The sun perennials “crash course” for the green industry

Armitage class promotion

Perennials are easy to grow, easy to propagate, and offer gardeners a fascinating variety of colors, forms and textures.

Armitage’s Herbaceous Perennials for the Sun is a self-paced, self-study online certificate program authored by the Dr. Allan Armitage, one of the world’s leading experts on and researchers of perennials. In this professional development course, you’ll learn the characteristics, propagation methods and optimal growing conditions of 20 species of sun perennials.

The course is online, so you can progress at your own pace, on your own schedule.

The course centers on Dr. Armitage’s textbook, Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes. Other resources include online access to the professor’s audio clips describing each plant’s history, propagation, flower structure, identifying characteristics, and pros and cons. You’ll assess your knowledge through self-tests, interactive exercises, and end-of-lesson quizzes that provide instant feedback.

Course Date: 

Course Format: Online

Course Fee(s): 

  • $249 regular fee (US Funds)
  • $199 association and partner rate
  • $50 30-day extension (Only one extension is granted per participant.)
  • Group Discounts are available for organizations registering 5 or more participants. For additional information about group enrollments, contact Pam Bracken at +1-706-542-3537.

Prices are listed per person.

Who Should Attend: 

  • Home garden enthusiasts
  • Master Gardeners
  • Commercial landscapers
  • Nursery and garden center employees

Continuing Education Information: 

Successful graduates will earn:

  • 2.4 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the University of Georgia. Definition of CEU.
  • A Certificate of Program Completion from the University of Georgia


This is a self-paced, self-study course. The course is authored by Dr. Allan Armitage. He is well known and highly acclaimed as a writer, speaker and researcher. He is recognized as a leader in introducing outstanding plant varieties to the industry. Before retiring from the University of Georgia, he ran the research gardens where new plant material from most of the flower breeders in the world is evaluated. The Trial Gardens at UGA are among the finest trial gardens in the nation. They are open to the public throughout the year.

For more information on Dr. Armitage view About the Course Author.

Prerequisite Courses: There are no prerequisites.

Textbooks Requirements: 

  • Required Textbook: Armitage, Allan M. Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes. 3rd Edition, Stipes Publishing. 2008. (ISBN 9781588747754). The required textbook must be ordered separately from your course enrollment.
  • Suggested Textbook: Armitage, Allan M. Armitage’s Garden Perennials: A Color Encyclopedia. Timber Press. 2000. (ISBN 0881924350). This textbook is not required but will be an excellent resource for your personal library.
  • Suggested Textbook Vendor: You may order these textbooks from any textbook vendor/supplier, online at this website, or at from MBSDirect at 1+1-573-446-5299 or +1-573 446-5254 or 1-800-325-3252 (U.S. only), or online.

Textbooks will be shipped independently of your online course access details, so you should allow extra time for their delivery.

Technical Requirements:

Throughout the online course you will encounter many images, maps, links to external websites, animated exercises, and audio/video clips. To take full advantage of all these features, you will need a Windows- or Macintosh-based computer with a browser and a Flash player. A fast Internet connection is highly recommended. View Technical Requirements for more details.

Downloadable Content

  1. How it Works & Learning Objectives
  2. Technical Requirements
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. About the Course Author
  5. Registration Options
  6. UGA and the Continuing Education Unit (CEU)

Rose Rosette Virus – an emerging problem

Jean Williams-Woodward, UGA Plant Pathologist

Rose rosette virus is a damaging disease that is seeing an increase in occurrence across midwestern and southern states. Rose rosette has been described since the 1940s, but it wasn’t until 2011 that the causal agent was confirmed to be a virus spread by the ‘rose leaf curl’ eriophyid mite (Phyllacoptes fructiphylus).

Rose rosette disease on Knock-Out rose
Rose rosette disease on Knock-Out rose

Rose rosette virus was predominantly found in multiflora roses (Rosa multiflora) that now grow wild in many places and is considered an invasive/noxious weed. The wild multiflora roses were thought to be how the mite and virus spread into rose landscape plantings. What is causing greater concern is that the virus is now being seen in Knock-Out roses (see images). Knock-Out roses cover commercial and residential landscapes throughout the south because they are more disease resistance than other hybrid roses. The presence of the mass Knock-Out plantings provides an easy means for the mite and virus to spread from plant to plant and location to location. The increase in the amount of rose rosette showing up in Knock-Outs, which are all vegetatively propagated, has led to speculation that the virus may be spreading through nursery stock as well. This is possible, but currently I don’t have any evidence of this.

Symptoms of rose rosette virus mimic herbicide injury. In the past, we had no way of confirming the pathogen’s presence and often tried to rule out improper herbicide use. Symptoms include an increased and rapid elongation of new growth; abnormal reddish discoloration of shoots and foliage (see image above); witches broom (proliferation of new shoots); an overabundance of thorns; and deformed buds and flowers.

We are testing a molecular PCR test in the Athens clinic that can detect the virus RNA in order to confirm the disease. This test is the only way we can confirm virus infection.

If rose rosette virus is confirmed or suspected, control options are few. There is no cure for rose rosette. Roses growing near infected cultivated or wild (multiflora) roses have a high risk of infection.

To prevent infection:

  • Inspect new nursery stock for symptoms of infection.
  • Remove all multiflora roses from the area and increase plant spacing so rose plants will not touch each other to reduce mite spread.
  • If rose rosette is present, completely remove the infected plant by bagging and discarding or by burning.
  • There is some discussion on online garden forums and from rose breeders that just pruning off symptomatic canes/stems will remove the virus. There is not at present any scientific evidence that this will work. Therefore, the prudent recommendation I can give is to completely remove the infected plant.
  • A miticide can help reduce mite (and virus) spread; however, miticides labeled for spider mite control and those commonly packaged for homeowners are ineffective on eriophyid mites. If homeowners want to have their roses sprayed, then they should contact commercially licensed landscape professionals who can use (per communication with entomologist Will Hudson) Avid (or other abamectin generics), Floramite, Magus, and Forbid.

Important Information for Pesticide Applicators

Compiled by Willie Chance, UGA Center for Urban Agriculture

 Pesticide Applicator Certification 

Pesticide transport, USDA Forest Service - Region 8 - Southern Archive,
Pesticide transport, USDA Forest Service – Region 8 – Southern Archive,

A Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s License is required for a person who applies pesticides to the land of another person for hire, or who manages these type pesticide applications. A firm applying pesticides for hire must also have a Pesticide Contractor’s License. Both of these licenses can be obtained through the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Pesticide applicator certification is handled by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (800) 282-5852 extension 4958, (404) 656-4958 or Commercial pesticide licensing requirements & information are found here

Commercial Pesticide Applicators must pass two exams – one covering General Standards and a second in their area of specialty. See this site to order study materials or to sign up for exams. Exams are given at selected Technical Colleges across Georgia.

Some County Extension Offices offer a pesticide license review training to prepare workers to take the commercial pesticide applicators exam for Category 24 (ornamentals and turf) and General Standards. Gwinnett County Extension in Lawrenceville (Tim Daly) and Bibb County Extension (Karol Kelly) offer exam reviews. Contact them or your local Extension Office for details. 

Local Extension Offices may have a DVD of a exam review to use as a study guide. Reviews supplement the manuals, not replace them. Applicators should make sure to study the manuals before an exam.

Structural Pest Control Applicators are licensed through a separate section of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Find that information here.  Some of the information in this flier will not pertain to Structural Pest Control Applicators. These applicators should also visit

Pesticide Applicator Re-certification Opportunities

Certified pesticide applicators must be recertified every five years through ongoing training. There are several ways applicators can earn re-certification credits:

This site lists GA Department of Agriculture approved recertification classes (including UGA Extension trainings)

Subscribing to UGA Extension email newsletters and social media (see below) will also alert you about training opportunities. Also contact your local Extension Office concerning local trainings and newsletters.

Pesticide Applicator Licensing and Certification information for individuals can be found here. Here you find out:

  • When does your license expire?
  • How many credit hours have you earned?
  • How many hours do you need for recertification? Recertification hours must be earned by 90 days before your license expires.

Applicators can also find online re-certification classes here (look halfway down the page) or local UGA Extension Offices (800-ASK-UGA1) can get a DVD that certified applicators watch to gain up to five hours of credit.

Structural pest control operators – visit the UGA Urban IPM website for trainings –

Email Newsletters, Social Media, etc for Georgia Pest Management Industries

The following  Alerts are great ways to keep up with recertification trainings offered in Georgia. Each Alert has a training calendar & featured articles on current pest information from UGA.

Landscape Alerts for the landscape and turf industry are released as needed. See past issues or subscribe here or subscribe by emailing

Pest Control Alerts update the structural pest management industry. See past issues or subscribe here or subscribe by emailing

To find blogs, Facebook sites, Twitters, online videos, etc. from UGA that may list trainings or other pest management information visit this site.

UGA Pest Management Handbook

UGA Extension produces a Pest Management Handbook every year. The handbook has many uses for pesticide applicators. It includes:

  • Pesticide recommendations for most major pests and crops. This can include pesticide rates, recommendations on application, post harvest or re-entry intervals and other information.
  • Pesticide handling and safety information.

View the Handbook or purchase printed copies from this website. UGA Extension produces two editions – one for homeowners and one for commercial agricultural businesses (which includes landscapers, nurseries, golf courses & greenhouses.)

The Turfgrass Pest Control Recommendations for Professionals is produced annually and is available in free print copies through Extension offices or is online at This publication contains pest management recommendations for most turf pests and much other helpful pest management and pesticide information. The Georgia Turf website also has a host of other great turf information –

Pesticide Labels and MSDS Sheets

(These are not all University websites. We list these here for your convenience only. Listing a site here or omitting another site is not a recommendation or endorsement of any website)

Find Pesticide labels online! Remember; though other information is helpful – the label is the law! Always read and follow all label directions when using pesticides.

To find labels online, use a good search engine and search using the pesticide’s exact trade name and the words ‘specimen label’.

Sources for pesticide labels include:

EPA label database



Chemical Manufacturers

Other sources

MSDS or Material Safety Data Sheets tell how to use a pesticide safely and give other information on the pesticide and hazards associated with using it. MSDS sheets should be made readily available to employees that could potentially be exposed to a pesticide (or other hazardous chemical). MSDS will eventually be replaced with a 16 page SDS sheet.

Find free online MSDS Sheets – See some sources above under pesticide labels. Also see this site.

MSDS Demystifier – What do all those big words mean?

Emergency Information for Pesticide Spills & Similar Issues

In a life threatening emergency – dial 911

National Poison Control Hotline – (800) 222-1222 or (404) 616-9000- 24 hours a day (for any type poisoning – not just pesticides)

Pesticide fires/large spills/emergencies/violations in Georgia – Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Response Team – (800) 241-4113.

Spills on Georgia roadways – Georgia State Patrol – Dial *GSP (*477) from any mobile phone.

Large chemical and oil spills – National Response Center 24-hour Spill Reporting Hotline – (800) 424-8802

Federal EPA (Region 4) 24-hour Spill Reporting Number – (404) 562-8700

Pesticide Removal/Cleanup Public Information Line – Region 4 Emergency Response & Removal Branch (8 am – 5 pm) (800) 564-7577

Information on small spillsNational Pesticide Information Center – (800) 858-7378

Other Pesticide Information

Pesticide disposalGA Department of Agriculture – (800) 282-5852 This article may also be helpful.

Information about risks of specific pesticides

Extension Toxicology Network

Especially note the PIPS or Pesticide Information Profiles

Information about specific pesticides or other info – National Pesticide Information Center – (800) 858-7378

Online safety videos from the Center for Urban Agriculture make a great ‘rainy day’ or ‘any day’ training in English or Spanish.

Your Local UGA Extension Office!

Locate your local UGA Extension Office or call your local UGA Extension Office – 800-ASK-UGA1 (800-275-8421) from any non-mobile phone.

Weather data for locations across Georgia provided by UGA

Recent changes in the way pyrethroid insecticides can be used

Dan Suiter, UGA Entomology and Derrick Lastinger, Georgia Department of Agriculture

IPesticide application image from MS Wordn January 2013 the U.S.-E.P.A. mandated some sweeping changes in the way pyrethroid-based insecticides will be used in the home environment. These changes will impact use labels for professional pest control operators and products available to homeowners in the over-the-counter market.

Pyrethroid insecticides can be recognized because the names of most of the active ingredients end in “-thrin”. Examples of commonly used pyrethroids are bifenthrin, cypermethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, cyfluthrin, permethrin, esfenvalerate, etc. Pyrethroid products (sprays, aerosols, and granulars) are common in the professional market, and they dominate products in the over the counter (OTC) market.

Reasoning for these changes comes from emerging data demonstrating that pyrethroid insecticides applied to hard surfaces (concrete walkways and the like) end up in water, where they can easily be washed into stormwater and streams and be toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates. Changes to labels and labeling are underway, and will continue in the near future.

A Guidance Document, prepared by the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Structural Pest Control Section, on the interpretation of these changes can be found here. Should you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Structural Pest Section at (404) 656 – 3641, and as always defer to the label.

Man’s death confirms presence of Africanized honeybees in Georgia

Sharon Dowdy, News Editor with the University of Georgia, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

See the original article here dated Oct 21, 2010

Honey bee, Jessica Lawrence, Eurofins Agroscience Services,

Last week’s death of an elderly Dougherty County man has been attributed to Africanized honeybees. This fatality confirms the bees’ arrival in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture (DOA).

“The victim was operating a tractor and mower, aggravated a nest of bees and received more than 100 stings,” said Keith Delaplane, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension entomologist.

Africanized honeybees have been in the United States since October 1990 when they were found in Texas. In 2005, they were confirmed in Florida.

European cousin essential to crops

A sub-species of honeybee, Africanized honeybees can interbreed with the European honeybee that is well known throughout Georgia as an important pollinator and producer of honey. One-third of American diets contain food crops that rely on European honeybees for pollination, according to the Georgia DOA.

Africanized and European honeybees look and behave alike in some respects. Each bee can sting only once, and there is no difference between Africanized honeybee venom and that of a European honeybee.

However, “the African variety is extremely defensive and responds with a massive stinging reaction with little provocation,” Delaplane said.

Run, don’t swat, and get inside and stay inside.

The UGA honeybee expert urges the public to become aware of how to react if Africanized honeybees attack. He offers the following lifesaving tips:

1. Be cautious around places where Africanized honey bees are likely to nest, such as abandoned sheds, bee hive equipment, discarded tires and underground cavities.

2. If you are attacked, RUN AWAY. “You may think this sounds silly, but experience has taught us that people don’t run away,” he said. “Instead, they stand and swat, which simply escalates the defensive frenzy until it reaches lethal proportions.”

3. Get inside a closed vehicle or building as fast as possible, and STAY there. “Here’s another hard lesson we’ve learned. People don’t stay inside a closed vehicle if a few bees follow them inside,” Delaplane said. “Instead, they panic and flee back outside where tens of thousands of angry bees attack them.”

This pattern has repeated itself over and over in the stinging incidents entomologists have monitored in Latin America and the southwestern U.S., he said. “The lesson is, don’t worry about the few bees that follow you indoors. Get inside, and stay inside.”

4. European honeybees and beekeepers are our best defense against Africanized honeybees. “Some communities may be considering zoning restrictions against all forms of beekeeping. This essentially cedes territory to the enemy. Only gentle European bees can genetically dilute or out-compete the defensive Africanized variety,” he said.

First aid tips

If stung, the Georgia DOA says to follow these steps:

• Scrape – do not pull – stingers from skin as soon as possible. Pulling the stinger out will likely cause more venom to be injected into the skin.

• Wash sting area with soap and water.

• Apply ice for a few minutes to relieve pain and swelling.

• Seek medical attention if your breathing is troubled, if you’re stung numerous times or if you’re allergic to bee stings.

For more information on Africanized honeybees, read this UGA Extension publication.

Additional information about animals and Africanized Honeybees (AHB) from Dr. Nancy Hinkle, UGA Veterinary Entomologist.

Note that animals in the area (essentially the neighborhood, since AHB will attack in a large area when provoked), such as horses, dogs, cats, livestock, etc. should be taken indoors and protected from bee attack while any AHB control efforts are undertaken.  Some of the most heartrending tragedies have occurred when kenneled dogs were attacked by AHB after the bees were disturbed by nearby human activity.