This publication provides information about planning and maintaining a home vegetable garden. Topics include site selection, soil preparation, and pest and disease management.
This series of publications provides information about how to grow, harvest, and prepare a variety of fruits and vegetables from your garden. Each publication features recipes, recommended uses, nutrition information, and more.
This series of publications provides information about how to grow, harvest, and prepare a variety of fruits and vegetables from your garden. Each publication features recipes, recommended uses, nutrition information, and more.
This series of publications provides information about how to grow, harvest, and prepare a variety of fruits and vegetables from your garden. Each publication features recipes, recommended uses, nutrition information, and more.
This factsheet provides information on how to keep a lawn healthy and attractive and how to protect the environment by reducing runoff and trapping pollutants. Fertilizer facts and rates, a mowing guide and watering recommendations are included.
This publication alerts prospective gardeners to some of the most common contaminants in urban soils, such as lead and other toxic metals, solvents, pesticides and total petroleum hydrocarbons. This will help minimize potential risks to gardeners and to those who consume garden produce. The document includes information regarding site characterization, common contaminants, soil testing, interpretation of results and strategies for reducing exposure risks.
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.
Ornamental sweetpotatoes are extremely heat-tolerant, tropical, perennial vines grown as annuals in North Carolina. They look great covering annual beds, hanging over walls or trailing from containers. This publication covers cultivars, how to select the plants, care through the growing season and pests and diseases.
In this publication you will find ideas to get you started growing your own edibles. Included are simple designs and potential settings for a single container, a small group of containers and a larger grouping of containers. The benefits and challenges of various planting options will also be explored.
This publication offers a guide to growing edible plants year-round in containers. Includes planting and harvest guides.
This publication is a home gardener's guide to planting, maintaining and harvesting blackberries.
Luffa sponge products are readily available in the cosmetic and bath section of department stores, discount stores, pharmacies, and specialty shops. This factsheet covers planting, harvesting and processing luffa gourds.
Establishing and maintaining quality annual color beds requires a plan to prevent and control weeds. Weeds compete with ornamental plants for water, light, and nutrients, reducing aesthetic quality and plant growth. To minimize these problems, this publication presents a weed management program that should be developed and implemented prior to planting.
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.
This publication offers a list of companies and nurseries that carry goldenseal seeds or plants for cultivation.
Pole beans are grown commercially in the mountain counties and, on a limited scale, in a few of the eastern counties. They are produced in home gardens throughout the state. Pole beans are grown for their distinctive flavor, long pods, high yield, long harvesting season, and high price.
Summer squash are grown throughout North Carolina in both the spring and fall. A major portion of the state's production is located in Sampson and Henderson counties and adjoining areas. Summer squash are harvested as immature fruit, have soft skin, and are very perishable (1- to 2-week shelf life).
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.
Deer are among the most beautiful and graceful but troublesome wildlife in North Carolina. Over the past 10 to 15 years, damage to ornamental plants in landscapes and nurseries, by white-tailed deer has increased dramatically in all 100 counties. This situation has become a problem due to the increase in the size of the deer population in North Carolina and to the urbanization of rural areas. Conflicts between deer and landscaped spaces are expected to increase, as more rural areas will be developed.
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.
Annual flowers offer the gardener a chance to experiment with color, height, texture, and form. Besides providing a massive display of color, annuals are useful for filling spaces where perennial flowers have died, to cover areas where spring-flowering bulbs have died back, and to fill planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets. Annual flowers bloom more quickly and for a longer period than any other group of plants. They are easy to grow, sturdy, and relatively inexpensive.
Asparagus has been considered a garden delicacy since Roman times. Any home gardener can grow and enjoy this spring vegetable. Asparagus is a perennial. If you plant and manage properly it will produce for 15 years or more. Since this crop will occupy the land for many years you should start the asparagus bed properly -- location, soil type, soil fertility, size and age of crowns and correct planting are important.
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.
This factsheet covers celery, which could be a very profitable crop in North Carolina. A harvest period in late June or early July, and one in October, would fill market voids when other major celery producing areas are not harvesting. Celery, however, is not an easy crop to grow. Although it is a cool season crop, exposure of juvenile plants to temperatures below 40 to 50ºF for more than 5 to 10 days can cause premature bolting, making the crop unsalable. Special attention must be given to maintaining a steady water supply and providing the proper amount of nutrients to allow for constant growth.
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.
This checklist is provided to help growers recognize components of a drip or trickle irrigation system and to assist in planning and installing such a system. A grower should always consult an irrigation specialist or irrigation company that designs and installs drip or trickle systems to ensure the system is properly engineered and designed for his water source and field topography.
This leaflet is intended to assist growers in troubleshooting drip or trickle irrigation systems. For major problems consult an irrigation specialist or irrigation company that designs and installs drip or trickle irrigation systems.
Vegetables are 80 to 95 percent water. Because they contain so much water, their yield and quality suffer very quickly from drought. When vegetables are sold, a "sack of water" with a small amount of flavoring and some vitamins is being sold. Thus, for good yields and high quality, irrigation is essential to the production of most vegetables. If water shortages occur early in the crop's development, maturity may be delayed and yields are often reduced. If a moisture shortage occurs later in the growing season, quality is often reduced even though total yields are not affected.
Beets have been cultivated for centuries. Though grown mostly for the roots, beet greens are also popular in many areas. Beets are a common item in vegetable gardens, but few are produced in North Carolina. This publication covers how to grow and harvest beets.
Broccoli-raab (also known as rapa, rapine, rappone, fall and spring raab or turnip broccoli) is a rapidly growing annual when grown in spring, but a biennial in fall plantings. The leaves with the seed-stalks, before blooming, are cut for greens and are sold to ethnic markets (primarily Italian).
This publication discusses the Brussels sprout, a cool season crop, belonging to the cabbage family, and closely related to cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, etc. Like cauliflower, it thrives best in a cool humid climate, thus commercial production of this crop is concentrated in the "fog-belt" of California with limited production in the Long Island, New York area. The edible portion of this crop is the "bud" or small cabbage-like head which grows in the axils of each leaf. Occasionally the tops are used as greens.
Cabbage is grown commercially in eastern North Carolina as both a spring and fall crop, and in the mountains as an early summer and fall crop. Cabbage acreage in North Carolina averages 10,000 to 12,000 acres. The biggest problem in growing this crop is insect control.
Cauliflower is a cool season crop, closely related to broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips, and mustard. It is more exacting in its climatic requirements than most other crops in this family. It grows best in a comparatively cool temperature with a moist atmosphere. With proper management cauliflower can be grown in North Carolina as either a spring or fall crop, although the fall crop will generally produce better quality.
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 over 3,000 feet.
The collard is a cool season crop that should be grown during early spring or fall. The mature plant will withstand frosts and light to medium freezes. It is one of the most popular garden vegetables in the south and is rapidly becoming a delicacy in northern states as well.
Fresh market (slicer) cucumbers have been produced commercially in North Carolina for many years. The average yield from commercial fields has been 850 to 950 bushels per acre or 2 to 3 times the average yield from non-trellised fields. This publication covers growing and harvesting fresh market cucumbers.
This publication covers growing and harvesting eggplant in North Carolina. Eggplant is a warm season plant that is very susceptible to frost. It requires a relatively long growing season to produce profitable yields. Growth is checked by cool weather. Proper cultural practices can yield 500 bushels per acre.
Leafy greens, such as turnips, mustard, collards, kale, and spinach are cool season crops. They should be grown during early spring or fall for maximum yields and quality, but this season can be extended if markets warrant. Kale and spinach can withstand temperature into the upper teens and are often harvested through winter in the east. The other greens may withstand medium frosts.
This factsheet offers information on growing and harvesting upland cress, a green often eaten like spinach or kale; however, in some areas, it is frequently eaten raw as a salad or garnish.
Spinach is a cool-season crop and belongs to the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) as do beets and Swiss chard. This crop is becoming more popular as evidenced by increases in consumption of both fresh (salads) and processed spinach. Spinach reaches edible maturity quickly (37 to 45 days) and thrives best during the cool, moist seasons of the year.
When onions are harvested in the green or immature stage they are called "green bunch onions." These onions are sold in bunches tied with a rubber band. This is a popular crop for home and market gardeners in the fall, winter and early spring. Acreages are usually small because of the amount of hand labor required for planting and preparation for market.
Okra is grown throughout North Carolina in home gardens and for commercial markets. It is a warm season crop that belongs to the cotton (Mallow) family and should not be planted until the soil has thoroughly warmed in the spring. Okra is referred to as 'Gumbo' in some areas.
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.
Mulching trees and shrubs is a good method to reduce landscape maintenance and keep plants healthy. Mulch helps conserve moisture - 10 to 25 percent reduction in soil moisture loss from evaporation. Mulches help keep the soil well aerated by reducing soil compaction that results when raindrops hit the soil. They also reduce water runoff and soil erosion. Mulches prevent soil and possible fungi from splashing on the foliage - thus reducing the likelihood of soil-borne diseases. They help maintain a more uniform soil temperature (warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer) and promote the growth of soil microorganisms and earth worms.
Interest in growing herbs for the retail and wholesale market has increased greatly over the past few years. Growers who have had success in the production of bedding plants have found another profitable avenue in herb production. Herbs have cultural requirements similar to bedding plants and it should be easy for greenhouse growers to add herbs to their production schedule. The majority of herbs discussed in this article can be sown, transplanted, and finished by the grower. This publication will focus on the production of the “top twelve” herbs and provides general guidelines for seed propagation.
This leaflet includes a list of recommended trees that have demonstrated particular resistance to harsh growing conditions, diseases, and insects in North Carolina. It should be emphasized, however, that even these trees have their limits. No single species is suited for all sites and consideration should be given to soil conditions, local occurrence of diseases and insects, microclimate, hardiness zone, and mature tree size when selecting any plant.
This publication discusses ways that gardeners can protect water quality and avoid runoff and soil erosion.
For healthy, aesthetic plants, the soil must serve as a reservoir for water, oxygen, and nutrients. While this sounds very straightforward, providing these three essentials can be quite challenging. This leaflet describes the steps to take to ensure these essentials are met in the proper amounts.
Each of us are subjected to stresses and pressures every day in our home, work, and living environment; plants are no different. Unfortunately, there is no "stressless" environment, and there is no totally stress-resistant bedding plant. Each site has its stress level and each plant has its tolerance level. There are steps that can be taken to reduce or avoid stress in the landscape. However, no program can prevent all problems, and the key to successful landscape color using bedding plants is to match the particular site with specific plant species.
Use of bedding plant color beds continues to increase. A recent indicates that over 15% of the flowering bedding plants produced in this country are utilized by commercial landscapers. However, success with color beds requires planning, proper bed preparation, and an intensive maintenance program--all of which are outlined in this publication.
Water quality and quantity issues are extremely important in container production of plants. This article addresses both quality and quantity issues for greenhouse and nursery production from a best management practices view.
Summer and fall flowering bulbs provide another dimension to gardening. They add beauty and interest to the landscape and, since most of them are tender, they offer a unique challenge to the gardener. There are a large number of different types of bulbs, offering variations in forms, fragrances, colors, and lasting brilliance which many summer annuals cannot achieve.
Causing spring-flowering bulbs like hyacinths to flower by other than naturally occurring conditions is called forcing. This practice is carried out world-wide by commercial flower growers. With planning and effort, any homeowner can have a steady supply of bulb flowers from late December through April. Forcing bulbs is a rewarding challenge to those interested in the growth and development of plants.
The growing media chosen to grow vegetable transplants should be sterilized to prevent seedlings from being killed by the fungi that causes damping-off disease. A growing mix well suited for growing transplants can be prepared by using one part loamy garden soil, one part shredded peat moss, and one part sand. Sterilize this soil-peat-sand mix by baking it in an oven for about one hour at 210°F.
Peonies are long-lived, perennial flowers that produce large flowers in the spring. Colors include black, coral, cream, crimson, pink, purple, rose, scarlet, white, and yellow. By planting early, mid-season, and late flowering cultivars, you can have peonies flowering for 6 to 8 weeks. Two types of peonies are grown in North Carolina: garden peonies (Paeonia valbiflora or Paeonia officinalis) and tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa). This leaflet covers the planting, care and maintenance and potential problems associated with growing peonies in North Carolina.
Boxwoods have been an important part of North Carolina landscapes since colonial times; the first plants were introduced to American gardeners in 1652. Boxwoods are suitable for formal and informal landscape use as edging, hedge, screen, accent, and specimen plants. While boxwoods are considered an essential component of historical and colonial gardens, they can also be used in traditional and contemporary landscape designs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you have a home vegetable garden, this publication can help you learn about selecting a site, gardening tools, fertilizer, watering techniques and more.
This guide provides home gardeners with instructions for growing strawberries, blueberries, brambles (blackberries and raspberries) and grapes.
This publication explains how to plant and take care of fruit trees in the home garden or yard.
This publication offers information on the Jerusalem artichoke, (Helianthus tuberosus L.), also known as sunchoke, which can be produced throughout the United States. However, the plant is better adapted to the northern two-thirds of the country than the southern third. Most areas of North Carolina are satisfactory for producing the crop although yields are not as good as in cooler climates where the crop is better adapted. Jerusalem artichokes are also often used for pickling purposes.
More than 40 sedge species may be found in North Carolina landscapes. Although grass-like in many ways, and the nutsedges are often referred to as “nutgrass”, they are not grasses and require different control measures than grasses. Sedges are easily distinguished from grasses by their leafy shoots that produce leaves in “3s” resulting in stems that are triangular in cross section. In contrast, shoots of grasses are flat or round in cross section.
This factsheet offers information to produce earlier peppers with higher yields and better quality.
Dahlias, are a popular addition to the landscape because they have a wide height range (1 to 6 feet) and a variety of flower shapes and sizes (2 to 12 inches). Color range includes orange, pink, purple, red, scarlet, yellow, and white. Some flowers are striped or tipped with a different color. Dahlias begin blooming in early summer and continue to frost. Flower production may slow with high summer temperatures and moisture stress.
Bearded iris is a hardy, long-lived perennial that requires a minimum of maintenance. The flowers have six petals; three upright petals (called standards) and three hanging petals (called falls). A fuzzy line or beard runs down the middle of each fall. Flowers come in many colors including blue, pink, purple, reddish, white, yellow, and bi-colors. This leaflet offers some information on growing irises for the home garden.
Caladiums are grown for their long-lasting, colorful foliage. Color combinations include various shades of red, pink, white, green, and yellow-green, with prominently colored midribs and contrasting margins. There are two basic types of caladium cultivars: fancy- and strap-leaved.
Two hydrangea species are native to the southeastern United States -- Hydrangea arborescens and Hydrangea quercifolia. Both are bold-textured, deciduous shrubs which produce small, fertile flowers. Many selections are considered more garden-worthy than the native species because they display large, sterile florets.
The Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) is a true bulb that originated in the tropical areas of South America. Thus, it is a tender bulb. It performs best when grown under warm (70 to 75 °F) temperatures for 9 to 10 months to promote flowering and vegetative growth, followed by 2 to 3 months of either cool (55°F) dry storage or cool (55°F) growing conditions. The use of one of the latter conditions is required to promote reflowering of the bulb.
"Paperwhite" Narcissus is one of the easiest flower bulbs for homeowners to force. Commercially, several types are available. Some cultivars (varieties) have pure white flowers while others have white perianths with light yellow cups. Paperwhites originate in the Mediterranean and are tender bulbs. Thus, they can be grown outside only in Climatic zones 8 to 11. Unless one lives in one of these zones, forced bulbs should be discarded.
Causing spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils (Narcissus) to flower by other than naturally occurring conditions is called "forcing." This practice is carried out by commercial growers the world over. With a little care and effort, homeowners can have a steady supply of daffodils (Narcissus) from late December through April. Forcing bulbs should be a challenge to those who are interested in plants.
Radish is a cool-season crop which grows best in spring and fall. It requires 3 to 6 weeks from seeding to harvest. This factsheet covers growing and harvesting radishes in North Carolina.
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.
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.
Pumpkins were used by American Indians long before Columbus visited our shores, and pumpkins readily found their way to the first Thanksgiving table. Pumpkins were used by early settlers much as we use them today – for food and decoration. This factsheet covers growing and harvesting pumpkins in North Carolina.
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.
Gourds are very closely related to cucumbers, squash and melons. They have been grown for both ornamental and utility purposes for many years. Several societies have been established to bring together people who are fascinated by the uniqueness of these plants.
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.
Muskmelon is commonly known in the trade as a cantaloupe. However, no cantaloupes are actually grown commercially in the United States, only muskmelons. Cantaloupes are a rough warty fruit while muskmelon have the characteristic netting on the fruit rind. This publication covers the growing and harvesting of muskmelons in North Carolina.
Field corn was grown in North America before 200 B.C. 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.
The nutritional content, freshness, and flavor that vegetables possess depend upon the stage of maturity and the time of day at which they are harvested. Overly mature vegetables will be stringy and coarse. When possible, harvest vegetables during the cool part of the morning, and process or store them as soon as possible. If for some reason processing must be delayed, cool the vegetables in ice water or crushed ice, and store them in the refrigerator to preserve flavor and quality. The following guidelines can be used for harvesting vegetable crops.
Geraniums are among the most popular flowering plants. Outdoors, they are used as annual bedding plants, in hanging baskets, in pots and in window boxes. Indoors, they are cultured as houseplants in sunny locations. Common geraniums are actually members of the genus Pelargonium, while members of the genus Geranium include native wildflowers and herbaceous perennials.
The onion is a cool season crop that will withstand moderate freezes. It may be grown either by seeding directly in the field, or by setting transplants. North Carolina growers have an excellent market opportunity in June and July when very few onions are available. Yield will range from 400 to 800 (50-pound) sacks per acre depending on the year and cultural practices. A premium is paid for large onions during our harvest season.
Southern peas originated in India in prehistoric times and moved to Africa, then to America. In India Southern peas are known by 50 common names and in the United States are called "Field peas," "Crowder peas," "Cowpeas" and "blackeyes," but Southern peas is the preferred name. This publication covers growing and harvesting Southern peas in North Carolina.
Among the early spring-flowering trees, the dogwood is regarded by most North Carolinians as unrivaled in attractiveness either in its natural woodland habitat or in cultivated landscape gardens. This small, ornamental tree offers landscape interest for all seasons, beginning with its floral display in spring and followed by pleasant green foliage (casting a light shade) in summer. Fall in North Carolina is enhanced by the brilliant show of red, orange, and scarlet foliage along with the bright-red fruit borne in small clusters. In winter, button-shaped buds are prominent on the tips of the twigs. The interesting bark texture and branches help create an excellent winter silhouette.
One of the most important considerations in developing a landscape plan is maintenance. Currently, many homeowners desire a low-maintenance landscape. A popular project for home gardeners is the reduction of lawn areas and problem spots by the incorporation of the "natural area." This is most easily accomplished with a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch such as pine needles, compost or pine straw. Although the area is to appear natural, it should not detract from the overall landscape appearance.
Ornamental grasses are becoming quite popular for North Carolina landscapes. Designers and gardeners realize the fine accent and architectural effect this group of plants contributes to a garden. As one applies the principles of good design — repetition, variety, balance, emphasis, sequence, and scale — along with the design qualities of color, texture, line and form, one appreciates the many uses and functions of ornamental grasses. (The term "ornamental grass" is really a catchall term used to describe all grasslike plants. These would include sedges, reeds, rushes, and a wide host of others.)
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.
This publication offers general recommendations for the timing, methods and rates of applying fertilizer to shade trees.
In the case of specialty or non-traditional small fruit crops in the Southeast, red raspberries seem to get the most interest and coverage by newspapers and popular press. In North Carolina, red raspberries developed in northern United States and southern Canada have difficulty in our hot, humid summer climate of the piedmont and coastal plain. And, in the foothills and mountains of western North Carolina, the raspberry 'floricanes' are especially prone to winter freeze injury as temperatures in these areas may fluctuate in January and February by as much as 40-50°F in a given 24 hour period.
This leaflet covers the training and pruning of thornless blackberry canes for the home gardener.
Lack of yard space is no excuse for not growing a vegetable garden. Regardless of whether you live in an apartment, condominium or mobile home, some space us available for growing a few of your favorite vegetables. However, the area you choose to grow your garden must receive five hours or more of sunlight daily. As a general rule, leafy vegetables such as cabbage and mustard greens can tolerate more shade than root vegetables like radishes and beets. Vegetables that bear fruit such as peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers will need the most sun.
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.
Grapes are welcome summer treats that can be eaten fresh, processed into jellies, jams, juice or even fermented into wine. Grapes are adapted to many soil types, and can be quite long-lived. There are basically two kinds of grapes grown in North Carolina, bunch grapes and muscadine. Bunch grapes produce berries in large clusters, and grow best in the mountains and piedmont areas. In coastal plain areas, Pierce's disease kills or shortens the life expectancy of many popular bunch grapes. Muscadine grapes, exemplified by the Scuppernong variety and noted for having smaller clusters, are not affected by this disease.
Sprouts from mung bean (Phaseolus aureus) have been used for food since ancient times. These sprouts have a nutrient value similar to asparagus and mushrooms, which contain high quantities of Vitamin A. Sprouts can be canned or frozen in addition to eating them fresh. Mung bean seeds can be purchased from mail-order commercial seed companies and health food chain stores. (Caution: Regardless of the source, do not use seeds that have been treated with a fungicide. Treated seeds are not edible and can be recognized by the coating of pink or green dust on the seed coat.)
Small and intermediate size trees play an important role in the landscape. They can be quite functional and offer seasonal beauty. These trees are generally very easy to maintain and require a minimum of pruning.
Large trees are dominant features in the landscape. Many plans rely on trees for several design functions: to provide background, enclosure, define spaces, help reduce noise and unsightly views. Trees also provide needed shade, channel breezes, and break forceful winds. They also help the environment by filtering pollutants and exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide.
The Holly (Ilex) genus is very popular among landscape architects, nurserymen and home gardeners. Horticulturalists recognize approximately 20 American Holly species, 120 Oriental species, and nearly 200 varieties of the English Holly.
Junipers are grown all across North Carolina, in just about every landscape situation: around ski villages at Beech Mountain or around ocean-front cottages on Bald Head Island. There are more than 170 species and varieties being grown by American nurserymen. North Carolinians typically choose certain junipers found in the species J. chinensis, J. horizontalis, J. sabina, J. communis, J. procumbens, J. conferta, and of course, J. virginiana - commonly known as Red Cedar.
Sooner or later most home gardeners think about growing roses. Landscape uses are quite varied because of the many different types of roses. They can be mass planted in beds, used as specimen or trained plants, planted as screens or hedges, or located near fences or arbors and allowed to climb. Several miniature cultivars can even be used as a ground cover or as edging material. Roses are available in almost any color imaginable and are suited to a number of sites.
Lagerstroemia, crapemyrtle as it is commonly known, is a favorite small tree or large shrub for many southern gardeners. The common name crapemyrtle was derived from the crinkled petals on the end of a long, narrow stem and the similarity of the leaves to a myrtle. Crapemyrtle, also known as "Flower of the South," performs beautifully in all areas of North Carolina except in the highest elevations of hardiness zone 6.
Homeowners and professional landscapers depend on mulch in the ornamental plantings for several reasons. Functionally, mulches discourage weeds from growing, conserve moisture during drought periods, allow better use of water by controlling runoff and increasing water-holding capacity of light, sandy soils. Mulches help maintain a uniform soil temperature. A 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch can add to the aesthetic value of a garden while protecting the base of plants from being injured by mechanical equipment.
An espaliered plant is one that has been trained to grow in one plane. In the 17th century, 'espalier' originally referred to the frame or trellis on which the plant was trained. Today, espalier refers to both the two-dimensional tree or shrub or the horticultural technique of actually training the plant.
There are several vines which should interest North Carolina gardeners and landscapers. Vines, when used correctly, can be quite an aesthetic and functional addition to the landscape. Basically, there are three types of vines: those that climb by attaching tendrils to a means of support, those that climb by attaching rootlike arms to a wall, and those that climb by twining. The type of vine which is planted will determine the necessity for a supporting fence, arbor, or wall.
Wet, poorly drained soils present one the most difficult challenges for growing plants in the landscape. Excessive moisture displaces oxygen in the soil and plant roots can suffocate as a result. Many plants are intolerant of having their roots submerged for extended periods of time. Even though standing water may not be present, poor drainage is often responsible for reduced growth and survival of plants in our landscapes.
Selecting trees for use under utility lines presents a unique challenge. It is often desirable to have trees that are large enough to provide shade, architectural effects, and ornamental features, all without interfering with overhead utility lines. In this publication, we have listed trees that have a typical mature height of less than 30 feet.
The use of wildflowers in the landscape has increased since Lady Bird Johnson first promoted them in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Wildflowers were further popularized by the "Meadow in a Can" seed collections that were marketed in the early 1980s. A number of books have been written that describe methods for planning and planting wildflowers, however, few recommendations are available regarding maintenance and long-term weed management. In wildflower plantings, weed management is a complex system that requires knowledge of the specific wildflowers and weeds, environmental conditions, and control methods. Therefore, the objective of this leaflet is to discuss weed management strategies that can be applied to the planning, establishment, maintenance and renovation stages of a naturalized wildflower planting.
There are several selected pines species which are used in North Carolina landscapes, most being large tree forms. Pines are important to North Carolina not only for the ornamental value but also for lumber, watershed management, resin, turpentine and Christmas trees. There are more than 100 species of the genus Pinus recognized worldwide, of which 36 are native to the United States.
During the winter months it is necessary to offer protection to certain North Carolina landscape plants. Winter protection does not mean to keep plants warm, as this is virtually impossible but to provide protection from damaging wind, heavy snow and ice, the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil beneath the plants and heat from the sun on very cold days.
This publication offers guidelines on planning a garden and buying bulbs, as well as planting planting techniques to ensure healthy flowers.
We depend on plants to solve our functional and aesthetic needs in various landscape situations. A popular group of plants being recommended and used in modern landscapes is intermediate and small-sized trees. The trees in this category mature to a particular size and are quite "well-behaved" in the landscape. Generally, the trees, both evergreen and deciduous, mature to a height of 35 feet or less.
To insure a successful azalea planting, cultural requirements, planting techniques, and maintenance should be understood.
Landscapers and home gardeners rely upon plants and shrubs in this size category because of their relatively low maintenance demands. Modern trends in landscaping depict this growing concern by utilizing groundcovers, dwarf, or slow-growing shrubs.
Shrubs in this category are useful in landscape situations as hedges, small screens, accent plants, large mass plantings, and large foundation shrubs. These plants can be pruned periodically and maintained at a reasonable size.
Flowering crabapples have tremendous potential as small/medium sized flowering trees that can be grown all across North Carolina. These deciduous, spring flowering trees are adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions and have a variety of ornamental characteristics to choose from, including an assortment of flower color and fragrance, fruit size and color, and tree form.
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.
As one travels across North Carolina it is quite evident that azaleas are favorite ornamental plants for home gardeners and professional landscapers. Azaleas offer a wide range of size, form and color, and can be used as specimen plant accents or as a mass planting. Flowering dates are from late March to late June with both ever-green and deciduous types available. Azaleas can be grown all across the state (Zones 6, 7, 8, 9), but in order for these shrubs to grow, mature, flower profusely, and generally contribute to the total landscape, an understanding of the different kinds of azaleas, the culture, and environmental factors is necessary.
This publication gives guidelines that will help you obtain good yields of disease-free vegetables.
Many people who live in an apartment, condominium, or mobile homes do not grow a vegetable garden because space is not available for a garden plot. Lack of yard space is no excuse for not gardening, since many kinds of vegetables can be readily grown in containers. In addition to providing five hours or more of full sun, attention must be given to choosing the proper container, using a good soil mix, planting and spacing requirements, fertilizing, watering, and variety selection.
Much success in growing tomatoes can be attributed to use of a few proven techniques. Choosing a variety that has proven to be a true performer should be at the top of every gardener's list. Better Boy, Whopper, Celebrity, and Mountain Pride are among some of the best selections. Better Boy, Celebrity, and Whopper are VFN, which means they carry resistance to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and root-knot nematodes. It is best to experiment with several varieties in order to find the ideal tomato for your taste buds.
This publication describes ways to minimize nematode problems by employing several control measures such as a rotational scheme, resistant varieties and selected cultural practices.
The North Carolina Agricultural Research Service tested selected tulip and daffodil (Narcissus spp.) cultivars for four years. Trials were conducted in three climate zones so that results could be extrapolated to most of the United States. This publication for gardeners explains how to prepare the site for planting, how to select the right cultivars, how to fertilize and provides the trial results for spring-flowering bulbs.