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Gardening with Wanda: Hall Master Gardeners have a big impact on community
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Question: Who are the Hall County Master Gardeners?

Answer: I have to brag a little about this group of hardworking, service-oriented people in the county called the Hall County Master Gardeners. One might ask who are these people and what do they do?

These gardening gurus have been involved with establishing community gardens at parks, schools, libraries and many other nonprofit organizations in our area. They provide garden consulting for individuals, volunteer in the local extension office, speak at various clubs and meetings and organize and put on the greatest spring and fall plant expos in the state.

They have garden walks, write newspaper articles, set up websites, lead Junior Master Gardener classes and the list goes on and on.

To become a master gardener, students have to complete a three-month training course conducted by the UGA Extension Service, pass three exams and perform 25 hours of community service every year to remain certified.

Students gain knowledge about everything from vegetable gardening to pest and disease management. The classes are conducted at the Extension Office in Hall County. For more information about the program, call 770-535-8293.

More than 155 master gardeners in Hall County were No. 1 in the state for the second year in volunteer hours with 16,472 hours of service to this community in 2010. They made contact with more than 25,000 people, traveled 62,500 miles and their estimated worth of their service totaled over $325,000 to Hall County.

In these tough economic times, their value in the community is shown overwhelmingly in their unselfish commitment to help their neighbors.

With budget cuts and extension changes on the horizon, the Hall County Master Gardeners are always willing to volunteer their time in assisting customers in our offices with their plant-related questions.

Kudos to the Hall County Master Gardeners. We are a better community because of you.

Grass questions

This time of year we get a lot of questions related to turfgrass. These answers will hopefully satisfy your common concerns.

Q: When is the best time to fertilize my lawn? And when can a weed control be used?

A: In terms of fertilizing your lawn, most grasses in this area need to be fertilized with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. The ideal ph for lawns such as bermuda, fescue and zoysia is somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5. A soil test can give you great recommendations on amending the ph if needed.

On bermuda and fescue lawns, the best month is April to fertilize. Centipede and zoysia should be fertilized in May. All of your post emergent weed control can be done in May. This will hopefully control your grassy weeds like crabgrass, dallisgrass, etc.

Q: When is a good time to lay sod?

A: If you plan on sodding your lawn, May is a good time to lay down bermuda, zoysia and centipede. The window of time for fescue sodding has past. It is best to sod fescue in January through March.

Thinking about overseeding your lawn? Wait until fall to overseed your tall type fescue lawns. Bermuda goes dormant in the winter and can be overseeded with ryegrass in the fall also.

Tip of the month

If you are itching to plant those warm weather annual plants and vegetables, warning: Be patient. They need to be planted after the average frost date in this area, which is April 15. I would recommend waiting until the last week of April to do any new planting. Perennial, shrubs and trees are OK to plant now.

Leave those ladybugs alone! Did you know ladybugs are considered a beneficial insect because they can do the work of pesticides without the harmful side effects?

Ladybugs can kill and devour all sorts of aphids and scale insects. Gardeners can actually buy them in quantities to release in their gardens. Now is a great time to do this. Just scatter them at dusk and watch them do their magic all summer long.

Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.

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