Amanda McNulty

Host, Producer

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.

Ways to Connect

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The autumn leaves are falling and the days of raking are almost a thing of the past for many gardeners. Mulching and vacuuming mowers are much faster and easier on your back. You should not allow leaves to accumulate over your turf grass, no matter if you want to rake, mow or blow them (raking is of course the most tranquil but do wear gloves or you’ll get blisters (I’m nursing one now). Leaves shade your turf grass from sunlight, you grass is still green and needs to photosynthesize to stay healthy.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. There are a variety of warm season turf grasses that can be grown in South Carolina. The most shade tolerant but the most cold tender is St.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. It’s critical that you know what turf grass you have in your lawn. Cool season turf grasses begin active growth in fall and need fertilizer at that time.   But warm season grasses are preparing for dormancy and should never be fertilized as fall approaches, not after August 15 give or take a week or so depending on your location. Although fall is an appropriate time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide for winter weeds, choose a brand completely free of the growth-stimulating element nitrogen.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Gardening in South Carolina presents lots of challenges, and how to manage our lawns is a major one.   Depending on your needs and location, you can choose from two types of turf grasses for your lawn, warm season or cool season.  Some areas can choose between the two. For those of us in the coastal plain, our only option is to grow a warm season turf grass. These grasses green up in the spring, grow all summer, and then go dormant with the arrival of fall.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you visit the website Charlotte Tree Plan and read about the benefits of urban trees you’ll be encouraged to plant the largest shade tree possible in your yard this fall. For us, fall is the best time to add new trees and shrubs to our landscape, the roots can grow during the winter making the plant stronger when next summer’s hot weather rolls around.  At the Charlotte Tree Plan page, you’ll see the many benefits residents of the Queen City receive from their urban forest.

Shade is Cool

Sep 8, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We enjoyed the solar eclipse from the comfort of our Saint Matthews yard. Although lots of people searched out and set up camp in open fields, I’m not a sun lover and we simply  made periodic forays from our  covered porch out into an  open area of the front yard to observe the progress of the blackout. Numerous shade trees help keep our eighteen eighties home cool, a  value familiar to residents of cities with active urban tree programs.

Inchworms a Threat?

Sep 7, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We enjoyed the solar eclipse from the comfort of our Saint Matthews yard. Although lots of people searched out and set up camp in open fields, I’m not a sun lover and we simply  made periodic forays from our  covered porch out into an  open area of the front yard to observe the progress of the blackout. Numerous shade trees help keep our eighteen eighties home cool, a  value familiar to residents of cities with active urban tree programs.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The City of Charlotte has one of the best urban tree programs in the country. You can visit their website at Charlotte Tree Plan to learn about how an urban forest provides numerous benefits to a city’s residents. Visitors to Charlotte often wonder why certain trees have what looks like bandages wrapped around their trunks. These are special treatments designed to capture fall cankerworm females.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Making It Grow gets lots of calls from Charlotte, right up the road in North Carolina. Charlotte is rightfully proud of its urban tree program and the City does a lot to protect its valuable tree canopy, which provides numerous benefits to its citizens. As we watch the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, it should serve as an encouragement for all of us to plant trees in our urban areas.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. People who live in areas with documented Emerald Ash Borer infestation can do their part to help slow the movement of these insects by watching for signs of damage in ash trees.  By alerting local authorities, infested trees can be destroyed hopefully before the damaging larvae develop into adults and lay eggs in neighboring ash trees. Look for flagging – ends of twigs that have turned brown and are broken, hanging down in the canopy.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. All over the country, scientists check for the presence of the invasive and deadly Emerald Ash Borer by placing purple traps in trees. These devices are baited with sex pheromones that entice male beetles to enter the traps from which they can’t escape. The half-inch or so long beetles are not great flyers, they don’t move very quickly by themselves, but have spread quickly to 30 states, mostly in the Eastern half of the country, with the addition of Colorado.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The Asian Emerald Ash Beetle causes little damage to Asian species of ash trees in its native range as both evolved together over millions of years.   That natural process didn’t extend to ash species growing in Europe and North America, and the accidental introduction of that insect to those continents is causing destruction on a scale like that of the Dutch Elm Disease in our history.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The exotic invasive Emerald Ash borer, an Asian beetle, was first found in the US in Michigan in 2002, it probably arrived in solid wooden packing material. Today this insect is active in thirty states (South Carolina was just added on August 3rd). Hundreds of millions of ash trees have died in the 15 years since this insect arrived.  The natural stands of American ash species are predominantly in the northern eastern half of the country, with an estimate of eight billion individuals.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. One cool benefit of participating in Clemson Master Naturalist program (just search South Carolina Master Naturalist Clemson Extension to learn about it) is the follow up educational opportunities you can be part of.  Recently, a group of us learned all about threats to the health of our forests during a day-long workshop.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although kaolin clay makes a great sunblock for your sensitive vegetables and fruits, many farmers prefer to use a product that’s easier to wash off. Calcium carbonate, the main component of agricultural lime that raises the pH of our soils, is also the main ingredient in several products that act to protect fruits and vegetables from sun scale. Unlike kaolin, which actually blocks the sun’s rays, calcium carbonate sprays form crystals that act like tiny mirrors and reflect the sun’s rays.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In the New World, the first kaolin clay mined for shipment back to England to be used in fine china came from the colony of South Carolina, and today we are second only to Georgia for kaolin extraction. We spoke about how kaolin clay sprayed on vegetables and fruits helps prevent insect feeding, but it also can prevent sunburn. Just like zinc oxide protects my nose from the sun, a coating of this white clay film protects tomato fruits from sunscald and tissue necrosis.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Lots of calls are coming to   Extension offices about vegetable plants that have lush and plentiful foliage but are not setting fruits, especially beans and tomatoes. There are several factors at play. One is high night time temperatures. Tony Melton explains that plants cool themselves by a process called transpiration – basically sweating.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Kaolin clay is a nuisance in garden soil; unlike red clay, it’s basically inert, low in electrical charges that hold nutrients and water, and is even more gluey and sticky if you can image that. However, it has a several uses for commercial growers and home gardeners. When kaolin clay is sprayed on plants, it forms a barrier, coating the leaves and fruits with a white film which protects them from damage by certain insects, including thrips and other leaf and fruit eating pests.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. My new sunscreen has zinc oxide in it; it actually forms a physical barrier to protect my skin from sunburn. Believe it or not, sunburn is a serious issue for many fruits and vegetables, too. Sunburn necrosis occurs when vegetable’s skin or peel which receives direct sunlight reaches a certain temperature and the tissue is killed. It’s the temperature of the fruit’s skin  – not the air temperature – that’s critical.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Our native black cherry tree, Prunus serotina, produces showy, elongated racemes of individual white, perfect, flowers in early spring. These flowers have pollen and nectar coveted by insects and are pollinated by native bees, flies, and honeybees. In early summer they ripen and have a sweet, pungent taste. If you’re interested in foraging, you might want to look in the old cookbook Charleston Receipts for the cherry bounce recipe.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Our native black cherry, Prunus serotina, is usually defaced this time of year by a large web of silk that houses several hundred leaf-eating Eastern tent caterpillars. If you can reach the web, use a small rake to pull the mass to the ground. Then you can actually stomp on the caterpillars and destroy them. If you don’t, they will march right back up the tree. If you can’t reach the nest, don’t fret, as the tree will produce new leaves and continue photosynthesizing for the rest of the season.

Black Cherry Wood

Aug 3, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The wood that comes from our native black cherry tree, Prunus serotina, is the most prized in the forestry/timber industry. The wood has the beautiful deep red color valued by furniture makers, is strong, and is easy to work. The Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania and New York is the region that produces the majority of quality timber.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Prunus serotina, black cherry, is our most important and largest native cherry tree in North America. It has a huge range, from the middle of Canada to Florida, over to Texas and Arizona and even with a subspecies that extends into Mexico and parts of Central America. Its importance in the forestry/timber industry is based on the beauty of its wood, which has that deep red color so beloved by furniture makers and for those fortunate enough to use it for paneling or flooring.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you take a botany class, you learn that the leaves or stems of certain plants have aromatic compounds. My mother had a Florida anise, Illicium parvifollium, in our yard and she would always crush a leaf when we walked outside and let us inhale that wonderful licorice fragrance.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Feeding the   worms in your compost bin with fruits and vegetables you bought but never used doesn’t completely exonerate you from being part of the problem of food waste in America, but it does reduce infrastructure costs.  Transportation, handling expenses, and taking up limited space results in a cost of $60 per ton for discarded food when it ends up in landfills.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The cost of sending a ton of food to a landfill in South Carolina averages $66; the methane which landfills emit is twenty-five percent more potent in enhancing the greenhouse effect carbon dioxide is. Clemson’s Food Safety and Nutrition Team came to Making It Grow recently with some ideas on how to reduce the twenty percent of landfill space that is devoted to receiving discarded food. Education is one way to reduce food waste.

Food: Use It All!

Jul 13, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. My pressure cooker is one of my favorite tools. When we de-bone chicken, the carcass goes in the pot along with the leftover pieces of vegetables that have been hiding out in the back of the refrigerator bins. Presto, no pun intended, we have chicken broth.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow.  Including all sources --institutional, commercial and residential-- food that’s thrown away is the largest component of what goes to landfills, responsible for at least twenty percent.  You might think that’s just wasteful but actually there are disposal costs.  From the standpoint of air quality and climate change, that food becomes a large factor in the emission of the greenhouse gas methane.

Consumer Food Waste

Jul 10, 2017

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Clemson’s Food Safety and Nutrition people not only try to keep us from getting sick from eating improperly stored, cooked, or served food; they also want us to stop wasting food. In 2015, South Carolina recorded six hundred seven thousand tons of food as being wasted. On the national scale, thirty to forty percent of what is grown and processed is wasted and has a value of one hundred sixty billion dollars each year.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Elderberries begin life as small white flowers held by the hundreds in flat clusters called corymbs, the blossoms eventually become deep purple fruits which when ripe are devoured by birds and mammals. The plant itself is large and rough-textured, growing well over six feet tall and with an equal spread in moist, rich soils.

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