Published on 07/24/01

'How-to' Week on 'Gardening in Georgia'

UGA CAES File Photo

Walter Reeves

On this week's "Gardening in Georgia," host Walter Reeves shows lots of how-to's for Georgia gardeners: how to propagate your favorite hydrangeas, use water for more than watering, trap whiteflies and test old seeds.

The show will air on Wednesday, July 25, at 7:30 p.m. on Georgia Public Television. It will be rebroadcast on Saturday, July 28, at 12:30 p.m.

Reeves shows the different flower shapes of hydrangeas, from the globose (mop-head) to the panicle and the lace cap. He points out that the large flowers on a hydrangea bloom are showy, but they're sterile. They attract pollinators to the small, fertile flowers nearby.

He shows some of his favorite hydrangeas in his neighborhood. And if you find a hydrangea in a friend's yard that you can't find at your garden center, Reeves shows how easy it is to propagate your own plant by a process called soil layering.

An Easy New Hydrangea

Simply scrape the bark from a low-growing stem. Dust the wound with Rootenone hormone powder. Bury that portion of the stem in a shallow trench, with a brick or stone to hold it in place. By October, a rooting system will have grown that will enable you to cut the branch from the mother plant. Transplant it in your landscape in the spring.

Water can be used for more than watering. Reeves shows how to use a soaker hose to soften your soil before preparing a new raised bed. He uses a water-powered Holey-Moley, too, to dig some post holes. He also uses water pressure to dig out deep-rooted weeds like dandelions, wild violets and wild lettuce.

Reeves demonstrates how to trap and kill whiteflies with a yellow plastic cup and some STP Motor Oil Treatment. He drives a stake into the ground near an infested plant and inverts a yellow cup over the stake and tacks it to it.

Painting the cup with STP makes a nice goo. The whitefly adults are attracted to the yellow color, thinking it a flower, and land in the goop.

Test Seeds' Germination

Reeves shows how to test seeds' germination by wrapping a few seeds in a paper towel. He wets the towel slightly and places it in a resealable plastic bag, then puts it in a warm place for seven days.

Viable seeds will germinate. Dead ones won't. You can calculate a percentage germination from this little test. Those that do sprout can be planted outdoors or in pots, along with your other seeds.

Jim Midcap, an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, shows off the Annabelle hydrangea, a 1995 Georgia Gold Medal Winner.

And finally, UGA CAES entomologist Beverly Sparks describes the life cycle and management of some tiny but troublesome pests: thrips. These small insects may feed on plant foliage, but they are often problems in flowers, too.

"Gardening in Georgia" airs every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on GPTV. The show is produced specifically for Georgia gardeners by the UGA CAES and GPTV. To learn more, visit the show's Web site.

Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.