Friday, August 27, 2010

Rain Garden Certification Workshop, Sept 29-30 in Asheville

Rain Garden Certification workshops will be offered by NC State University Dept. of Biological & Agricultural Engineering and NC Cooperative Extension. This certification is awarded by NC State University Cooperative Extension. 8 C.E.U.s are approved by the NC Board of Landscape Architects for this 1.5 day workshop (Course # 6379).

About the workshop: As homeowners and property managers become more aware of the issues of stormwater management many of them are choosing to manage the runoff from their homes and businesses with rain gardens. Rain gardens are shallow depression landscape features that can effectively collect and treat stormwater and reduce localized flooding. Rain gardens can be integrated into the existing landscape as a retrofit or be included in the initial landscaping plan. To effectively manage stormwater, rain gardens must be accurately sized and properly constructed. This workshop will present a simple method for sizing and designing rain gardens and detail proper construction techniques. As a result of this training you will:

* Understand why stormwater needs to be managed,
* Understand the principles of rain garden location, design, construction and maintenance,
* Be able to select appropriate vegetation,
* Tour several local rain gardens, and
* Be eligible to take a test at the conclusion of the training to be certified in rain garden design and construction

Workshop Dates/Locations:

September 29-30, 2010 Asheville, NC
October 12-13, 2010 Holly Springs, NC
October 18-19, 2010 Winston-Salem, NC
November 10-11, 2010 Mt. Holly, NC

To view an Agenda and to REGISTER ONLINE, please visit our website at:

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pest News for August 23rd


From: Steve Bambara, Extension Entomologist

Orangestriped Oakworms Return

Over the last two seasons, I haven't seen much of the orangestriped oakworm. I think the ground has been too hard and dry for the insect to move into and out of the soil. That's good in a way, because the oak trees had a break from defoliation. They are somewhat back this year and devouring foliage. I see them most on willow oaks and pin oaks.

The moth is brown in color with a white spot and a dark stripe on each forewing. The moths emerge in June and July and deposit their eggs in clusters of several hundred on the underside of oak leaves. The eggs hatch in about a week. The tiny, green caterpillars eventually grow into attractive black caterpillars with yellow or orange stripes running lengthwise along their bodies. Young caterpillars feed in groups whereas older caterpillars tend to be solitary, although there may be thousands of caterpillars on a single tree. Small trees are sometimes defoliated completely by midsummer.

As the caterpillars mature, they are often seen crawling along sidewalks, driveways and yards. These caterpillars may wander for a considerable distance while searching for a place to pupate. They can drop a lot of black fecal pellets on a sidewalk. You can step on these without fear, as long as you have on shoes. They dig into the soil three or four inches and pupate there. There is usually one generation per year, and the caterpillars overwinter as pupae in the soil. Control is complicated by the size of many of the infested trees. Most people do not have sprayers that can reach very high into shade trees, and by the time the caterpillars descend and crawl about on the soil they are extremely resistant to pesticides. Fortunately, late summer defoliations are much less damaging to the health of trees than early spring defoliations. In most cases it is probably better to rely on birds, diseases and parasites to lower the population next year. A long pole can knock many out of a tree, if you can reach them. (If you're extremely tall, you could use a short pole.)

For more information, see If you would like to consider boosting the paper wasp predator population with nest boxes in the spring, see

European Hornets

European hornet populations have grown and so have nest sizes. This large hornet is attracted to lights and windows at night which terrifies some people. The European hornet, Vespa crabro, is an introduced species into North America. It builds large, tan, paper nests that are usually not free hanging. Nests are often located in hollow trees, but partially exposed. Sometimes they nest in structures such as a wall or outbuilding. Tom Daly of Wake County, North Carolina, was kind enough to send in a picture of his hornets that built a nest in a bird house. Like all wasps and hornets, they can be considered beneficial because they eat other insects. These hornets often eat other stinging insects. They may strip bark from soft-barked twigs. A normal foraging hornet, if left to tend to its own business, is usually not a threat. For more information about these mahogany and yellow-colored hornets and their control, if necessary, see Residential, Structural and Community Pests Insect Note No. 11 at:

An eye catching solitary wasp is the tarantula hawk. This is just one of a group of pompilid wasps that prey upon spiders to provision a burrow. Pepsis menechma is dark metallic blue-purple with bright yellow antennae. It is easily twice the size of a paper wasp. When not hunting spiders, this wasp may be seen on flowers collecting nectar or pollen, especially milkweed and allium. Males may be territorial toward each other, but there is no aggression toward people and they won't sting unless handled roughly. As described in the August 13, 2010 issue of North Carolina Pest News, on the Schmidt pain index, the sting is at the top of the chart, akin to having a hair dryer dropped into your bathtub. Interestingly, in Bolivia, the common name of this type of wasp is "amigo del hombre," or "friend of man."

From: Steve Frank, Extension Entomologist

Beetles Attack Drought Stressed Trees

Yesterday I received a call about a cherry laurel that was riddled with very tiny holes. The tree had dead brown dead leaves on some branches and the grounds manager initially assumed the tree was drying from drought. Upon closer inspection he found the many small holes about the size of mechanical pencil lead that had little tufts of sawdust. The holes were concentrated at old twig scars though they occurred throughout the lower third of the branches. The cause of the holes was a bark beetle in the genus Hypothenemus. We recovered adults from shallow incomplete galleries which they must have just started in the past few days. These beetles made the holes, but may not have killed the tree. Although we have not determined the species, this group of beetles often target trees that are already stressed or in decline due to drought or other causes. Drought can make many plants more susceptible to pest attack. Thus, it is important to keep plants healthy and watered and investigate drought-like symptoms to determine if other problems exist.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 16- NC PEST NEWS

Your weekly NC PEST NEWS is now available! In the Ornamentals and Turfgrass section, this week's topics are: Fall Armyworms in Turf and Pastures, Spiders in the Landscape, Schmidt Sting Pain Index.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grant Opportunity for Nurserymen and Farmers

Contact: Megan Riley, WNC AgOptions, (828) 333-4151,
Or the local Cooperative Extension Center

Grants to boost local agricultural system
WNC AgOptions application deadline November 22

MARSHALL — WNC Agricultural Options is introducing a new community grants program that will support projects that are improving the local agricultural system. WNC AgOptions will fund at least three farmer-led group projects that address processing, marketing, packaging and other distribution needs in the mountain region.

The new Family Farm Innovation Fund, which Gov. Beverly Perdue announced on Monday, will provide $100,000 to WNC AgOptions, in addition to the $225,000 that the program distributes annually. RAFI-USA's Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund, with which N.C. Cooperative Extension partners to manage WNC AgOptions, was included in the $18.4 million package to five state and federal programs assisting farmers.

"This initiative builds on the legacy of innovation in North Carolina's family farms, and it is another step forward in our JobsNOW economic recovery efforts," Perdue said in making the announcement at the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center.

The WNC AgOptions steering committee determined that logistical challenges related to distribution are the main barriers in improving the local agricultural system. "Solving distribution issues is often more challenging than growing the product," said Ross Young, Madison County Cooperative Extension Director and leader of the WNC AgOptions steering committee. "We hope applicants will use this opportunity to create systems that help local farmers respond to the high demand for local products, as well as improve the availability of locally grown products to consumers."

The size of the community grant is dependent upon the expenses associated with the project. The maximum amount to be awarded per applicant group is $20,000.

In addition, WNC AgOptions is continuing its grant program for individual farm businesses, and will award approximately 40 grants ranging from $3,000 to $9,000 for farm diversification projects. Since 2004, WNC AgOptions has administered more than 250 grants in 17 counties and the Cherokee Indian Reservation to mountain farmers diversifying or expanding their operations.

The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has supported WNC AgOptions since 2003. "We're proud to be the funding partner for the WNC AgOptions program," said William Upchurch, Executive Director of the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. "Over the past few years, the farmers in western North Carolina have developed very innovative projects and have shown that their ideas can generate some great results."

Applications are available at or at county Cooperative Extension Centers. The postmark deadline of November 22 is earlier than previous years, and the 2011 grant cycle is from January to November. Interested applicants should contact their local Cooperative Extension Agents by November 1 to express their intent to apply.

Priority will be given to projects that provide demonstration to other farmers and encourage the economic sustainability of cooperating farm businesses. Applicants should extensively research the logistics, markets, expenses and timelines for their projects.

Successful community grant projects will require participation from a diversity of people, organizations, and institutions. Groups of farmers, farm coops, farmer associations, churches, local businesses, civic organizations, non-profit organizations or combinations of these are eligible and encouraged to apply. Western North Carolina farmers must be active in the leadership of the group.

Individual farm business projects awarded in 2010 include: a produce packaging facility for improving sales to local grocery chains, a propagation house for food and medicinal plants, hops production for steep terrains, a maple syrup finishing cooker, no-till production of specialty winter squash, and a screened greenhouse for commercial disease-free strawberry plants.

The ultimate goal of WNC AgOptions is to protect mountain farmland by assisting the longevity of farm enterprises. Members of the WNC AgOptions steering committee include: representatives from the N.C. Cooperative Extension, HandMade in America, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and other agricultural business leaders.

For more information, see the following: N.C. Cooperative Extension Centers:; Family Farm Innovation Fund:; Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund, RAFI-USA:; N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission:

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 9- NC PEST NEWS

Your weekly NC PEST NEWS is now available! In the Ornamentals and Turfgrass section the topics this week are: Red Headed Ash Borers, Post-Oak Grasshoppers, Walnut Twig Beetle and Thousand Cankers Disease Now in Tennessee, Argentine Ants in the Landscape, Crapemyrtle Aphids. Please pay special attention to the new disease called Thousand Cankers Disease on Black Walnut. Also from last week, I hope you read the article on Emerald Ash Borer. It was found in East Tennessee and attacks Ash trees. We need to be on alert here in Western North Carolina for it's arrival. If you suspect either Thousand Cankers Disease or Emerald Ash Borer, please contact your local extension agent!

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.

Monday, August 2, 2010

NC Pest News- Week of August 2

Your weekly NC PEST NEWS is now available. In the Ornamentals and Turfgrass section the topics this week are: Field Crop Caterpillars on Ornamentals, Formica integra Ants, Cecropia Moths, Emerald Ash Borer Reported in East Tennessee.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.