November 7, 2012

Consumer Q’s

Q: Someone gave me a dogwood tree. Can I plant it now?

A: Yes, you can and you should plant it now. With the soil still warm enough to allow root growth and the cool air temperatures discouraging top growth, a tree planted in the fall is better established when summer’s heat and drought arrive than its spring-planted counterparts. You might say that a fall-planted tree receives a better foundation. Indeed, fall is the best time to plant most trees, shrubs and perennials in Georgia.

Q: Should I sell the timber on my farm on a "per ton" basis or "lump-sum" up front?

A: Here is some advice from the Georgia Forestry Commission: Lump-sum sales are best suited for mature timber sales that are either clear cut or marked select harvests. Successful lump-sum sales are usually quality timber sales that are in relatively short supply and that usually involve lengthy cutting periods of at least one year. Plantation first thinnings are not very suitable for lump-sum sales, and are customarily sold "per ton." Other common "per ton" sales are low volume and/or low value and/or poor quality sales, sales with short cutting periods and operator select thinning sales. Per ton sales can be sold through negotiations or by sealed bid, and lump-sum sales are often sold through a sealed bid process. It is advisable to interview a few consulting foresters, and hire one of them to assist you with the sale process. If you sell directly to a timber buyer, request bids from multiple area timber buyers. No matter whom you deal with, thoroughly check references and verify their liability insurance coverage. Also, do not make your decisions solely on the consultant’s fee or the buyer’s price; you should consider who you feel will deliver the best work quality and service.  

Q: How can I disinfect cotton dishcloths I use in my home kitchen?

A: Wash dishcloths often in the hot cycle of your washing machine to keep them from becoming potential sources of bacteria.

Q: Is it possible to use sheared white pine as a hedge?

A: Most people never think of pines when considering plants to use for hedges. The white pine (Pinus strobus) gives a different texture and color to enjoy than standard broadleaf hedges. Generally, one shearing a year when the new growth is about half expanded in the spring will be adequate to keep the hedge shaped. White pines would really only perform all right in north Georgia, however. A better choice for all of Georgia would be the Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana), also known as the scrub or poverty pine. Its needles are shorter and darker green than those of white pine, and it has fewer problems with root rots.

If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit our website at www.agr.georgia.gov, write us at 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 128, Atlanta, GA  30334 or email us at arty.schronce@agr.georgia.gov. To learn more about agricultural issues, get garden tips and find sources for flowers, livestock and other products, consider a subscription to The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin. Subscriptions for Georgia residents are $5 per year for the online version and $10 for the print version. To start or renew a subscription, send a check or money order payable to Market Bulletin at the address above or subscribe online at our website.

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