Making the Most of Your Georgia Grown Broccoli

broccoliOn this eve of Thanksgiving, are you thankful for planting broccoli in your community garden plot?  Are you planning broccoli casserole, broccoli cheese soup,  or buttered broccoli for your Thanksgiving table?  Did you know that broccoli is easily preserved in the freezer?

UGA’s book So Easy to Preserve gives clear cut instructions for freezing broccoli so that it stays tasty for later cooking.   Start with firm young, tender stalks with compact heads.  Remove all leaves and woody portions.  Separate the broccoli heads into conveniently sized sections.

Mix 4 teaspoons of salt into one gallon of water.  Soak the broccoli heads in the salt water for 30 minutes.  This tip helps remove insects.  You may be surprised at what is left behind in the brine.

Once soaking is complete, split the heads lengthwise so that flowerets are no more than1 1/2 inches across.  Water blanch 3 minutes in boiling water or steam blanch for 5 minutes.  Blanching is just exposing the vegetable to  boiling water or steam for a very specific period of time.  Blanching brightens the vegetable color, helps retain vitamins,  and makes the vegetable easier to Broccoli plantsfreeze.   Make sure you follow the blanch time exactly.  Overblanching can actually cook the broccoli and result in a loss of flavor, color, and nutrients.

Cool the broccoli in an ice water bath.  Drain and package leaving no headspace, meaning no space between the broccoli and the container closure.  Seal and freeze.  Enjoy your harvest in the months ahead!

Your UGA Extension office is staffed with a family and consumer science agent.  He/she has great information on preserving all the vegetables in your garden!  Take advantage of this great resource.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cherokee County’s Senior Center Community Garden

Master Gardener Marcia Winchester with UGA Extension Agent Louise Estabrook.
Master Gardener Marcia Winchester with UGA Extension Agent Louise Estabrook.

The property around the Cherokee County Senior Center is home to two beautiful spaces:  the Cherokee County Master Gardener’s Teaching Garden and their Community Garden.  The teaching garden has been benefiting seniors since 1996 and the community garden was started in 2010.  Being part of the senior center there is a requirement that at least 10% of the plots need to be used by gardeners over 62 years old.  This is not a problem and Marcia Winchester, co-chair of the garden, says that they routinely have more than 10%.  The garden is a great place for seniors, and all gardeners, to socialize.

The space is made up of 29 raised bed plots that rent for $20 a year.  Water is provided until the weather gets cold when frozen pipes are a possibility.  Approximately half of the gardeners do cool-season planting. Warm-season tomatoes are the most popular crop grown.  The garden is managed by Master Gardeners Marcia Winchester and Gerald Phillips with direction from UGA Extension Agent, Louise Estabrook, and help from Nathan Brandon of the Senior Center.

One of the really unique part of this garden is the learning aspect.  In one corner there is a experiment on growing tomatoes

Creative ways to combat rabbits!
Creative ways to combat rabbits!

in straw bales.  Nearby is a group of potato towers.  So far this year they have harvested 8 pounds of potatoes!  This garden has a problem with rabbits.  Creative ways to handle the rabbits are displayed throughout the garden.  Placing open crates over plants, growing runner beans on trellises instead of bush beans, and using pine cones as mulch are a few things the gardeners are trying.  These growers are always attempting new things and learning.

Several years ago one gardener got what she thought was rich, beneficial horse manure for her plots.  Her vegetables came up misshapen and unhealthy.  It turns out the manure was from horses who had been eating grass treated with pesticides.  The lesson Marcia wants to share – make sure you know exactly where your compost comes from!


The garden contributes produce to a local food bank, Papa’s Pantry.  There are dedicated plots for this and often gardeners share additional food from their own spaces.  Another lesson the gardeners shared was related to growing eggplants for donation.  They were growing a small variety of eggplant.  After donating several pounds of these, the gardeners decided they should go back to the traditional larger eggplants that are a more convenient size to cook with.

Master Gardeners are at the property the first and third Thursdays of each month from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  You can see classes that they offer by visiting their webpage at Cherokee County Extension – Cherokee County Master Gardeners.

This is a wonderful garden and the gardeners know they are part of something special.  Louise Estabrook says that each community garden is different and the gardeners can fit their space to meet their needs.  The seniors at this garden are definitely blessed!  For more information about this garden contact Louise at 770-721-7803 or

Which one of these is the bed bug?

Bed bug id with labelThe bed bug is the one in the middle!

Bed bug - Gary Alpert, Harvard University,
Bed bug – Gary Alpert, Harvard University,

Bed bugs are an ever growing problem in the US.  As bed bugs problems began increasing in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Public Health put together a bed bug handbook, providing information about the habits and habitats of the bed bug with an emphasis on information required by environmental health specialists dealing with infestations in hotels.

Recently, as bed bug problems continue to spread to homes, apartments, shelters, schools, dorms, and other places where people live, work, and study; it was decided to update and expand the bed bug handbook to include information on dealing with bed bugs in a wider variety of circumstances.

The revised handbook is posted on the GDPH website .

Bedbug lifecycleOne reason to update the handbook was to make it useful for people outside of public health who are dealing with bed bug issues.  Any comments or suggestions would be gratefully accepted. Please send comments to Dr. Rosmarie Kelly

Selected Information Found in the Bed Bug Handbook

Bed Bug Biology – Life cycle, habits and medical importance

Inspecting for Bed Bugs – Protecting yourself and specific methods for various structures and situations

Treatment and Control – Physical removal, temperature, Chemical control, Do it Yourself treatments, Follow-up and monitoring, and Controls for various structures and situations

Additional Information – Bedbug myths, Action plan for hotel treatment and information specific to Schools, Environmental Health Specialists, Hotel Managers and Homeowners

Tick-Bite-Induced Red Meat Allergy

LonestarTickNancy C. Hinkle, Ph.D., University of Georgia

Extension staff are not physicians (nor do we portray them on television), but we can contribute to better health among Georgia citizens.  One emerging condition we want to keep in mind is red-meat allergy provoked by tick bites.

Yes, as strange as it sounds, being fed on by lone star ticks (the most common ticks in Georgia) can predispose some people to developing a severe food allergy, causing an itching skin rash, gastrointestinal upset, and trouble breathing several hours after consuming red meat (beef, pork, venison, lamb, etc. – but not poultry or fish).  This condition has only recently been recognized and many physicians are not yet aware of it; likely we’ll see more in the media about this condition in the future as it becomes more widely recognized.

Meanwhile, if you know someone who experiences repeated episodes of severe hives (typically affecting the entire trunk) accompanied by nausea and/or diarrhea, recommend that they consult with their physician and raise the possibility of red meat allergy due to prior tick exposure.  The accompanying life-threatening anaphylaxis and difficulty breathing can require an ER visit, so this is not a trivial condition.  While testing for the condition is available only at select clinics, management of the condition is relatively simple, involving eliminating red meat from the diet.

The Turfgrass Industry is Losing Two Important Products for Weed Management

Patrick McCullough, Associate Professor, UGA

The turfgrass industry is officially losing Illoxan (diclofop-methyl) and Embark (mefluidide) in 2015.  These are two important tools in weed control programs with no comparable replacements.  The loss of these materials has significant implications for resistance management, seedhead control, and efficiently managing high quality turfgrass.

Goosegrass - John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,
Goosegrass – John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,

Illoxan (diclofop-methyl)

Bayer will not be reregistering Illoxan.  Unfortunately, the return on Illoxan sales was not worth the expenses of reregistration for the company.  Illoxan is a postemergence herbicide used for goosegrass control in bermudagrass golf courses.  This herbicide is one of the most effective chemistries for controlling goosegrass in greens, tees, fairways, and roughs.  More importantly, Illoxan is the only ACCase inhibitor used in bermudagrass turf and the loss of this mechanism of action may have significant consequences for resistance management. Goosegrass resistance to ALS inhibitor herbicides, specifically foramsulfuron (Revolver), is becoming more widespread throughout the Southern U.S.  Turf managers also have restrictions on MSMA use on golf courses that limit the ability to effectively control goosegrass and other weeds.

Illoxan is an excellent herbicide for controlling goosegrass at most growth stages in bermudagrass and also offered an alternative mechanism of action in resistance management programs.  The implications of losing Illoxan in golf course management will emphasize the need for investments in good preemergence herbicides for goosegrass control.  Dinitroanilines (DNAs) like prodiamine (Barricade, others) and pendimethalin (Pendulum, others) have potential to control goosegrass but results are often erratic.  Resistance to DNA herbicides has also developed in goosegrass populations and alternative chemistries may be needed for effective control.  From our research at UGA, Ronstar (oxadiazon) and Specticle (indaziflam) have consistently been the best preemergence herbicides for controlling goosegrass in bermudagrass turf.  Other herbicides such as Dismiss (sulfentrazone), Sureguard (flumioxazin), and Tower (dimethenamid) have potential to control goosegrass but our results have been inconsistent over years.

With the loss of Illoxan, bermudagrass managers will only have Revolver (foramsulfuron), Tribute Total (foramsulfuron + thiencarbazone + halosulfuron) and Dismiss (sulfentrazone) available for postemergence goosegrass control.  While these herbicides may control immature goosegrass, single applications often do not control tillered plants.  Revolver and Tribute Total are both ALS inhibitors and will not effectively control mature goosegrass or resistant biotypes.

Turf managers may also explore the use of MSMA + Sencor (metribuzin) for goosegrass control but these treatments can be very injurious to bermudagrass in summer and may require sequential applications.  Moreover, superintendents in Georgia are limited to one application of MSMA per year, not to exceed 25% of the total golf course.  Turfgrass managers must understand that losing Illoxan may limit their ability to control goosegrass and may have serious repercussions in resistance management programs.

Embark (mefluidide)

Embark is a growth regulator primarily used for annual bluegrass seedhead control in turfgrass management.  Earlier this year there was controversy around the future manufacturing of mefluidide, the active ingredient in Embark, and if this product would be available after 2015. PBI Gordon explored opportunities inside and outside of the U.S. to have mefluidide manufactured and formulated to make new Embark products.  The opportunity to make new material was very costly for the company and PBI Gordon has decided not to pursue this investment.  The Embark 2S product will be pulled completely, and there will be new Embark T & O 0.2L (essentially a dilution of the 2S) released until the current supply is gone.  Once the existing inventory has been sold, Embark will no longer be available from PBI Gordon.

Embark is a growth regulator that has a long history of use in turfgrass and roadside management.  Embark is the only seedhead inhibiting growth regulator available for use in warm and cool-season turfgrasses.  Turfgrass managers primarily use this chemistry for seedhead control on annual bluegrass, tall fescue, bermudagrass, and other turfgrass species.  Proxy (ethephon) is the other seedhead inhibitor available for turfgrass.  It is labeled only for cool-season grasses but may be applied to certain zoysiagrass varieties.  Proxy causes leaf chlorosis, stand thinning, and quality reductions in bermudagrass, seashore paspalum, and other warm-season species.  Other PGRs like Primo (trinexapac-ethyl) or Trimmit (pacloburazol) may provide partial seedhead control but are generally less effective than Embark and Proxy.

Current research efforts at UGA include evaluating seasonal application timing of PGRs to minimize injury and maximize seedhead control on warm-season grasses.  We are also evaluating alternatives to Embark, primarily ALS inhibitor herbicides, for seedhead management in bermudagrass turf.  Embark is the most popular PGR for annual bluegrass seedhead control in bentgrass greens in Georgia and further research will be needed with Proxy, Proxy + Primo, and other compounds to replace Embark.

Patrick McCullough is an associate professor and extension specialist in turf weed science at the University of Georgia in Griffin.

What is this winter weed that shows up every year at this time?

Florida betony plant
Figure 1 – Flower and foliage of Florida betony.

This weed is Florida betony. It is also called rattlesnake weed.

The publication Controlling Florida Betony in the Landscape gives cultural and chemical controls for this weed in lawns and landscape beds. The authors are Mark Czarnota, Ph.D., and Tim Murphy, Ph.D., Weed Control Specialists. Departments of Horticulture and Crop Science

Click here to see the publication for the following information:

Florida betony (Stachys floridana) (also called rattlesnake weed and hedge nettle) is a problem weed in both turfgrasses and ornamentals.

Florida betony tubers
Figure 2 – Tubers of Florida betony that look like the rattle of a rattlesnake, hence the name “rattlesnake weed.”

Florida betony is a “winter” perennial and, like most plants in the mint (Labiatae) family, has a square stem with opposite leaves. Flowers are usually pink and have the classic mint-like structure (Figure 1). Unlike its relatives, it has the unique characteristic of producing tubers that look like the rattles (buttons) of a rattlesnake, hence the name “rattlesnake weed” (Figure 2).

Click here to readthepublicationn Controlling Florida Betony in the Landscape

Georgia Urban Forest Council Landmark and Historic Tree Registry

The tree that owns itself, Athens, GA Image from Wikipedia - Original uploader was Bloodofox at en.wikipedia
The tree that owns itself, Athens, GA Image from Wikipedia – Original uploader was Bloodofox at en.wikipedia

Taken directly from the GUFC website. See this link for all information


The primary purpose of the register is to locate, document and compile a record of all of the significant trees across Georgia.  The register will also enhance our ability to educate and encourage the public and decision-makers about the importance of trees and the need to care for and protect them.

If you go to the map, clicking on a tree will give you some information about it, as well as a picture of the tree.  To view the trees in list form, go to tree list.

View Landmark and Historic Tree Map


Nominations are accepted throughout the calendar year, with announcement of additions to the Register at the Fall GUFC Annual Meeting.   If you would like to nominate a tree please download the landmark-historic-tree-application

The GUFC website also has a link for Other Databases listing historic trees.

Southern Nursery Association Research Conference Proceedings Now Available

SNA 2014 logo 22014 SNA Research Conference Proceedings Now Available 
The Proceedings of the 59th Annual SNA Research Conference are now available on the SNA website. Proceedings from 1991 to 2014 (2,986 titles comprised of 11,880 pages) are available in Portable Document Format (PDF) for downloading and viewing or printing. See list and links for each year’s proceedings.

For a complete list of proceedings (1991 – 2014) go to

For the 2014 SNA Research Conference Proceedings go to

READ MORE about the SNA Research Conference.

Take a look … there’s a lot of useful information!

What are the best post-emergence herbicides for annual bluegrass control in turf?

Annual bluegrass - Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,
Annual bluegrass – Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,

Postemergence Annual Bluegrass Control in Turf

Patrick McCullough, Extension Weed Specialist, University of Georgia

Edited from a more complete article which can be found here.

Contrary to its name, both annual (live for one season) and perennial (live for many seasons) populations of annual bluegrass may be found in turf.  Annual bluegrass may out-compete other turf species during late fall and early spring.  Annual bluegrass often dies from summer stresses but may survive if irrigated – especially the perennial biotypes

Postemergence Control (See Table 3)

Annual bluegrass may be selectively controlled with postemergence herbicides (Table 3).

Landscapers managing warm-season grasses have more options for selective postemergence annual bluegrass control than cool-season grasses.

Flazasulfuron (Katana), foramsulfuron (Revolver, Tribute Total), rimsulfuron (TranXit), and trifloxysufluron (Monument) are labeled for bermudagrass and zoyiagrass non-residential commercial lawns and other sites.  Flazasulfuron and rimsulfuron are also labeled for use in centipedegrass. Efficacy of these herbicides generally increases under warm temperatures in spring compared to winter and non-ionic surfactants may enhance efficacy.

Pronamide (Kerb) is a restricted use herbicide for annual bluegrass control in non-residential bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, seashore paspalum, and zoysiagrass.  Pronamide is root-absorbed and must be watered in following applications.  Pronamide efficacy is generally slower than most sulfonylureas and activity for annual bluegrass control may take approximately four to six weeks.

Atrazine (Aatrex, Bonus S, others) and simazine (Princep, WynStar, others) may also be applied to bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass for selective postemergence annual bluegrass control.  These herbicides often provide erratic control of annual bluegrass but may control other grassy and broadleaf weeds.  Actively-growing bermudagrass is sensitive to atrazine and applications are recommended only during the late fall and winter months.

Dormant bermudagrass may be treated with nonselective herbicides, such as glyphosate (Roundup, Touchdown, others), glufosinate (Finale), and diquat (Reward).  These herbicides will injure or kill existing vegetation, including annual bluegrass and managers should only spray at peak dormancy when no green turfgrass foliage is observable.  Nonselective herbicides should only be applied to completely dormant bermudagrass and applications during early spring may delay greenup with significant turf injury.

Flumioxazin (Sureguard) is a new herbicide for pre- and postemergence annual bluegrass control but applications are limited to dormant bermudagrass only.  Flumioxazin use after greenup or on other species are not recommended due to excessive injury potential.

Selective annual bluegrass control options in cool-season lawns are limited.

Ethofumesate (Prograss) controls established annual bluegrass in perennial ryegrass, tall fescue and dormant bermudagrass (see the current edition of the Georgia Pest Management Handbook). Two or three ethofumesate applications may be applied in late fall at three- to four-week intervals. Annual bluegrass control may be seen that fall, but control is usually observed the following spring. Annual bluegrass control with ethofumesate may vary greatly over years depending on environmental conditions.

Amicarbazone (Xonerate) is a new Photosystem II inhibitor, similar to triazine herbicides, but may be used in tall fescue lawns and other cool-season grasses.  Applications of amicarbazone in Georgia are limited to springtime only to minimize injury to cool-season grasses.  Warm-season turf is very tolerant to amicarbazone and may be treated at any seasonal timing.

Bispyribac-sodium (Velocity) has shown potential for selective annual bluegrass control in tall fescue and perennial ryegrass lawns.  However, this herbicide is currently registered for creeping bentgrass and perennial ryegrass on golf courses and sod farms only.  Spot treatments of nonselective herbicides are generally the most effective treatment regimen for annual bluegrass control in cool-season grasses.

Table 3.  Efficacy of postemergence herbicides for annual bluegrass control in turfgrass.

Common Name Trade Name (Examples) Efficacy
amicarbazone Xonerate F-G
atrazine Aatrex, others E
bispyribac-sodium Velocity F-G
flazasulfuron Katana G-E
flumioxazin Sureguard F-G
foramsulfuron Revolver E
glufosinate Finale E
glyphosate Roundup, others E
imazaquin Image P-F
metribuzin Sencor G
pronamide Kerb E
rimsulfuron Tranxit E
simazine Princep, others G-E
thiencarbazone + foramsulfuron + halosulfuron Tribute Total G-E
trifloxysulfuron Monument E

E = Excellent (90 to 100%), G = Good (80 to 89%), F = Fair (70 to 79%), P = Poor (<70%).

For more information

Annual Bluegrass Control in Residential Turfgrass

Annual Bluegrass Control in Non-Residential Commercial Turfgrass

New UGA Facebook page for nursery growers

Nursery facebook pageDr. Matthew Chappell, UGA Nursery Specialist, has started a Facebook page for nursery producers.  Interested readers can “like” the page for timely information. This is the Facebook page description:

Here you will find updates on events, research, news and occasionally gossip related to commercial nursery production in GA and other states across the southeast.

To find the page visit Facebook page for nursery producers.