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Wheeler: Be careful of products making miracle claims

POSTED: March 23, 2012 12:30 a.m.

Is it too good to be true?

There are many times we get information on a product that is touted as the miracle product of the year or even the decade.

It always sounds so good that we all hope it is something that can save us time, money or make our lives a little easier. So we take an interest in them and see what they are all about.

When it comes to gardening and lawn care, people really seem to take an interest in new products because the landscape of your home is a reflection of your personality.

It is the only part of your home that is open for all eyes to see. Sometimes even sparking a neighborhood rivalry to be the best.

Whenever you see something new on the market, play devil's advocate. Always be careful when declarative statements are made. When it comes to Mother Nature, there are usually no absolutes and a lot of exceptions.

It was brought to my attention a miracle grass that would require no chemicals, little to no fertilization and infrequent mowing. It was interesting to read these claims, so I took a deeper look at them only to discover that if I bought into the idea of this miracle grass, I would have been very disappointed.

Come to find out, the grass is a blend of seed that is adapted to the cooler summers of the Northeastern United States. They did claim the seed was not for use in our part of the country, but they also gave a glimmer of hope by saying people have planted it in the South.

I found that to be funny for them to mention so as not to cut out an entire region of the country for potential sales.

I did not see any reviews or studies from other Cooperative Extension outfits, and I thought that was interesting. Cooperative Extensions across the nation is your outlet for research-based, unbiased information.

It is our job to report facts and give guidance on how to properly grow plants, whether it is in a homeowner's landscape or a commercial producer's 100-acre field of soybeans.

So the bottom line is to take things with a grain of salt and ask questions. Double check their claims and make sure you know what you are buying will work for our climate and growing conditions of your yard.

Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.


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