By Gerard KrewerUniversity of GeorgiaMuscadine season is back. And it’s time to enjoy a fruit that is one of the most flavorful in the world.Most fruits are now available nearly year-round, because they’re grown somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere during our winter season. But not muscadines.These great grapes are grown commercially only in the southern United States. Muscadines usually begin ripening in August in extreme south Georgia. The harvest then moves northward and ends in early October. Muscadines grow everywhere in the state except in the high mountains. About 80 Georgia growers are producing muscadines on about 1,200 acres of vineyards. There is also tremendous backyard production of muscadines in Georgia. Several distant shippers, as well as some pick-your-own farms, are located around the state. Most of Georgia’s muscadines are grown for fresh markets. But backyard gardeners can enjoy this easy-to-grow fruit, too. The vines are best planted when they are dormant in late fall to early winter. Southerners have enjoyed eating wild muscadines since we first settled this land. In the early 1800s, a number of superior wild varieties were selected for cultivation. One of these was “Scuppernong.” Found on the Scuppernong River in North Carolina in 1810, it has become the common name for all bronze muscadines.University of Georgia scientists have been breeding muscadines since the 1920s. Today’s table grape cultivars are over an inch in diameter with fantastic flavor.They come in a range of colors from bronze to red to purple to black. Many varieties have tender, edible skin that makes them prized as table grapes.Among the bronzes, Fry, Summit, Supreme and Tara are fresh-fruit favorites. Noble and Carlos are noted for their good wine quality. Many others are wonderful in cider, wines, jellies, preserves and syrups.Studies show that muscadines are rich in dietary fiber and important minerals, low in fat and protein and high in carbohydrates. They’re a better source of calcium, iron, zinc and manganese than many other fruits. Muscadines also contain significant quantities of ellagic acid, which can lower the risk of colon, lung and liver cancer. To learn more about how to grow muscadines, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension office. Your local Extension office can also give you a list of local growers for fresh fruit. For a list of Georgia’s wineries, go to www.georgiawinecountry.com.
By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaTornado drills are common in schools and offices, but they aren’t very common at home. To be prepared for one of nature’s most violent storms, families should conduct drills, too, says a University of Georgia meteorologist.“Families should practice their emergency plan well before the impending threat of a tornado,” said Pam Knox, Georgia’s assistant state climatologist. Parked car better than outdoorsKnox says seeking shelter outdoors should be a last resort. “People should not be out in the open during a tornado,” she said. “If a tornado can blow a board into a tree, just imagine what it can do to a human.”If your home isn’t structurally safe and no other shelter is available, Knox says seek shelter in a parked car.“Get in your car and buckle up,” she said. “Try to protect your head from breaking glass and debris. The seat belts and air bags will help keep you safe should the car be lifted up. And, the car will also protect your family from lightning and hail.”Once in your car, resist the urge to drive away. You are much safer in one spot than you are on the road.“And, don’t try to seek shelter under an overpass like the people you see in video tapes,” she said. “The wind can be even stronger under these structures due to the wind tunnel effect. If the bridge falls, your risk of injury is significantly higher.” Basement, interior room bestIf you live in a traditional frame home, Knox says the safest place to seek shelter during a tornado is the basement. If you don’t have a basement, use an interior room on the lowest level. The room shouldn’t have windows and should be the home’s smallest interior room.“Typically, this will be either a bathroom or a closet,” she said. “A bathroom is best because the plumbing will provide extra structural integrity should the tornado hit.”When time allows, Knox recommends bringing a mattress and/or pillows into the room to use as protection from flying debris.Residents who live in mobile homes or trailers are often told they’re safer outside than in their homes. “Some mobile home parks have storm shelters available for severe weather conditions. If they have them, use them,” she said. “If not, have an alternate plan in place before severe weather occurs.” In churches, auditoriums, stand by wallsPeople may feel safer in numbers, but that’s not always true. Don’t plan to meet friends and family in a church sanctuary or an auditorium, she said. “These are open areas where the structure is much weaker by design,” Knox said. “If you are already there and cannot get to a hallway or smaller room, stand along the walls and not in the center of the open space.”If staying outside is your only option, Knox says move to the lowest possible location. If your safe haven is a ravine, she warns to be aware of possible flooding.“Buy a battery operated weather radio and keep it with you,” she said. “Most tornadoes only last about 15 minutes, but it will seem much longer if you aren’t aware of what to expect.”
When Chuck Leavell says you rock, it means something. Leavell, a Georgia tree farmer, renowned environmentalist and keyboard player for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Montgomery Gentry, told a packed house at the Georgia Freight Depot in downtown Atlanta that: “Georgia agriculture rocks!” The roar from the crowd of more than 1,000 agriculture supporters, legislators and educators signaled agreement. Leavell was on hand March 16 for the 7th annual Georgia Agriculture Day, the traditional kick-off of Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week which runs March 15-19. During the event, Leavell and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue recognized the regional winners of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award given annually to farmers who do an exceptional job protecting their land and promoting environmental practices in agriculture. This year’s state winner was Gully Branch Tree Farm in Bleckley County operated by Earl and Wanda Barrs. Family traditionEarl Barrs’ family first settled the land that became Gully Branch Farm in the 1870s, share-cropping and raising their family there. “In the ‘30s, the family had the chance to buy the land for nine bales of cotton. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the cotton to buy it,” said Ken Morrow, a member of the Governor’s Agriculture Advisory Committee. “The land remained in crop production until it was bought in the ‘50s by a timber company and managed exclusively for timber.”In the mid-80s, Barrs and his wife, Wanda, bought back 400-plus acres of the land. Now 1,500 acres, the farm is managed for trees, wildlife, education and recreation. Barrs, his wife, his parents and children plowed, planted, cleared food plots, sprayed, burned and harvested the land’s bounty, transforming it into the American Forest Foundation’s 2009 National Tree Farm of the Year.“Conservation is of extreme importance at Gully Branch,” Morrow said. “The timber is managed with selective harvesting, paying special attention to soil and water conservation and wildlife habitats. Streamside management zones are left along streams and dedicated wetlands.” Roads, logging trails and firebreaks are designed to follow the land’s contours to prevent soil erosion. Strict adherence to best management practices is the norm.“Gully Branch is a nationally-recognized outdoor education center, too, not just a timber farm,” he said. “More than 7,000 students and adults have been guests on the farm, learning about Georgia’s environment and conservation and sustainable farming practices, something Earl says he wants to build upon and grow.”Regional winnersIn his comments to the crowd, Leavell, who has written several books on the environment, said, “The most important thing we can do is be good stewards of the land and pass that practice forward to our children and grandchildren.”Other regional winners included Clayton McKinnon, Coffee County; Jamie Jordan, Riverbend Farms in Floyd County; Keith Nichols, Oak Valley Farm in Stephens County; and Stanley Corbett, Echols County. Flavor winnersTelevision celebrity chefs Jamie and Bobby Deen presented awards to the winners of the 2010 Flavor of Georgia Contest. The annual program of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences helps local entrepreneurs get food products made from Georgia commodities to market. Savannah Bee Company won top honors this year for their Grill Honey, designed specifically to use on grilled foods. Agriculture Awareness Week shines a spotlight on the state’s largest industry, which provides jobs for one in six Georgians and boasts annual sales of more than $92 billion. “This week we celebrate agriculture and our farmers,” Gov. Perdue said. “Not only are they outstanding farmers, but outstanding stewards and protectors of our land.”
Now is the time for home gardeners to start preparing fall gardens of cool-season vegetables. If you planted a summer vegetable garden, use your lawn mower to chop up these plants. Incorporate these plants, along with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10, into your fall garden plot with a tiller. Fall gardens in Georgia can be very challenging to get cool-season vegetables through the end of summer. It’s a delicate balance in starting them early enough to allow cool-season vegetables to mature (50 to 60 days) before a hard frost and getting them through the end of a hot, dry summer. Ideally, start seeds in August for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, turnips, radishes, spinach, lettuce, beets and onions. Use a store-bought potting mix to start seeds in containers, flats or trays. Place the seeds in a partially shaded spot, keep them watered and you will have seedlings ready to transplant in September. Most vegetables can be purchased as seedlings from garden centers ready to transplant if you don’t want to start from seeds. Onion sets can be transplanted later in October. Keeping young seedlings watered is critical to getting them established. Also keep a sharp eye out for pest problems such as insects, diseases and weeds. These pests will continue to flourish in the warm temperatures and high humidity. A layer of newspaper and mulch between rows can avoid a lot of weed problems and help conserve soil moisture. Contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1 for more information on growing fall vegetable gardens.
If doughnut-shaped rings of dead grass are popping up in your lawn, it may be because the recent onslaught of rain created ideal conditions for brown patch diseaseBrown patch on turfgrass is caused by a fungal disease known as Rhizoctonia solani. Circular patches of dead grass that range from a few inches to several feet in diameter occur during periods of high humidity and warm temperatures (75ºF to 85ºF). It loves humid summersGeorgia’s summer climate is ideal for this fungus. Brown areas of dead grass are surrounded by a reddish-brown or purplish halo. After two to three weeks, the center area of the brown grass may recover and turn green, resulting in a doughnut shape of dead brown grass.This common lawn disease is prevalent during warm, humid summer months. It attacks all turfgrasses including bermudagrass, tall fescue, centipedegrass and zoysiagrass. This time of year it affects tall fescue the most. Some varieties of these grasses are resistant or less susceptible to the disease, but none are totally immune.Conditions that favor brown patch include excessive nitrogen fertilizers, frequent watering, watering late in the day (or too much rain) and high humidity. Follow these tipsTo help prevent brown patch, don’t apply excessive amounts of nitrogen fertilizers. Use only enough fertilizer to maintain a reasonably healthy, green turfgrass based on a soil test. Excessive nitrogen tends to favor the development of brown patch due to lush, tender growth of grass that is more susceptible to attack by the fungus. Water early in the morning to allow grass foliage to dry before nightfall. Most fungi grow and develop during the night when given adequate moisture. It’s best to water lawns early in the morning, less often and more deeply. Turfgrass needs approximately 1 inch of water per week, ideally given in one or two applications. With all the rain this year, no one should need to water their lawn. If you’re watering your lawn this summer, you’re probably watering too much.Mow the lawn slightly higher than normal during periods of excessively high heat conditions. This reduces stress to turfgrasses and helps reduce the possibility of disease. Common turfgrasses and their recommended mowing heights are as follows: bermudagrass – 1 to 1.5 inches; centipedegrass – 1 to 2 inches; St. Augustinegrass – 2 to 3 inches; zoysiagrass – 1 to 2 inches; and tall fescue – 2 to 3 inches. Tall fescue, especially, performs better when kept at a taller height in the summertime.Avoid or remove excess thatch from the lawn. Thatch is decomposing grass stems, shoots and roots — not clippings — that have accumulated at the soil surface. More than half an inch of thatch will retain excess moisture and favor disease development. Thatch buildup can be caused by improper mowing practices and over-fertilization. Mow your lawn often enough that no more than one-third of the grass height is removed in a single mowing. This may require mowing as often as once or twice a week, which can be a challenge with all the rain we’ve been getting. Keep your mower blades sharp and don’t mow grass when wet. Dethatching machines (vertical mowers and core aerators) can be rented for use on lawns that have accumulated too much thatch. This should only be done in early summer for warm-season turfgrasses and in the fall for tall fescue. Bagging grass clippings is usually not necessary if you are mowing your grass frequently enough and following recommended fertilization practices for your turfgrass. (For more information on grasscycling, see the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension publication website at www.caes.uga.edu/publications/.Bring in a sampleIf you think you have brown patch or any other diseases in your lawn, bring a sample of the turfgrass (about a 4×4 inch square, including the roots) to your local UGA Extension office for proper diagnosis. An ideal sample for diagnosis is half dead and half alive, taken from the outer edge of a dead patch. A fungicide recommendation may be required if the problem cannot be corrected with cultural practices.
As temperatures begin to drop, people head indoors. Unfortunately, insects like to stay warm, too, and often choose our homes as refuge. “We are getting cold snaps at night, and it triggers insects to find some place to come inside for the winter,” said Dan Suiter, a University of Georgia Extension entomologist. “They are just reacting to external conditions.”Caulk and sprayTo help keep pests from picking your home as a winter retreat, Suiter says inspect your home for openings that insects use as entryways. Seal any cracks and crevices with caulk, or fill them with steel wool.As an extra precaution, spray an insecticide around the perimeter or your home, especially to those areas on the structure where they might enter.“It’s not a bad idea to do some spot applications of insecticides. This way when the insects encounter those deposits they will be exposed to the insecticides and be killed,” Suiter said.Lady beetles and roachesMulticolored Asian lady beetles are the most common unwelcomed houseguests this time of year. In the summer months, these beetles are a welcome sight in gardens as they eat aphids, a pest of many vegetable plants and ornamentals. “They are great for biological control, but in the fall they start coming indoors and it’s a different story,” Suiter said.Probably the most unpopular pests of homeowners is often found scurrying across kitchen floors at night – the smokybrown cockroach. Just one cockroach egg capsule holds about 15 to 18 eggs and a female lays one per week in her six-month life.“There are peak populations this time of year. It came from Japan, and it’s been here a long time,” Suiter said. “It’s really desiccation susceptible, so it’s especially in areas where relative humidity is very high.”Suiter said many urban pests are indicators of more severe problems. “Usually, it’s a moisture problem. If you have a lot (of pests) in your attic, you probably have a leak,” he said.Stink bugs, boxelder bugs and carpet beetlesBrown marmorated stink bugs also like to overwinter indoors. Native to Asia, this stink bug was first spotted in Georgia in 2010. It can be found on a wide range of host plants. “It’s a major, major nuisance pest in the Northeast and it’s headed south,” he said. “We see them in Georgia, we just haven’t seen the numbers they have seen in the North.”Another indoor pest, the boxelder bug, can be found on maple trees, too. Ironically, when you kill boxelder bugs, you will likely end up with a secondary pest – carpet beetles, Suiter said.“If you kill them inside you can end up with carpet beetles. They feed on dead boxelder bugs and their populations can be enormous,” he said.Sugar cane beetles and chinch bugsSugar cane beetles may not come inside homes, but they will chew on the outside. They are a late summer invader that shows up in large populations and feeds on grasses. “It’s a scarab beetle, and when it emerges it’s attracted to lights on houses,” he said. “They have really strong hind legs and can chew through siding.”Chinch bugs are fall pests that also feed on grasses. They are about a half-inch long and show up by the thousands. “They may not come indoors, but they like to crawl under siding,” Suiter said.When selecting a treatment method for these pests, Suiter warns homeowners not to purchase ultrasound devices. “They have been researched by multiple research facilities, and there’s a lot of data to show they don’t work,” he said.For more on controlling household pests, see the UGA Extension publication “Management of Pest Insects In and Around the Home” B 1412 at www.caes.uga.edu/publications.
Mid-summer rainfall combined with cooler fall weather could impact production for late-season cotton farmers throughout Georgia.Producers who planted their cotton between late-May and mid-June are delayed for harvest due to a deluge of rain during late-June-July and a late-October cold spell last week. “Growers that planted towards the end of our planting window got caught by a lot of rain,” said Guy Collins, a University of Georgia Extension cotton agronomist based on the Tifton campus. “They couldn’t get in the field when they wanted to, to plant cotton. Naturally, a lot of it struggled to get a good start.” Collins said this added “a whole new level of stress” that cotton farmers aren’t accustomed to dealing with. In other words, “we just got too much water, way too much water in areas,” he said.As rain slowed cotton’s development in the summer, cooler weather has stymied its growth the past couple of weeks, including a near-frost in south Georgia this past weekend. Toward the north end of south Georgia’s cotton belt, Dooly County’s temperature reached as low as 35 degrees Saturday night (Oct. 26). Cooler weather slows down development and maturity of cotton bolls that have yet to open. Frost can ultimately desiccate cotton plants, depending on the cotton’s maturity and the strength of the frost.Normally, by mid-November approximately 80 percent of the cotton crop has been harvested. This year, however, due to the crop’s delayed growth in certain areas, Collins believes it will be around mid- to late-November before the bulk of cotton will be harvested.As for the state’s crop as a whole, Collins is projecting anywhere from 700 to 900 pounds per acre on some fields and 1,200 to 1,300 pounds on others.“The crop is decent. It could be a lot worse,” Collins said. “There are very few home run fields. However, there are areas that have reported really good yields.”For more information about the state’s cotton crop, see ugacotton.com.
University of Georgia natural resource economist Craig Landry will use his portion of a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study how the economy and the environment are affected when humans and coastal regions commingle.“With the storm engine pumping the past few weeks, it’s as if Mother Nature is asking for us to get moving with this research,” said Landry, a professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). “My goal is to answer fundamental questions about the future of coastal habitation.”The four-year project is a team effort by researchers from UGA, the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Ohio State University, East Carolina University and the University of Colorado. Led by Dylan McNamara, associate professor and chair of the UNCW Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, the scientists will create and investigate computer-modeled coastal communities similar to those found along U.S. East and Gulf coasts’ barrier islands. “We are heading into a critical phase where coastal communities will have to make important decisions about how they are going to adapt to the future,” said McNamara. “We are hoping we can inform some of that policy. The stakes are high for communities along every coastline, as the recent storm tragedies highlight. Our goal is to understand the complex dynamics at play along human-occupied coastlines. Rather than reactively dealing with a disaster event, we aim to proactively understand the dynamics that so often lead to disaster.”As a UGA undergraduate in CAES, Landry studied management of coastal erosion in Georgia. His master’s thesis focused on coastal erosion policy on Tybee Island, Georgia. He completed his doctorate at the University of Maryland and worked in North Carolina, both areas that are part of the focus of the current NSF project.“In Dare County, North Carolina, and Worcester County, Maryland, we are going to study property markets,” he said. “We want to know what people expect when they buy coastal properties and why they decide to sell. Is it because of high flood insurance costs, the volume of tourists, or is it just too expensive to maintain their property?”Owning beach property sounds like a dream to many, but sometimes owners feel like it’s a nightmare. Those who install sea walls to fight erosion affect the coastal system and, if tourists are unhappy with the wall, they affect the economy, too, Landry said.“For example, on Tybee Island, as a student, I used models to look at the benefits and costs of adding sand to help fight erosion,” he said. “By analyzing improvement in property protection and recreation and weighing those against the costs of adding sand, you can understand the optimal timing of this ‘renourishment’ and what the return to the economy will be in tourism.” People like wider beaches, but they don’t like it when improvement work interrupts their beach vacation, he said.On Jekyll and Tybee Islands, Georgia Sea Grant funded Landry’s study of visitors’ responses to changes on beaches.Many factors play into the changes that occur on the coast, including storms.“Changes occur on the coast through evolving landforms. Geologists study these phenomena and some claim that we should retreat from the coast. Economists, on the other hand, often want to develop coastal land to build the tourist economy,” he said. “A sustainable management approach will balance these competing disciplinary perspectives.”In the NSF-funded study, Landry is looking at the coastal system to find out how things change when human systems and the natural system come together. “For example, there are parts of Tybee Island that are on historical tax maps, but if you go there, they’re underwater. Coastal landforms are very dynamic,” he said. “Real estate development, infrastructure investment and other human institutions aren’t always designed to deal with changing environments.”Landry hopes to better understand property markets, tourism, hazard insurance and disaster assistance provisions. He also plans to research the behavior of coastal property investors.“People who buy houses along the coast sometimes have little information on the risks. And, if insurance rates are not risk-based, they have little signal of what the risks might be. Migrants from the North often don’t understand the risks of hurricanes,” he said.Coastal cities and their residents pay the costs of maintaining homes, businesses and infrastructure while attracting the tourists who feed the economy.“Some places along the coast are so at risk of eroding that they are pushed to embrace a phased retreat, but they don’t know when that will happen. Tourists could stop coming because of beach erosion, and homeowners could sell because they can’t afford insurance or they are worried about losing their investment,” Landry said. “This can create a tipping point where some locations become unviable.”Landry will collect data to identify areas along the East and Gulf coasts that are at a high risk for failure.The results of the team’s research will provide insight into how real estate markets respond to complex changes in environmental conditions, public policies, scientific knowledge, and individual attitudes and values.Landry and his graduate students have compiled a survey of coastal residents and potential homebuyers that will be administered through UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Chittenden Corporation (NYSE: CHZ) announced that Paul A. Perrault, Chairman, President andChief Executive Officer, and Kirk W. Walters, Executive Vice President andChief Financial Officer, will be speaking at the RBC Capital Markets financialinstitutions conference on Thursday, September 18, 2003. The conference willbe held at The Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard. Chittenden isscheduled to make its presentation at 9:45 a.m.RBC Capital Markets has established an audio web link to enable allinterested parties to have access to the conference. The web link is:http://www.wallstreetwebcasting.com/webcast/dr14/(link is external)The Company may answer one or more questions concerning business andfinancial developments and trends and other business and financial mattersaffecting the Company, some of the responses to which may contain informationthat has not previously been disclosed.Chittenden is a bank holding company with total assets of $6.0 billion atJune 30, 2003. Its subsidiary banks are Chittenden Bank, The Bank of WesternMassachusetts, Flagship Bank and Trust Company, Maine Bank & Trust Company,Ocean National Bank and Granite Bank. Chittenden Bank also operates under thename Mortgage Service Center, and it owns Chittenden Insurance Group, andChittenden Securities, Inc. Granite Bank operates an insurance agencysubsidiary under the name of GSBI Insurance Group. The Company offers a broadrange of financial products and services, including deposit accounts andservices; consumer, commercial, and public sector loans; insurance; brokerage;and investment and trust services to individuals, businesses, and the publicsector. To find out more about Chittenden and its products, visit our website at http://www.chittendencorp.com(link is external). Chittenden Corporation news releases,including earnings announcements, are available via fax by calling800-758-5804. The six-digit code is 124292.
Herlihy Is New Deputy Commissioner Of Vermont Department Of Tourism &MarketingMONTPELIER, Vt. – Cathy Herlihy of East Montpelier has been appointed thenew Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing(VDTM). Herlihy takes over the post from Sybil Chicoine who left in lateSeptember for a job in the private sector after serving as VDTM’s DeputyCommissioner since January of 2002.Since 1995 Herlihy has been Director of Training & Marketing with theVermont Small Business Development Center (SBDC). SBDC is a non-profitpartnership of government, education, and business whose goal is to spurVermont’s economy by helping small businesses succeed and grow throughtraining and consultation. SBDC is partially funded by the U.S. SmallBusiness Administration, the Vermont Department of Economic Development,and the Vermont State Colleges.Vermont Tourism & Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde said he was pleased tohave someone with Herlihy’s background join the Department’s managementteam.”Cathy brings a very strong marketing and business development backgroundto the Department and we’re excited to be able to call upon herdemonstrated strengths in marketing, strategic planning and organizationaldevelopment,” Hyde said. “Cathy will be responsible for much of theday-to-day operation of the Department and will work closely with the restof our senior management team, overseeing VDTM’s marketing, publicrelations, sales and research efforts.”I am very excited about this new role and to have the opportunity to workmore closely with Vermont’s tourism industry and to focus on a vitalsector of the Vermont economy,” Herlihy said. “Over the years, I have hadthe opportunity to work with a wide variety of small businesses, includingtourism-related businesses, and to help them address a variety ofchallenges. I think understanding those challenges will help guide me inthis new role.”###