Wayne Brady’s got a brand new shoe! The Emmy winner will take over the role of Lola in Kinky Boots on Broadway. Tony winner Billy Porter will play his final performance at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on November 20. Brady will begin the next day.“I’m thrilled to join the Kinky Boots family and unleash my inner Lola,” Brady said in a statement. “I’m ready to jump in with both feet!”Brady received Emmys in 2003 for Whose Line Is It Anyway and The Wayne Brady Show. He made his Broadway debut in 2004 as Billy Flynn in Chicago and also appeared in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl in 2010. He is currently the host of the CBS reboot of Let’s Make a Deal.The musical, featuring a score by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein, won six Tonys in 2013 including Best Musical. In addition to Porter, the production currently stars Andy Kelso as Charlie and Haven Burton as Lauren.After his long-running sting in Kinky Boots, Porter will star in Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed opposite Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry. Performances will begin on March 14, 2016 at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. Kinky Boots View Comments Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on April 7, 2019
Long Day’s Journey Into Night Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on June 26, 2016 The first date switcheroo after the Tony Awards changed eligibility deadlines has been announced. The upcoming revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night has pushed back opening night to April 27, 2016; it had previously been scheduled for April 19 at the American Airlines Theatre. Directed by Jonathan Kent, the Roundabout production of Eugene O’Neill’s classic will star Oscar and Emmy winner Jessica Lange, Oscar nominee Michael Shannon, Tony winner John Gallagher Jr. and Tony nominee Gabriel Byrne.Long Day’s Journey Into Night is the tale of an ordinary summer’s day with extraordinary consequences. Drawing so heavily from the author’s personal history that it could only be produced posthumously, the story centers on the Tyrones, a dysfunctional family with a drug-addicted mother, penny-pinching father and two troubled sons.Previews will still begin on March 31; the limited engagement will end on June 26. Michael Shannon Jessica Lange View Comments Related Shows
By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaPlanting dormant sod on your home lawn isn’t as easy as transplanting trees and ornamentals. Sod roots grow at the soil surface, which makes installing it much riskier. Volume XXXIINumber 1Page 25 “Temperatures at or near the soil surface are more likely to fluctuate this time of year,” said Clint Waltz, a turfgrass specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”If the air is at or below freezing,” he said, “there’s a risk that the roots of newly laid sod will freeze.”Despite the risks, laying dormant warm-season sod is common. If you plan to lay Bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine or zoysia sod, Waltz recommends a series of practices that improve your chances of success.First stepThe first step is to properly prepare your site and take a soil sample.”Root-zone preparation is critical,” Waltz said. A soil test of the site just before you lay the sod will show the soil pH and nutrient needs.Don’t add nitrogen. “Soluble nitrogen is mobile in the soil, so the root system can’t acquire it,” he said. Add nitrogen in the spring once soil temperature at 4 inches deep is consistently 65 degrees or higher.Once you know which nutrients your soil needs, loosen the soil and add the nutrients by tilling them into the top 3 to 4 inches. Remove any large rocks, stones, weeds and other debris. After you thoroughly till and mix the soil, level and smooth it.Before you lay the sod, Waltz said, lightly water the soil. Don’t saturate it. If the soil’s too wet, the site can get ruts from foot traffic or equipment that can be harder to repair after you lay the sod.Ship fast, plant fastTo keep cold injury or drying from killing the roots, lay the sod within 48 hours after it’s harvested. Turfgrass sod doesn’t have a long shelf life in the best conditions, Waltz said. If temperatures drop below freezing while the sod is still on the pallet, exposed roots could freeze and die.Lay the sod tight to the ground and roll it to ensure sod-to-soil contact. Even when you lay it under perfect conditions at ideal times, water management is critical. This is true for dormant-season sodding, too.”Although the root system of dormant grass isn’t highly active or developed,” Waltz said, “it still needs water to keep the growing points of the plant hydrated.” You don’t have to water as much, though. A dormant plant doesn’t need as much water as actively growing grass.As soon as the sod is laid and rolled, water it lightly. Green sod needs many light waterings every day, but dormant sod needs only enough to keep the top 1 to 2 inches of soil moist.”During the winter and spring, rainfall may suffice,” Waltz said. “But if irrigation is needed, about an inch of water may be necessary every two weeks.”Water is keyKeep the soil moist. In as little as a day, undeveloped roots can dry out and die.Don’t let balmy spring weather lull you into a false sense of security. “It’s easy to enjoy cloudless days in the low 70s when there’s little humidity and a comfortable breeze blowing,” Waltz said. “But these are ideal conditions for plant desiccation and sod loss. In this weather, water is rapidly lost from the soil and plants into the atmosphere.”Direct cold injury can freeze and kill crowns, stolons and shallow rhizomes, Waltz said. Unfortunately, newly sodded turfgrass lacks the deep rhizomes and expansive roots necessary to recover from these winter stresses.”Successful sod transplanting depends on proper soil preparation, good soil-to-sod contact and, most important, proper water management to prevent desiccation,” Waltz said.For more research-based turfgrass recommendations, contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent (1-800-ASK-UGA1) or visit www.georgiaturf.com.(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
When it comes to recycling, most people know the basics – sort out the plastic, paper and glass. This conventional method of recycling is used by most homeowners and is usually available through curbside programs across Georgia. Why not take recycling one step further by sorting out organic matter? Removing things like apple skins and used coffee grounds from household trash can reduce the amount of refuse headed to landfills and create food for plants. Organic waste like raw vegetables scraps and grass trimmings can be recycled through composting. Composting is the process in which plant materials decompose into an earthy, dark, crumbly substance that is an excellent soil amendment. Composting may sound intimidating, but University of Georgia experts say it’s as easy as separating your standard recyclable items. You will have to select a site for your compost bin and built a bin. Your compost bin site should be in an out-of-the-way place, in full sun and on a well-drained site. A minimum size would be 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet. Large piles break down faster than smaller piles, but they are also more difficult to manage. A compost bin can be built from a variety of materials including welded wire, fencing, pallets or blocks. Leave the bottom open to the ground and open spaces in the sides to allow air to circulate through the pile. The key to a successful compost bin is adding the right combination of brown and green items. The microorganisms that do the composting work need an even mixture to survive. Here are some tips from UGA Cooperative Extension specialists to help you start the process. Brown compost materials include dry and dead plant materials, autumn leaves, grass clippings, shredded paper and wood chips. These items provide carbon. Green compost materials include fresh plant products, like kitchen fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds and tea bags. They provide nitrogen. UGA Extension specialists say the key is to have more brown items than green. The ratio should be 3:1. Almost any organic plant material can be used for composting, including grass clippings, leaves, flowers, twigs, chopped brush, old vegetable plants and straw. Knowing what not to put in your compost bin is important, too. Avoid diseased plants, weeds and seeds, or invasive weeds like morning glory and nut sedge. And don’t add meats, bones, grease or other animal-based food waste. They can smell bad and attract wild animals. Don’t add cat or dog manure, either. It can smell bad and may introduce diseases (manures from horses, cows and chickens are OK, but don’t use too much). Keep the pile moist but not too wet. To further speed up the decomposition process and prevent odors, mix the pile once a month using a shovel or spading fork. The compost pile is a microbial farm, teeming with bacteria, fungi, insects and worms. These compost critters feed on the organic matter, breaking it down into fine-textured humus. UGA horticulturists say although compost slowly releases a small amount of plant nutrients, it won’t replace fertilizer. Compost is ready when it looks like rich, crumbly earth and you can no longer recognize the original plant material. Each time you mix the pile, some ready-to-use compost should be available. Use your compost by adding it to the soil before you plant vegetables, trees, shrubs or flowers. This will help the soil hold nutrients and water. Compost can also be used as mulch on the soil surface, or as a potting soil for container plants. (Geoffrey Brown is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) By Geoffrey BrownUniversity of Georgia
When it comes to buying a gift for that hard-to-please person on your shopping list, gift cards may be the perfect solution. They are convenient and popular, and many people view them as the next best thing to cash. A University of Georgia expert warns, unlike cash, gift cards can expire and lose their value. “Different cards come with different terms and conditions related to fees, expiration dates, where you can use them and what happens if they’re lost or stolen,” said Michael Rupured, a UGA Cooperative Extension financial specialist. “Gift cards are definitely not all created equally. There can be some big differences from one card to another.” Some charge a feeSome actually cost more money than what they’re worth, he said. For example, a $50 gift card can cost $55. “You’ve lost $5 from the purchase fee right off the bat with this type of gift card,” Rupured said. “Typically, these are the gift cards that can be used at many locations.” Gift cards bought directly from a retailer are usually offered at face value, he said. But they may have different charges associated with them. A cardholder can be penalized for not using their gift card. Some companies deduct a nonusage fee starting about six months after the card’s purchase. “This is a concern, because many people set gift cards aside and forget about them,” Rupured said. “And this fee will continue to be subtracted from the card until its value is depleted.” Other fees can applyPer-use transaction fees are another possible drawback to using gift cards, he said. This fee is deducted from the gift card if the entire amount isn’t used in one transaction. Rupured said a fee can be charged when you call to check the card’s balance. This could also reduce the face value of some gift cards. Most of these fees are explained in the card’s fine print. “All of these fees and terms should be disclosed, perhaps on the card itself,” he said. “More often, the fees are explained in a separate document, on a Web site or from a toll-free number.” Just like cash, if you lose a gift card, the person who finds it can pick it up and use it. Keep a record of the card informationFor safety sake, Rupured recommends writing the gift card’s unique number on your receipt. Then attach the receipt to the gift card. “The person you give it to will know how much you’ve paid,” he said. “Now they’ll have the information they need to replace it if it’s lost.” Even with these downsides, as long as you pay attention to the terms, gift cards can be useful, he said. “A lot of retailers don’t charge any fees for using their gift cards,” Rupured said. “And if you have family or friends in different cities, you can give a gift card from a major retailer. Just check to make sure they have the same retailer near by.” Worried? Write a checkIf you’re leery of gift cards, Rupured suggests giving a personal check. “There aren’t any fees associated with it, and the recipients can get the cash and use it anyway they like,” he said. Despite your good intentions, your gift card may never be redeemed. “I recently read that a fifth of all gift cards purchased last year were never redeemed,” Rupured said. “Recipients said they either didn’t have time to go shopping or couldn’t find anything to buy.”
For years, University of Georgia plant breeder Scott NeSmith has created new blueberry varieties for the commercial market. Now, he has bred one just for home gardeners.Blue Suede is a Southern highbush blueberry for edible home landscapes, said Nesmith, a horticulturist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.It produces flavorful, large, light-blue berries, and performs well in USDA Hardiness zones 6a through 9a. “It bears attractive, very edible fruit and should look nice as a landscaping plant, too,” he said. “It has nice fall foliage color.”Bred especially for home gardenersBlue Suede is exclusively licensed to McCorkle Nursery, which plans to introduce it as part of their Gardener’s Confidence Collection early next year.But isn’t a berry just a berry? NeSmith says he has to consider an entirely different list of characteristics when he breeds a blueberry plant for the commercial market.“Commercial plants have to meet certain standards for several reasons, including the fact that berries have to travel long distances,” he said. “Yield is another factor. Commercial growers like all the berries of one variety to ripen at once, and then the next variety to come on. Home gardeners like to pick a bowlful at a time.”Blue Suede has a “protracted ripening period,” he said, allowing harvest over a longer period of time. Commercial berries have to survive shippingCommercial growers also worry about problems like berry scarring. If a berry attaches to the plant, an open scar is created when it’s picked.“You can’t have berries that leak and ooze while they are being shipped to the market,” he said. “But in a home setting, it doesn’t matter because you are going to eat them right away.”When adding blueberry plants to your home landscape, Nesmith says to set aside the first year as a growing year for the plant. “You may see a small amount of fruit the second year, but the third year will bring a good blueberry crop,” he said.Varieties bred for home planting like Blue Suede are designed to stand alone in the landscape. They are self-fruiting and do not require other plants for pollination.“If you are a home consumer who wants to plant 10 to 15 blueberry bushes and create a patch, you may want to select a standard commercial variety,” NeSmith said.Garden centers supplied by McCorkle’sMcCorkle Nurseries is promoting Blue Suede as a deck or patio container plant.“It’s perfect for people who live in condominiums or apartments and don’t have a space to plant more than one plant,” said Mike Sikes, a horticulturist with McCorkle Nurseries. “It’s perfect for all seasons, too. You can enjoy the beautiful colored foliage in the fall, green leaves in the winter, flowers in the spring and delicious berries in the summer.” More to comeBlue Suede is the first UGA edible ornamental blueberry release, but it won’t be the last, Nesmith said. There are plans to breed and release blueberry plants that produce a variety of different traits. “We are looking at one plant that produces a berry that turns yellow, orange and then kinda black,” he said. “They will all be very edible, very sweet and attractive in a landscape. One of our goals is to produce a plant that doesn’t just look like a stick most of the year.”
For more information on how to care for ornamental plants in the winter, see UGA Extension Circular 872 at extension.uga.edu/publications. Landscape plants get plenty of attention during the summer, but they need protection during Georgia’s winter months. Rather than trying to keep plants warm, gardeners should help protect plants from wind, snow, ice, drastic soil temperature changes and heat from the sun on cold days.Reducing water loss can protect evergreen plants. All plants transpire, or lose, water through their leaves. Evergreens continue to lose water during the winter, so the plant’s roots must be able to take up moisture. Homeowners are more conscious of watering shrubs during the summer and often neglect to water plants during cold weather. Roots absorb moisture when it’s available, but during a dry period or even when the ground is frozen, moisture isn’t available. The plants continue to transpire water, drawing moisture from living cells. If too much water is released, the plant’s cells die, causing the plant’s leaves to turn brown and die. High winds and warm sunshine on cold days result in a higher rate of water transpiration. Protection can be offered by relocating susceptible plants to a sheltered location. Also, provide them additional water during dry periods or prior to expected hard freezes. An additional layer of mulch is also recommended during winter months after the first freeze. Mulch will reduce water loss from the soil, aid in transpiration and reduce “heaving” of the soil as the ground freezes and thaws. Soil heaving, or frost heaving, occurs when soil swells during freezing conditions and ice grows towards the soil’s surface.To protect plants from cold damage, University of Georgia Extension horticulturists recommend following these six steps: Plant only varieties that are hardy for the area. Given a choice, plant less-hardy plants in the highest part of the landscape. Cold air settles in the lowest area. Protect plants from cold wind with a fence or a tall evergreen hedge of trees or shrubs. Shade plants from direct winter sun, especially early morning sunshine. Plants that freeze slowly and thaw slowly will be damaged the least. The south side of the house, where there is no shade, is the worse place to plant tender plants. Stop feeding plants quickly available nitrogen in late summer to allow them to “harden off” before cold weather arrives. Plastic covering provides excellent protection. Build a frame over the plant or plants, cover them with plastic and secure the plastic to the ground with soil. Shade plastic to keep temperatures from building up inside. Plastic traps moisture and warm air as it radiates from the soil and blocks cold winds. Do not allow the plastic to touch plants.
Georgia’s supply of sodded turfgrass will sufficiently cover demand this year, and the delivery cost is not expected to rise, according to the Annual Georgia Sod Producers Inventory Survey conducted by Clint Waltz, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension turfgrass specialist, and the Georgia Urban Ag Council.Thirteen Georgia sod producers participated in the survey, representing farms ranging in size from less than 300 acres to more than 900 acres. The majority of survey participants manage less than 300 acres.“Only one producer indicated plans to add acres in 2018. This is a substantial decrease from the previous three years where 92 percent of surveyed producers reported adding acres into production,” Waltz said. “2018 appears to be a slowdown, but Georgia sod producers have added over 1,000 acres of turfgrass since 2015.”The survey collected data on the stock of Georgia-grown Bermuda grass, centipede grass, Saint Augustine grass, tall fescue and zoysia grass. The majority of the surveyed producers grow Bermuda grass.The state’s stock of zoysia is the same as last year — a “suitable volume,” according to Waltz. Georgia sod producers don’t plan to add more acreage this year, according to the survey.Growers say the price of sodded turfgrass in Georgia should remain steady into 2018. On-the-farm and delivered prices for sod are expected to remain relatively unchanged or decrease compared to 2017 and 2016 prices.The price drop could range from 4 to 11 percent over last year’s prices, according to survey respondents. Of the five species grown in Georgia, only Saint Augustine grass is forecast to have a noticeably higher price than in 2017. The average price for certified grass will be 2 cents per square foot less than last year.“Paying more for certified grasses provides the end consumer with the assurance that they are receiving varietal purity,” said Waltz. “When told of the benefits of certified sod, consumers we have surveyed say they would be willing to pay $20 to $25 more per 500-square-foot pallet.”The cost to deliver sodded Bermuda grass, zoysia and centipede grass is expected to be similar to last year. The survey showed that the delivery price for tall fescue is projected to fall, but the cost to deliver Saint Augustine grass will rise. Freight rates per mile shipped to Atlanta, or within 100 miles of the farm, held constant.The majority of the sod producers surveyed said most of their sod is sold to landscape contractors and to golf courses. In the past, when inventory shortages were a concern, it was prudent to plan well in advance for turf-related projects to get the best price possible, according to Waltz. “2017 was a good growing year for sodded turfgrass. Added acres in production over the past few years seemed to have stabilized the market for now. 2018 appears to be less tenuous,” Waltz said.To view the entire 2018 survey, go to GeorgiaTurf.com.
Excessive rainfall in May reduced the potential yield of Georgia’s tobacco crop by as much as 15 percent, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension tobacco agronomist J. Michael Moore.Moore believes that some producers experienced as much as 15 to 25 inches of rainfall during the last two weeks in May, a time when tobacco is starting to grow. The added moisture leached a lot of nitrogen — a vital nutrient — out of the soil, which caused the tobacco to turn yellow.“When you think about losing 15 percent of optimum yield for the season, it’s really not a good start. But then again, it’s not just Georgia. We see damage in South Carolina and in North Carolina from late crop planting because it’s been too wet,” Moore said.The increased rain combined with limited sunlight caused the tobacco roots to suffocate when the soil filled with water. The roots died and began to rot. Moore said farmers are now trying to grow a new root system that will soak up the nitrogen that still resides in the soil. The plant will regrow roots as the soil dries if it did not totally drown.Some growers replaced some of the nitrogen that leached from the soil to make it available to the plants growing new roots.“We experienced a drought several weeks prior to the beginning of the rain. We needed rainfall, we just didn’t need it all at once and we didn’t need the volume that we received,” Moore said.Growers have worked with local UGA Extension agents to determine how best to replace the leached nitrogen, the amount of nitrogen that needs to be replaced based on what was applied earlier, and the amount of rainfall over this period of time in May.Eddie Beasley, Berrien County Agriculture and Natural Resources agent, said the current status of local tobacco farms is both good and bad.“It depends on where you are. We’ve got a lot of wet areas and a lot of dry areas. A lot of our crop went through a dry spell, which stunted it. Then we got a lot of rain, so we’ve got a lot of plants under water,” he said.According to Beasley, Berrien County produces more than 1,250 acres of tobacco. Local growers are seeing an increase in tomato spotted wilt virus, and as much as 20 to 30 percent of the county’s crop has been impacted by this disease, which is transmitted by thrips.“The tomato spotted wilt virus has always been a problem for our growers. It’s our No. 1 disease problem, our No. 1 impediment to the yield and quality of the Georgia crop,” Moore said.The virus can damage plants’ leaves to the point that they’re unusable. Plants can also die if they’re infected in the first two weeks.The first round of tobacco harvests in Georgia should begin in the next two weeks. According to Moore, approximately 12,500 acres were planted this year.
During a summer when Georgia corn farmers have relied heavily on their irrigation systems working effectively, many struggled with equipment malfunctions that may have reduced crop yields. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension irrigation specialist Wes Porter believes that those problems can be avoided in the future if producers make necessary modifications after the growing season.“If farmers haven’t employed a good maintenance plan, ensured good uniformity in their irrigation systems, and done a good job fixing leaks and stopped-up nozzles, it was noticed during the 2019 season. We had such a hot and dry time from mid-May to mid-June when our corn was in peak tassel, we’ve seen a lot of streaking. That’s usually attributed to poor uniformity,” Porter said.Streaking refers to a section of a field where the crops have been underwatered and the effects are visible in the form of smaller plants, wilted plants exhibiting stress, and those with a canopy that is not fully developed.A number of irrigation issues can lead to streaking, including clogged nozzles that can’t apply an adequate amount of water; leaks that affect the uniformity of water being applied; and pumps that are not pumping at peak capacity due to aging equipment.“Usually when we get to the point where we start seeing these maintenance type of issues in a normal year, we have had enough rainfall to mask some of the problems. This year, we’ve had such hot, dry weather that those problems have shown up,” Porter said.According to this year’s UGA Extension Corn Production Guide, corn needs the most water — approximately 0.33 inches per day — during pollination. While producers prefer Mother Nature to supply the needed moisture, irrigation systems are in place to satisfy water requirements not met by natural precipitation. However, if malfunctions exist and corn doesn’t receive the right amount of water at the right time, the amount and size of the corn kernels could be impacted.“Many of our growers can see there’s water coming out of the system, but they can’t tell that it’s not flowing at the correct rate,” Porter said. “We’re irrigating, we’re just not getting the exact rate we think we’re applying.”Beginning the weekend of May 11, Georgia fields received little to no rainfall for a three-week span. The dry spell intensified when temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit right after Memorial Day weekend in south Georgia, according to the UGA Weather Network at www.georgiaweather.net.“I think we got into a comfort zone the past couple of years where we had been getting adequate rainfall for our crops. This year we got very little rainfall through most of the state in late spring and, on top of that, we’ve had excessive heat. Suddenly those maintenance issues that farmers may have been neglecting are showing up really quickly, and it may be unfortunate, but some of these issues will show up in yield maps,” Porter said. “It will be easy to tell if there was an irrigation system problem on the yield map, as the yield reductions will follow irrigation system patterns.” Porter recommends farmers thoroughly inspect their irrigation systems and make needed repairs once harvest season is done.For more information about corn production in Georgia, see the UGA Grain Crops Team website at grains.caes.uga.edu.