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July 6, 2002

Buying the Perfect Plant

One of the best practices in insuring the
health of your landscape and garden plants is to choose the healthiest
ones at your nursery. Host Walter Reeves visits with Stuart Cofer, a
nursery owner in Athens and member of the Georgia Green Industry
Association, to learn some tricks on selecting plants for planting.
Stuart shows Walter how to examine plants in a nursery before purchase.
He focuses on the plant root system to be sure it is healthy.

Cooking a Stump

The stump left when a tree is taken down need
not be an eyesore. There are several ways to remove stumps. Digging
them can be long and often painful. A stump grinder requires lots of
space and oftentimes cannot be used except in "open" areas. Walter has
a solution! He shows how to let Mother Nature "cook" it rather than
having it ground down. His recipe involves drilling several deep holes
into the stump and then packing them with rich woods dirt. After
sprinkling a bit of 10-10-10 on top, he wets the mound and covers it
with clear plastic and a bit of pine straw. The fungi and bacteria in
the natural soil begin decomposing the stump while the plastic holds in
moisture and heat. In a few months, the stump has disappeared!

Identifying and Controlling Planthoppers

You thought the white, cottony fuzz on your
daylily and hosta stems was a fungus, but they move when prodded! The
fuzz that you see is actually waxy filaments secreted by planthoppers,
small insects that are known for their jumping ability. They secrete
the wax over their bodies to protect themselves from predators and from
adverse environmental conditions. With a bit of prodding, they can be
persuaded to hop off the stem, revealing the insect beneath it all.
These planthoppers do little damage to a plant and really do not
require treatment or removal. But, if you find them distracting from
the beauty of your plants, a blast from a water hose or a water pistol
will remove them.