for blackspot control with fungicides. Keep infected leaves
       removed from plants and ground area.
   6. Annual flowers that can be seeded now through August include zinnias, marigolds, portulaca,
       and periwinkle. Keep old spent flowers removed so plants can bloom again.
   7. Last chance to plant strong, healthy container-grown mums. Pinch terminal growth on existing
       mums to encourage more branching.
   8. A summer mulch of pine bark, pine straw, grass clippings, and leaves can be beneficial to
       retain moisture, protect the root system, aid weed control, and make the beds look more
   9. Azalea roots do not go deep and need good summer watering and a 4” to 6” deep mulch layer
       to conserve water.
   10. Check for any freeze damage on azaleas, evident by the splitting of major stems 4” to 8” above
       the ground. Remove any dead canes at ground level.
   11. Newly planted trees and shrubs need help during the heat of summer. Keep grass and weeds
       from competing with the plants for moisture by providing a generous layer of mulch around the
       trees or shrubs. Cultivate the soil if necessary and watering is essential.
   12. Summer heat will stress many ornamental plants and it is important to water well and deep. It
       is more important to water deep rather than often. Shallow watering causes roots to come to
       the surface and they will dry out fast.
   13. Propagate your favorite plants using 4” to 6” cuttings from the current season growth. Keep
       cuttings moist and in the shade. Cover the pots with clear plastic to hold in humidity. Heat
       and humidity are essential for root development. Rooting hormones are available to encourage
       root establishment.
   14. Caladium, coleus, impatiens, hydrangea, azalea, and container plants are water thirsty plants
       so check the soil often.
   15. Don’t damage trunks of trees and other woody plants with lawnmowers and weed eaters.
   16. Harvest vegetables often to encourage more production.
   17. Cut garden flowers for indoor use either in the early morning or late afternoon. Place in deep
       water and a cool location for several hours before arranging. Milky stems cuttings, such as
       hydrangea, should be sealed (burning works) before placing in water.
   18. Frequently, lightly cultivate soils around annuals, perennials, vegetables, and other plants to
       allow easy water penetration. Mulching will help keep the soil loose and open.
   19. Place houseplants out-of-doors in a shaded garden bed and mist the foliage often to encourage
       new growth. Most houseplants love summer heat and humidity provided they don’t receive
       direct sun. Houseplants outside dry out quickly so check the soil often.

This is the time of year when the weather gets hot and Mother Nature may not bring the necessary
    1. Water lawns and gardens when needed, giving a thorough soaking rather than frequent light
         sprinklings and obey the watering restrictions.

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3            Page 15 of 18                    Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                           A BIT OF DIRT

    2. Check plants for mulch and replace or add as needed. Mulching conserves water.
    3. Check recently planted annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees since their inadequate root
        systems may be susceptible to drought damage.
    4. Sow seeds of the following annuals for late summer and fall flowers: marigold, zinnia,
        periwinkle, petunia, cosmos, portulaca, and ageratum. For faster color, use transplants from
        your local nursery.
    5. Raise the lawnmower blade height slightly during hotter weather to avoid damaging the grass.
    6. Check junipers, roses, and marigolds for red spider mites. Brown, discolored foliage may be
        due to mite damage.
    7. Keep hanging baskets looking attractive by soaking the baskets in a tub of water every few days
        in addition to the normal watering. This is also a good time to fertilize the baskets.
    8. Don’t forget to check the mulch level and water thirsty plants like hydrangeas, coleus,
        caladiums, and chrysanthemums. Even in the shade, hot dry winds can deplete the soil
    9. Wildflower seeds should be ordered soon so you will be ready to plant in August and early
    10. Many spring plants are setting winter buds in late July and August. Drought conditions can
        affect size, quality, and quantity of spring flowers. Don’t allow drought to stress azaleas,
        camellias, peaches, pears, forsythia, and other similar plants.
    11. Clean up the iris beds, thin out clumps if crowded and transplant anytime from late July to
    12. To prevent blackspot on roses, continue the regular spray program.
    13. Summer is a good time to add hardscaping elements to the garden. Consider patios, fencing,
        decks, garden pools, walks, and overhead structures.
    14. Now is the time to evaluate where you most need trees for house shade. Locate and select
        trees now for late fall and winter planting.

August is another difficult month for plants as well as people but it is the time to plan the fall garden.
   1. Plant wildflower seeds this month and into September. Plant seeds in open sunny areas. The
        soil should be lightly cultivated and watered, if possible.
   2. Water lawns and gardens thoroughly when needed and allowed by water restrictions. Wait until
        dry before watering again. Deep, thorough watering encourages deep root penetration and
        conserves water in the long run.
   3. Water shallow rooted plants such as dogwoods, camellia, and azalea as they begin to set flower
        buds for spring blooms.
   4. Order your supply of spring flowering bulbs for planting in late October and November. Tulips
        are considered annuals in Georgia so chill the tulip bulbs in the refrigerator for 45-60 days
        before planting in December and early January.
   5. Remember to water fruiting ornamentals during dry weather. Holly and pyracantha berries are
        frequently shed if the soil gets too dry.
   6. Shape rose bushes in mid-August by cutting out weak growth, and cutting back extra tall canes
        to encourage new lateral growth and better flower production.
   7. Hot, dry weather goes with spider mites. Apply controls before the population builds up.
        Carefully check for mites on tomatoes, marigolds, portulaca, verbena, junipers, azaleas, and
   8. Continue to deadhead faded flowers from annuals and roses to encourage new growth and
        more blooms.
   9. Clean up the vegetable garden and place organic material in the compost pile. Plan your fall
        vegetable garden.
   10. Turn the compost pile and keep it moist for good decomposition. Add a bit of 10-10-10
        fertilizer if you need to speed up the composting process.
   11. There is still time to plant zinnias, marigolds, celosia, and portulaca for good color this fall.
   12. For a second bloom, prune spent blooms on crepe myrtle and water adequately.
   13. This is the last chance to start new Bermuda lawn from seed and still have it established before
        the cold weather. Complete installation of St. Augustine and centipede lawns to prevent
        possible freeze damage in early winter.

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3              Page 16 of 18                      Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                        A BIT OF DIRT

   14. Feed mum plantings and water often to encourage full fall blooms. Do not pinch or prune back
   15. Begin to plan and prepare beds for fall plantings of pansies.
   16. Repot overgrown houseplants to have them well established prior to over-wintering indoors.
   17. Complete all pruning of mophead and lacecap hydrangeas after they bloom since they set
       flower buds for next year’s bloom in the late fall and winter.
   18. Make plans for winter planting of fruit trees, pecans, and roses.

                         SUMMER TREAT: ICE CREAM IN A BAG
                                        By Laura Candler
        1-gal Ziploc bag
        1-qt Ziploc bag
        4-cups ice
        ¼-cup salt
        1-cup whole milk
        1-teaspoon vanilla extract
        2-tablespoons sugar
        Cups and spoons

   1. Pour the milk, vanilla extract, and sugar into the small Ziploc bag (placing the bag in a bowl
       helps in this step). Squeeze as much air out as possible and seal the bag carefully.
   2. Place the small Ziploc bag down into the large bag. Cover with the ice and salt. Seal the large
       bag tightly.
   3. Shake, toss, and flip the ice cream “machine” for 5 to 10 minutes. If the bag gets too cold to
       handle, wrap it with a towel. Don’t open the large bag to check the ice cream because it may
       not seal properly afterwards.
   4. Open both bags and spoon the ice cream into small cups. Enjoy.

Flavor Variations:
    1. Substitute other extract flavors for the vanilla.
    2. Omit the vanilla and half the sugar. Add strawberry or chocolate syrup to the milk mixture.

Scientific Explanation:
The salt lowers the freezing point of the water, which allows it to get colder than ice (about 28
degrees F.). This super-cold water and ice mixture causes the liquid milk mixture to freeze and become

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3            Page 17 of 18                     Summer Edition 2008
                                                                                            A BIT OF DIRT

                 Applications are effective for one calendar year, beginning January 1st

Check membership level: ____ GCMG Member ($15)         _____ Friends of GCMG ($15)
                       ____ GCMG 10 Yr. Lifetime ($10) _____ GCMG Member Couples ($25)

TOTAL ENCLOSED: $_________               cash      Check #______________

(Please Print)

Today’s Date_________________          Circle one: New or Renewal        MG Class of_________



City_________________________________________                     Zip Code________________

Home Phone (____) _____________________ Alternate Phone_ (_____) ______________


Liability and Release Form

I (we) realize that when engaged in Master Gardener activities, that serious physical injury and
personal property damage may accidentally occur. I (we) further realize that there is always the
possibility of having an allergic reaction to or being poisoned by handling or ingesting plants and that
adverse reactions may result in mild or fatal illness.

Knowing the risks, I (we) agree to assume the risks and agree to release, hold harmless, and to
indemnify the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners Association, and any officer or member thereof, from
any and all legal responsibility for injuries or accidents incurred by myself or my family during or as a
result of any and all Gwinnett County Master Gardener activity, field trip, excursion, meeting or dining,
sponsored by the association.

Member’s Name (please print clearly) __________________________________________________


Additional Member’s Name (print clearly) ______________________________________________

Signature____________________________________________________Date: ________________

Release Form is required for participation in GCMG fieldtrips and activities. Please return completed,
signed, and dated form with check payable to “Gwinnett County Master Gardeners”.

Address mail to: Gwinnett County Master Gardeners, Attn: Anne Heath, Treasurer, Gwinnett
County Cooperative Extension, 750 South Perry Street, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045.

GCMG Newsletter Volume 14 Number 3              Page 18 of 18                      Summer Edition 2008

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