Ques­tions about lawn, plants, crops?

Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia can help

The Covington News - - AGRICULTURE - Terri Kim­ble Fuller­ton is the New­ton County 4-H Agent through UGA Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion. She can be reached at tkim­ble@uga.edu.

Dead spots in your lawn?

In­sects eat­ing your roses?

Dis­col­oration on fiz­tures from your well wa­ter?

Some­times 4-H’ers seem sur­prised to see the steady stream of dirt, wa­ter, in­sects and other in­ter­est­ing items come through our of­fice, but they for­get that 4-H is just one part of a Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion of­fice.

We also serve as an ed­u­ca­tional out­reach pro­gram of the Col­lege of Agri­cul­tural and En­vi­ron­men­tal Sciences and the Col­lege of Fam­ily and Con­sumer Sciences.

Since the first Cov­ing­ton Boys’ Corn Club in 1904, UGA has pro­vided re­search-based in­for­ma­tion for our res­i­dents.

Agri­cul­tural county agent Ted Wynne works with home­own­ers, farm­ers and agri­cul­tural busi­nesses to an­swer ques­tions, di­ag­nose prob­lems and pro­vide train­ing on the lat­est re­search.

If you’ve ever watched Wal­ter Reeves, you know ex­actly the sort of ques­tions that your lo­cal agri­cul­tural ex­ten­sion agent can an­swer.

Two of the most fre­quently used agri­cul­tural ser­vices in our of­fice are soil and wa­ter test­ing.

Just $9 (cash or check) can save you a lot of money and time in the yard.

Each type of grass, flower, fruit and veg­etable has a dif­fer­ent type of soil it prefers, and there is no way to fig­ure out what is in your soil by sim­ply look­ing at it.

Dump­ing ran­dom fer­til­iz­ers on the yard won’t nec­es­sar­ily help, ei­ther. Why waste money pour­ing on fer­til­izer if you don’t need it?

It’s not only wasted money, but can ac­tu­ally dam­age plants as well as the en­vi­ron­ment.

Un­nec­es­sary fer­til­iz­ers can be washed off by the rain, into the ground and even­tu­ally to our wa­ter sources.

If you have a sec­tion of the yard that has dif­fer­ent soil or has been treated very dif­fer­ently, such as a gar­den or rose bed, you may need to test th­ese ar­eas sep­a­rately for more ac­cu­rate re­sults.

Us­ing con­tain­ers and tools that have never been used with fer­til­izer or lime, take 8-10 small scoops of soil from all over the area to be tested.

For lawns, you will need to dig about 4 inches deep. Dig about 6 inches for gar­dens and other plants.

If your soil is wet, you may need to spread it on pa­per to dry.

Once you’ve mixed your sam­ples to­gether, scoop out about 2 cups of soil to bring to the Ex­ten­sion Of­fice.

If you’re test­ing more than one area of your yard, be sure to label the sam­ples.

You will need to know what you are grow­ing or what you plan to grow in the soil.

But don’t worry; if you change your mind later, just call us and we can re-print the re­port for free with a dif­fer­ent crop.

Soil re­ports are tai­lored to the spe­cific item you are grow­ing, so that you’ll know ex­actly how much fer­til­izer or other prod­ucts to ap­ply this year.

Wa­ter test­ing is an­other pop­u­lar ser­vice in our of­fice for well own­ers. Us­ing a clean plas­tic or glass bot­tle and lid (no me­tal), col­lect 2 cups of the first wa­ter of the day from your sink most of­ten used for drink­ing wa­ter.

It is help­ful if you know the di­am­e­ter and depth of your well when you bring the wa­ter to the of­fice, but not manda­tory. The ba­sic test will pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on the lev­els of pH, hard­ness, phos­pho­rus, potas­sium, cal­cium, iron, cop­per and 11 other ele­ments for only $18, cash or check.

Bac­te­ria tests on wa­ter re­quire spe­cial kits avail­able in the of­fice.

Many other spe­cial­ized soil and wa­ter tests are also avail­able from the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia, so just call if you’d like more in­for­ma­tion.

If you are hav­ing a spe­cific prob­lem with plants, in­sects or wa­ter, you should also call or visit for ad­vice.

Of­ten, you may be fac­ing the same is­sue as many other lo­cal res­i­dents, but even if the prob­lem is un­fa­mil­iar to our agri­cul­tural agent, he can usu­ally find an an­swer through the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia.

Us­ing a mi­cro­scope hooked up to com­puter, Wynne can sub­mit the tini­est of de­tails to UGA re­searchers with­out even hav­ing to mail a sam­ple.

Visit us in the New­ton County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., Mon­day through Fri­day, or call at 770-784-2010.

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

For $9 (cash or check ac­cepted) the univer­sity can save you a lot of money and time in the yard with its soil de­scrip­tions.

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

Soil sam­ples are ready for test­ing at the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia.

TERRI KIM­BLE FULLER­TON COLUM­NIST

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