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Gardener News

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping & Nursery Communities

April 2019


TAKE ONE No. 192

Look Up to See What’s Lurking Above Severe weather can have a lasting impact on the trees in the surrounding landscape. Tearing winds, penetrating rains, heavy snow and ice seem to work together. Allowing dangling branches to remain on trees creates a large number of dangers, including serious injury or even death. Dead trees and branches are unpredictable and can break and fall at any time. These branches can easily crash down on people, pets, cars, fences, homes, rooftops, or other structures. Children are at a higher risk of injury since they often play outside. Because cracked tree limbs are mostly detached from the main tree base, the tree limb will quickly decay, making it extremely unstable and dangerous to everyone and everything. Broken limbs can sometimes leave gaping wounds in trees, making them more susceptible to tree diseases and insect infestations, further decreasing the aesthetic value and tree health while increasing danger. Branches hanging over power lines are a major safety hazard from the standpoint of both the person removing the branches, as well as any passersby. Special training is required to safely prune these branches. Property owners should not attempt to prune branches near, or laying on, power lines. Contact your local

A dangling dead tree branch on Acken Road in Bernards Township, Somerset County, N.J. power company or a professional tree-care service trained in electrical line clearance to have these branches removed. Now is one of the best times to peer up into the tree tops, when the bones of the tree are exposed. As new foliage begins to emerge, danglers, or

as they are often called “widow makers,” can be easily hidden. The New Jersey Board of Tree Experts urges all consumers to check the credentials and insurance of anyone they intend to let do tree work on their property. It is now mandatory to hire a tree care business that

is registered with the state and has employed a Licensed Tree Expert or Licensed Tree Care Operator depending on the services they offer for hire. It is important to make sure that the person is qualified to do tree work and fully insured in case an accident happens. Incorrect

Tom Castronovo/Photo

tree work can predispose your trees to many future problems, including tree failure. In addition, many insurance policies will not cover injuries or damage done by an underinsured tree care contractor, which may leave the financial burden on the property owner.

2 April 2019

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4 April 2019 I often write in this column about all the things I see while out visiting various agricultural operations, and how, in a highly complex society, it is really demanding for one to be a farmer, a producer and grower of food, fuel and fiber. When you think about it, farmers have always had to carry an awful lot of information in their heads to be successful. And until recently, they were doing that without so much of the highly sophisticated instruments we see out on farms today. There has been a “farming sense” handed down to them from generation to generation and imbedded in the way they work that also does much of the trick. For example, I once asked a farmer why there seemed to be almost no flying insects in his hoop houses, even though just seconds before, outside the hoop house, I was swatting several away. He explained that he had noticed the winds on his property always seemed to blow mostly from a certain direction. So, he tilted the hoop houses’ footprint just slightly and, viola, the bugs did not fly in as much. It worked! Of course, there could have been a lot of study to figure out if it would work. Or, it just may have worked right off the bat. NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture

The Simplest of Things Another time, I noticed a field of tomatoes on a divine piece of ground with perfect exposure, drainage fertility, water and the like, that was covered with an 80-foot cape. Why? The farmer explained to me that the giant scarf kept the tomatoes from getting sun scars and also allowed for even more vibrant color by using the diffusing fabric. Still another farmer talked to me about mulch cover and how he discovered using various colors – black, white or red – produced varied and highly productive results. I mention all this because there is an ongoing transformation in the use of high-tech gadgetry that means we have arrived at two specific “styles” of agriculture happening in New Jersey. One is embodied by the homespun spirit of yesteryear, when much of what was available to eat came from farmers around

the corner, brought to you by a really nice farmer you knew and trusted. Contrast that with the kinds of technologically advanced approaches I spoke of earlier. They are spreading through the industry turbo fast, and they will not stop for anyone or anything. Society’s nature is to constantly look ahead in order to solve problems that may or may not be commonplace, whether or not the larger population even understands that there is a problem, or a new vista to explore. Among the more intriguing complex examples of how technological advances can impact agriculture is the CRISPR process, a tool for editing genomes. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, and it allows researchers to alter DNA sequences and modify

Consumer Survey Reveals Consistent Valentine’s Day Buying Habits, Preferences For Valentine’s Day, consumer habits held steady in 2019. That’s one takeaway from a national survey commissioned by the Society of American Florists and conducted by the market research firm Ipsos immediately after Valentine’s Day. Compared to previous years, the survey found a consistent number of consumers buying Valentine’s Day flowers in 2019 — and similar preferences in flower and venue selection, along with demographics of holiday flower buyers. According to the survey, 28 percent of adults in the U.S. purchased fresh flowers or plants as gifts for Valentine’s Day. That figure is in line with the past two years (28 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2017) and marks a slight uptick from earlier in the decade (24 percent in 2015, 23 percent in 2014 and 25 percent in 2013). The Society of American Florists also surveyed its members on holiday returns; look for results from that survey in next week’s E-Brief. The majority of floral purchases (55 percent) were made at supermarkets, matching last year’s results and up from 2017 (46 percent). On the grocers’ heels were retail florists, who supplied 35 percent of Valentine’s customers — the same percentage as last year and similar to 2017 (36 percent) — followed

by followed by mass merchandisers (18 percent), national Internet floral services (15 percent), national toll-free floral services (7 percent), street vendors (5 percent) and convenience stores (5 percent). Gift selection reflected a longstanding trend. Overall, 84 percent of Valentine customers chose roses (the same figure as last year), predominantly red (69 percent), followed by white (38 percent), pink (37 percent), yellow (29 percent), peach (28 percent), lavender (26 percent) and orange (20 percent). Approximately three in 10 (31 percent) bought a mix of colored roses. Fortyfive percent of customers bought an arrangement of mixed flowers and 29 percent bought a plant. The median amount spent on flowers or plants for Valentine’s Day 2019 was $40, the same figure as in 2018 and 2017. The average amount spent, however, has increased each year since 2015 (from $51.80 to $58.70 to $69.40 to $70.20). More than half of Valentine’s Day consumers (52 percent) bought flowers for their spouse. Nearly a quarter gave flowers to their significant others (24 percent) and mothers (23 percent). Other recipients included children (15 percent) and friends (12 percent). Nine percent of buyers purchased flowers for themselves.

gene function. Improving agricultural output by correcting genetic defects or treating/preventing the spread of diseases in crops and livestock is a major focus of the use of CRISPR technology. CRISPR-Cas9 is the latest advancement in this area. It allows scientists to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA in an excruciatingly nano-precise way. This highly targeted editing of a genome allows for expanding diversity in agricultural products. For example, a fruit crop can be CRISPR-modified to improve yields, enabling every square inch of growable environments to produce fabulous, colorful, greattasting and more affordable food. Maximizing these technologies, many futurists and planners believe, will be key to helping stave off starvation in an everexpanding population.

With our multi-generational farms, high-tech research at university campuses, a highly educated workforce, and 100 million close-in customers in less than a few days’ drive from our farms, New Jersey agricultural production happens to be perfectly positioned to adopt new technologies like CRISPR while also having an agricultural landscape that carries forward the best methods of a simpler age. The good of it all is that you can make your choice, whether you prefer agricultural products that are the result of the latest technologies or those that are the result of generations, sometimes centuries, of tried-and-true farming methods. You get to make the choice that will keep you satisfied. Editor’s Note: Douglas H. Fisher is New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture. He is the department’s executive officer, secretary to the State Board of Agriculture and a member of the Governor’s cabinet. Secretary Fisher fulfills executive, management and administrative duties prescribed by law, executive order or gubernatorial direction. He can be reached at 609.292.3976. For more info, please visit: http://

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6 April 2019


NJAES is a Catalyst for Economic Growth and Innovation in New Jersey For more than 100 years, investment in New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) research has sustained innovative work that strengthens economic viability and improves public health. NJAES researchers strive to gain a deeper understanding of our physical world, identify ways in which humans affect our planet and develop multi-dimensional solutions to address real-world problems. NJAES has a vigorous program of applied research and outreach through its statewide centers (for example: labs, research farms, business incubators, and extension offices). NJAES Investment Areas include: Agricultural Informatics A new NJAES investment area, agricultural informatics utilizes the application of innovative technologies, data analysis and drones to increase the profitability of agricultural business through greater efficiency, more informed decision making and enhanced risk management. Business Development, via business incubation for the past 20 years. Targeted investment in the Rutgers Food Innovation Center and Rutgers EcoComplex has benefited over 3,000 businesses, resulting in new products, new innovations, job creation and environmental sustainability, as well as business establishment, retention and recruitment that benefit the state economy. A new hazelnut variety is about to be released by the Rutgers NJAES hazelnut breeding program.   Cranberry Breeding Program, which was established in 1918. As a result of long term NJAES investment, Rutgers cranberry varieties are now planted on approximately 600 of New Jersey’s 3,000 acres of cranberry bogs. Rutgers cranberry varieties yield 50 to 100 percent more than traditional varieties, resulting in additional revenues of between $2.5 and $5 million annually going directly to New Jersey cranberry growers.   Hazelnut Research, which started in the 1970s. Now, as a result of sustained investment, an innovative agricultural sector is about to be launched that can provide new revenue-generating opportunities for New Jersey farms of all sizes. The Oyster Breeding Program was launched with an initial investment in 1888. This NJAES commitment was critical in initially building New Jersey’s oyster industry. Strides in this area supported industry recovery through the development of disease-resistant oysters and contributed to the revitalization of Delaware Bay water quality through oyster planting programs.   More than 100 years of investment in Vector Biology. As a result of NJAES funded research of vector organisms, such as ticks and mosquitoes, threats to public health from pathogen transmission have been greatly reduced. The innovative mosquito control approach developed by the NJAES Center for Vector Biology has reduced populations of invasive Asian tiger mosquitoes in some areas by an impressive 75 percent.   Editor’s Note: This content first appeared in the 2018 NJAES Annual Report.

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Blue-Green Algae in Lakes and Streams Blue-green algae are common primitive microorganisms that resemble algae, but which are uniquely classified with bacteria. Blue-green algae are actually cyanobacteria, microscopic organisms that use sunlight to photosynthesize and produce their own food. Cyanobacteria get their name from the blueish pigment phycocyanin, but they also contain chlorophyll similar to plants, and use both pigments to capture light for photosynthesis. In New Jersey, cyanobacteria occur in ponds, lakes, and streams with the highest levels found from June through September. What causes a blue-green algae “bloom”? Blue-green algae are a normal part of a healthy aquatic environment, but the population can “explode” in response to certain environmental conditions. High concentrations of blue green algae can form “blooms” within just a few days. There are three main factors that have shown to increase the likelihood of a cyanobacteria bloom on a body of water. First, since cyanobacteria are photosynthetic, they need direct access to sunlight for significant growth. More light and corresponding warmer water temperatures have been associated with increased growth. Second, nutrient enrichment, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous, is essential for a bloom in waters with a pH range of 6 to 9. Lastly, poor water circulation can facilitate growth of cyanobacteria. With mild winds or currents, large cyanobacteria colonies will accumulate on the leeward shore and expand rapidly as water becomes stagnant. Under these conditions, a body of water can become very turbid with green, blue-green or a reddish-brown color, the appearance of a thin oily looking film resembling paint, or a thick floating scum on the surface. Three genera of cyanobacteria account for the vast majority of blooms: Microcystis, Anabaena and Aphanizomenon. A bloom can consist of one or a mix of two or more genera of cyanobacteria. As long as nutrients remain in excess, cyanobacteria can grow until some other factor such as less light or cooler temperatures limits their growth. Increased nutrients enter the water body as runoff from either point or nonpoint sources. Nutrient sources can include stormwater and agricultural runoff, runoff from fertilized lawns or recreation fields, sediments from soil erosion, improperly functioning septic systems, as well as from natural sources such as leaves, plant residues and woody material. Impacts of blue-green algae: Some of the negative impacts of a cyanobacteria bloom include: spoiling water quality; producing odors or scum; making recreational areas unpleasant or unusable; and dense blooms can block sunlight, which can kill other plants or animals in the water. When not photosynthesizing to produce oxygen, cyanobacteria still need to respire. This along with decomposition from large bloom die-offs uses large amounts of oxygen and can negatively lower the balance in the ecosystem to the point of causing fish “kills”; they can release potential toxins harmful to humans, pets and livestock. Potential toxins associated with blue-green algae: Some, but not all cyanobacteria can produce toxins. Even blooms that contain known toxin-producing species may not produce toxins at detectable levels. It is not known what triggers toxin production in the cyanobacteria. These toxins are produced inside the cells and stay there as long as the cells are alive. When the cyanobacteria cells die and break down, the toxins are released into the water where the concentration of toxins may vary dramatically and are not evenly distributed. Potential toxins include nerve toxins, anatoxins and liver toxins called microcystins. It is not possible to tell if the cyanobacteria present in the water body are producing toxins without laboratory tests. These toxins have been known to kill cattle, dogs, and other animals that drink affected waters. Because of this, waters that show signs of cyanobacteria should be treated with caution. While rare, humans and animals that come in contact with cyanobacteria toxins may result in health problems that include: skin rashes, hives and blisters; irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat; possible breathing problems; and abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. To protect yourself and your pets: Don’t swallow water from any waterway; do not swim or wade in areas that have evidence of cyanobacteria; if you swim in or come in contact with water that might have a bloom, wash thoroughly with fresh water as soon as possible; don’t let pets or livestock drink or enter water where cyanobacteria are present. If pets or livestock enter the water, rinse them off immediately. Do not let them lick algae/water off their fur. If symptoms from contact develop, contact your physician or pet’s veterinarian. The long-term solution for the prevention/control of cyanobacteria involves finding ways to reduce phosphorous and nitrogen inputs at their source. Homeowners and landscapers can limit excess fertilizer runoff by not applying fertilizer just before a heavy rain and sweeping excess off sidewalk/driveway into lawn. Editor’s note: This month’s contribution was written by Michael Haberland, Rutgers Cooperative Extension Environmental and Resource Management Agent for Burlington and Camden Counties.


April 2019 7

A Poppy Sparks a Career in Horticulture Perhaps my professional interest in horticulture is to blame, but there are several plants that trigger fond memories and bring me back to my youth. Celandine Poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum, once lined the shady edge of lawn adjacent to my parents’ house. I found it entertaining to break the stems and see the orange latex sap flow forth. The sap evolved to prevent predation, but I found it to be a fine alternative to ink! Little did I know, the rather caustic liquid that can create welts when it comes in contact with the skin was also used by the Native American Indians as a dye and as war paint. Stylophorum diphyllum is a member of the Papaveraceae or Poppy Family and is native to Eastern North America. The plant was originally named Chelidonium diphyllum in 1803 by the French botanist André Michaux (1746-1802).

The name was published posthumously in his book Flora Boreali-Americana (The Flora of North America). Chelidonium is a very closely aligned genus in Europe, with smaller flowers and stature. It is also a biennial, versus being a true perennial. In 1818, the English botanist Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859) noticed the numerous differences and published the plant as a new genus in his book Genera of North American Plants. The name comes from the Greek Stylos, meaning “style” and Phoros for “bearing,” referencing the very dominant style at the center of the blossoms. A style is the stalk that connects the stigma, where the pollen alights, to the ovary. The species epithet means two leaves, describing how the foliage appears in pairs. Each bluish-green leaf grows to six inches long and two-and-a-half inches wide and is divided into five to seven lobes, giving the plant a decided fern-like appearance. In late-April, the initial

flowers of Celandine Poppy appear as the foliage is just beginning to emerge from the rhizomatous root system. Flowering continues into early-June as the plant expands to its full height and width of 18 inches. The flower buds emerge from between the two leaves at the tip of the stems in umbels of two to four buds, although they can also appear singularly. Each oblong bud is covered with protective hairs and opens to four golden yellow petals. Each flower measures one to two inches in diameter with a central boss of anthers, through which the long style with its very bulbous stigma protrudes. As the flowers fade, they are replaced by an oval, fourchambered seedpod that hangs below the foliage and once again sports short, protective hairs. Come mid-summer, the capsules split open to release the seeds, which are moved about by ants. Each seed has a white, carbohydrate and lipidrich elaiosome attached to the surface of the seed coat.

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The function of the elaiosome is to actually attract the ants, who will take the seed and the attached elaiosome back to their colony as food for their young. Once the elaiosome is eaten, the seed is deposited in a trash chamber or outside the colony where the seed can germinate. Unlike the toxic nature of the orange sap, the seeds are edible and serve as a food source for a number of wildlife, ranging from snails and slugs to mice, chipmunks and even deer. Celandine Poppies are hardy from zones 4 through 9 and thrive in moist forest conditions where the plant is protected from the midday sun. Plants relish humusrich soils that are resistant to summer droughts. During prolonged periods without rainfall, the foliage will become tattered and the plants may go dormant, although new foliage often reappears with autumn rains. Stylophorum is difficult to find in garden centers, since its retail appearance becomes compromised quickly if it

does not receive constant shade or moisture. Still, it is a much welcome plant for the spring woodland garden and I always relish the early golden blooms. As I look at the plants every spring, I often wonder how many other people are reconnected to their youth through the orange sap. It was a small thing, but it definitely helped to connect me with the world of plants. Editor’s Note: Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth; is the managing director of the Rutgers Gardens, a 180-acre outdoor teaching classroom, horticultural research facility and arboretum; an adjunct professor in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; regularly participates in the Rutgers – Continuing Education Program; and past-president of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at (732) 932-8451. For more information, please visit

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Phone Directory Atlantic County Phone: 609-625-0056 Bergen County Phone: 201-336-6780 Burlington County Phone: 609-265-5050 Camden County Phone: 856 216 7130 Cape May County Phone: 609-465-5115 Cumberland County Phone: 856-451-2800 Essex County Phone: 973-228-2210 Gloucester County Phone: 856-224-8040 Hudson County Phone: 201-915-1399 Hunterdon County Phone: 908-788-1339 Mercer County Phone: 609-989-6830

Middlesex County Phone: 732-398-5260 Monmouth County Phone: 732-431-7260 Morris County Phone: 973-285-8300 Ocean County Phone:732-349-1246 Passaic County Phone: 973-305-5740 Salem County Phone: 856-769-0090 Somerset County Phone: 908-526-6293 Sussex County Phone: 973-948-3040 Union County Phone: 908-654-9854 Warren County Phone: 908-475-6505

8 April 2019

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April 2019 9

Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

Gardener News is Growing Every Day!

April marks the 16th anniversary of the Gardener News. As executive editor and publisher, thank you for reading this paper on a regular basis, both online ( and in print. Before I go any further, a BIG THANK YOU goes out to the advertisers who support the Gardener News on a monthly basis. Please allow me to introduce a few of the paper’s loyal advertisers: American National, Biondi’s Florist and Greenhouses, Bonide, Chatham Print and Design, Deer Out, Doug Guthrie Design, Edgewood Pharmacy, Espoma, ferti•lome, Hall’s Garden Center, Hionis Greenhouses and Garden Center, Jonathan Green, Landscape Materials, New Jersey Deer Control, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, New Jersey Forestry Association, New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, New Jersey One Call, Plant Something, Sterling Yards, The Crab’s Claw Inn, Total Pro Expo and Conference, Toro, and Williams Nursery. And a really BIG THANK YOU goes out to all of the columnists and contributing writers who, in my opinion, are brilliant agricultural, gardening, landscaping and nursery industry specialists. Please allow me to introduce them to you by name: Bruce Crawford, Douglas H. Fisher, Jeannie Geremia, Lori Jenssen, Bob LaHoff, Hubert Ling, Peter Melick, Al Murray, Lesley Parness (who appears every other month), Todd Pretz, Brian Schilling, Gail Woolcott, and this month I welcome the newest columnist, Eric Houghtaling. Another shout out goes out to Kings Food Markets, one of the paper’s largest distributors. You can pick up copies at one of their following fine locations in Bernardsville, Chatham, Garwood, Gillette, Mendham, Montclair, Morristown, Short Hills, Summit, Verona, Warren, and Whitehouse Station in New Jersey. You can also pick up copies at any Rutgers Cooperative Extension office. Copies are also available at all of the advertisers, select township libraries in the New Jersey counties of Hunterdon, Ocean, Monmouth, Morris, and Somerset. I am also proud to announce that the Gardener News website ( has gone through an entire transformation recently. You can easily read the paper online. On a daily basis you can now view up-to-date news releases about agriculture, gardening, landscaping and nurseries. You can easily read back issues of the Gardener News. And, most importantly, you can sign up to receive an electronic version of the paper that will arrive in your inbox on the first of each month. In 16 years I have had the distinguished honor to meet a lot of people in the industry. And boy do we have a great people in our industry. I also have had the opportunity to visit many events and shows,

most recently, the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show and Landscape New Jersey 2019. Several great New Jersey legislators have become friends as well. Senator Bateman (2014 Gardener News Person of the Year), Senator Scutari (2009 Gardener News Person of the Year), Senator Smith, Assemblyman Bramnick, Assemblyman Houghtaling, Assemblyman McKeon, and Assemblyman Rooney. When it’s time to vote, please vote for these guys! They truly support everything agricultural, gardening and landscaping. A special hello and thank you also goes out to New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher and New York Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball for all of their wisdom and guidance throughout the years. Robert “Bob” M. Goodman, who is a prominent plant biologist and virologist, and has served as the executive dean of agriculture and natural resources, executive director, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has also been an educational voice for me. Thank you! Mike Green, director of the office of Communications and Marketing at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, has also been instrumental on my consistency and clarity of all communications that deal with the university. Mike, you’re the best! Kenneth Karamichael, also very well-known as “Mr. Ken,” director of the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education, needs mentioning here as well. Mr. Ken, you are always filled with inspiration and motivation. Nelson Lee, who was the “2018 Gardener News Person of the Year,” always motivates me to create more positive life changes in today’s society. Thanks, Nelson. And finally, A REALLY BIG SHOUT OUT TO MY PARENTS. Thank you!!! Moving on now… Please do not forget about the last Friday in April. For starters, it’s Arbor Day. This year the date falls on April 26. Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. As a formal holiday, it was first observed in 1872, in Nebraska. On Saturday, April 27, I will help celebrate Rutgers Day, formally known as Rutgers Ag Field Day. Rutgers Day is your chance to get a glimpse of exciting things happening at New Jersey’s state university. With free performances, exhibits, hands-on activities, and demonstrations, Rutgers Day will engage and inform you about the valuable contributions the university makes to the people of New Jersey and beyond. All are welcome and admission is free! See you there…

Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and

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10 April 2019

New Jersey Legislative Update Bill Strengthening County Agriculture Development Boards Earns Assembly Approval Legislation to add alternate members to county agriculture development boards was endorsed by the Assembly. Sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space, the bill (A1052) creates slots for a board alternate from the farming community and one from the general public. The new members will sit on the boards, participate in discussions, and vote if a member is absent or cannot vote. County boards include seven voting members appointed by the freeholders – four with farming backgrounds and three representing the public. “Board members are often prevented from voting because they are unable to attend meetings or due to conflicts of interest,” said Space (R-Sussex). “This bill makes the boards more functional and efficient. Alternates will help the boards reach quorums, move agendas, and perform their duties under the Agricultural Retention and Development Act.” The legislation is also sponsored by Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Sussex).

Bateman Bill Creating ‘Jersey Native Plants Program’ Passes Committee Senator Kip Bateman’s (R-16) legislation to establish the “Jersey Native Plants Program,” to promote the sale of native vegetation at local garden centers has unanimously passed the Senate Environment Committee. “Shopping local is a great way to support the farms that make New Jersey the Garden State, but we can do much more. We also need to encourage people to plant local,” Senator Bateman said. “Planting ‘Jersey native’ vegetation goes hand-in-hand with our successful ‘Jersey Fresh’ program. This legislation will strengthen local farm families, promote healthy eating, and help the environment.” Bateman’s bill, S-3000, would create the “Jersey Native Plants Program” in the Department of Agriculture. The program would promote the sale of plants that are native to the Garden State at local garden centers and nurseries. Similar to the “Jersey Fresh” and “Jersey Grown” initiative, this program would create a labeling system to identify native plants as “Jersey natives.” The bill also aims to increase consumer awareness and educate residents about the importance, variety, and availability of native plants. New Jersey has approximately 2,100 native plant species. 19 globally rare plants have their largest or most viable populations in the Garden State. Nine plants can only be found in New Jersey and do not grow anywhere else in the world. “Locally grown plants are already familiar with the unique climate and landscape of New Jersey,” Bateman added. “Native plants will flourish here and help our state’s natural ecosystem thrive. Let’s ensure New Jersey’s indigenous plants continue to grow strong for generations to come.”

McKeon, Moriarty Bill Clarifying Exemptions in Contractor’s Registration Act Clears Panel Strengthening consumer protections under the “Contract Registration Act,” (CRA), a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris) and Paul Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester) designed to reduce a consumer’s financial and practical burden and penalize non-compliant contractors cleared the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee Thursday. The bill (A-2904) clarifies that exemptions from certain requirements under current state statute in the CRA only pertain to registration, insurance, and bonding requirements for home improvement contractors. Home improvement contractors would still be subject to the other requirements of the act. “Unfortunately, many consumers have experienced home improvement catastrophes while working with contractors who operated unethically by failing to secure property permits or fulfilling their contractual obligation of completing the work,” said McKeon. “In some instances, shoddy work was not discovered until years later which really put homeowners in a bind.” Currently, consumers whose home has been damaged by a contractor’s violation under the CRA are not guaranteed payment for damages associated with the violation unless it is covered under liability insurance. The bill would provide a funding source for restitution to consumers by requiring registered contractors to post a minimum bond of $50,000. Contractors could post a bond greater than $50,000 for more expensive home improvement work. The bill also mandates that a contractor be liable for fines or penalties imposed on a consumer due to the contractor’s failure to obtain construction permits. In addition, the measure makes it unlawful for a contractor to not complete a home improvement job as outlined in the home improvement contract. An unlawful practice under the consumer fraud act is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 for a first offense and up to $20,000 for a subsequent offense. A violation could also result in a cease and desist order from the Attorney General. “This bill will help homeowners hold contractors more accountable for their work or lack thereof,” said Moriarty. “Owning a home is a significant investment, and when renovations are made, the work must be completed and up to code in order to protect that investment.” The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for further review.

Horse Auctioneers to be Stopped from Taking Buyers for a Ride Thanks to Bipartisan Bill Passed by Assembly Legislation approved by the Assembly (S445/A3673) will require horse auctioneers to release identifying information of a horse before a sale, saving horses that mistakenly end up at auction houses and preventing unscrupulous auctioneers from duping buyers. The bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Kevin J. Rooney (R-Bergen) and Ron Dancer (R-Ocean) would require horse auctioneers to determine if a horse has a microchip, or identifying tattoo or brand and post the information online at least 72 hours before they sell the horse at auction. “Thankfully, microchips have made identification easier, which is why scanning should be a requirement,” said Rooney. “This legislation helps protects horses and buyers and holds auctioneers responsible for keeping accurate and timely records.” Since tattoos and brands are not always clear, auctioneers will often rely on a horse’s general appearance for identifying information. This practice can create a nightmare for an unwitting buyer and a corrupt auction organizer who will use a well-bred horse’s identification papers on a similar looking horse. Dancer, who spent more than two decades as a professional trainer and driver with the late national hall of famer Stanley Dancer’s Horse Racing Stables, said, “It is a great tragedy when a race horse is erroneously marked for slaughterhouse sale or when a horse accidentally ends up at an auction. Requiring auction organizers to post information will reunite horses with their rightful or previous owners.” The legislation would require auctioneers to maintain records of any horse they sell for at least one year. Records would need to include a horse’s identifying information, such as the microchip, tattoo, or brand, the date and time the auctioneer posted the information online, and the date and time the horse was sold. Violations are subject to a civil penalty of $200 for a first offense and $500 for any subsequent offenses. The bill now advances to the Senate. Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Eric Houghtaling, and I have the privilege to serve as Chair of the New Jersey Assembly’s Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee. Over the years, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the hard work and expertise of the folks who fill the Garden State’s pantries, plant its gardens and landscapes, and harvest its bounty. While touring farms, vineyards, marinas, and garden centers across every corner of our state, I’m continually impressed by the astounding and beautiful diversity of agriculture that encompasses the great State of New Jersey. You just can’t compete with the kaleidoscope of colors that fills a single field of peppers, a row of budding nursery saplings, a greenhouse of annuals coming into bloom, or a boat laden with fresh, Jersey-harvested seafood. It’s this beauty that first inspired my passion for the issues that affect our state’s agricultural and green industry producers - and led me to become Chair of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The Committee’s goals are simple: to advocate for New

April 2019 11 Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman

Proud to Fight for the “Garden” in The Garden State Jersey’s farmers, fishermen, outdoorsmen, and gardeners; and to preserve the farmland, open spaces, and natural resources that make us “The Garden State.” But the issues are much more complex. This is not a one-man job. My colleagues on the Committee – Assembly Members Adam Taliaferro, Clinton Calabrese, Ron Dancer, Matthew Milam, and Parker Space - are all dedicated fighters for New Jersey growers. We’re not here to pick political fights; we’re here to make New Jersey agriculture healthier, more resilient, and more successful. But to do that, we can’t lock ourselves in Trenton. We need to be ready to listen and learn. That’s why the Chair and Committee rely heavily on the experience of folks who’ve

USDA to Measure Quarterly Colony Loss and Honey Production The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will be collecting information about colony loss in the honey industry throughout the United States. The Quarterly Colony Loss survey will be conducted over the period of March 2019 through April 2019. This survey collects information about colony inventory and loss from more than 400 producers with honey bee colonies in the Northeastern Region of the United States. “The information from these surveys directly impacts our region’s beekeepers and honey producers,” said King Whetstone, director of the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office. “Beekeepers and producers can use the survey results when making business plans and marketing decisions. Cooperative Extension uses the data to provide needed outreach and education and State Departments and Agencies of Agriculture use the information to set insurance values.” In these surveys, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about their colonies. For their convenience, survey participants have been given the option to respond online. As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses and publishes only State and National level data, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified. The annual Honey Bee Colonies publication will be available online on August 1, 2019. Previous publications are also available for review.  These reports can be found online at http://www.nass.usda. gov.  For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at 1-800-498-1518.

lived and worked in the field all their lives. In the past month, we’ve heard testimony on woodland restoration, forest fire prevention, and the fight against invasive species. With your help, the Committee has supported legislation appropriating millions of dollars for farmland preservation; helped advertise farm-to-table restaurants; and passed new protections against trespassers and vandals. But there’s always more we can do. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the Committee’s upcoming priorities. First, whether you’re a farmer in Cumberland County or a backyard gardener in Morris County, you know what it’s like to find your crop decimated by hungry deer. That’s why the Committee is exploring

legislation to protect farmers’ livelihoods from roaming fauna. Next. in 2017, we saw a spike in Lyme disease cases, to a 20-year high. It’s clear we need to control our local tick population - especially following the arrival of a new invasive species, the East Asian Longhorned Tick. With your help, we can bring new funding and strategies to the fight against these dangerous new threats. Finally, too much of New Jersey’s native plant population has fallen by the wayside in recent years, endangering not only our fields and gardens, but habitats for the birds and insects that keep them healthy. Guided by local gardeners, growers, and botanists, it’s my hope that we can bring the Garden State’s natives back to prominence.

I hope to use this platform as a way to regularly update you on the Assembly Agriculture Committee’s work. But I also want this to be an opportunity for you to make your voices heard in Trenton. When President Lincoln established the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1862, he called it “the People’s Department.” That’s what the Assembly Agriculture Committee is: the People’s Committee. Together, we can raise consciousness of the issues that matter most to New Jersey’s farmers, fishermen, growers, and gardeners, and inform the public why the fight for agriculture is their fight, too. I look forward to seeing you again next month.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling is the Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the New Jersey State Assembly. He can be reached at 732-695-3371, by email at AsmHoughtaling@njleg. org, or by mail at 802 W Park Ave, Ste 221, Ocean Township 07712.

USDA Provides $66 Million in Fiscal Year 2019 to Protect Agriculture and Natural Resources from Plant Pests and Diseases U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating $66 million to support 407 projects that will strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, and safeguard the nursery production system. USDA provides funding for these projects under the authority of the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721. Universities, States, Federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, non-profits, and Tribal organizations located in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands will carry out the projects. Also included is $6 million for the National Clean Plant Network that will support 26 projects that focus on providing high quality propagated plant material for fruit trees, tropical trees, grapes, berries, citrus, hops, sweet potatoes, and roses free of targeted plant pathogens and pests. “This vital program helps USDA build mutually beneficial partnerships with State governments, academic institutions, and other important agricultural cooperators across the country,” said USDA Secretary Perdue. “Our partners use these USDA funds and their own expertise to conduct critical projects that keep U.S. crops, nurseries, and forests healthy, boost the marketability of agricultural products within the country and abroad, and help us do right and feed everyone.” Since 2009, USDA has supported more than 2,346 projects and provided approximately $293.5 million in funding. Collectively, these projects allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive pests and diseases. They also help our country maintain the infrastructure necessary to make sure that disease-free, certified planting materials are available to U.S. specialty crop producers. This year, funded projects include, among others: Spotted lanternfly: $10,073,380 to support comprehensive response efforts including mitigation, treatment evaluations, monitoring tools, impact assessments, biological control, and outreach in PA, MA, NJ, NY, VA, DE, and NC; Exotic fruit fly detection: $6,030,000 in Florida and Texas; Agriculture detector

dog teams: $5,155,792 to programs in California and Florida to enhance package inspections, a program in Hawaii to detect Coconut rhinoceros beetle, and detector dog training for these teams; Forest pests: $1,756,679 for various detection, methods development, or outreach to protect forests from harmful pests in 22 states; Honey bee and pollinator health: $1,718,083 to protect honey bees, bumble bees and other important pollinators from harmful pests; Giant African snail: $1,331,601 to support ongoing eradication efforts in Florida; Stone fruit and orchard commodities: $1,097,643 to support pest detection surveys in 20 states; Phytophthora ramorum and related species: $1,107,965 in 14 states and nationally for survey, diagnostics, mitigation, probability modeling, genetic analysis, and outreach; Grapes: $602,364 to enhance surveys for grape commodity pests and diseases in 15 states; Citrus: $462,000 to support citrus commodity surveys in California and Louisiana; and Palms: $581,721 for pest survey and management in 7 states. In addition to these allocations, USDA is reserving $3,810,245 to support rapid response during invasive pest emergencies should a pest of high economic consequence, such as Asian gypsy moth, European cherry fruit fly, coconut rhinoceros beetle, exotic fruit flies, or spotted lanternfly be detected anywhere in the United States or U.S. Territories. You can view the FY 2019 Plant Protection Act, Section 7721 spending plans on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Web site at ppa-projects. The public can help protect America’s agricultural and natural resources by being aware of invasive pests and the damage they cause. APHIS created the Hungry Pests public outreach program to empower Americans with the knowledge they need to leave these “hungry pests” behind. Visit www. to learn more about invasive plant pests and diseases impacting your area and how you can help. And, join the discussion about invasive plant pests via the Hungry Pests Facebook and Twitter pages.

12 April 2019

Landscape New Jersey’s 42nd Annual Record-breaking attendance was the talk at this year’s racingthemed New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association Trade Show and Educational Event held on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, N.J. Preconvention education was offered on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The Exposition Center and many exhibitor booths were decorated with racing memorabilia, and a yellow Ferrari greeted attendees as they entered the show. Many of the exhibitors were dressed up as pit crew, as was the association’s staff. Landscape New Jersey featured over 150 companies showcasing their newest products, equipment, machinery and services to the professionals. The event was a great place to meet up with old friends, learn from the best, and make new business contacts. The 2019 Landscape New Jersey Trade Show booths were completely sold out, and they had a waiting list. For the first time ever, the association ran commercials on cable television in both English and Spanish. They also advertised

heavily in the Gardener News. The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association leadership welcomed, for the second year in a row, New Jersey Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney. Assemblyman Rooney spent over four hours listening to the needs and the problems that the industry faces on a daily basis from the association leadership, attendees and the exhibitors. Assemblyman Rooney walked every square inch of the show floor, making sure he spoke to all attendees who wanted to speak to him. The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, New Jersey’s largest association representing the landscape contractor, is a proven resource to the green industry service provider and supplier, as well as the consumer. They are a community of industry professionals who are dedicated to advancing the integrity, proficiency and continued growth of the landscape industry. They do this through education, training and legislative advocacy. Next year’s show is slated for Feb. 26, 2020, with the preeducation scheduled for Feb. 25, 2020.

Tom Castronovo/Photo Three editions of the Gardener News were prominently displayed and available at the front entrance of the trade show.

Tom Castronovo/Photo New Jersey Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney looks over Bobcat E55 Compact (Mini) Excavator, as Pat Barckett, Director of Sales and Marketing for Bobcat of North Jersey, explain the machine’s special features on the trade show floor.

Tom Castronovo/Photo New Jersey Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, left, learns about the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) from Paul Kurtz, an entomologist with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture in the department’s Division of Plant Industry booth.

April 2019 13

Trade Show and Educational Event

The 2019 Landscape New Jersey trade show floor.

Tom Castronovo/Photo New Jersey Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, right, learned how careless digging can damage underground utilities, causing disruption of vital services, property damage and even possible injury, from Alonzo Bess of New Jersey One Call. He also learned at least three business days, prior to outdoor construction or digging, contractors and property owners – whoever is excavating – call New Jersey One Call at 811 or 800-272-1000.

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Tom Castronovo/Photo New Jersey Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, right, stopped by the New Jersey State Police booth to speak with Troopers Robert Kopec, left, and Terry Handricks, center. The troopers educated the attendees on commercial motor vehicle safety, and state and federal commercial regulations and requirements.

14 April 2019

Spotted Lanternfly Update Emergency Quarantine Declared for Pest Threatening Delaware

The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) announced that they are quarantining eleven zip codes in New Castle County to eradicate, control, and prevent the spread of spotted lanternfly in Delaware and to surrounding states. The spotted lanternfly is a destructive invasive plant hopper that attacks many hosts including trees, shrubs, orchards, grapes, and hops. The insect is detrimental to Delaware’s agricultural industry, forests, and residential areas. Due to quarantines in other states, interstate commerce will be impacted if the pest is transported out of the Delaware quarantine area. “We understand this quarantine will impact businesses and homeowners; however, it is required if we have any chance to control this non-native, destructive pest. With the hatching of egg masses and the presence of adult lanternflies, the population has grown and requires treatment and control efforts,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “The impact of this pest to Delaware is large with 8 billion dollars of Delaware’s economic activity related to agriculture. When you look at our orchards and vineyards, nursery and landscaping industry, and forestland and timber sales, you are looking at more than 1.9 billion dollars alone. Delaware has a lot to lose if we do not gain control over the spotted lanternfly.” The following zip codes in New Castle County have been quarantined in their entirety: 19702, 19703, 19707, 19711, 19801, 19802, 19803, 19805, 19807, 19809, and 19810. The quarantine can expand if there is reason to believe that the pest has moved to a nonquarantined area. A quarantine means that any material or object that could harbor the pest cannot be moved without taking precautions to prevent the spread. The female spotted lanternfly lays egg masses of 30 to 50 eggs wherever it chooses, especially on flat surfaces. All other life stages of this insect from nymphs to adults can fly, hop, or drop onto a vehicle – meaning that this pest can easily be transported to new areas where it can create another infestation. Examples of regulated articles include: Any living life stage of the spotted lanternfly; Landscaping, remodeling, or construction materials; Firewood of any species; Packing materials (e.g. wood crates, boxes); All plants and plant parts including all live and dead trees, perennial and annual plants, and mulch; and outdoor household articles like RVs, lawnmowers, chairs, grills, tarps, tile, stone, deckboards, and other vehicles not stored indoors. In order to move regulated items, the general public will need to complete a residential compliance checklist indicating that you inspected and know that no living life stage of the spotted lanternfly is present on the articles. The checklist is available online at https:// “We have the advantage right now that spotted lanternfly nymphs will not hatch until April and May. We are asking residents to go to our website and download a copy of the compliance checklist,” said DDA Plant Industries Administrator Jessica Inhof. “Then take the time to check all the items you have on the list for egg masses. If you find them, scrape them off into a bag filled with alcohol or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and crush them to destroy the eggs. You will help Delaware to reduce the potential damage that these pests could inflict this spring and summer.” Any person conducting business for a commercial business, municipalities, or a government agency that requires movement of any regulated item within or from the quarantine area must have a permit, available through the DDA spotted lanternfly website. To obtain a permit, a designated individual from an organization must receive training and pass an online test to demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the pest and quarantine requirements. Training of other employees, inspection of vehicle and products, and removal of living stages of spotted lanternfly must be completed. The permit demonstrates the individual understands how to identify the pest and can ensure the items transported are not carrying the insect. For more detailed information regarding the emergency quarantine, permitting, treatment, or to report a sighting of spotted lanternfly, visit the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s dedicated spotted lanternfly webpage at or call the dedicated spotted lanternfly hotline at (302) 698-4632. When leaving a message, leave your contact information and, if reporting a sighting, please provide the location of the sighting. The initial Delaware detection of spotted lanternfly was in Wilmington in the fall of 2017. In 2018, DDA Plant Industries inspectors along with USDA staff conducted surveys around the area where the initial detection was found. The surveys demonstrated that spotted lanternfly had multiple established populations in northern New Castle County.

Insecticide Receives Label to Combat Spotted Lanternfly in 16 States Nufarm Americas announced that Safari® 20 SG Insecticide has received a 2ee label for the control of spotted lanternfly in 16 states. Label recommendations include Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. The spotted lanternfly is an invasive plant-hopper quickly invading, and now spreading in, the northeastern US. The pest impacts more than 70 host plants and, if infested, would result in significant damage and loss to nursery operations. Safari is approved for use in containerized and field grown (in-ground) ornamental plants in nurseries, outdoor landscapes, tree plantations and reforestation nurseries. It includes national, private and state forests and wooded areas. The label provides application alternatives that include foliar spray, media drench, soil drench or basal trunk spray. Safari is a super-systemic insecticide with quick uptake and knockdown of tree, shrub, and herbaceous ornamental pests. It controls a broad spectrum of invasive pests including Q- and B-biotype whiteflies, emerald ash borers, mealybugs, leafhoppers, leafminers, and armored and soft scales — and now both nymph- and adult-stage spotted lanternflies. “The spotted lanternfly may be one of the most devastating invaders the US has combatted,” shared Jason Fausey, Nufarm’s Turf & Ornamental director of technical services. “Safari’s 2ee label is a proven leader when it comes to turning the tide on costly insect invasion and an important course of action for the ornamental and nursery growers.”

Massachusetts Agricultural Officials Urge Residents to Check Plants for Spotted Lanternfly The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) announced that a single dead specimen of spotted lanternfly, an invasive pest, was reported and confirmed at a private residence in Boston. As a result, MDAR urges the public to check for signs of spotted lanternfly adults in any potted plants that they may have received over the holiday season and to report any potential sightings of this pest on MDAR’s online reporting form by taking photographs and collecting a specimen if possible. “Early detection plays an important role in the protection of the economic and ecological resources of our state from invasive species,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “We ask all residents who have received potted plants this past December to help us protect Massachusetts’ environment and agricultural industries by checking for and reporting signs of spotted lanternfly.” The insect appears to have been unintentionally transported this past December in a shipment of poinsettia plants originating from Pennsylvania.

April 2019 15

Spotted Lanternfly Update

Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Zone Extended to Dauphin County in Pennsylvania After receiving reports of a population of Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) in Dauphin County and actively surveying and treating the area, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) today announced the expansion of the quarantine zone. The quarantine gives PDA the authority to regulate the movement of commodities that may be moving within or leaving the quarantine zone. It restricts the movement of articles that contain any life stages of the Spotted Lanternfly, including egg masses, nymphs, and adults. All businesses are required to take an online training course designated to help them recognize SLF and prevent its movement, after which they will receive a permit from PDA. “Whether you are a contractor, farmer, truck driver or business or rail owner, the Spotted Lanternfly can pose a risk to your business and threaten your bottom line,” added Redding. “It is incumbent on Pennsylvania’s business community to obtain a permit so that we can demonstrate our due diligence to trading partners and restrict the movement of this invasive pests to other areas of the commonwealth and other states.” As part of the Spotted Lanternfly quarantine agreement beginning May 1, 2019, The Department’s Bureau of Plant Industry will begin to perform inspections and verification checks to confirm that businesses are properly permitted. Failure to take the permit exam and educate employees

could result in possible penalties and fines. The quarantine zone was last expanded in November 2017 to include Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill counties. As part of the PA Farm Bill to protect agriculture infrastructure, the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account will provide $5 million in funding to allow for a quick response to agricultural disasters, which includes $3 million to utilize animal or plant health officials to contain an outbreak or threat, such as SLF. Additionally, USDA recently dedicated more than $7.5 million in new funding to Pennsylvania’s efforts. This funding builds on work over the past year to eradicate the pest. PDA has taken responsibility for suppressing Spotted Lanternfly populations in the core infestation area, while USDA has established a perimeter extending 18 miles out from the core area, where they are working to eliminate any infestation. Between the two agencies, the entire Spotted Lanternfly quarantine area is being covered. Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has taken the lead on public outreach through its Cooperative Extension service. Additionally, the Wolf Administration has been training employees and issuing permits to state vehicles that travel through the quarantine zone. Redding added that despite the new funding and the

work being done through PDA’s partnership with Penn State and USDA, it is imperative that Pennsylvania homeowners assist control efforts by obtaining the materials needed to spray and suppress SLF on their own properties. “I encourage all Pennsylvania businesses to learn how they can do their part to get permitted, and for communities and homeowners to join us in this fight,” said Sec. Redding. “This invasive insect is prone to human-assisted movement, so residents need to stay vigilant, check their vehicles, and survey their surroundings. By contacting your local Penn State Extension staff, you can receive tips and information about the latest products available to combat Spotted Lanternfly, such as sprays, sticky bands, and other approved control methods.” All Pennsylvania business owners, managers, or supervisors are encouraged to register for the free business permit webinar to be held on Thursday, March 21 from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. To register for the webinar, visit www.Spottedlanternfly.eventbrite.comOpens In A New Window. Homeowners with questions about treatment, including approved sprays, can learn more through Penn State Extension at In A New Window For more information about the Spotted Lanternfly, visit


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16 April 2019

Spotted Lanternfly Update Three Counties in New Jersey Under Quarantine

The State Board of Agriculture declared that the Spotted Lanternfly, a dangerously injurious insect and plant pest not known to be native to New Jersey, that damages nursery stock, agricultural crops, and the environment of the State, to be a nuisance. By order of the State Board of Agriculture, and pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:1-21.5, in order to control the spread of the dangerously injurious insect, the Spotted Lanternfly, a menace to the State’s agricultural industries, environment and residential areas of New Jersey, the following New Jersey counties are hereby quarantined in their entirety: 1. Warren; 2. Hunterdon; and 3. Mercer.

The Secretary of Agriculture may temporarily designate any nonquarantined area in New Jersey as a quarantined area, if the Secretary has reason to believe that the Spotted Lanternfly is present based on positive confirmation of any life stage of this insect by the Department, or by agents of the USDA APHIS. Persons moving regulated materials for business purposes from, or into, the quarantine area shall be required to: 1. Undertake training on the Spotted Lanternfly. The owner, manager, supervisor, or other person(s) with authority to bind the entity and train other employees (hereinafter “designated employee(s)”) shall take training

provided by either by the Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, or others who have participated in a “Train the Trainer”course approved and recognized by the Department, and shall have passed an examination administered by an employee or agent of the Department or  the  Pennsylvania  Department  of  Agriculture, demonstrating they have an understanding and knowledge of the pest and of the procedures necessary to prevent the spread of the pest. Learn more at divisions/pi/prog/spottedlanternfly.html

New Quarantine Will Restrict Movement of Goods Brought into New York State from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is implementing new actions to protect New York, and its surrounding states, from the establishment of the invasive spotted lanternfly (SLF). The Department, working in collaboration with the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), issued a quarantine that will restrict the movement of certain goods brought into New York from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, states impacted by SLF. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets is implementing new actions to protect New York, and its surrounding states, from the establishment of the invasive spotted lanternfly (SLF).  The Department, working in collaboration with the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), issued a quarantine that will restrict the movement of certain goods brought into New York from Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, states impacted by SLF.  State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The spotted lanternfly is a major concern for us when it comes to our agricultural crops and our forest land, so we can’t take any chances that this invasive species will become established here in New York State. The goal of the quarantine we have implemented is to help reduce the opportunities these pests may have in hitching a ride on firewood, plants and other common outdoor items and entering our state in the first place.” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The newly designated exterior quarantine is part of the State’s aggressive effort to protect our natural resources from the destructive, invasive pest spotted lanternfly. If this insect becomes established in New York it would threaten our agricultural and tourism industries, including outdoor recreational activities. DEC will continue to work with our state and federal partners to prevent the introduction of this pest into New York State and do what we can to help educate and prepare communities for spotted lanternfly.” SLF, which is known to do significant damage to agricultural crops as well as plant nurseries and the forest products industries, was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 2014. Established populations of SLF have since been found in New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia.  Two cases of a single reported bug have been confirmed in New York.  Given the proximity to the Pennsylvania and

New Jersey infestations, New York State is at high risk for infestation. While these insects can jump and fly short distances, they spread primarily through human activity. SLF lay their eggs on any number of surfaces such as vehicles, stone, rusty metal, outdoor furniture and firewood. They can hitch rides on any outdoor item and be easily transported into and throughout New York. SLF is a destructive pest that feeds on more than 70 plant species including tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), maples, apple trees, grapevine, and hops. SLF feedings can stress plants, making them vulnerable to disease and attacks from other insects, and cause significant damage to New York’s agricultural industry. SLF also excretes large amounts of sticky “honeydew,” which attracts sooty molds that interfere with plant photosynthesis, negatively affecting the growth and fruit yield of plants. SLF also has the potential to significantly hinder quality of life due to the honeydew and the swarms of insects it attracts. To help slow the spread of SLF into New York, the quarantine requires certificates of inspection issued from the impacted states on the following regulated articles entering New York State: Any living life stage of the SLF; Brush, debris, bark, or yard waste; Landscaping, remodeling, or construction waste; Logs, stumps, or any tree parts; Firewood of any species; Packing materials, such as wood crates or boxes; All plants and plant parts, including but not limited to nursery stock, green lumber, fruit and produce and other material living, dead, cut, fallen (including stumps), roots, branches, mulch, and composted and uncomposted chips; Outdoor household articles, including, but not limited to, recreational vehicles, lawn tractors and mowers, mower decks, grills, grill and furniture covers, tarps, mobile homes, tile, stone, deck boards, mobile fire pits, and any equipment associated with these items, and trucks or vehicles not stored indoors, and any other article, commodity, item, or product that has or that is reasonably believed to be infested with or harboring SLF. New York’s order requires travelers transporting any of the above items to have documentation listing the origin and destination of shipments. It also prohibits unnecessarily stops while traveling through the quarantine area. The State Department of Agriculture

and Markets will operate compliance checks at strategic locations around the State to enforce the regulations. The State’s quarantine order was developed in consultation with representatives from the forest products industry, including manufacturers and harvesters, and nurseries/landscapers, orchard and vineyard owners, and others potentially impacted by the restriction.  New York also collaborated with other states where quarantines have been enacted to slow the SLF’s spread. Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture and Markets and DEC confirmed that SLF was found in Albany and Yates counties. A single adult insect was discovered in a vehicle in the Capital Region and a single adult insect was reported on a private Keuka Lake property in Penn Yan, Yates County. Following both reported cases, the Department and DEC immediately began extensive surveys throughout the area.  The public is encouraged to continue to report any potential sightings of SLF and to send a photo to Please note the location of where the insect was found, egg masses, and/or infestation signs.  The public is also encouraged to inspect outdoor items such as vehicles, furniture, and firewood for egg masses. Anyone that visits the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia infested areas should thoroughly inspect their vehicle, luggage and gear for SLF and egg masses before leaving and scrape off all egg masses. A Smartphone application is also available to help citizens and conservation professionals quickly and easily report new invasive species sightings directly to New York’s invasive species database from their phones. For more information, visit New York’s invasive species database. The Department, DEC, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the US Department of Agriculture will continue to survey throughout the Capital District and the Finger Lakes focusing on travel corridors and high-risk areas. Extensive surveys will continue to be conducted in highrisk areas throughout the state as well as inspections of nursery stock, stone shipments, commercial transports, etc., from Pennsylvania. Education to the public as well as industry personnel will also continue. For more information on spotted lanternfly, visit DEC’s website.

April 2019 17

New Jersey County College Builds Garden at PHS Philadelphia Flower Show

Tom Castronovo/Photo A display featuring the Trenton skyline, created by Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Horticulture, Graphic Design, and Art students, scored a silver medal in the educational category at the 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show. Mercer Horticulture students, along with members of the Graphic Design and Art clubs, put in the extra effort to send an important message to city dwellers: just because their urban landscape is mostly paved doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy an environment rich with plants and flowers. That gave rise to this year’s display, “The Power of a Rooftop Oasis.” Months in the making and based on a design by Horticulture Adjunct Professor David DeFrange, the final details for the MCCC display resulted in an impressive facsimile of a rooftop garden in downtown Trenton, all set in perspective by a massive 23-foot skyline mural created by Graphic Design and Art students, with the “Makes and Takes” bridge as the centerpiece. Other backdrops give the illusion of actually standing on the roof of a downtown building, with a series of posters to educate the Flower Show’s visitors about plants that flourish in pots. DeFrange, right, explains the various aspects of the display – from the water feature to the container plants to the Trenton skyline backdrop – to New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher on the show’s preview day, Friday, March 1. The MCCC display includes hundreds of potted flowers – both annuals and perennials – plus trees (evergreen and deciduous), and herb and vegetable plants, all selected because of their ability to thrive in containers. Whether you are on a rooftop, in a townhouse, or have an expansive backyard, everyone can create their own garden oasis. Container gardening is a great way to optimize space and incorporate common landscape features like trees, specimen plantings, herbs, vegetables, and water features – all in a sustainable way. DeFrange also is a current board member of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association and an incoming board member of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture.

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18 April 2019 Maybe you lost the bet on who would win the Super Bowl? Or, maybe your team did not attract the top free-agent for the upcoming baseball season? Perhaps you can’t hold your breath underwater for the whole length of the swimming pool? But, you can make your yard the envy of the neighborhood. Just read and follow all of my Turf’s Up Gardener News articles for the past 10 years! Curb appeal is very important to your home’s value and the image you project. A nicely landscaped yard can add 15 percent or more value to your home. A nice lawn, landscaped beds, a deck, patio and pool in the back yard with a built-in grill is very enticing. What’s for dinner? Your lawn is probably the easiest thing to improve, even though you may not think so since it usually covers a large part of your property. It certainly is less expensive to upgrade your lawn than a complete backyard overhaul. A typical lawn care program for a 5,000 square foot lawn can cost under $100 There is an old saying that states “April is the Cruelest Month.” I don’t think that this saying came about because statistically speaking, people tend to be meaner to each other in April than in any other month. Nor do I believe that April is the cruelest month because of the April 15 filing deadline for taxes. Although, come to think of it, if Governor Phil Murphy keeps it up, we will soon have another very good reason. No, this saying originated solely because of the weather here in New Jersey. Sure, there are several months that are colder. In fact, the coldest April day would probably feel somewhat warm if it were to occur during January or February. And we certainly know that the traditional dog days of summer in July and August are much hotter, more humid, and much more difficult to deal with, especially with no air conditioning. What makes the month of April so cruel here in New Jersey is how changeable the weather is. They say that March comes in like a lion and goes Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

Make your yard the envy of the neighborhood!

for four applications. If you needed to buy some grass seed and perhaps rent some equipment to plant it, you might be looking at another $175 to $200, certainly less than installing pavers. You can share equipment rental costs with a few neighbors who have the same idea of fixing up their lawn. The conversation may go like this: “Hey neighbor, its early-spring and your lawn is way greener than mine and I did not see you apply any fertilizer yet this year.” “Joe, here’s a little secret. I fed my lawn twice last fall, the last time in October, so the roots stored some food and greened up my lawn once the weather started to warm up.” “I noticed you also have

fewer weeds than I do. What’s that secret?” “Timing Joe, timing. You can’t put your pre-emergent crabgrass preventer down too early. Remember, it is sometimes cool and wet in spring and it takes time for the lawn to start growing and come out of its yellow-green winter dormancy stage. I like to put my first application down later in April, not March. This extends my crabgrass control window. Joe, you have to put the pre-emergent product down first and the broadleaf weed controls for dandelion in late-spring.” “You mean weed-andfeed?” “Yes, weed-and-feed controls dandelions while pre-emergent controls do not

control dandelions.” “Joe, I also noticed you have stripes in your lawn, I think your spreader is improperly calibrated or getting old and tired, how old is your spreader?” “Ten years.” “Ten years, yes, it’s time for a new spreader! Did you take a soil sample and get a test for pH?” “Huh, what’s pH?” “Joe, remember in 8th grade science class, almost everything has some sort of pH value, our hair, skin, water and yes, the soil too. If you do not have the proper soil pH between 6.2 and 7.0, your lawn will not grow thick and green. Apply calcium carbonate products to raise soil pH.” “Lastly, stop buying that

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

April is the Cruelest Month out like a lamb when it comes to the weather. But in April, the lion and the lamb seem to play peek-a-boo with each other for the entire month. If you name it, April weather has it. There can be some seasonably chilly days in early-April, and then the weather might warm up for a bit to the mid-70s for a couple of days. And then the weather changes again and we have a spring blizzard. That is how it seems to go during April. Nothing seems to be out of the question. Name another time of year where you would be more likely to both plow your driveway and cut your lawn in the same month. In years when it is slow to warm up, April seems more like March. In fact, two

years ago, April was actually colder than March. Then in other years, when we have an early spring, April weather can feel more like May. Of course, in years like that, we enjoy the month of April and then worry throughout May that the temperature might drop again and cause harm to all of the trees and planst that have started to grow prematurely. Another type of weather that is very changeable in April is precipitation. Usually, there is a fair amount of rain and or snow in April. Once in a while, however, Mother Nature likes to trick us and give us a couple of weeks of dry weather. If that happens, especially early in the month before the grass and foliage have

started to green up, we are at a greater risk of brush and grass fires than we are at any other time of the year. This is because all of the prior year’s plant material has had all winter to dry out and also because March and April tend to be very windy, which further dries out our fields and forests, making them a virtual tinderbox with the wrong weather conditions. Farming-wise, April is also very unpredictable. With most months, I can predict what type of work we will be doing a year in advance. For example, right now I can tell you that in the middle of May, we will be planting our first tomatoes and peppers. The first week of June, we will be planting pumpkins. The last week of August,

poor-quality grass seed. Your lawn quality can only be as good as the seed you sow. Use a reputable grass seed brand, not one full of gimmicks, coatings and weeds listed that you have never heard of. These weeds are hard to control once you get then in your lawn. Look for grass seed with little or no amount of crop seed or weed seed and high germination rates above 85 percent on the label. Be sure to use the right seed for the areas you have, sun or shade or both.” “I have moss and weeds and standing water and dog spots. What do I do?” “Joe, don’t cry, I’ll help you out and tell you what to do, you just need to do the work. Hey look, there are three more neighbors coming over now to learn how I have the best lawn in town!” Editor’s Note: Todd Pretz is Vice President of Jonathan Green, a leading supplier of lawn and garden products in the northeast. For more information, please visit: we will be picking our first Honeycrisp apples. But if you were to ask me what I would be doing in the first week of April, I would be at a loss to give you an answer. I know that I would like to be planting our first sweet corn of the season then, as well as watching our fruit trees’ blossoms start to swell before they bloom a couple of weeks later. But that doesn’t always happen. I could be just as easily plowing snow as plowing dirt during that week. Happy spring!

Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is currently a Tewksbury Township Committee Member. He also served as a director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau and is a past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Peter has also been featured on NJN, News 12 New Jersey and on the Fox Business Network.

April 2019 19

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge’s™ Goals Met!!! By Jeannie Geremia Contributing Writer

Thank you to everyone who took part in The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge™ begun in 2015 with the formation of National Pollinator Garden Network™, a consortium of likeminded organizations combining resources as our pollinator decline caused alarm bells around the world. National Garden Clubs, Inc., The Garden Club of New Jersey Inc.’s parent organization, is a founding member of this partnership, an unprecedented collaboration determined to rally our members and the public “to help establish one million gardens to assist in restoring critical pollinator population recovery in the United States.” The original partners in this nationwide effort included National Wildlife Federation, Pollinator Partnership, Xerces Society, Kids Gardening, Home Garden Seed Association, American Horticultural Society, National Garden Bureau, Inc., Monarch Watch, National Recreation and Park Association, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, North American Butterfly Association, Captain Planet Foundation, National Environmental Education Foundation, Society of American Florists, Wildlife Habitat Council, America in Bloom, Association of Zoos & Aquariums, American Public Gardens Association, Wild Ones, and Direct Gardening Association. Pollinator resources include the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Smithsonian Gardens and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It took three years of hard work by so many community groups, institutions, and the garden industry, but a press release by National Pollinator Garden Network™ on February 26, 2019 celebrated the registering of 1,040,000 gardens and counting. The partnership’s mission was to inspire the public across our nation to plant for pollinators, no matter how large or small your garden may be, creating a desperately needed habitat providing nectar, food, shelter, water, and host plants for our pollinators. “One simple act can lead to lasting beauty, life, and sustenance – a buzz with promise.” – The National Pollinator Garden Network™ which has grown to over 50 members including Daughters of the American Revolution, LINKS, Inc., The National Audubon Society, Monarch Joint Venture, Garden Writers of America, American Society of Landscape Architects, Garden Media Group, garden trade publications including Gardener News, The Garden Center Group, and The Edible Schoolyard Project. Whew! This amazing partnership has created the largest nationwide campaign since World War II’s Victory Garden campaign. The efforts have

involved 5 million acres of enhanced or new pollinator habitat over the past three years in home gardens, parks (both private and public), places of worship, schoolyards, businesses, plant nurseries, garden centers and businesses. Studies consistently show that “floral-rich, small-scale gardens are proven to increase pollinator abundance and diversity.” It sure beats the boring, manicured lawns that have absolutely no value in ensuring the future of our pollinators that provide an annual value of global crops to the tune of $577 billion. The Garden Center Association reported that in the past three years, there has been a 92-percent increase in demand for pollinatorfriendly plants. Landscape architects have reported an 83-percent increase in clients requesting sustainable designs utilizing native plants. I’m happy to report to you, my gardening friends, that New Jersey is front and center in doing our part to achieve this outstanding goal of 1,040,000 enhanced or new pollinator gardens. New Jersey is listed in the news release generated by National Wildlife Federation as one of the topfive states in registering 14,516 gardens, while the average per state was 12,000 gardens. National Garden Clubs, Inc. was noted in this report as being a “formidable force for pollinators” with 200,000 members, and 5,000 chapters throughout the nation. The Garden Club of New Jersey, Inc. was singled out for exemplifying garden club efforts in the United States by creating innovative partnerships with garden centers through our NGC Award of Excellence Pollinator Center Project signage, and successfully having the Black Swallowtail Butterfly designated as New Jersey’s Official State Butterfly. THANK YOU again to all of you who did your part in growing our pollinator population as we continue our efforts in the Garden State to have a vibrant pollinator population, with butterflies flitting about thrilling us with their beauty and stamina, caterpillars munching away on their host plants, bees buzzing happily about pollinating as they go, and birds doing their part in sowing seed, keeping destructive insects at bay and singing their welcome song as they go about their business. We will continue planting, growing, and nurturing our pollinators and educating our fellow citizens that each garden, no matter how small – urban, suburban or country – can and does make a difference. We will continue offering the Pollinator Center signage, we will be rolling out our new project, Milkweed for Monarchs Helpline, along with our Wildlife Habitat Project as we partner with other conservation and environmental groups, garden centers, nurseries, museums, public/private gardens, community gardens, schools, scouts, libraries and more. New Jersey and Pollinators, Perfect Together!

Editor’s Note: Jeannie Geremia is The Garden Club of New Jersey President Elect, GCNJ Wildlife Habitat Chair, and is a National Garden Clubs, Inc. Master Judge for the GCNJ. Jeannie is a member of Neshanic Garden Club, The Raritan Township Historic Committee and the Raritan Township Board of Health. Jeannie’s email address is:

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20 April 2019 There is a plant, that no matter where I was this winter, it seemed as though I could not escape it. Whether it was snowplowing, traveling to Mexico, or watching a play at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., there it was. A plant that has never really been a “front runner” in terms of nursery sales, however it has proven to be quite beautiful and “tough as nails.” In the United States, there are some 40 recognized species of “Prickly Pear,” Opuntia. The largest genus in the cactus family, Opuntia seldom appears in New Jersey gardens. However, their near care-free habit should make them far more popular in garden settings. Ample light and welldrained soil are really the only requirements needed for this genus to add a desert-like flare to your landscape. Found across North and South America, the Caribbean and even Canada, this plant type “freely hybridize,” leading to new and exciting varieties. “Most Opuntia species do not have classic spines but an arrangement called glochids. These are fine, detachable and fuzzy to wooly.” ( The flowers of this plant type are cup-shaped and can be pink, white, red or yellow. Additionally, some varieties have edible fruits called “tunas” routinely made into Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist jams or candy while their flat pads, cladodes, can help make a delicious salad. Really, the only detriment to growing Prickly Pear well is soggy soil. Every winter snow plowing, for as long as I can remember, has me in my skid-steer loader addressing all the driveways and roadways of a condominium complex we are responsible for. The first set of units has a front foundation engulfed with a groundcover type of Opuntia. Every year this Prickly Pear crawls over the Belgian block, onto the roadway, and every year I come by and selectively prune it back with the blade of my machine. I always marvel at its ability to thrive in a shallow landscape bed, take to the aggressive pruning of my machine and stand up to the rock salt that is thrown its way. Going forward, this past February, my family took a quick vacation down to Riviera Maya, Mexico, where again I saw

Prickly Pear Prickly Pear, but this time not in a landscape. Rather it was on my plate. “Ensalada de Nopal” is a Prickly Pear salad that I found delicious. Eaten throughout Mexico, it is typically served as a side dish or eaten with tacos as a light meal. The taste has been likened to that of “sour green beans,” however I found it to be sort of your typical vegetable taste taking on the flavors of cilantro and onion. Bright green and plump, the cactus pads were full of flavor and had a wonderful textural property in my mouth… for the true foodies here! As with most plants there are cultivars to be on the lookout for. Opuntia cacanapa “Ellisiana” is a spineless Prickly Pear that has large, bright yellow blossoms in the summer. Complete with three different edible sections, the pad of the cactus (nopal), the petals of the flowers, and the pear or fruit (tuna), “Ellisiana” grows three

feet tall and four to six feet wide and is hardy in zone 6. Opuntia x basilaris “Baby Rita” is an exceptional, heat-loving, dwarf hybrid with brilliant carminecolored flowers. A small padded, purple-skinned Prickly Pear that has loads of spring blooms, “Baby Rita” is a clumping form that only grows eight inches tall and 24 inches wide. I love this one for containers. Opuntia is one of the most “cold hardy”, adaptable and easy-to-grow types of cactus. Depending on the variety, Opuntia has been touted to withstand Zone 4 temperatures and clearly withstands the heat in Zone 10. Gritty, sandy and rocky soil types support this plant where few plants survive, let alone thrive. Virtually no irrigation is needed and despite nearly 150 days of rain last year in New Jersey, the Prickly Pear I snowplow were doing just fine.

Your Spring To-Do List

Owning a forest property under New Jersey’s Farmland Assessment law is a real responsibility. And with the combination of weather events, aging forests, and insect and plant invasives, woodland management is increasingly challenging. Every year, on August 1, woodland owners must file for Farmland Assessment, including activity forms signed by a consulting forester approved by the New Jersey Forest Service – certifying that the woodland management/NJ Forest Stewardship plan is being followed. Since assessors tend to mail the forms package at the end of June, and you need to get your forester’s sign off, you really only have a small window of time between chilling frost and the due date. Richard Kelsky, a director of the New Jersey Forestry

Association, recommends that you start getting ready for spring work early. He suggests getting your equipment in order in January and February and treating March 1 at the first day of spring. While he acknowledges that early-spring snows may interfere, he tells me that he works in the woods all winter and takes advantage of every day without ice, snow or rain. While some folks prefer a warm fire, a soft couch and binge-watching, he argues that getting out in the woods is healthy and non-fattening and gives you an edge when the winter weather really breaks. “It’s a question of getting out there and starting to work, after a few minutes, it no longer seems cold,” he said. Keep this in mind for next year; make a plan now for next winter! If your couch won the winter argument, at least take some time now to read your management/stewardship

plan and figure out what you need to do this year – in addition to opening access trails, managing downed trees, and driving back invasives (whether winged, crawling, leafy or thorny). Get an old-fashioned calendar and “pen in” the days you want to “work your plan” and mark them clearly, so the family knows that you’ll be busy. On a sunny spring day, walk your land with some tape and marking paint so you know where you’ll be headed when the moment comes. When a scheduled woods workday arrives, Kelsky suggests never biting off more than you can chew. Plan on a reasonable amount of work and never working tired. “Late in the day, it’s easy to get stupid with a chainsaw, or not properly assess a tree under tension, so know when it’s time to quit,” he said. He also likes to get back to the shop early enough to clean and ready equipment for the next day’s work

because “it prevents future excuses.” Before heading out, be sure to let a friend or family member know where you’ll be working. In 30 seconds on Google, you will learn that logging is the most dangerous industry. And that’s when it’s done by professionals. As a casual “logger,” woodland owners should take a chainsaw safety course, watch some of the many videos about woodland management do’s and don’ts, and get and use safety equipment. At a minimum you need a helmet, with ear and eye/face protection, chaps and steel toe boots. Use peelable layers so you don’t overheat - which leads to mistakes - and never forgo safety equipment because you think it’s too warm. Whether dropping a standing tree, or dissecting a fallen one, be careful. Don’t get tempted to attack standing dead, leaning or fallen trees under a complex puzzle of tension. Each requires experience including enough experience

Lastly, a surprise reference to Prickly Pear came to me during a recent performance at the Paper Mill Playhouse. My Very Own British Invasion, a play based on the experiences of Peter Noone, Herman’s Hermits, and the lengths he went to for the girl he loved so much. In it, Peter references having a garden someday with his love interest Pamela, where they will grow Foxglove and Prickly Pear. This awesome experience was a gift from my friend and wingman, Tony Maiello, who seems to know “all things musically and historically.” It seemed no matter where I went this winter, Opuntia plant kept calling to me saying, “Please write an article about me.”

Editor’s Note: Bob LaHoff is co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center and Florist in Union County, a member of the Union County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, ReevesReed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331.

to say “no.” Plan your attack: the wrong rushed cut can cost you a leg or your life. Before placing saw to wood, walk around, examine and analyze. Use loppers to clear access and cutting areas. Attempt only safe cuts, where you understand the geometry, structure and loads. Never ever take a physical risk to protect a tool especially a chainsaw. Even pros will get a saw hung up - that’s why they always work with at least two. Last but definitely not least, make sure that you have a planned, clear exit path . . . just in case.

Editor’s Note: Lori Jenssen has been the Executive Director of the New Jersey Forestry Association since 2005 and holds a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Administration from Rutgers University. She can be reached at or by calling 908-832-2400.

April 2019 21

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22 April 2019

What Is A Fairy Spud?

By Hubert Ling Well, spuds are potatoes, so a fairy spud is probably a small, unusual or perhaps rare, edible tuber of some sort. There actually are fairy spuds which grow from our native wildflower, the spring beauty, Claytonia virginica! Fairy spuds are fairly common but what has saved the plant from overuse is that the underground fleshy tubers (corms) are small and are only occasionally concentrated in one area. The corms are said to be relatively soft with a flavor somewhat like chestnuts; since they are only about a quarter-inch in diameter, you would have to collect them for some time to get a real mouthful. They are rich in sugar and carbohydrates, potassium, and calcium; they also contain significant levels of vitamins A and C. However, even Spring is nearly here, and we are all excited to get our property looking its best for the warm seasons ahead! By now, your landscape professional has probably completed your spring cleaning and you are looking to make some changes to your landscape. And just because you may have a smaller yard, that doesn’t mean you cannot have a spectacular landscape. Speak to your landscape professional about some of the ideas below and about implementing them in your yard to make it seem larger and more inviting. First, create “rooms” or zones in your yard. Even a tiny yard can have separate areas with different purposes. Creating zones can be accomplished using varieties of materials. For instance, using hardscapes for your “kitchen” space, while using turf or synthetic turf for the “living room” space. Use furniture or paver edges to separate areas, as well as screening plants or low (24- to 30-inch) planter “walls.” Anything from beach pebbles to wood, pavers to slate, or grass to gravel can be used to delineate areas of your property. Give yourself more space with

Euell Gibbons of “Stalking the Wild Asparagus” fame said that although the tubers are good for the body, the flowers are food for the soul, so we should be extra cautious not to deplete native populations. Spring beauty is a spring ephemeral which can make a breath-taking display in April when growing en masse. However, within a few weeks, the seeds are set and the plant goes dormant until the next spring. The flowers are only about half an inch or slightly bigger in diameter, but a single plant can have as many as a dozen flowers at one time. The petals are generally white with light to dark pink veins (nectar guides) and pink anthers, but sometimes pink or yellow petals may be found. Plants with pale yellow petals have been named forma lutea and are occasionally found in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and elsewhere. However, only in New Jersey do we have the

rare hammondiae variety, which has bright yellow petals, orange nectar guides and white anthers. The common variety with white petals and pink nectar guides is widespread in New Jersey and occurs in almost every county. This plant is also common in the Central and Eastern United States, but absent or uncommon in Northern New England, the South and the West. The spring beauty was named by Linnaeus after John Clayton, a colonial botanist who worked in the early 1700s. The plant is small, four to nine inches tall, with fairly thick but narrow grasslike leaves. There are two sepals and five petals. The petal tips vary in shape from pointed to broadly rounded and the flowers have a mild pleasant floral fragrance. Like many of the spring ephemerals, spring beauties close up at night and on cloudy days. The plant prefers rich, moist, neutral soil in a semishady area, but will tolerate

a wide variety of conditions. Its drought tolerance is low, but otherwise, once they have been established, they may naturalize to form a mat or may spread themselves scattered around in your lawn. If you delay cutting your lawn until the plants go dormant, they may grace your yard every year far into the future. Spring beauties were well utilized by Native Americans and colonists. The corms were boiled or roasted and the fleshy leaves and flowers were used as greens. The Eastern spring beauty and related Western species were also used as medicinal plants. A poultice of the leaves and stems was used to aid vision, prevent infection of cuts, make the hair glossy, or to treat dandruff and sore throats. Pregnant women would chew the whole plant so that the baby would be soft when it was born. Since they bloom early in spring, they are a significant nectar and pollen supply

The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Director of Operations

Small Yard, Huge Landscape

storage. Install storage benches throughout the landscape for seating areas. In your “kitchen” area, a great idea is to install a fold-away table or bar, similar to a Murphy bed. Use the top of this feature as a shelf for plants and accents. If you have a garage, try to use that for storage, as opposed to installing sheds, which take up space and make your yard look smaller. Speaking of storage benches, make sure your outdoor furniture suits the space you have. In a smaller yard, avoid Adirondack chairs and large picnic tables. Opt for smaller, yet still comfortable, furniture to make the areas appear larger. Just because you have a small yard doesn’t mean you can’t also take advantage of water features. The sound of water increases the depth of the yard, while giving

your senses something else to focus on. You might have your landscape professional install a small pondless waterfall, which recirculates the water in a small basin or even a recirculating fountain. This feature may also serve as your focal point at the end of a pathway or against a fence. By the way, if you have a good view, or if your neighbors have a nice yard, forego the fence and use some plant material to provide screening, while taking advantage of the views around you. When choosing plant material, layer smaller detailed and taller plant material at the furthest ends of your property, while using big, bold plant material where you first enter the yard. This will also add depth to the landscape. Similarly, use bright colors to

draw the eye to the entry of the yard, while greenery goes toward the far end. You can also use arbors and pergola to frame the views, pulling the eye to the far side of your yard. Finally, go vertical! There are so many different ways to use height to give yourself more space and have a fantastic looking landscape. Hanging plants along a fence create lines and the illusion of a longer space. Build tiered planters to give you ample space for planting, while taking up a smaller footprint. Create living walls using trellises, pallets or shelves to give yourself amazing looking works of art outdoors. Install taller plants with smaller bases to fit in more foliage. Use those arbors for climbing plant material too! Most of all, make your yard about you! If you love to read,

for small bees, flies, and wasps, which immerge early. Occasionally butterf lies and skippers also visit these inviting flowers. Whitefooted mice and the Eastern chipmunk enjoy the corms, but deer often avoid the leaves, which are generally close to the ground. In the Great Smokies, wild hogs make a habit of hoggingout on masses of corms and Western spring beauties are also a favorite of grizzly bears. Start up some spring beauty in a partially shady, moist area of your garden or lawn. It will grace your yard with a dazzling, bright, cheery display each year in early-spring. This spud’s for you!

Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is the Horticulture Chairman for the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at create a small reading nook with a comfortable chair and some container plants surrounding it, with a fountain water feature across from this seating area. If you love to swim, have a professional install a long lap pool, with a spa at one end. If you love to plant food, create tiered edible gardens along the edges of the yard. Simply be sure to give yourself what pleases YOU in your yard. As always, ask your landscape professional for more ideas and have them create the backyard of your dreams, no matter the size. Happy spring! Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott is the Director of Operations for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. She was presented with a community service award from the Borough of Fairview for her assistance in leading the 9-11 Memorial Park project and the Legislative Champion of the Year award from the Federation of Employers and Workers of America. She is currently the State Licensee Chair on the National Association of Landscape Professionals International Certification Council. As New Jersey continues to debate the legalization of marijuana, I have found myself in conversations with people interested in entering this market. Unfortunately, they do not always like my answer. Marijuana has become big business. I think there exists in some minds the naïve, bygone notion of simply growing the plants in soda cups on a windowsill in the bright sun of a dorm room. That couldn’t be further from the truth. To those interested I advise, you have already missed the boat. Companies who already are in this market in other states are poised to enter New Jersey. They have the resources, technology, expertise, and connections to enter New Jersey effortlessly. For someone wanting to enter the market, it is estimated costs would run between $8 million to $14 million. However, along with marijuana legalization, there will be a related opportunity for New Jersey’s farmers. Hemp, marijuana’s more “straitlaced” cousin, will also be allowed to be cultivated and – at a fraction of the cost. For those uninitiated, marijuana and hemp are part of the cannabis family. Marijuana contains THC, the compound that produces the

April 2019 23 NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director

A New Era for an Old Crop?

“high,” in concentrations between 15 and 40 percent. Meanwhile, for the plant to be considered legal hemp, it must contain 0.3 percent or less of THC. This makes it unattractive for recreational purposes, but valued for the thousands of legal products that can be made from it. Hemp has been cultivated for thousands of years. Hemp clothing fragments have been found in tombs estimated to be over 8,000 years old. The Chinese were the first to use hemp in paper making. During the Middle Ages, hemp became an important economic crop, supplying much of the world’s need for food and fiber. Sailing ships became dependent on Canvas (from the word cannabis), hemp rope and oakum due to it being stronger than cotton and more resistant to salt water. In 1535, King Henry VIII passed an act ordering all landowners to grow one-quarter

of an acre. During this period and up to the 1920s, 80 percent of clothing was made from hemp textiles. Hemp arrived in Colonial America with the Pilgrims in the form of seed for planting and as fiber in the lines, sails and caulking of the Mayflower. British sailing vessels always had a store of hemp seed, and Britain’s colonies were compelled by law to grow hemp. Ship captains were ordered to disseminate hemp seed widely in order to provide fiber wherever repairs might be needed. By the mid-1600s, hemp had become an important part of the economy in the New World. The Colonies produced cordage, cloth, canvas, sacks and paper from hemp during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Most of the fiber was then destined for British consumption, although at least some was used for domestic purposes. Even the first drafts of

the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. Hemp fiber was so important to the new republic that farmers were ordered to grow it, and could pay taxes with it. George Washington grew hemp and encouraged all citizens to sow hemp widely. Ever the experimenter, Thomas Jefferson bred hemp varieties for different uses. As technology grew, so did new uses for hemp. Hemp can be used for oils, food, medicinal uses, packing materials, paper, clothing, bio-diesel, construction materials, and bio-plastics. Hemp is great for the environment. It grows just about anywhere, even on sub-prime lands not used for other crops. Hemp products are much more durable than cotton and require far fewer pesticides, fertilizer and water to grow it. Utilizing hemp for paper helps save our forests, and because it is biodegradable, hemp products are

easy on our landfills. So how did hemp become illegal? Unfortunately, through association. In the 1930s in the effort to control illegal narcotics, the United States passed the Uniform State Narcotic Act. This act ultimately banned the use of all cannabis - including hemp. Some theorists believe hemp was included because it posed a threat to the cotton and lumber industries, as well as new emerging technologies dealing with plastic fibers. Ironically, the ban on hemp was briefly lifted during World War II. Today, in a society very attuned to environmental issues, and vested into all things green, I think the time has arrived to reintroduce this useful commodity.

Editor’s Note: Al Murray is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society. Established in 1781, the Society is New Jersey's oldest organization whose purpose is to advocate, educate and promote on behalf of New Jersey's agricultural industry. Mr. Murray previously spent his entire career at the NJ Department of Agriculture, serving as the Assistant Secretary. He can be reached at njagriculturalsociety@

Government of Canada Announces Funding to Support the Fruit Industry Canada’s tree-fruit industry is large and growing, with apples representing 41.5 percent of the total marketed production of Canadian fruit in 2017, valued at $224.6 million, and cherries representing a farmgate value of $88.2 million in the same year. The Government of Canada and Canadian treefruit farmers know the importance of research and innovation to ensure this industry continues to grow and prosper. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food MarieClaude Bibeau and Member of Parliament for KelownaLake Country Stephen Fuhr announced an investment of up to $4.2M under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Program to the British Columbia Fruit Growers’

Association. This funding will support the association in developing innovative, commercially successful Canadian-bred apple and sweet cherry cultivars that enhance the profitability of Canada’s tree-fruit sector. This project, which builds on research funding received under the previous ag r icult ural policy frameworks, consists of 10 activities, with research and testing taking place in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. The announcement is part of Minister Bibeau’s first agricultural tour, where she is meeting with farmers, processors and industry leaders. “As the fruit industry expands into new markets, producers will need to develop new varieties of products that grow in

Canada’s diverse climate to ensure they can meet consumer demands here and around the world,” said Minister Bibeau. “Our Government is committed to ensuring the industry and our producers have the tools they need to succeed.” “Tree fruits are vitally important to British Columbia’s agricultural sector, and B.C. processors know the importance of staying on the cutting edge,” added Stephen Fuhr, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake County. “Through projects such as the one we announced today, our Government is ensuring our producers are able to keep up with demand and remain innovative.” “Research enables change. The CAP funding provided for this project will help the industry develop

and adopt the exciting new varieties developed at Summerland Research and Development Centre, said Pinder Dhaliwal, President of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. “The funding includes a number of activities to improve yields and quality of apples and cherries as well as to test the new varieties in a range of climates across Canada.  This research project will help growers increase profits and production.  Thank you for the vision of the Minister of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and thank you to our industry funding partners and Summerland Varieties Corporation for their involvement and leadership in this important project.” The following are some quick facts about the industry and the association:  

The British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association is a non-profit industry association established in 1889 to support a prosperous, sustainable and innovative tree fruit sector. The AgriScience Program aims to accelerate the pace of innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector and Canadians. The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agrifood sector. The Partnership includes programs and activities to enhance the competitiveness of the sector through research, science and innovation.

24 April 2019

April 2019 25

Learning How to Maintain Healthier Forests

Tom Castronovo/Photo The New Jersey Forestry Association held their 44th Annual Meeting and Member program on Saturday, March 16, in the Rutgers Cook Campus Student Center in New Brunswick, N.J. Jim Finley, front left, Professor Emeritus of Forest Resources at Penn State University, speaks to a packed room about the ever-changing forest landscape. After his well-received presentation, New Jersey Forestry Association President Andy Kimm, right, thanks him for the education he provided to the event’s attendees. Several other well-known presenters spoke about managing for healthy forests, age and species diversity. Presentations were also made by a representative from the New Jersey State Forest Service. Kimm spoke about Forest Stewardship and Woodland Assessment. The theme of this year’s program was “New Jersey’s Aging Forests - Consequences & Remedies.” The New Jersey Forestry Association was founded in 1975 and incorporated in 1983 to promote forestry and forest management on public and privately owned woodlands throughout New Jersey.

Tax Check-off and Donor Program Help Students Access More Local Produce, Learn About Agriculture New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher encouraged the support of Farm to School initiatives through the Farm to School and School Garden Fund tax check-off and the Farm to School Donor Program. “These are two unique ways that people can get involved in helping school students understand where their food comes from and increase consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers,” said Secretary Fisher. “In 2018, through these generous contributions, we were able to award nine deserving schools with a total of $10,000 in grants from these funds.” The Farm to School and School Garden Fund checkoff can be found on Line 64, number 19, on the 2018 New Jersey State income tax form. The fund was established to allow taxpayers to donate a portion of

their tax refund and contribute to help establish school gardens and purchase equipment and educational materials to promote students’ consumption of local produce. The Farm to School Donor program encourages direct contributions from public and private sources to help fund the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program works to connect schools with New Jersey farmers to source more than 100 types of Jersey Fresh produce grown in the Garden State. Opportunities exist for New Jersey farmers to provide agricultural products to school food service departments throughout the growing season. Serving more local produce in school cafeterias not only supports local farmers but helps improve

student nutrition, provide healthy options and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime. The Farm to School Program includes school garden activities, which teach students where food comes from and connects directly with the classroom. Students benefit by learning the science behind farming and the nutritional values of fresh produce, gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of the environment. Educators can use school garden programs to teach any subject - math, science, language arts, health and nutrition, art or social studies. Farm to School Programs promote and create a sense of community for all involved. For more information about the Jersey Fresh Farm to School Program, visit www.

APHIS Launches Webpage for Pests and Diseases The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is launching a new “Pests and Diseases” webpage. The new page lists all pest and disease programs managed by APHIS as part of its mission to protect American agriculture and natural resources. On the new page, users can search by type (plant, animal), keyword (avian, fruit fly, cotton), or by the specific pest or disease (coconut rhinoceros beetle, brucellosis). You can also scroll through the page, which lists the pests and diseases alphabetically and includes a corresponding image. APHIS created the webpage to make it easier for its customers to find critical information on pests and diseases of concern. With this tool, members of the public will have the information they need to report pests and diseases and together we can protect America’s agriculture and natural resources. To visit the page, go to or click the Pests and Diseases link under the Resources tab on the APHIS homepage.

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26 April 2019 Full Moon, April 19, 2019 Eastern Daylight


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Executive Editor/Publisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tom Castronovo Art Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Susan Kessel Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tom Castronovo

April Columnists

Tom Castronovo Brian Schilling Bob LaHoff

Todd Pretz Al Murray Douglas H. Fisher

Gail Woolcott Peter Melick Eric J. Houghtaling

Contributing Writers

Bruce Crawford Hubert Ling

Jeannie Geremia Lori Jenssen

Gardener News is published monthly by

These simple steps can reduce the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula). While the living spotted lanternfly population dies during the winter, their egg masses of 30 to 50 eggs laid in neat rows remain and survive through the cold to hatch in the spring. Search on tree trunks, stone surfaces, vehicles, farm equipment, lawn furniture, and any smooth surface for egg masses. Have a professional check your fireplace flues as well. Masses will have a gray, putty-like covering on top of them. Tree of heaven is the preferred egg-laying site. Scrape masses from the surface. Be sure to remove all seed-like black/brown eggs from under the wax coating. Double bag and trash, burn, or submerge the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer. Spotted lanternfly instars will emerge in late-April or early-May, and eventually morph into full-fledged, red-winged spotted lanternflies that feed on many agricultural products and forests. Both adults and nymphs use their piercing and sucking mouthparts to eat the phloem tissue of a wide variety of plants in order to obtain nutrients. The insects also excrete a sugary fluid similar to aphid honeydew, which encourages mold and disease growth on the plant.

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2019 Spring Plant Sale

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Spring is finally here and there’s not a better way to refresh and rejuvenate than to come to Buck Garden’s annual plant sale for botanical treasures! Exquisite selections of perennials, ferns, alpines, woody plants including deer resistant and pollinator-friendly varieties. Handmade troughs will also be available to purchase. Buck Garden staff and Rock Garden Society members will be on hand to advise visitors about plants and gardening.  

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Free inspiring garden talks given each day at 1pm Free guided tours of Buck Garden each day at 2pm


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April 2019 27

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Gardener News April 2019  

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Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping & Nursery Communities