Consumer Q’s 12-15-11
Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Question: My eucalyptus up and died for no reason. Why? I saw no signs of disease or any insect pests. I live in Atlanta.
Answer: Eucalyptuses, even the hardiest species, are not considered long-term plants in north Georgia. They have a difficult time adapting to our cold weather and temperature swings. Also, when it is warm and water is available they want to grow, even if it is a warm spell in December. When a freeze comes, it is damaged or killed because it is more susceptible to cold due to not being fully dormant. Root rots caused by fungi may have led to your plant’s demise. Because the damage is happening underground, you don’t always notice it.
A Georgia Department of Agriculture employee planted one of the hardiest species of eucalyptus 17 years ago in Atlanta. It survived and eventually reached past the top of a three-story building nearby. This summer it also died suddenly. While 17 years can be a long time, your grandchildren will be able to sit under the oak you planted this fall and perhaps even cut flowers from the peonies you planted. They’ll probably have to plant their own eucalyptus, however.
All that being said, eucalyptuses, with their fragrant and silvery blue foliage, can be interesting and beautiful additions to a garden. Although they may not live as long as an oak or a peony, they can live as long as some other perennials and shrubs. Site yours in an area where it is protected from winter winds. Make sure it has well-drained soil. Mulch it. Do not give it any fertilizer or extra water in the fall – you do not want to encourage it to be actively growing when a freeze comes.
Two of the hardiest species are believed to be Eucalyptus gunnii and Eucalyptus nivalis although there can be much variation considering the provenance of the seed or cuttings. Often no species name is given when a eucalyptus plant is sold. Lemon eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) is commonly sold in nurseries because of its lemony fragrance. It is considered hardy to 20 degrees F.
There is much experimentation to be done by home gardeners to find the best eucalyptuses for our gardens and the best way to grow them throughout Georgia.
Q: Will there be another Youth Equine Champions Day at the Capitol like last year?
A: Yes. The celebration is scheduled for February 7th, 2012. The event will honor young people (19 and under) who qualified and participated in regional, national and world championship horse shows as well as Georgia State Champions. Georgia State Champions include all first-place winners in the Pony, 1-12 and 13-19 age groups from the Georgia Federation State Show. Those interested in attending need to contact John Clements, Georgia Equine Commission, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404-863-2173.
Q: What exactly is the “danger zone” that cooks refer to when discussing food safety?
A: The danger zone is the temperature range between 40 and 140 degrees F. in which bacteria can grow rapidly. To keep food out of the danger zone, keep cold food cold, at or below 40 degrees F., and hot food hot, at or above 140 degrees F. Keep cold food in the refrigerator, in coolers or in containers on ice. Keep hot cooked food in the oven, in heated chafing dishes or in pre-heated steam tables, warming trays and/or slow cookers. Use a food thermometer to verify temperatures. Never leave food in the danger zone more than two hours or one hour if the outside temperature is above 90 degrees F.
If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit our website at www.agr.georgia.gov or write us at 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 227, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail us at email@example.com. To learn more about agricultural issues, get garden tips and find sources for flowers, livestock and other agricultural products, consider a subscription to The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin. Subscriptions for Georgia residents are $10 per year. To start or renew a subscription, send a check or money order payable to Market Bulletin at the address above.
Georgia Department of Agriculture