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One cannot appreciate the damage ice causes to trees until they've experienced a heavy ice storm. Fortunately, major ice storms do not occur on a regular basis. The trees that normally take the brunt of the damage - Chinese and Siberian elms, poplars, silver maples, birches and willows - are the predictable victims. All of these species have brittle wood and are easily damaged by ice and wind storms.
The trees that line our city streets and properties have endured decades of stress from:
- heat and cold,
- root-crimping sidewalks,
- insects and disease.
During the winter months it is sometimes necessary to protect certain landscape plants. Winter protection means providing protection to plants from freezing temperatures, damaging winds, heavy snow and ice, the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil beneath the plants, and heat from the sun on very cold days.
Cold injury, the damage caused to plants by freezing temperatures, may occur on the fruit, stems, leaves, trunk and roots. Water inside plant parts can freeze and expand, tearing cell walls and causing them to leak. This damage may go unnoticed until the plant fails to come out of dormancy in the spring.
Cold weather causes freeze-damaged plants in Georgia gardens and landscapes.
Chemicals can damage plants in a number of ways. Chemicals can cause foliar burns, defoliation, leaf curl, and stunting when applied improperly. Household chemicals such as paints, cleaners, or solvents can injure plants but most often we see injury caused by agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides that have been misapplied.
A growing human population is leading to increased land development. Many home owners maintain gardens and landscapes around their homes. Often, wildlife and humans come into contact with each other, resulting in damage to human property. Often in these cases, intensive deer management is needed.
House mice are one of the most troublesome and economically important pests in the United States. They consume food meant for human beings, pets and other animals; contaminate areas with their feces and urine; cause considerable damage to structures and property; and spread numerous diseases.
Rabbits can do considerable damage to the landscape. For the most effective control, a variety of methods should be tried, including habitat modification, fencing, trapping, chemical repellents and the use of rabbit-resistant perennials.
Scientists classify armadillos with anteaters and sloths. They have poorly developed teeth and limited mobility. In fact, armadillos have small, peg-like teeth that are useful for grinding their food but of little value for capturing prey. No other mammal in Georgia has bony skin plates or a “shell,” which makes the armadillo easy to identify. Just like a turtle, the shell is called a carapace.