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Gardening in the South


Fall leaves

Each year, yard waste accounts for more than a million tons of our state’s solid waste. What are alternatives to putting leaves out with trash? Burning leaves is not a good idea. Open burning generates hydrocarbons, which contain cancer-causing compounds and carbon monoxide. Recycle leaves either for mulch or as compost for improving soil is a good alternative. “Leaves make ... Read More »

Forcing Bulbs for Winter

Bulb forcing

Winter can be a dull and dreary season for gardeners, but forcing bulbs can bring life and color back into the home and the hope of spring back into a gardener’s heart. Forcing bulbs is the process of manipulating a bulb into breaking dormancy early in order for the plant to bloom sooner than it would naturally. The process, often ... Read More »

Cold Weather and Lawn Mower Maintenance

With winter approaching and  grass becoming dormant, the need to spend time working outside in the yard decreases. As the weather gets cooler, there are certain steps you can take to maintain your yard and lawn equipment to ensure they will be in the optimal condition when the first days of spring roll around and regular yard work becomes necessary. ... Read More »

Roses Welcome Cooler Fall Temperatures

Roses are tough plants when grown in well-drained soil, enriched with organic matter, and where there is good sunlight and air circulation. Fall is an excellent time to rejuvenate roses for a beautiful show of color before they rest for the winter. “Roses welcome the relief of cooler fall temperatures. It is one of the best seasons for plant growth ... Read More »

Dishing the Dirt on Soil Testing

Fall is in full swing and you know what that means, it’s time to break out the pumpkins, flannel shirts and soil tests. According to Dr. Charles Mitchell, a soil scientist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and professor at Auburn University, soil testing is a simple chemical process that estimates the nutrients available to crops in the soil. Most ... Read More »

Squash Bugs-Enemy of the Jack O’Lantern

Pumpkins grown in North Alabama

When people think of Halloween, they usually associate the holiday with ghosts, candy and everyone’s favorite–pumpkins. Dr. Joe Kemble, a horticulture specialist with Alabama Extension has some insight about what a healthy and ripe pumpkin should look like. A pumpkin should be left on the vine until its desired color is reached. Once the pumpkin is picked, the color stops ... Read More »

Fall Season Brings Out Yellow Jackets

Get prepared for insects that have their second peak of activity in the fall, particularly yellow jackets. Many people encounter and experience painful stings from these wasps during outdoor activities such as tailgating. Yellow jackets are black-and-yellow social wasps. Hornets and yellow jackets are the most common wasp groups, said Dr. Xing Ping Hu, an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative ... Read More »


Fall apple harvest is in progress through October. About 30 to 40 varieties of apples are grown in home orchards across the state, with heirloom variety and newer, high quality varieties becoming popular. When apples are ripe for the harvest, they are picked off the trees and either immediately consumed or refrigerated. “When refrigerating, keep the temperature 32 to 35 ... Read More »

Be a Proactive Planter: Fall is the Best Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs

October Glory Red Maple

Halloween, Thanksgiving and holiday commercials are around the corner. You should be more concerned about finding a Christmas tree than planting a tree in your yard, right? Wrong! Fall is actually the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Although most people wait to plant until spring, fall is the optimum time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials that will ... Read More »

The Story Behind Fall Leaf Color

Fall leaves

 Leaves are beginning to change color in some sections of the South.  The color should peak around the last of October or early November, depending on how much cool weather we get between now and then. Have you ever wondered why leaves change their color in the fall? “The green color of leaves is caused by a pigment called chlorophyll, ... Read More »