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Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Horticulture Information Leaflet

Propagation by stem cuttings is the most commonly used method to propagate many woody ornamental plants. Stem cuttings of many favorite shrubs are quite easy to root. Typically, stem cuttings of tree species are more difficult to root. However, cuttings from trees such as crape myrtles, some elms, and birches can be rooted.

Training and Pruning Fruit Trees in North Carolina

By: Michael Parker

With training and pruning, fruit trees will develop the proper shape and form to yield high-quality fruit sooner and will live longer. Learn how to train your trees for productivity and prune to remove dead, diseased or broken limbs. This publication includes descriptions of dormant pruning, summer pruning, types of pruning cuts and different training systems.

Grafting and Budding Nursery Crop Plants

By: Ted Bilderback, R. E. Bir, T. G. Ranney

This publication provides information on budding and grafting techniques, which can be used successfully in commercial operations.

Plant Propagation by Layering: Instructions for the Home Gardener

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Horticulture Information Leaflet

Stems that are still attached to their parent plant may form roots where they come in contact with a rooting medium. This method of vegetative propagation is generally successful, because water stress is minimized and carbohydrate and mineral nutrient levels are high. The development of roots on a stem while the stem is still attached to the parent plant is called layering. A layer is the rooted stem following detachment (removal) from the parent plant.

Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane, and Root Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Horticulture Information Leaflet

Some, but not all, plants can be propagated from just a leaf or a section of a leaf. Leaf cuttings of most plants will not generate a new plant; they usually produce only a few roots or just decay. Because leaf cuttings do not include an axillary bud, they can be used only for plants that are capable of forming adventitious buds. Leaf cuttings are used almost exclusively for propagating some indoor plants. There are several types of leaf cuttings.

Home Vegetable Gardening

By: Larry Bass

If you have a home vegetable garden, this publication can help you learn about selecting a site, gardening tools, fertilizer, watering techniques and more.

Winterizing the Herb Garden

By: Linda Blue, Jeanine Davis, Ervin Evans Horticulture Information Leaflet

If treated properly, many herb plants will survive in the garden for a number of years. Others are sensitive to frost or severe cold weather and must be brought indoors, protected, or replanted each year. Annual herbs will be killed with the first hard frost in the fall. Remove dead plants in order to minimize overwintering insects and disease problems. Some frost sensitive herbs, such as basil and geranium, can be brought indoors for the winter. Take cuttings to root or pot the entire plant.

Central North Carolina Planting Calendar for Annual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs

By: Lucy Bradley, Chris Gunter, Julieta Sherk, Liz Driscoll

In central North Carolina almost any type of vegetable or fruit can be grown successfully provided you choose appropriate varieties and plant at the right time. This publication covers climate, season and potential pests that all affect the selection of what and when to plant. Also included is a planting chart and calendar.

Producing Shiitake Mushrooms: A Guide for Small-Scale Outdoor Cultivation on Logs

By: Jeanine Davis, Jean Harrison

This guide provides techniques for small-scale outdoor cultivation of shiitake mushrooms on logs. Tree selection and log preparation, spawn selection, inoculation, fruiting, pest and disease management and harvesting are covered.

2015 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual Introduction

By: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 2015 North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual

This manual, updated every year, covers pesticide use and safety information, chemical application equipment, fertilizer use, insect control, chemical weed control, plant growth regulators, animal damage control and disease control.

Producing Tree Fruit for Home Use

By: Michael Parker

This publication explains how to plant and take care of fruit trees in the home garden or yard.

What is the Difference Between a Sweetpotato and a Yam?

By: Jonathan Schultheis Horticulture Information Leaflet

Several decades ago, when orange-fleshed sweet potatoes were introduced in the southern United States, producers and shippers desired to distinguish them from the more traditional, white-fleshed types. The African word nyami, referring to the starchy, edible root of the Dioscorea genus of plants, was adopted in its English form, yam. Yams in the U.S. are actually sweetpotatoes with relatively moist texture and orange flesh. Although the terms are generally used interchangeably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the label "yam" always be accompanied by "sweetpotato." The following information outlines several differences between sweetpotatoes and yams.

A Gardener's Guide to Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs

By: Ervin Evans

This publication provides basic information on the nutrient needs of trees and shrubs, types of fertilizers to apply and recommended methods and times of application.

Growing Pecans in North Carolina

By: Michael Parker, Kenneth Sorensen

This publication explains how to start and maintain a successful pecan orchard on a large or small scale.

Growing Blackberries in North Carolina

By: Gina Fernandez, Jim Ballington

This publication provides information to help the commercial grower increase crop production when growing blackberries in North Carolina.

Choosing and Using Edible Flowers

By: Cyndi Lauderdale, Lucy Bradley

Flowers have traditionally been used in many types of cooking: European, Asian, East Indian, Victorian English, and Middle Eastern. Early American settlers also used flowers as food. Today, there is a renewed interest in edible flowers for their taste, color, and fragrance. Many herbal flowers have the same flavor as their leaves, though others, such as chamomile and lavender blossoms, have a subtler flavor.

Timber Sales: A Planning Guide for Landowners

By: Robert Bardon

This publication offers tips on marketing and selling, timber terminology, examples of timber sale agreements and advice on seeking professional help from a consulting forester. By using this guide, landowners can make their next (or first) timber sale a pleasant and profitable experience.

Growing Apple Trees in the Home Garden

By: Michael Parker Horticulture Information Leaflet

Growing apple trees in the home garden can be fun and rewarding. Several factors are important to consider before planting for successful apple production. Apple variety and rootstock, site selection, proper planting, training and pruning, adequate fertility, and pest control all contribute to healthy and productive trees. A brief discussion of these considerations follows.

Growing a Fall Vegetable Garden

By: Ervin Evans Horticulture Information Leaflet

Many vegetables are well adapted to planting in the summer for fall harvest. Planting a fall garden will extend the gardening season so you can continue to harvest fresh produce after earlier crops have finished. The fall harvest can be extended even further by providing protection from early frosts or by planting in cold frames or hotbeds.

Care and Planting of Ginseng Seed and Roots

By: Jeanine Davis Horticulture Information Leaflet

This factsheet covers propagating (by seed and by transplant) ginseng, which requires a period of stratification before germination.

Using Plastic Mulches and Drip Irrigation for Vegetables

By: Douglas Sanders Horticulture Information Leaflet

Muskmelons, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, watermelons and okra are vegetable crops that have shown significant increases in earliness, yield, and fruit quality when grown on plastic mulch. Some less valuable crops such as sweet corn, snap beans, southern peas and pumpkins have shown similar responses. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of using plastic mulches are outlined in this publication.

How to Organize a Community Garden

By: Lucy Bradley, Keith Baldwin

This publication covers the keys to a successful community garden of individual plots including forming a strong planning team, choosing a safe site accessible to the target audience with sunlight and water, organizing a simple transparent system for management and designing and installing the garden. Appendices offer a sample layout, sample by-laws, sample budgets and a list of resources.

How to Prune Specific Plants

By: Barbara Fair, Lucy Bradley, Anthony LeBude Pruning Trees & Shrubs

This final publication in the Pruning Trees & Shrubs series gives tips for pruning specific plants.

Overcoming Seed Dormancy: Trees and Shrubs

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Horticulture Information Leaflet

Seed dormancy is nature's way of setting a time clock that allows seeds to initiate germination when conditions are normally favorable for germination and survival of the seedlings. For example, dogwoods produce mature seeds in the fall, but conditions are not suitable for seedling survival at that time. Thus, dogwoods have developed a mechanism that keeps the seeds dormant until spring when conditions are favorable for germination, as well as, seedling growth and survival.

Selection and Care of Living Christmas Trees

By: Craig McKinley, Extension Forestry Staff Christmas Tree Notes

One of the more enjoyable Christmas traditions is to replant a living Christmas tree into your landscape after the holiday season. This article describes the process of successfully selecting, caring for and replanting a living Christmas tree.

Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden

By: Charles Mainland, Bill Cline Horticulture Information Leaflet

Blueberries can be grown in home gardens anywhere in North Carolina if the right species and proper soil modifications are used. Blueberries are typically used in the landscape as hedges for screening purposes, but they can also be used in cluster plantings, or as single specimen plants. Blueberries are an ideal year round addition to the landscape. They have delicate white or pink flowers in the spring, the summer fruit has an attractive sky blue color, and the fall foliage adds great red and yellow colors to the landscape.

Starting Plants from Seeds

By: Ervin Evans, Frank Blazich Horticulture Information Leaflet

Growing your own transplants from seeds indoors can give you a head start on the growing season. In some cases, it may be the only way to obtain plants of a new or special cultivar (variety) that is not widely available through garden centers. To obtain vigorous plants, start with high-quality seed from a reliable source. Select cultivars which provide the plant size, color (flower, foliage, or fruit), and growth habit you want. Choose cultivars adapted to your area. Many vegetable and flower cultivars are hybrids. They may cost more than open pollinated types, but they usually have more vigor, more uniformity, and better growth than non-hybrids.

Commercial Production of Staked Tomatoes in the Southeast

By: Kelly Ivors

This production guide covers all aspects of commercial staked tomato production--from varieties and transplants to site selection, cover cropping, production systems, fertilization, pest management, and harvesting. An online appendix of tomato pests includes color photographs to assist growers in identifying insect and disease pests.


By: Douglas Sanders Horticulture Information Leaflet

This publication discusses growing and harvesting head lettuce, the most important salad vegetable grown in the United States. Per-capita consumption exceeds 25 pounds annually. In North Carolina, the crop can be grown as both a spring and fall crop in eastern North Carolina and even during midsummer in western North Carolina at elevations higher than 3,000 feet.

Storing Winter Squash and Pumpkins

By: Jonathan Schultheis, Charles Averre Horticulture Information Leaflet

Harvested squash and pumpkins are still very much alive even though they are mature and have been removed from the vine. The objective of curing and storing is to prolong the storage life of the fruit by slowing the rate of respiration and protecting against storage rots.

High Density Apple Orchard Management

By: Michael Parker, C. Richard Unrath, Charles Safley, David Lockwood

This publication focuses on the management techniques and economic analysis of orchards with more than 150 to 180 trees per acre.

Planting Techniques for Trees and Shrubs

By: Kim Powell Horticulture Information Leaflet

A properly planted tree or shrub will be more tolerant of adverse conditions and require much less management than one planted incorrectly. Planting technique impacts water quality as it minimizes water, fertilizer and pesticide use. When making decisions on planting techniques, one should consider how the plant was grown in the nursery, the plant's drainage requirements, the soil type and drainage characteristics, and the availability of irrigation water. The plant should be specifically appropriate to the site, or the site should be amended to specifically fit the plant.

Commercial Production of Pickling and Slicing Cucumbers in North Carolina

By: Jonathan Schultheis, Charles Averre, Mike Boyette, Ed Estes, Gerald Holmes, David Monks, Kenneth Sorensen

This comprehensive factsheet for farmers describes recommended practices for producing pickling and slicing cucumbers.

Sweet Corn Production

By: Jonathan Schultheis Horticulture Information Leaflet

Field corn was grown in North America before 200 BC. Field corn is produced primarily for animal feed and industrial uses such as ethanol, cooking oil, etc. In contrast, sweet corn is produced for human consumption as either a fresh or processed product.

Estimating the Volume of a Standing Tree Using a Scale (Biltmore) Stick

By: Robert Bardon Woodland Owner Notes

This publication explains how to determine the volume of a tree using a scale (Biltmore) stick and provides a template for making a scale stick.

A Gardener's Guide to Soil Testing

By: Ervin Evans, Deanna Osmond

This publication tells gardeners why they should test their soil, how to obtain a soil test and interpret the results and how to use the soil test to improve their soils.

Muscadine Grapes in the Home Garden

By: Barclay Poling, Connie Fisk Horticulture Information Leaflet

Muscadine grapes are well adapted to the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, where temperatures seldom fall below 10°F. Considerable injury generally occurs where winter temperatures drop below 0°F. Muscadines have a high degree of tolerance to pests and diseases that makes the production of bunch grapes nearly impossible in eastern North Carolina. There is no other fruit with such strong personal associations for so many native North Carolinians.

Growing Herbs for the Home Gardener

By: Ervin Evans, Larry Bass Horticulture Information Leaflet

An herb is any plant used whole or in part as an ingredient for health, flavor, or fragrance. Herbs can be used to make teas; perk up cooked foods such as meats, vegetables, sauces, and soups; or to add flavor to vinegars, butters, dips, or mustards. Many herbs are grown for their fragrance and are used in potpourris, sachets, and nosegays; or to scent bath water, candles, oils, or perfumes. More than 25% of our modern drugs contain plant extracts as active ingredients, and researchers continue to isolate valuable new medicines from plants and confirm the benefits of those used in traditional folk medicine.

Weed Management on Organic Farms

By: Nancy Creamer, Denise Finney CEFS

Organic farmers cite weed management as their number one research priority. This publication in the Organic Production publication series describes weed control strategies for organic farms based on weed characteristics and an integrated cropping system approach. A special section on cultivation practices that limit emerged and future weeds is based on research by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.

Organic Sweet Corn Production

By: Jeanine Davis Horticulture Information Leaflet

In most of the south, sweet corn can be produced from early spring until fall. However, sweet corn does have some specific environmental and cultural needs that must be met for the plant to produce high-marketable yields. Corn is a warm-season crop that requires high temperatures for optimum germination and rapid growth. In general, sweet corn does not tolerate cold weather, and frost will injure sweet corn at any stage of growth. Other stressful climatic conditions, such as drought or flooding, can reduce yields and cause small, deformed ears.

Strawberries in the Home Garden

By: Barclay Poling Horticulture Information Leaflet

Strawberries are a welcome addition to any home garden. They are relatively easy to grow, require a minimum of space, and virtually no chemicals are needed. From as few as 25 transplants to start a matted row, a berry yield in excess of 50 pounds can be achieved one year after planting. Strawberries require a site that is open to direct sunlight most of the day. Try to avoid very low-lying areas prone to spring frosts, and you should definitely plan to purchase a white spunbonded row cover to protect open strawberry blossoms from spring frosts/freezes. The same cover may be used for bird control during harvest.

Average First Fall Frost Dates for Selected North Carolina Locations

By: Katharine Perry Horticulture Information Leaflet

Frost forms on solid objects when the water vapor in the atmosphere changes from its vapor phase to small ice crystals. Frost is not frozen dew. If you see frost than you know that the temperature of the object it is on reached 32°F or lower. However, the air temperature, measured at five feet above ground in the vicinity of this object, is likely several degrees higher. Conversely, not every air temperature recorded at or below 32°F means frost formed on solid objects in the area. In spite of this, the average date of the last spring air temperature of 32°F has traditionally been called the last frost date.

Seed and Seed Quality

By: J. M. Ferguson, R. D. Keys, F. W. McLaughlin, J. M. Warren

This guide presents basic facts about seeds, including how they develop, how to store and germinate seeds successfully and the factors that influence seed quality. It also summarizes the North Carolina laws that affect seed collecting and distribution.

Preparing Nursery Plants for Winter

By: Anthony LeBude, Ted Bilderback, Helen Kraus

This publication for nursery managers and homeowners describes how to protect nursery plants and keep them healthy through the winter.

Rainwater Harvesting: Guidance for Homeowners

By: Bill Hunt, Matthew Jones Urban Waterways

A rainwater harvesting system captures stormwater runoff, often from a rooftop, and stores the water in a cistern for later use. In this guide for homeowners, the authors describe the components of a rainwater harvesting system and how they work together. Guidelines for choosing, sizing and installing the components are included.

Turnips and Rutabagas

By: Douglas Sanders Horticulture Information Leaflet

Turnips and rutabagas are among the most commonly grown and widely adapted root crops. They are members of the Cruciferae or mustard family and belong to the genus Brassica. The two are similar in plant size and general characteristics. Turnip leaves are usually light green, thin and hairy, while the rutabagas are bluish-green, thick and smooth. The roots of turnips generally have little or no neck and a distinct taproot, while rutabaga roots are often more elongated and have a thick, leafy neck and roots originating from the underside of the edible root as well as from the taproot.

13. Propagation

By: Frank Blazich, Anthony LeBude Extension Gardener Handbook

This Propagation Chapter from the Extension Gardener Handbook explains how and why to grow new plants from seed (sexual reproduction) and from cuttings (asexual propagation).

Harvesting and Preserving Herbs for the Home Gardener

By: Ervin Evans, Jeanine Davis Horticulture Information Leaflet

Herbs should be harvested when the oils responsible for flavor and aroma are at their peak. Proper timing depends on the plant part you are harvesting and the intended use. Herbs grown for their foliage should be harvested before they flower. While chives are quite attractive in bloom, flowering can cause the foliage to develop an off-flavor. Harvest herbs grown for seeds as the seed pods change in color from green to brown to gray but before they shatter (open). Collect herb flowers, such as borage and chamomile, just before full flower. Harvest herb roots, such as bloodroot, chicory, ginseng, and goldenseal, in the fall after the foliage fades.