Are you new to gardening?
Or new to gardening in DeKalb County, Georgia?
Gardening in the South has unique rewards and challenges. To get started,
here are a few statistics about the local climate:
County is located in USDA Hardiness Zone 7B, leaning toward Zone 8A in
recent years. You can expect winter temperatures as low as 5 to
10 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Our average first frost date in the fall is November 16, ranging usually from October 31 to December 1.
average last frost date in the spring is March 24, ranging usually
from March 3 to April 14. Early spring warm spells can cause
perennials and buds to emerge, then be damaged by late cold snaps.
average annual rainfall is about 50 inches, however, our rainfall
levels vary wildly from year to year. Be prepared for extended
periods of drought or periods of more than ample rain—often in the same
One of the best sources for in-depth
gardening information in Georgia is The University of Georgia's College
of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. They're the first line
of horticultural knowledge available to Master Gardeners in Georgia.
As you scroll through the topics below, you'll see links to some
of the UGA Cooperative Extension publications that we find most useful
to home gardeners.
[Most documents below are
linked in HTML form so they will display quickly on your browser.
Many of them are also available in PDF format which can be downloaded to
your computer and can be printed in a more aesthetically pleasing
format; to do that, look for the text "PDF" inside the document, near the top.]
PLANT SELECTION — THE RIGHT PLANT IN THE RIGHT PLACE
Choosing new plants for your garden or landscape is one of the joys of gardening.
The following are lists of plants that "work" in Georgia:
attention to whether a plant is designated for shade or sun, and site
it accordingly. Most shade loving plants like a little filtered
sun or even some early morning sun, but they need to be protected from
the hot afternoon sun. Even plants described as "Full Sun" may
enjoy some relief from the brutal afternoon sun here in Georgia.
plants where you can accommodate their moisture requirements.
You'll need to pay special attention to new plantings for the first year
until they're "established."
- Consider the mature size of the
plants you select. You'll save yourself lots of pruning effort in
years to come by choosing a plant that does not outgrow the vertical or
horizontal space you have available.
» Landscape Plants for Georgia (B 625)
Good plants for Georgia organized by Vines, Ground Covers, Ornamental
Grasses, Trees, and Shrubs with concise notes about form, size, and
» Georgia Gold Medal Plants Annually selected best annual, perennial, shrub, tree, and vine/ground cover for Georgia
» Flowering Perennials for Georgia Gardens (B 944) Choosing perennials
» Flowering Bulbs for Georgia Gardens (B 918) Succeeding with bulbs in Georgia
» Native Plants for Georgia - Part 1: Trees, Shrubs and Woody Vines (B 987) Using native plants in the landscape [USER NOTE: For detailed plant information, select a plant category from the "Contents" section.]
» Native Plants for Georgia - Part 2: Ferns (B 987-2) Guide to ferns in Georgia
» Native Plants for Georgia - Part 3: Wildflowers (B 987-3)
» Native Plants for Georgia - Part 4: Grasses and Sedges (B 987-4)
IT ALL BEGINS WITH THE SOIL — AMEND
well-drained soil" is what we aim for. It's the perfect soil for
so many plants. Unfortunately, many DeKalb County landscape soils
are acidic red clay. They hold moisture well, but drain poorly and
are prone to compaction, making plant rot a possibility. To
improve drainage and soil tilth, add amendments like dried manure,
granite sand, ground pine bark, and compost. You can make your own
compost from yard trimmings. DeKalb County residents can pick up
free County Compost which
is excellent for improving soil structure, but is NOT recommended for
vegetable gardens. The best way to determine what nutrients your
soil needs—before you start planting—is by getting a soil test through
the DeKalb County Cooperative Extension Service; call 404-298-4080
» Soil Preparation and Planting Procedures for Ornamental Plants in the Landscape (B 932) Step-by-step guidelines for planting success
» Composting: Recycling Landscape Trimmings (C 981) An introduction to composting
» Composting and Mulching (C 816) How to compost
Indispensable turfgrass management calendars for taking care of your lawn in Georgia: [small PDF files]
» Bermudagrass Lawn Calendar
» Centipedegrass Lawn Calendar
» St. Augustinegrass Lawn Calendar
» Tall Fescue Lawn Calendar
» Zoysiagrass Lawn Calendar
» Selecting Lawn Grasses Comparison of popular turfgrass options for Georgia [NOTE: This is a large PDF file (6MB) which may take a long time to load.]
» Turfgrass Diseases in Georgia: Identification and Control (B 1233) Diagnosis guide
» Vegetable Garden Calendar (C 943) A month by month guide for planning your work
» Vegetable Gardening in Georgia (C 963) General culture and fertilization guidelines for vegetables
» Vegetable Planting Chart (from B 577) Concise 2-page chart of planting dates and recommendations for individual vegetables [PDF]
» Home Gardening (B 577) And even more about setting up a productive home vegetable garden
» When to Harvest Vegetables (C 935) Tips for determining the optimal stage of maturity of vegetables
» Georgia Home Grown Tomatoes (B 1271) All about this home gardener's favorite: methods of growing, varieties, problems and pests
» Common Tomato Diseases in Georgia (B 1285) What's wrong with your tomatoes? [Not currently available at CAES]
» Disease Management in the Home Vegetable Garden (C 862) Preventing and controlling diseases
» Herbs for Southern Gardens (B 1170) Culture and use of herbs [Not currently available at CAES]
» Gardening in Containers (C 787) Growing plants in limited space and for special effects
» BMP in the Landscape (B 873) A summary of Best Management Practices for installation, irrigation, fertilization and pruning
» Best Management Practices for Landscape Water Conservation (B 1329) A compendium of successful landscape design and maintenance practices for our region [Not currently available at CAES]
» Common Landscape Diseases in Georgia (B 1238) Recognizing diseases that may affect shrubs, trees, flowers and turfgrasses
» Shade and Street Tree Care (B 1031) How to keep your trees healty
Pruning Ornamental Plants in the Landscape (B 961) An overview of how and when to prune shrubs, conifers, vines, ground covers, hedges, espalier, and topiary
» Basic Principles of Pruning Woody Plants (B 949) How plants respond to pruning
INTELLIGENT LANDSCAPE DESIGN
you're on the verge of a new landscaping project, you may as well think
about making the most of your water resources by grouping your plants
according to their water requirements. While watering restrictions
have become the norm in DeKalb County, Georgia, there is no need for
you to resort to desert plants.
» Xeriscape: Seven Steps to a Water-Wise Landscape (C 895-1) A summary of landscape xeriscaping fundamentals
Select Gardening Links
from the menu at the left. From our web links page, you can
access DeKalb County and Georgia resources, as well as the complete list
of UGA Cooperative Extension publications.