Those of you with a computer are probably aware of the amount of information available on the internet. There is a ton of advice available on gardens, landscapes and lawns from a variety of sources in the United States and around the world. Some of this information can cause more problems than it solves, so the local homeowner may want to consider some basic facts before implementing internet advice.
Many nurseries from around the world want to sell you the perfect plant for your landscape. Hopefully, you know tropical plants will not survive northwest North Carolina winters. The United States, and the rest of the world, is divided into hardiness zones with northwest North Carolina being a zone 7a or 6b. If you are looking for plants on the internet, you will want to buy only those that are suited to our climate.
Universities and other research facilities will often make recommendations based upon their environmental conditions. Soil types vary drastically not only in the United States, but also across North Carolina. Many of the soil types in our area are clays and clay loams, while eastern counties may have organic or sandy soils. Very often high fertilizer rates are recommended for sandier soils which may be much too high for our area. Homeowners need to be very skeptical about a one-size-fits-all recommendation.
Another thing to be very cautious about is pesticide recommendations from other states. North Carolina has specific laws on what pesticides can legally be used in the state. If you are caught using a non-approved pesticide, even though it was recommended by a university in another state, you could face a stiff fine. Each Extension office has a list of pesticides approved for use in North Carolina, along with recommendations on how to use them.
The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service website address is: www.wilkes.ces.ncsu.edu; and scientific, research based information on a variety of subjects can be located there. Recommendations are often made based upon which part of the state you live in. If you do not have a computer, this information is also just a phone call away by contacting your local Cooperative Extension office.