Happy New Year to You!

We hope this newsletter finds you all well and enjoying the beginning of a new year! Read on to discover some great information from our Co-Director Dr. Andrea Ludwig on stabilizing stream banks with live staking and the new wetland preserve at the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville, TN. Check out other campus green infrastructure happenings in our "Campus Corner" feature. Also we have a winter craft article that makes fun hanging bird feeders out of homemade suet! We hope you enjoy and as always check out our winter garden tips that will get you ready for spring!!

Happy reading!
The Tennessee Smart Yards Team
Improve Your Drainages with Live Stakes - Andrea Ludwig, PhD

Live stakes are cuttings from dormant woody plants that can be driven into wet soils of streambanks and ditches as an easy and cost-effective way to re-vegetate and secure a nuisance streambank. Continue reading about this innovative process here.

The Wonder a Wetland Can Bring - Andrea Ludwig, PhD

At the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville, faculty and students have worked to recreate wetlands that had historically characterized the Tennessee River floodplain.  The area selected for the project had frequently occurring drainage problems that made maintaining turf a challenge.  Instead of that constant struggle, the team designed and built a wetland that would work with the local hydrology (or water movement) instead of working against it. Read more about the wonderful project on UT's campus and learn about the benefits of preserving or re-establishing wetlands in our community here.

Campus Corner

The Claxton Rain Garden was completed as part of UT's Green Infrastructure Project. Read More about it here.
Creative Winter Suet projects that your backyard birds will love! -by Katie Walberg

Suet, a nutritional bird food for wintering birds, is easy to make and fun to turn into creative bird treats that are not only attractive but beneficial to our feathered friends. This is a great creative project to do while your stuck inside during the cold months of January and February. Get the kids involved or your local scouts, clubs and other groups as well! Learn more about how to make these decorative suet treats here.
TNSY Feature Native Plant


Ilex verticillata

A deciduous holly that occurs naturally in swamps, bogs, wet meadows and wet forests but is still fairly adaptable in the garden provided the soil is not droughty. Hardiest of the native hollies. Requires male and female plants to set fruit, and females laden with red fruits make a spectacular sight in winter. Excellent for mass planting, shrub borders, waterside planting and wet soils. Large number of cultivars available. Attracts birds. Learn more at our Native Plant Blog here.
Garden Tip #2

Garden Planning
If your winter landscape is a bit dull, consider what plants you could add to make it more interesting. Plants with berries can brighten a winter landscape, and some have interesting bark, and foliage. Winterberry, Ilex verticillata or American Holly, Ilex opacais are great TN native additions to the winter landscapes as are native grasses if you leave the seed heads on them.

Garden Tip #3

Protect Shrubs, Trees, and Grasses
Avoid the use of salt-based products on sidewalks and drives. Sand or cat litter provides good traction on slick spots without damage to lawn, shrubs, or concrete.
Garden Tip #1

Holiday House Plants
Leftover poinsettias can keep their color long after the holidays are over, with just a little care. Remove the foil wraps and give them a basket or other basin to catch overflow water. Give them bright sunlight and even moisture and the colorful bracts can remain bright for months. When the color starts to fade, cut the plants back by half if they have grown leggy and treat them like a houseplant. Give them bright light and even moisture and wait for spring to move them outdoors.

Keep In Touch!


TNSY Statewide Co-Directors:
Ruth Anne Hanahan
Dr. Andrea Ludwig


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