By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Driving around the area, I have been seeing a plant that has become a problem in both Gilmer and Fannin Counties. The weed I’m talking about is Japanese knotweed, commonly known as crimson beauty, Mexican bamboo, or Japanese fleece flower. It was probably introduced to the U.S. as an ornamental and a plant that has flowers that bees love. It’s fairly easy to spot as it has been growing in large patches all over the area. The leaves are alternate, 6 in. (15.2 cm) long, 3-4 in. (7.6-10 cm) wide, and are broadly-ovate or heart shaped. Flowering occurs in late summer when small, greenish-white flowers develop in long panicles in the axils of the leaves.
This native of Japan was initially useful for erosion control, as an ornamental, and for landscape screening. It spreads quickly to form dense thickets that can alter natural ecosystems or interfere with landscaping. It is a semi-woody, bushy perennial and a member of the Polygonaceae (Knotweed) family. Another fact about the plant is that the stem is hollow. Knotweed spreads rapidly from stout long rhizomes. Seeds are distributed by water in floodplains, transported with fill dirt, and to a lesser extent are wind-blown. Populations escaped from neglected gardens, and discarded cuttings are common methods of distribution. Once established, populations are quite persistent and can out-compete existing vegetation.
Japanese knotweed can tolerate a variety of adverse conditions including full shade, high temperatures, high salinity, and drought. It is found near water sources, in low-lying areas, waste places, utility rights of way, and around old home sites. It can quickly become an invasive pest in natural areas after escaping from cultivated gardens. It poses a significant threat to riparian areas, where it can survive severe floods. It is rapidly colonizing scoured shores and islands.
Controlling this invasive fast growing plant is very difficult. One method that is used is grubbing. This method is appropriate for small initial populations or environmentally sensitive areas where herbicides cannot be used. Using a digging tool, remove the entire plant including all roots and runners. Juvenile plants can be hand-pulled. Any portions of the root system not removed will potentially resprout. All plant parts, including mature fruit, should be bagged and disposed of in a trash dumpster to prevent re-establishment.
There are several herbicides that can be used, but it takes some work for them to be effective. One treatment method is the cut stump treatment. Use this method in areas where plants are established within or around non-target plants. Cut the stem 2 inches above ground level. Immediately apply a 20% solution of glyphosate or a 10% solution of Arsenal AC, Polaris AC or Imazapyr 4SL and water to the cross-section of the stem. A subsequent foliar application may be required to control new seedlings and resprouts.
The other spray method is foliar spraying the plants. Use this method to control large populations. It may be necessary to precede foliar applications with stump treatments to reduce the risk of damaging non-target species. Apply a 1% solution of glyphosate or 20%Garlon4 and water to thoroughly wet all foliage. Do not apply so heavily that herbicides will drip off leaves. The ideal time to spray is after surrounding vegetation has become dormant (October-November) to avoid affecting non-target species. A 0.5% non-ionic surfactant is recommended in order to penetrate the leaf cuticle.
For more information, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
As I ride through the county I’ve noticed some webs are back in the wild cherry trees but before you start having nightmares about the webbing we had last fall, you can rest assured that this insect is different. This culprit is the Eastern Tent Caterpillar. The webs serve as a home to the newly emerged larvae or as we like to call them, caterpillars. The eggs are timed to hatch when the cherry buds unfurl as they need to eat to grow and complete their life cycle.
Older larvae are generally black, with long brown hair and a white stripe down the middle of their backs. Along the midline is a row of blue spots with brown and yellow lines. At maturity, the caterpillars may reach a length of 2½ inches. The adults are reddish-brown moths which have two white oblique stripes on each forewing. These are harder to notice, but they are the final step in the life cycle.
The adult moths emerge in May and early June and lay egg masses that resemble chocolate-colored collars that encircle the smaller limbs of their host. Each egg mass is about 1 inch long. Eggs overwinter and hatch in mid-March of the following year to start the cycle again. From each egg mass, several hundred tiny feeding machines emerge, and for four to six weeks they hungrily strip the trees of their leaves. The larvae are gregarious and upon hatching they gather in the forks of the limbs and develop the web that can be seen in the trees. This serves as their home for the larvae. From this mass of silk, the developing larvae move outward to feed on developing leaves, but they return at night and during rainy weather. The nest gradually becomes larger and larger as silk accumulates. Although the nests are most commonly seen in the forks of wild cherries, this pest can be found in other ornamental, shade and fruit trees, especially apples. While not a serious pest in the natural forest, the unsightly web insect can reduce the beauty and esthetic value of shade trees and other hardwoods in the landscape.
About four to six weeks after hatching, full-grown larvae will crawl away from their nests and accumulate on the sides of homes, on driveways and sidewalks and on various woody ornamentals in search of sites to complete the next phase of life, the pupae phase. This phase is a shell or cocoon in which the caterpillar matures into a moth. There is concern that they may be attacking other plants, but when they do leave their web, the larvae are finished with their feeding and will do no damage to plants on which they are found. The caterpillars are primarily a nuisance and do not usually pose a danger to the overall health of a larger, well-established tree as the tree can produce another flush of foliage. However, young fruit and ornamental trees may be damaged, so it is a good idea to remove the web from these trees.
Usually, no chemical controls are necessary or very effective. One reason is that the web is water proof and insecticides that are applied usually do not reach the larvae but you can break open the web and apply an insecticide such as carbaryl (Sevin), BT or a pyrethroid if you would like. If you decide to use an insecticide, please read the label and follow the instructions. In addition, the egg masses can be clipped from the limbs in late June to prevent nests from developing the following spring.
For more information about the webs in trees right now, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
Spring is here and the University of Georgia (UGA) Extension has an electronic “app” to help families and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of springtime hikes. Native Plants of North Georgia, created by Mickey Cummings, is available for the iPad, iPhone and Android devices. It’s a consumer-oriented field guide of the flowers, trees, ferns and shrubs that populate north Georgia’s lawns and forests. Mickey, a former Union County UGA Extension ANR Agent, who is now retired, worked in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest and spent his career identifying plants for day-trippers, hikers and homeowners in north Georgia. “I started wanting to create a collection of photographs that backpackers could use to identify plants on the trail,” Cummings said. “All the reference material I was working with was too large to pack, and we wanted something that would be easy for people to use.” He first developed a hard copy of his guide, a pocket-sized laminated flipbook, in May 2008 to help the public identify local plants on the fly and now UGA Extension has sold more than 1,000 copies of that original book and the free on-line edition has been viewed more than 6,000 times.
Representatives from Southern Regional Extension Forestry, UGA Extension and the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Office of Information Technology decided to use the popular guide as a pilot project in their development of mobile applications for UGA Extension. The app allows users to browse photos of plants organized by their blooming periods and includes leaf and bloom descriptions as well as scientific and common names. Native Plants of North Georgia is the first app to be produced by the UGA Extension publications and extension digital productions team. All versions of this app are free and ready for download via the Apple App Store and Google Play. A PDF version of the guide is also available for free download and the original pocket-sized flipbook is available for purchase ($12.00) by visiting http://www.caes.uga.edu/publications/. That web site also houses the hundreds of free-to-download, research-based publications, which provide information on everything from home vegetable gardening to pest control to native plant identification.
Also of interest this spring, the Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, an outreach of UGA Extension, are offering several upcoming opportunities. The North Georgia Master Gardeners in Blue Ridge will have a Nature Walk Thursday, April 26, and a Native Plant Sale Saturday, May 12. The Gilmer County Master Gardeners in Ellijay have a demonstration garden at the Gilmer County Library plus monthly lectures that cover gardening topics. They also organize and sponsor the Ellijay Farmers Market, which will open Saturday, April 28, and be open Saturdays through October 6, just off the roundabout, adjacent to the courthouse. The hours this year are from 8 a.m. to noon. Be sure to check it out on Facebook at Gilmer County Master Gardener Volunteers or online at https://gcmgvolunteers.wordpress.com/.
Today on Ask the Doc! we are welcoming Dr. Raymond Tidman, who will be filling in for Doctor William Whaley while he is on vacation. This Morning #BKP and Dr. Tidman discuss health concern and answer: 1. After my last regular exam, my doctor said the results showed cervical dysplasia. What does that mean? Is it cancer? 2. My allergies have caused my throat to feel inflamed and caused sinus drainage. I have seen a doctor but I am still dealing with a cough a week or so later. Is there anything I can do to help get rid of this cough? 3. Can too little sleep be a cause of weight gain? This segment is brought to you by Georgia Cancer Specialists, affiliated with Northside Hospital.
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – In a recent interview on FYNTV, Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston made an announcement regarding the University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Blue Ridge campus.
Ralston confirmed in the interview that the state has set $5.5 million into a line item to establish a new standalone “brick and mortar” building for the university. The budgeted funds are set for construction only, meaning that the university will be responsible for locating and acquiring a spot suitable for the new campus. Once the college purchases the location, they can utilize the state funds for their new building to expand into that new home in Fannin County.
As such, the location of this facility is yet to be determined. According to Campus Director of Blue Ridge for UNG, Sandy Ott, she hopes to begin construction as soon as possible. Ott spoke with FetchYourNews (FYN) about the fund allocation saying, “We are thrilled with the opportunity to expand the Blue Ridge campus. We are so excited for the opportunities for the students in our region. This is going to have an impact, truly.”
Ott noted some of the major capabilities that a standalone campus will allow including expanded course offerings, lab spaces for sciences and core classes, as well as development space to cater to the region’s specific needs. While college officials are still searching for the best location at this time, Ott confirmed that they are still very early in the process and uncertain if the new standalone campus will see them completely leaving their current location just off of 515 at 83 Dunbarton Farm Road.
UNG has been at that location since 2015, offering opportunities such as dual-enrollment courses for high school students, a full-time program for first-time freshmen, courses for adult learners getting started or returning to college, and continued education programs.
With the passing of the state’s budget, this is now set for UNG to utilize when available. Ott assures FYN they are moving quickly to take advantage of the funds to increase their services as soon as possible for students. See more by checking out the announcement at 14 minutes into FYNTV’s video below.
BKP Interviews Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp on Georgia’s 2018 Gubernatorial Election and important spotlighted information striking concern in rural Georgia.
It’s Sine Die day, that means it’s the last day of the 2018 Legislative Session! Interviews First Vice Chairman of Georgia Congress 9th District GOP Rebecca Yardley on the experience and what to expect from the Georgia Capitol today!
ATLANTA (January 29, 2018) | Senator Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega) is pleased to announce Monday, January 29, 2018, as Dahlonega Day at the state Capitol with Senate Resolution 590.
“Dahlonega is the gateway to North Georgia and I am grateful to be able to share my home with the rest of my colleagues,” said Sen. Gooch. “This year marks the 60th anniversary of Dahlonega and Lumpkin County citizens delivering gold, by wagon, for the installation of the state Capitol building’s gold dome. I could not be more proud to have representatives from our local community here today to celebrate this honor.”
The City of Dahlonega is a small city in northern Georgia founded in 1832. Dahlonega was the site of the first major U.S. gold rush and now is commonly referred to as the ‘Gold City’. The city sits at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is surrounded by many natural elements. Dahlonega is the county seat of Lumpkin County. In addition to its history of gold mining, the city of Dahlonega is also known as the Heart of Georgia Wine Country, with six wineries and nine winery tasting rooms.