Are you curious about the role of Durham County Cooperative Extension Services? Join us for breakfast at Briggs Avenue Community Garden on Friday, May 31, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. for our 2019 Report to the Community.
Enjoy a fresh garden breakfast, tour the garden, see our new greenhouse, learn about Extension’s work in Durham County, meet our new director, Donna Rewalt, and receive a small gift of appreciation for your support.
The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and a short presentation will take place at 9:20 a.m. The event is free but registration is required so we know how much food to prepare.
Rhonda Sherman, Extension Solid Waste Specialist
Rhonda is a leading authority on vermicomposting, with
additional expertise in composting, recycling and waste
reduction. She also brings an enthusiasm to the subject
that is infectious and energizing. Join us to learn more
about composting at home.
Description:This POLLINATORS talk will offer information, advice and suggestions about the plants and critters that benefit our flower and vegetable gardens and our yards. Also reviewed will be some of the common pests and the diseases that can be prevented by propagating proper pollinator practices. (Say THAT three times quickly.)
Don’t get me wrong. I love all
things mossy. But recently, probably because of all the rain, I’ve been getting
questions about how to get rid of moss in lawns. In the spirit of equanimity I
will address this subject.
If you have moss taking over your
lawn the problem isn’t the moss, it’s the lawn. Turf grass struggles in areas
that are too wet, too shady, too compacted, too acidic, too lacking in
nutrients. These are the ideal conditions for moss, though. In order to
eliminate moss, you must resolve these conditions.
First address the drainage issues. Limiting
the amount and frequency of lawn watering would be a first step. Slowing or redirecting
the flow of water by restructuring the topography might help. You could add
topsoil or install terracing stones. Placement of a French drain or similar
strategies will also work.
To manage excessive shade you might
have to limb up or remove trees and large shrubs. Keep in mind that the roots
of trees drink large amounts of water so removing them may add to your
problems. You could expand the diameter of mulch under trees and around beds.
You could also try planting a grass more tolerant of shade but all of them need
Dense, compacted clay soils like we
have in this area will not support turf grass for long. Yearly aeration is
recommended. Leave the plugs where they lie. They will decompose and add to the
Let’s talk about fertility. First
take a soil sample. It may recommend the application of lime to raise the pH
and suggest a fertilization regimen. When you mow the grass leave the clippings
in place to feed the soil. Good cultural practices like regular mowing,
fertilizing and watering will produce the healthy lawn that will resist the
growth of mosses.
How about the moss that’s already
there. For small patches, dig them out, including an inch or so of the base
soil and plant them in another spot. Then add new soil, seed or sod. The entire
lawn could be raked dislodging the moss, new soil added and the area reseeded.
There are products on the market made especially for killing moss in lawns but
if the underlying conditions are not corrected, the moss will return.
Now here’s the thing. If you have
wet, compacted soil in the shade you are not going to have a successful lawn
without major expenditures of time and money. So why not just let the moss
establish itself? You will have a year round green carpet that never needs
mowing, watering, fertilizing, spraying, or plugging. It is true that mosses
don’t tolerate heavy foot traffic but you could add stepping-stones or
pathways. Then find a small, dry area in the sun and plant a pocket of lawn
Description: This talk will cover common and interesting herbs that can be grown in our area. Successful herb gardening utilizing both indoor and outdoor techniques will be addressed as well as treatment of pests and diseases that may be encountered. Also mentioned will be harvesting, preservation and perhaps an interesting recipe use or two.
What a beautiful spring it turned out to be after that wet winter, and our native understory trees make the North Carolina spring that much more special. Durham’s Finest Trees is accepting nominations now through October 1 for the best examples of specific tree species in our county. The spring blooming trifecta of smaller trees like the Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis), Dogwood (Cornus florida) and Fringe trees (Chionanthus virginicus) are also eligible, not just our magnificent giants like the willow oak or tulip poplar.
First to appear around early March along the margins of our leafless woodlands, as puffs of pink to light-purple color, is the Eastern Redbud. This tree is often multi-trunked with a rounded crown that typically grows to 10 to 25 feet with a similar spread1, 2. The showy pea-like flowers bloom on bare branches before the tree leafs out.
After flowering, flat bean-like seedpods emerge containing six to 12 seeds. The heart-shaped to broadly ovate leaves are short pointed at the tip and are also attractive. The leaves turn yellow in the fall. The Eastern Redbud does well in full sun to partial shade. The benefits to wildlife are threefold as the blossoms provide nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies (Henry’s elfin butterfly Callophyrus henrici)3, the tree hosts its larvae4and the seedpods provide food for songbirds. Honeybees also use the flowers for pollen.
Many cultivars of Redbud are sold at your local nursery such as the cultivar ‘Forest Pansy’ with purple leaves. One of the most extensive collections of redbuds in North America is found at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh5. Redbuds do best in moderate to dry soil conditions and tolerate clay soil. Protect their sensitive roots with a wide mulch apron. A new sterile (does not produce seed pods after blooming) variety developed by Dr. Dennis Werner at North Carolina State University called ‘Pink Pom Poms’ has beautiful double pink flowers6. It has Texas redbud genes so it tolerates heat, which is an important consideration due to our rapidly changing climate.
If you remember seeing a beautiful Redbud or any other impressive tree why not fill out the two page Nomination Form. Information on how to estimate the tree size is given on this webpage or the following link https://durhamnc.gov/1580/Durhams-Finest-Trees