Clemson University

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. With my sixty-eighth birthday coming up, combined with a need for stronger reading glasses and various aches and pains, I’ve been feeling a little long in the tooth. But after a case of poison ivy sent me to educational websites, I’m readjusting.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.  Mulching trees is the best thing you can after you’ve planted them properly; some research shows it can double the rate of growth for  newly established trees. A good tip when mulching trees is to think of doughnuts – there’s a hole in the middle. Mulch should start from four to six inches away from the tree’s trunk, if it touches the trunk it promotes disease and decay.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Beautyberry can seed down like crazy and be somewhat weedy, but people who like to do arrangements always are grateful to have it when the stems are covered with purple-pink clusters of fruits. If you grow it or have access to some naturalized plants, I suggest you prune it in early spring each year. Callicarpa blooms on new wood and if you cut it low to the ground, it will send out longer shoots, better for arranging, in response to that pruning.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. For many years Ruthie Lacey and I decorated for parties. I was charged with bringing stuff you couldn't order, things gathered from the wild that added more variety and interest to arrangements that also contained typical florist flowers. So sticks, grass seed heads, wooly mullein stalks and such were my contributions. In the fall, our "most favorite" a category that changed with the seasons, plant material was stems of beautyberry, Callicarpa americana.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The USDA NRCS Plant Guide is one of my favorite places to find out neat stuff about native plants. Their page on beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, tells us that this plant is adapted to dry or moist open woods in areas with hot, humid summers and moderate winters. No wonder it was especially prevalent in the zoo portion at Brookgreen Gardens when we visited recently. The small clusters of flowers give no indication of the fabulous clusters of shiny purple-pink flowers that will follows.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We spent a few days near the coast recently and visited Brookgreen Gardens, where the plants are as interesting as the sculptures. You can use your pass for several days which was perfect - w e got there relatively early one morning and spent a few hours looking at sculpture leaving when the temperature got too high. The next day, we returned to see the native animals housed in the zoo. As most of those exhibits are in a wooded understory situation, we were spared the blazing rays of the sun.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Blueberries, figs,  and muscadines are plants good for  backyard orchard s–   you don’t have to do much as far as insect or disease control goes. Elderberry is another plant you might add to your backyard if you have some room. In other parts of the country, there are lots of both commercial and home orchards of elderberry but for some reason we haven’t used them much in the south. But Dr.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In the history plant pharmaceuticals, elderberry was an essential medicine across Europe, including Russia and the Scandinavian countries, and among the Native Americans of North America. The traditional uses included numerous respiratory ailments, especially congestion and allergies, digestive problems – especially if a laxative was needed, and to for headaches, fever reduction, and a host of other ailments.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A Clemson botany professor, the late Dr. John Fairey made learning about the local flora fun with his unusual and often fascinating comments about plants.   We learned that the stems of elderberry, in glorious bloom now, are “weakly lignified.” The outer portion of the stem is truly woody while the interior is filled with pith. Dr. Fairey told us that in the days before synthetic packing material, elderberry pith was used to pack delicate scientific instruments.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you’ve been out driving recently, you should have noticed one of our showiest wild flowers in bloom. Elderberry has a coarse texture due to its large, pinnately compound leaves held on stems eight to twelve feet tall. It’s the flowers and fruits that are so eye-catching though. The flowers, although individually small, are borne in flat, broad clusters and with their white color contrasting with the green leaves, are very noticeable.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Elderberries are decorating South Carolina roadways and river banks right now. These clumps of bright green foliage, often eight to twelve feet tall, are topped with large, flat clusters of white flowers. You see them most often in relatively open areas where there is organically rich soil associated water – along ditches or bordering streams and rivers. Interesting, those large clusters of flowers, botanically categorized as corymbs, are not particularly attractive to pollinators.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Some yuccas deservedly have the name Spanish Bayonet or dagger because of the sharp points at the ends of their leaves. But we have two native yuccas that are much less threatening and still have beautiful blossoms. Both Yucca filamentosa and Yucca flaccida are smaller and have somewhat softer foliage than their big relatives, and flowering stalks that top out at five feet. The leaves have threads, filaments, along the leaf margins, like fabric unraveling.

Moths and Yucca

Jun 15, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Some hummingbird moths, so named because of their size, visit yucca flowers at night to enjoy their nectar. But the important pollinators are yucca moths. Relatively small white insects, the female moth enters yucca flowers and uses special mouthparts called tentacles to collect pollen, which she rolls into a ball to transport. She lays her eggs in the ovary of a yucca flower, and then places some of the fresh pollen onto the female stigma.

Spanish Bayonet

Jun 14, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Like Yucca aloifolia, Spanish Bayonet, the plant called Spanish Dagger, Yucca gloriosa, also is native only to the lower southeastern states. Although it has a similar size and flower display, its leaves aren't quite so stiff and have a less lethal point at the end. John Nelson tells me the margins of Yucca gloriosa leaves are smooth and won't cut your fingers.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Many people who have cut grass with push lawnmowers think that there should be a special place in the hell for yucca plants, as they have backed into them and suffered a painful stab wound. As a matter of fact, an Australian hospital reports it has treated dozens of persons with serious ear injuries incurred while working around yucca plants. The most dangerous yucca we have in South Carolina is Yucca aloifolia, or Spanish Bayonet.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I'm Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Right now, striking plants that are grown in many yards, and in cemeteries, and along roadsides are capturing our attention. Yuccas are tough, hardy plants that can persist for years and years without care and right now are blooming their hearts out. With flowering panicles that can be three feet by two feet and supported on stalks that can reach twelve feet in height, their masses of showy white blossoms top the charts for the WOW factor.

Managable Wistarias

May 26, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The world, or rather the United States, would be a better place if we could get rid of all the Asian wisterias that have gone rogue and are taking over woodlands and abandoned and yards and houses (I’ve seen it growing into an attic when a window pane was gone). Our much less aggressive native wisterias are still vigorous vines that need a well-built trellis to support them but they’re not going to go haywire.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Teams are responsible duties related to invasive plant species growing in 230 national sites. Recently the seventeenth team was created just for the Southeast coast.  Lauren Serra heads this   team   from her base at the Congaree National Park.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The National Park Service staff wear a variety of hats. One responsibility that we might not think of is keeping invasive species at bay in what are described as some of the most iconic and ecologically important areas of the country. The Exotic Plant Management Teams were created to meet this challenge. Among the plants they must battle are Asian wistarias which overtake trees and shrubs in many locales. Here is their description of the damage they’ve observed.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Recently I visited a historic home near the Wateree River.   Built in the 1840’s, it had a sturdy and attractive trellis which was probably planted with the wistaria still growing on it today. Sadly, the two showy Asian wistaria species, Japanese and Chinese,are both extremely invasive in the United States. Dr.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Galls caused by insects or other invertebrates can be fascinating.   The interaction of the host plant’s hormones and the chemicals produced by the developing insect can cause growths  that make you think aliens from outer space invaded the plant.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.   History is filled with examples of municipalities choosing a favorite species for their main street trees to devastating results.  Central Park In the early 1980’s was  losing more than 100 elms every year.   In Denver, 1.45 million ash trees will die from the Emerald Ash Borer unless they are treated every two years with a systemic insecticide.

What Causes Galls?

Apr 26, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A recent caller to the show was concerned about his neighbor’s live oak trees. The leaves were yellowing and they were worried about some shaggy growths appearing on the bark.  Fortunately, Tony Melton interpreted the growths as a common gall that appears on some live oak individuals.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. While reading about galls, I found a reference to iron gall ink being used in ancient documents. One of the four copies of the Magna Carta, the one at the Lincoln Cathedral in England, is officially described as iron gall in on parchment. Certain oak galls are high in tannin, one of the ingredients used in ink production from ancient until relatively recent times.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Galls are abnormal plant tissue growths and can be caused by a variety of organisms, and most of the galls we notice are only cosmetically damaging. But Bacterial crown gall affects a wide variety of orchard fruits and is caused by the pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens – tumefaciens meaning causing tumors. This fungus is capable of causing harmful growths on more plant species than any other pathogen. Only monocots are immune.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. A cultivar is a named variety of a particular plant that was selected or breed to have certain characteristics, often they’re vegetatively propagated  so all the plants with that name are exactly the same. It used to be that people often planted seedling dogwoods in their yards and the only downside was perhaps waiting a long time for the trees to bloom.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The dreaded Dogwood anthracnose, Discula distructiva, is a death knoll for that loveliest of native trees. There is another disease called spot anthracnose caused by a different fungus that fortunately is cosmetic instead of fatal. It causes problems when we have a wet spring with high humidity and may just make small lesions on the leaves that you probably won’t even notice it.

Dogwood Anthrachnose

Apr 19, 2018
Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Dogwood anthracnose, with the frightening name Discula distructiva, was first identified in north eastern forests in 1978. Beginning with attacks on leaves and twigs, this disease spreads to branches and trunks and has caused mortality rates well above fifty percent in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Making It Grow Minute
SC Public Radio

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. You deserve kudos if you consistently keep you backyard feeders filled with a variety of foods, and for making sure that birds have a constant source of fresh water, especially during freezing weather. But our native wildlife existed here long before we did, taking advantage of natural sources of sustenance and drink.

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