A BIT OF DIRT
Published by the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners
June-July-Aug. 2008 Summer Edition Volume 14 No. 3
INSIDE THE SPRING EDITION by John Atkinson
ADVANCED MASTER GARDENER TRAINING
There is so much to learn and so little time. Marco
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
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
recognizes your participation with a certificate that
Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms
can be placed in a prominent location at your home
Gwinnett Clears up Water Restrictions
What’s an advanced class like? It is more than a
refresher of the training you have already
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
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.
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.
Monthly Garden Suggestions
Sign up as soon as you see the announcement in the
Georgia Master Gardener Association’s “The Georgia
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
classes have a limited enrollment and fill up quickly.
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 MASTER
Gwinnett County Cooperative Extension
750 S. Perry Street YOUR COMMENTS ARE SOLICITED
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30045 by John Atkinson, President
www.gwinnettcountymastergardeners.org 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
John_w_atkinson@yahoo.com, Webmaster Glenn
TREASURER - Anne Heath Parsons at Go2glenn@comcast.net, or Kathy Parent
of the Gwinnett Extension at
COMMITTEES email@example.com. 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
NEWSLETTER EDITOR – Dan Willis
by Dan Willis, Newsletter Editor
CONSULTING EDITOR - Marlene Gillman
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 www.gaepd.org.
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 (http://lumpkincoatliton.org/hotline.htm) offers tips and information about the
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, www.lumpkincoalition.org.
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.
POISONOUS PLANTS AND MUSHROOMS IN THE LANDSCAPE
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
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
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: pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/horticulture/h-00-056.pdf .
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
Amaryllis Amaryllis spp. Bulbs & seeds Hydrangea, Hydrangea Leaves, bark
Hydrangea, H. macrophylla,
American Thuja occidentalis Leaves Impatiens, Impatiens spp. Leaves, stem, root
Angel’s Trumpet* Datura spp. All parts Iris Iris spp. Underground stems
Anise-tree* Illicium floridanum, Leaves Jack-in-the- Arisaema spp. All parts
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, 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 www.cfsan.fda.gov/~mow/chap40.html. 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 CASE OF A POISON EMERGENCY
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.
If hospitalization is required, take a portion of the suspect plant or mushroom with you for positive
GWINNETT CLEARS UP WATER RULES
COUNTY RESTRICTIONS NOW THE SAME AS STATE
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 http://outdoorwateruse.com. 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 www.gwinnettcounty.com 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.
TAKE A QUIZ TO OBTAIN A LANDSCAPE WATERING CERTIFICATE
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
A BIT OF DIRT
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
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 www.outdoorwateruse.com.
THE STATE'S RULES
1. 25 minutes of hand watering allowed between midnight and 10 a.m., three days a week on an
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.
HERE ARE SOME SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. Irrigate at ____ to avoid evaporative loss of water.
c. night or early morning
2. More plants are killed in Georgia from ____ than from drought.
3. 9.5 million people currently reside in Georgia which is the ____ fastest-growing state in the
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.)
DEER DETERRENT RECIPE
Mix in a blender:
1 cup Water
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!!
COGONGRASS: AN INVASIVE WEED IN GEORGIA
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
GWINNETT COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS PLANT SALE
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!!!
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.
CREATING CURB APPEAL
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
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.
OLD McDANIEL DAY
McDANIEL FARM, DULUTH
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
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
GWINNETT COUNTY ANNUAL AWARDS LUNCHEON
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
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
9. Clean up the vegetable garden and place organic material in the compost pile. Plan your fall
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
1-cup whole milk
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
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
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.
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.
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
GWINNETT COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS ASSOCIATION
A P P L I C A T I O N FOR MEMBERSHIP OR RENEWAL
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 #______________
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) ______________________________________________
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