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Know What’s Below. Call Before You Dig. COLOR CODE FOR MARKING UNDERGROUND UTILITY LINES
COMMUNICATION CATV WATER
By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor/Publisher Gardener News Digging can be a dangerous activity. Everyone must take steps to protect underground utilities and avoid interruption of vital services, property damage and possible injury. Did you know that many utilities are buried just a few inches below ground? You can easily hit a line when digging for simple gardening projects, like planting flowers or small shrubs. Installing mailboxes and fences are examples of projects that absolutely require a call to 811 to know what’s below before digging. Hitting a line can knock out service to your home and neighborhood or result in fines, damage, and serious injury. Erosion and root system growth can alter the depth or location of buried lines, or your utility companies may have completed work on their lines since the last time you dug ― so you must contact 811 before you dig, each and every time. Be sure to check with your contractor or landscaper to make sure that they will contact 811 the required days before digging begins. Never let digging work begin without contacting 811! It’s not worth the risk. If you are only planning to dig in a small portion of your yard, you can outline the area in white paint or white flags available at home improvement stores to ensure (Cont. on Page 4)
2 April 2021
G a r d e n C e n t e r D i r e c t o r y GardenerNews.com
GARDEN CENTER HARDWARE LANDSCAPE MATERIALS NURSERY STOCK
POW E R EQUIPMEN T 18 Hamilton Rd., Hillsborough, NJ 08844 (908) 359-4652 • CentralJerseyNurseries.com
April 2021 3
Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News
Honoring and Saluting a True Nurseryman My friend Carl Joseph Torsilieri passed away peacefully on February 17 at the age of 93. Every month when I visited his office to hand deliver the new Gardener News, he would provide me history lessons on the nursery industry and educate me on nursery stock. I looked forward to our chats. He was married to Lois J (Mindnich) Torsilieri for 56 years, they were high school sweethearts at Bernards High School in Bernardsville, N.J., where Carl was voted best looking and “Lo” best dressed and best dancer. Together they had four children: Carla Parkinson (David), Guy (Beverly), Marc (Susan) and Dean (Christine). There are 13 grandchildren: Jacie and Bart (Carla), George and Carl (Guy), Sam, Liza and Phoebe (Marc), August, Geneva, Piper, Holly, Willow and Remy (Dean). Carl was preceded in death by his son Marc in 2007 and his wife Lois in 2009. Carl served in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer between WWII and the Korean War from 1946 to 1948 on a Liberty Ship. As a young man, Carl cultivated and sold dahlias from a greenhouse on the site that is now the Stirling, N.J. ShopRite. Before venturing out on his own, he was a partner in Millington Nurseries in Millington, N.J. In 1968, Carl started Torsilieri, Inc, a landscape contracting firm, out of his home on Douglas Road in Far Hills, N.J. Later the company moved to the property which is now the current location of Torsilieri Inc. at 265 Main Street in Gladstone, N.J. All three of his sons, Guy, Marc and Dean, eventually helped him grow the business into a large multifaceted company. Torsilieri, Inc is well known for harvesting, bringing in, setting up and taking down the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree; a very specialized job that they have done for 38 years. In recent years the company has also gained a reputation for moving and erecting large fine art pieces in New York City and other locales. Today the Torsilieri, Inc., signature white trucks can be seen throughout the tri-state area. Carl drove to the office each day even after he “retired” until he turned 90. He
enjoyed picking up lunch and sharing it with his sons. After serving on the Board of Education and Town Council, Carl served as Mayor of the Borough of Far Hills for four terms, from 1995 until 2010. Keeping it in the family, when he ran for office in 1994 his daughter, Carla, was his campaign manager. While he was on the Board of Education, he was instrumental in closing the small elementary school in Far Hills and merging the students into the Bedminster school system. He was widely respected for his fairness and clear thinking. As a friend and former mayor of a neighboring town said of Carl, “He epitomized the friendly outlook of a responsible elected official.” Carl was a resident of Far Hills for 62 years. An avid horseracing enthusiast, Carl and his equine partner, Orlando Di Rienzo (Dee), owned many winning thoroughbreds starting in the 1970s. In the 1990s, they were joined in the partnership by Carl’s son, Guy. They raced under the stable name Coppertree Farm at many race tracks including Belmont, Saratoga, and Keeneland, as well as Steeplechase meets up and down the East Coast. Among their many impressive wins was a spectacular hometown victory at the Far Hills Race Meeting in 2001 with Quel Senor in the Grade One Breeder’s Cup Steeplechase. Known for sporting his signature full brimmed “Akubra” hats, Carl was friendly to everyone, told great stories and was a good listener. Well after his retirement he was still addressed as “Mayor” by almost all who knew him. I will miss this true nursery legend and a green industry star, who inspired my monthly visits to his Gladstone office. Memorial contributions in Carl’s honor can be made to the Far Hills Race Meeting Association (P.O. Box 617, Far Hills, NJ 07931). Donations will benefit The Steeplechase Cancer Center “Patient Assistance Fund,” Crossroads4Hope (formerly the Cancer Support Community of Central New Jersey) and the Pluckemin Presbyterian Church Medical Equipment Ministry.
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, landscaping and nursery communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com.
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4 April 2021 I have been New Jersey’s secretary of agriculture for over a decade now. Over the years, I have saved various clippings, articles, and press releases to keep me grounded. They remind me of, and allow me to savor, the amazing experiences I have had over the years, visiting places and meeting the people who make us truly the Garden State. I am grateful for each encounter, as they always seen to bring me a new perspective and lens to peer through, which deepens my understanding of the opportunities and issues in agriculture at all levels. One of the things I held onto were letters from schoolchildren dated Monday September 27, 2012. They were written to me from students at Eugene A. Tighe Middle School in Margate, Atlantic County. The teachers of these students were Mrs. Cuevas and Mrs. Forte’s third grade homeroom. I visited the school to present them with the New Jersey School Garden of the Year award from the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food and Nutrition, which administers the school feeding programs, Farm-toSchool program and others that
GardenerNews.com NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture
Through a Child’s Eyes
involve providing students with wholesome foods (locally grown as much as possible) and teaches the value of a healthy diet. There was so much enthusiasm by the entire school to make their garden special. And it was! I recall that they had made very elaborate plots and raised beds in the school courtyard and even had a meditation garden for students. Talk about being ahead of your time! Students made presentations on what they were growing, the planning and work involved, and their general feelings and impressions of the whole endeavor. The entire school just beamed with pride at what they had accomplished with the support of the Board of Education, the administration, faculty, volunteers
and local businesses, and of course, the kids. So, back to the letters. The teachers asked the children to write about their garden wishes for the school year as part of their writers’ workshop. Anthony said his wish was to “work in the garden and grow a watermelon and to read in the perpetual garden a lot.” Emily said she wanted “to know how strawberries taste when they are just picked.” Then there was a student named Amelia, saying, “One day, I could sit down and read at the garden. I want to sit in the peace garden because on our tour I wish we could just stay there,” Maddie had questions, such as. “Why did they plant sunflowers? Why did they plant hot peppers?” Olivia stated, “My garden wish
is that we have a lot more garden gourmets and we harvest a lot of cool things!” Stephen said, “I like to pull weeds. I want to help plant.” Gracie stated, “I really want to see what planting is all about.” So, that was nine years ago when the children were in the third grade. I would love to hear from them again, now that they are in high school, to hear how much of a lasting effect the experience had on them. Hopefully, it made an impact on their impressionable younger minds. Obviously, COVID-19 has impacted gardening on school grounds, but that should not deter you from setting up a homeschool garden. Not only will the activity allow you to teach valuable lessons on a number of curricula, but it will provide an outdoor class
for so many activities and space to recharge and stay connected outside the virtual world. Anyone who needs direction, or connections to program information, please do not hesitate to call our Division of Food and Nutrition at 609-984-0692. I hope when we go back to the classes on location and things get back to more normal times and I hope you will consider a garden for your school. Gardening has a way of capturing your heart and building a sense of selfsufficiency. But, as Dr. Suess said, “Only if you try.” 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:// www.state.nj.us/agriculture
Know What’s Below. Call Before You Dig. (Continued from page 1)
that only the utilities in that part of your yard will be located and marked. Be sure to let your 811 center know about your plans and they will help ensure the proper area is marked by utility locators. For your reference, the color code for marked utilities are: Red (electric); Yellow (gas, oil, dangerous materials, product and steam lines); Orange (CATV communication); Blue (water); Green (sewer); White (proposed excavation). The Underground Facility Protection Act in New Jersey, better known as the “One Call Law,” was signed into law in October 1994. This law requires that anyone digging must call 811, so that operators can mark out their underground utilities. Anyone digging (schools, police, public safety, public works, municipalities and homeowners) to install, remove or replace trees, tree stumps, curbs, street and signposts, mailbox posts,
fences, construct decks, additions, or create new gardens, etc. must call 811. In April 1975, Act 287 (1974) in Pennsylvania went into effect requiring excavators to call before digging, and expanded the service area to 11 counties. At that time, in honor of the 1776 United States Bicentennial, a toll free number was added as an additional way to reach the call center, and coverage included the 33 counties of Western Pennsylvania. Expansion continued across the Commonwealth in 1977, adding Central Pennsylvania in a merger with “Joint Utility Notification for Excavators” (JUNE) and the Southeastern counties were added in September 1977. Today, the number is 811. New York adopted procedures in February 5, 1997, amended them on July 10, 2002, amended them again on January 4, 2012, and then updated them again on March
29, 2013, for the protection of underground facilities in order to assure public safety and to prevent damage to public and private property, as required by General Business Law Article 36 and Public Service Law Section 119-b. This Part may be cited as Industrial Code 53 or Code Rule 53, in addition to its designation as Part 753. The person/company doing the excavation is required to call the center. The information needed to process your request is as follows: Name, address, the dig address and the nearest intersection, how deep you are digging, the type of work, and where you need the property marked out. You cannot work outside the scope of work stated on your request. You must hand dig within two feet of markouts before using mechanized equipment. Be sure to have this information available when you call the
Center. You will receive a ticket number, which you should keep until your project is safely completed. The One Call system will notify the operators of underground facilities to markout your planned activity. State laws vary, but generally utility companies have a few days to respond to your request. Utilities will send out locators who will come to your dig site to mark the approximate location of buried utilities with paint or flags so that you can avoid them. Each utility type corresponds to a specific color of paint or a flag ― for example; gas lines are marked with yellow paint or flags. In addition to waiting for marks, you must use the info on your ticket to confirm that all utilities have responded before you can dig. Please respect the utility marks (paint or flags). The marks provided by utility operators are your guide for
the duration of your project. If you are unable to maintain the marks during your project, or the project will continue past your requested expiration date (varies by state), please contact your 811 center to ask for a re-mark. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Make the call, it’s free! 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, landscaping and nursery communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com.
April 2021 5
6 April 2021
R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E
From the Director’s Desk
Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director
Organic Land Care: A different, but not difficult approach to a beautiful yard
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
Making the transition to organic land care may seem intimidating to the average homeowner who maintains their own lawn and landscape. Many misconceptions exist about organic landscaping. Perhaps you have questions whether “that stuff really works” or perhaps you fear your yard turning into a hotbed of weeds and pests. Organic land care is not simply about substituting organic-approved products for synthetic materials, i.e., just because you are using an organic pesticide on a lawn does not mean the lawn is organic. Organic land care involves treating your landscape as a whole living system where the soil, plants, and animals within that system are interdependent and sustain each other. This type of thinking is based in ecology - the study of the relationships that living organisms have with each other and the non-living environment. When transitioning to an organic landscape, the goal should be to create a healthy ecosystem that is self-sustaining with few material or product inputs. The objective is to eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and synthetic soil amendments. How should a homeowner start the transition to organic landscaping? It all starts with healthy soil. A healthy soil translates into healthy plants and turf. The soil contains living organisms which make up the life of the soil and range from worms and insects to bacteria. The activity of these soil organisms, termed “biological activity,” releases nutrients and makes them available for plant uptake. The biological activity starts with insects and earthworms shredding plant material and ends with the complete decomposition of the residues by microbes and fungi. This process releases nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur, making them available for plant growth. The first step for transitioning to organic should be to have the soil tested. No soil inputs should be made without a soil test, which will contain information about soil nutrients, pH, composition, and the amount of organic matter. You can download instructions for testing your soil from the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory website at njaes.rutgers.edu/soiltesting-lab. Soil Amendments. Once you have your soil test results, you may need to add fertilizers and/or soil amendments to correct nutrient deficiencies. Synthetic fertilizers differ from organic fertilizers in that most synthetic fertilizers have soluble nutrients that are immediately available for plant uptake. Natural organic fertilizers need to be broken down by the soil biological community before
nutrients are slowly made available to plants. Follow soil test recommendations for correcting soil pH and nutrient deficiencies. When applying fertilizers, remember that more is not better. Excess fertilizer applied to a landscape can pollute stormwater runoff and, ultimately, local streams and rivers, whether that fertilizer is organic or not. Native Plants. Utilizing native plants can help achieve an important goal of organic land care: reducing chemical use on the landscape. Plants that are native to our region are those that were present before European colonization, are adapted to local environmental conditions, and support local food webs. Native plants support a wide variety of birds, butterflies, and other insects and often these species are dependent on certain native plants for survival. A great example is Monarch Butterfly caterpillars that feed exclusively on our native Milkweed species (Asclepias sp.). Incorporating native plants into a home landscape increases diversity and habitat, as well as reduces the need for watering and fertilizer applications. Native plants can be used to create a natural-looking landscape or can easily be incorporated into a more formal garden. Native plants are becoming more common at home centers and nurseries but may require some searching to find the plants you want. Lawn Care. Hopefully you’ve realized that going organic is not all about turf care. You need to get the soil right and increase biodiversity. Organic turf care involves using “cultural practices” such as mowing high (three inches) to establish deep root growth, watering deeply and infrequently, overseeding in the fall with a variety of turfgrass species and avoiding “monocultures” or lawns with one turfgrass variety. Also, consider reducing the amount of lawn on your property. Lawns are energy intensive systems to maintain. Is there a part of your property that could be transitioned to a wildflower meadow or no-mow zone? The Rutgers Organic Land Care website (njaes.rutgers.edu/organiclandcare/forhomeowners. html) can help homeowners transition their properties to organic. Note that it may take years to be successful with organic management, depending on the current conditions in place on a property. The website also has a “Find a Landscaper” database with a listing of landscapers who have met the requirements of the Rutgers Organic Land Care Certificate Program. In addition, the Earth Day Every Day webinar series (envirostewards. rutgers.edu/Earth-Day.html) has recordings on eco-friendly spring and fall land care that is free for the public.
Editor’s Note: This month’s contribution was written by Agriculture & Natural Resources County Agents Amy Rowe, Ph.D. (Essex and Passaic) and Michele Bakacs (Middlesex and Union).
R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E
April 2021 7
Nothing Substandard about this Subshrub When the topic of groundcovers is broached, there are certain plants that inexorably come to mind. These are the plants that were used time and time again until they sank into the abyss of sheer monotony, with many gardeners turning to mulch as an alternative. Groundcovers are typically more beneficial than mulch to shrubs and trees, since they reduce soil erosion and enhance the subsurface mycorrhizal web. Historically, one of the most overused groundcovers was Pachysandra, yet within this genus there is an option many gardeners have overlooked. Pachysandra is a member of the Buxaceae or Boxwood Family, with four species native to Eastern Asia and one species found in Southeastern North America. Surprisingly, it is also a subshrub or a dwarf woody shrub, characterized by persistent ground-hugging rhizomes and short upright woody stems. This Lifelong Learning column is dedicated to amplifying innovations in teaching and learning - spotlighting educational and professional development courses and webinars available at Rutgers throughout the year. Please visit the website at the bottom to obtain the full list of classes available. We R Here When You Need Us. April Trivia Question: What popular proverb is most associated with April? Spotlight Programs: This month we introduce one of newest program areas — Green Roofs/Rooftop Gardening, along with the newest offerings in sustaining local and national agriculture — Beekeeping. Urban Rooftop Gardens (Online) April 21, 2021, 1 p.m. 3:35 p.m. EST. You don’t need a yard to garden. Elevated, terrace, and rooftop gardening has rapidly increased over the past decade. However, installing a rooftop garden requires more than passion, soil, and plant materials. This engaging webinar will introduce you to the latest techniques and examples of residential, commercial, and public rooftop gardens. Learn about the typical design process, construction materials, specialty items, and the diverse array of plant materials used for roof gardens - as well as those to avoid. The future is green (literally). Come be a part of it!
The name was first coined by the French botanist and explorer, André Michaux (1746-1802), who traveled throughout Eastern North America from 1785 to 1796. The name is derived from the Greek Pakys for thick and Anēr or Andrus for man; it refers to the prominent and very thick stamens displayed by the flowers. The plant Michaux discovered in the early 1790s was the Alleghany Pachysandra or, as he came to name it, Pachysandra procumbens. The species epithet is from the Latin Procumbo, meaning to lie down, a reference to the action of the stems come winter or the woody rhizome that creeps along the ground. As the common name suggests, the plant is primarily found in the Alleghany Mountains, with its native footprint spreading from North Carolina south to Florida and west to Louisiana and Kentucky. Unfortunately, since it is very slow growing, Alleghany Pachysandra remains rare in commerce. The slow growth rate of the rhizome explains its leisurely spreading ability. Spreading near
the soil surface, the rhizome is essentially the trunk, producing the numerous unbranched woody stems that grow to six to 10 inches tall. The foliage emerges from the upper half of the stem, with each stem only persisting for one-anda-half to two years. The stems and accompanying foliage typically bend to the ground during the winter and proceed to gradually die-back during their second summer once the new foliage has become established. The foliage varies from somewhat oval to rounded, with the outer or apical regions strongly toothed, appearing much like the hair of Calvin in the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes.” Each leaf is two to three-and-a-half inches long and nearly as wide. As the foliage unfurls in May, it is an attractive bright green, transitioning to a deep green or gray green come summer. As autumn approaches, one might say the leaves develop “age spots” as they become decorated with quarter-inch dusky white spots that appear around the leaf veins. Hardy in zones 5-9, the foliage
remains evergreen in zones 6-9. The flower spikes begin to appear at the base of the arching stems in late March into April. The flower spikes, technically called a raceme, grow upwards of four inches tall and I find them very attractive. The inflorescence consists of a light pink central stem, with 20 to 30 showy male or staminate flowers arranged radially around most of the raceme. The three to five female or pistillate flowers are more demure and are located near the base. Each staminate flower has four to seven conspicuous and thickened white filaments, nearly a half-inch long, with a small brown anther at the tip. They are also nicely fragrant! Both types of flowers appear without petals, relying on the sweet fragrance and the showy stamens to attract the various native bees patrolling the early spring woodlands. In the wild, plants typically grow on forested hillsides or on shady stream banks. Plants prefer limestone soils with a pH near 7, although they grow perfectly well in more acidic soils. Durable and long lasting
Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education By Kenneth M. Karamichael Continuing Education Professional
Instructor: Steven L. Cantor, ASLA, is a registered landscape architect in New York City who has worked in private practice for firms in New York City and Atlanta. He has taught at the University of Georgia’s School of Environmental Design, the University of Colorado, Boulder, the New York Botanical Garden, and Anhalt University in Bernburg, Germany. Steven is an accomplished author, including numerous works and books presenting innovative, contemporary and practical applications of rooftop gardens. His latest book, Professional and Practical Considerations for Landscape Design (New York: Oxford University Press), was released in 2020. Sustainable Beekeeping (Online Webinar), April 6, 2021; 6:30-8 p.m. EST. In the United States, beekeepers lose 30 percent to 40 percent of their hives each year. This online webinar
will discuss ways to maintain your beehives in a more sustainable fashion, minimizing losses through management, using local bee stocks (your own or a local beekeeper), and creating resource hives. This course is open to all beekeepers. It is a wonderful complement to the Beeginner’s course. Bee-ginner’s Beekeeping: The Basics of Apiculture! (Starts May 3, 2021; Online Class: SelfPaced – approximately 15 hours to complete). This self-paced class is designed to provide information that new beekeepers need to start and care for a honeybee colony. Throughout your digital experience, participants will be introduced to bee biology and management. Participants will learn how to assemble hives, open and examine colonies, and see how honey and beeswax are harvested. Integrated into the program is a Live Q & A
Session: May 13, 2021 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. Skills you will develop include: bee biology, bees in an urban settings, disease and mite prevention, hive assembly and management, honey extraction, queen bee purchasing, and much more. This class will cover everything you need to know to further your hobby or get your business off the ground. All attendees receive a list of Honey Bee Suppliers, a Glossary of Apiculture Terms and a Beekeeping Basics textbook. (This course fulfills the legal requirements of the State of New Jersey for beekeeper education.) CAUTION: Warmer weather means more active bees! Please remember to wear the appropriate gear when engaging honeybees. Instructor: Mike Haberland is an associate professor and County Environmental Agent with Rutgers University Cooperative Extension.
ground covers will become an increasingly important tool for homeowners in abating climate change. They help reduce soil erosion, soil compaction, the use of mulches and actually aid in carbon sequestration when used and grown properly. Although a subshrub, there is nothing inferior or substandard about this plant that contributes so much for the garden and for the environment.
Editor’s Note: Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth, is the Rutgers State Program Leader for Home and Public Horticulture, a part time lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, regularly participates in the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education Program, and Past President of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at crawford@njaes. rutgers.edu. Mike uses applied research and collaborates with organizations to develop programs that assist in the creation, promotion, and education, of innovative environmental, sustainable community, and natural resource management practices. Trivia Answer: If you guessed — April showers bring May flowers — you are correct! Yet did you know the original proverb (recorded in 1866) also included a reference to March? “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers” – with even deeper roots dating back to poems from the 16th and 17th centuries. Visit CPE.RUTGERS.EDU to learn more about the hundreds of programs available at OCPE, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station all year long! Learning Never Ends for the New Jersey Gardener!
Editor’s Note: Kenneth M. Karamichael, Ed.M., is an internationally recognized continuing education professional with Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education within Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Ken can be reached at kenneth@ rutgers.edu.
8 April 2021
3/9/2021 11:24:02 AM
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GardenerNews.com I can’t tell you how excited I am that spring has officially arrived. A time of blooming flowers, warmth, sunshine and yes, the rain, too. But I will take that over the gloomy, short days of winter! This month, I’m not going to write about landscapes, but the people that make up this industry and more specifically, women in the industry. Fifteen years ago, when I began my journey at the NJLCA, there were very few women involved. I was in a man’s world (which was fine with me, as I have always had a great relationship with men and grew up a “tomboy”). I loved the guys but was excited when I met my first woman in the industry, Shelly Hewson, owner of Hewson Landscape. Shelly is a spitfire and runs her company with heart and muscle. Slowly, I got to know others. Since then, I have watched our membership and the industry bloom with many female owners, leaders, crew workers, association executives, scientists, professors, nursery propagators, researchers and more. It seems now more than ever; females are widely accepted in the industry. Of this I am not surprised, One of the things I’ve learned while serving on the state Assembly Agriculture Committee is how an imbalance in any part of the environment affects the entire ecosystem. That point was driven home during the Agriculture Committee’s February meeting, when some of the state’s experts from agriculture, ecology, and wildlife management came to talk about managing the explosion of the deer population. Studies done with cameracarrying drones found an average of 104 deer per square mile in the areas observed and as many as 270 deer at some sites. But it only takes 15 deer per square mile to eat enough vegetation to make some plant and tree species stop propagating and chase other animals out of the forest in search of new food sources. Deer no longer have natural predators in New Jersey. They breed rapidly and while deer are a headache to suburban gardeners, they are a serious economic threat to farmers and landscapers. In addition to rapidly depleting habitats that threaten New Jersey’s forests and native wildlife, the imbalance has caused millions of dollars in crop loss and landscape damage, automobile collisions, and increased risk of Lyme disease.
April 2021 9 The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Executive Director
Spring is Springing
as the “guys” have always been welcoming and showed respect for anyone doing the demanding work they do. Many of our member companies and others in the industry that started in the ’50s-’80s had women in the office, but now they are in all roles. Recently, another association executive reached out to me about the number of women-owned businesses in our rosters. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the number has reached 29 companies that are owned by females and the number of women contacts I have in the New Jersey landscape industry is nearly 150. I attended a landscaping conference in 2018 to discuss increasing the workforce in the industry. Many of the attendees were association executives. But
what was most exciting were the brilliant minds in that room, along with the men that were truly listening to us about what was helpful in making the industry more enticing to women entering the workforce. Most women that are in the industry will point to their favorite facets being the ability to work outdoors, the diversity in what they are doing each day, and the satisfaction of seeing a project completed from start to finish. A female friend that is also in the industry attended a different conference (pre-COVID). When they were discussing the attributes of men vs. women leaders, she found it interesting that men were described as early, dependable and organized, while women were described as assertive, fearless and attacking new responsibilities.
This wasn’t new information for me, as I know quite a few female nursery and landscape business owners that meet all these attributes and more. Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that women make up just 8.8 percent of the industry in 2021. I would love to see this number increase and with the many opportunities for women in landscape and nursery, I expect that number to double in no time. I am part of a Women in Landscape Facebook group and love the conversations we have and am always impressed with the feats these women conquer each day. What is the biggest complaint I hear? That there aren’t work clothes and boots made to fit the needs of women. So, you work clothes providers out there, take heed. There are
Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman
Deer’s Intricate Relationship with the Environment
New Jersey Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam and Professor David Drake, a wildlife specialist at the University of Wisconsin, told the Agriculture Committee we must address the problem of deer overpopulation through the lens of urban land development. Rather than rely on traditional deer management using recreational hunting as the primary tool, we need meaningful, science-based legislation as well as better wildlife management on public lands. We also must adjust the state’s game laws, allow additional hunting, and better educate the public to bring the deer population back into balance. We also have to balance public sentiment. I call this the “Bambi Factor.” Often, when we talk about increasing the hunting season for deer, some people cry foul;
they believe it is inhumane. But the truth is the current level of deer overpopulation is seven to eight times greater than what is sustainable. We need to provide funding to expand programs where hunters can take deer over the legal limit and donate the meat to help feed people who are hungry. There are a couple of small programs like that in New Jersey now, but we need more. We also need to educate people about the impact of deer overpopulation and its relationship to other elements of the farm and forest ecosystem, as well as how innovative approaches such as promoting native plant species and protecting pollinator environments helps mitigate the imbalance and promote the health of our environment. The Agriculture Committee also will continue to press for
legislation that protects farmers, including A3619, which allows them to recover reasonable costs and attorney fees in bad faith complaints under the “Right to Farm Act.” Another bill under consideration, A503, allows them to sell freshly baked products at farm markets in wrapped or covered containers for sanitation purposes without being weighed. In unrelated news - but good news - the state Department of Environmental Protection has begun distributing the $11 million in federal CARES Act grants to the fishing industry. Businesses must demonstrate a 35-percent revenue loss from March 1 and June 30 of last year compared to their fiveyear same-period average. Most of the grant funds, $6.1 million, will go to commercial fishermen and the aquaculture sector, which has been thriving in
women tree climbers, nursery professionals, maintenance crews, paver installers, etc. who need clothes to hold up to the daily grind. I am proud of all my landscape and nursery industry family, male and female alike. To the men in this industry that see no issues with girls in the sandbox, thank you. To the women in the industry who aren’t afraid to play with the boys (I’m definitely one of them and always have been since digging in the dirt with my best friend Chad in the yard), great job! Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott is the Executive Director 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. recent years. About $3.8 million will be available for the seafood dealer and processor sector and $1.1 million will help boost the recreational fishing industry. Collective, our fishing industries add $8 billion a year to the state’s economy and create more than 50,000 jobs. The industry was hit hard when restaurants were forced to close or operate with limited seating over the past year. Under normal conditions, Americans do 70 percent of their seafood spending in restaurants. The Agriculture Committee will continue to explore the intricate relationships within our environment and to look for ways to protect native species on land and at sea. As always, we welcome your ideas and suggestions. You can contact me at AsmHoughtaling@ njleg.org.
Editor’s Note: Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling is Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the New Jersey State Assembly. He can be reached at 732-6953371 or AsmHoughtaling@ njleg.org, or by mail at 802 W Park Ave, Ste 302, Ocean Township 07712.
10 April 2021 There are very few times there arrives a revolutionary breakthrough in the turfgrass industry. Manhattan Perennial Ryegrass, the first improved variety, Adelphi Kentucky Bluegrass, the first one to be hybridized, and, in the 1980s, the first true turf-type Tall Fescue, all coming from Dr. C. Reed Funk from the Rutgers Turfgrass breeding program. What’s new? Texas Bluegrass is new. How did this Texas Bluegrass come about? In the 1990s, breeders first began experimenting with producing hybrids of Texas Bluegrass (Poa arachnifera) with Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis). As turfgrass breeders saw the benefits of combining the best traits of each species, multiple collection trips took place across the lower states to identify Texas Bluegrass plants that stood out in appearance. Some of these breeding crosses utilized hundreds of collections to cross with existing Kentucky Bluegrass varieties. Texas Bluegrass has great drought-resistance and also heat tolerance. Could the two be put together to provide the desirable traits of each species? “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing” - Abraham Lincoln. Just over one year now since I lost one of my most dear friends responsible, in part, for my career path in life. A friend and mentor who coaxed and nurtured not only my professional ambitions, but my personal ones as well. Dr. Stephen Schuckman was principally responsible for giving me my first job in horticulture and continued my horticultural education ‘til the end. Stephen M. Schuckman was born in Quincy, Ill., and graduated Quincy University in 1981 with a bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry. Steve earned a master’s degree in botany from the University of Missouri in 1984. He moved to New Jersey in 1985 and served as an adjunct instructor at Rutgers University. Stephen managed Metropolitan Plant Exchange in West Orange, N.J. from 1987 to 1993 and it is here where I would meet my friend and mentor. In need of a summer job, Steve and Tony, my other lifelong wingman, hired me and set me on a career path in horticulture. Little did I know, at the time, that these two men would help mold and shape my entire well-being. Steve served as superintendent of Parks and Shade Tree in Montclair, N.J. and was one of the founders
GardenerNews.com Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant
Extra, extra, read all about it! Like Kentucky Bluegrass, Texas Bluegrass spreads via rootsrhizomes to help fill in bare areas. Texas Bluegrass can tolerate sun but holds up better than Kentucky Bluegrass in drought, heat and shady areas. Texas Bluegrass does need some level of water during summer months to be successful but does not like to be sitting in too much water. Rust disease is more likely to affect Kentucky Bluegrass than Texas Bluegrass. Both of these have good ability to repair damage from high traffic or other stresses. Texas Bluegrass grows fairly well from sand to clay soils, better than Kentucky Bluegrass does. In certain trials, Texas Bluegrasses rated very well in university testing across the
country. The end result was the best of both worlds. Texas Bluegrass looks like Kentucky Bluegrass with a dark-green color, but stands up better to heat and drought stress than Kentucky Bluegrass. As production fields are being established in the Pacific Northwest growing regions, Texas Bluegrass exhibits good production possibilities, getting us closer to the “perfect” grass which, by the way, Mother Nature will never allow the perfect grass to exist. The many regions that grass seed grows will always be changing and causing some obstacles to grow great grass forever. Sod growers along the border of the cool-season and warmseason regions of the country have
started to incorporate some Texas Bluegrass in their fields. Texas Bluegrass may not be available on the market by itself, but perhaps in some mixtures with other Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue or Perennial Ryegrass. Spring is a good time to seed new lawns and/or re-seed winterdamaged lawns from excessive ice melters that killed some grass. This past winter was the first significant amount of snow in two winters. It is best to seed your lawn as soon as possible with proper preparation in order to beat the potential summer heat and drought. Remember for best results: test your soil to see if and what soil amendments are needed to correct soil deficiencies or soil pH levels; rake vigorously
Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist
Remembering My Friend
of the Montclair Farmer’s Market. A market, incidentally, that set the blueprint for others to follow. Steve was especially proud of it! Stephen was the horticultural manager of the Van Vleck House & Gardens from 1998-2005 and he owned and operated his own company--First Mountain Arboriculture. Steve was a certified arborist by the New Jersey Arborists Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and a certified tree expert by the New Jersey Society of Certified Tree Experts. Stephen served as the forestry consultant for several New Jersey communities, including Montclair, Bloomfield, Maplewood, Hawthorne, and Glen Ridge. He was a continuing education instructor at Rutgers University and personally always rooted for Duke basketball, especially during the NCAA Tournament. Finally, Stephen, or as his dearest friends called him, “The Dr.” or “Schucky,”
was a contributing columnist for this publication. While our initial time together was that of employee/management, Steve and I quickly became friends. Our love for plants and sports were strong common interests. Steve, Tony and I would often go to dinner, travel and talk most things plants. In fact, most mornings, over the last decade, I would speak to “Schucky” at 7 a.m., on the way to work, and our conversations usually began by telling jokes or singing to one another. Often we would modify lyrics to suit current pop culture, politics, religion, sports and even plants. Our initial “hellos” often led to cheeky talks and interesting takes on life, privy only for the two of us. Steve, a self-professed “hippie”, loved to think outside the box, especially when it came to municipal street plantings. While many in his field would plant Zelkova’s, maples, and Ginkgo, a personal favorite of
us both, Steve loved to seek out and speak to me about new tree types, cultivars he could use. He used Hardy Rubber Tree, Eucommia ulmoides, Persian ironwood cultivars, Parrotia persica, and male varieties of Kentucky Coffeetree, Gymnocladus dioicus, to name a few. Perhaps my favorite plant encounter with Steve was on June 17, 2017. I know this date because I have a video saved, on my iPhone, where the two of us raced to identify a plant at the New York Botanical Garden. The answer was white Enkianthus, Enkianthus perulatus, a deciduous shrub, that flowers white in April and May. A refined Asian type, this was one of the very few times my recall was faster than Steve’s. Steve had an appreciation for not only native plants, but really loved all plants from around the world. His yearly trip to Mexico had him smitten with tropicals and he loved his exotic ferns, orchids, and other house plants.
the areas to be seeded in order to loosen up the ground; apply a “new seeding or starter-type” lawn food when seeding, one with some phosphorous, the middle number on the bag. Be sure to avoid applying any pre-emergence herbicides when seeding unless the product is labeled for new seeding. Be sure to look for your lawn and garden supplies early since it seems everyone is trying to fix up their little piece of heaven, their home and yard, which have become so near and dear to all of us. Spending more time at home allows you to finish or start projects you have been considering for a long time. There is no better time to start these projects than now. Let’s enjoy our lawns and gardens even more than before. Happy spring! 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: www.jonathangreen.com Growing up, my parents told me: “When all is said and done, if you can count your true friends on one hand, you’re a lucky man.” Friends who nurture, educate, challenge, console, show compassion and not be judgmental. Often, I tell friends, and now even our daughter, not to judge people by one episode, rather by their entire body of work. After all, no one person is perfect and to see beyond one’s eccentricities and imperfections shows character and embodies what true friendship and love is all about. Steve was my Sergeant Hulka (character from the movie “Stripes”), my big toe or index finger, a true friend who gave more than he ever asked for.
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, past member of Reeves-Reed 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.
April 2021 11
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14 April 2021 What type of education best prepares someone for a career in agriculture? Would it be high school, followed by college at one of the Land Grant universities with a major in an agricultural field and a four-year degree? Or would it be high school, followed by some type of a two-year technical program that specializes in a specific field or segment of agriculture? How about just high school, and then on the job training on the farm? What about a few years of service in the military? How about a whole other nonfarming career first, where someone starts playing around with some type of farming on the side, and then turns that hobby into a full-blown agricultural business? The fact of the matter is that I know of successful farmers who fit into each one of those above listed categories. But on the flip side, if pressed, I could probably name unsuccessful farmers who fit into each one of those categories as well. My own formal education in farming was pretty much nonexistent. During high school and my early years of college,
GardenerNews.com The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer
I had every intention of going to law school. Therefore, I had taken classes to prepare me for that field. In high school, the vocational agriculture classes that were offered were not compatible with a college-prep schedule, so there was no way to do both. Because I had grown up on a farm and worked there all through school, I did have an interest in pursuing some of the academic areas of agriculture. But there was really no way to study it if I had any intention of remaining on a college career track that would take me to law school. Fortunately, I was able to pick up some agricultural knowledge here and there while working on our farm.
But even though I was not studying agriculture throughout high school and college, I feel that the education I received did prepare me well for a career in farming. I was forced to learn about many different subjects, and also to solve problems in both individual and group settings. And although I was not learning about agriculture per se, I was in fact “learning how to learn.” While it would have been useful to learn some of the basics of farming such as biology, chemistry and the like, I do not feel that I missed out on anything that I was not able to overcome or learn at a later date. In fact, learning these things later in my life may have given me some extra relevance because
I was able to put this knowledge to use immediately in some type of practical application, instead of cramming the night before an exam and then forgetting it during the next beer party. One area where I was able to develop was in learning good work habits. Both in school and on the farm, I learned that there was absolutely no substitute for hard work. Time and time again, I have seen very smart and talented people take a good idea and run it into the ground because they were not persistent enough or did not want to put in the extra effort to see it through to completion. Whether or not someone learns this lesson in or out of school, I believe that this is one of the most important habits a young person can develop.
Another key component of a good education is the cultivation of reading and problem-solving skills. If a person has a thirst for knowledge, and is able to enhance that knowledge through research and reading, then that person will be well prepared to overcome many obstacles. In the same respect, problem solving is also extremely important. No one is born with the innate ability to know or do everything. Therefore, young people must learn how to seek assistance and advice to tackle any larger problems that may come along. So, start learning young, and don’t stop! 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 Mayor of Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County, NJ. 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.
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April 2021 15
When Less Is More
By Hubert Ling I must admit, a flaming red or deep purple-maroon azalea is eye-catching, but how about cultivating our native pinxter azalea, Rhododendron periclymenoides (nudiflorum)? Instead of shouting to be noticed, the soft, pink trumpets of pinxter azaleas gently brighten a corner of your garden in early spring when you are really tired of only seeing whites, browns, and grays for months on end. These flowers are all the more spectacular since pinxter flowers open fully, long before the leaves completely expand. Rhodo is Greek for “red” and dendron is “tree”; botanists place what we commonly call rhododendron and azalea in the same genus since they are similar in structure and biochemistry. Pinxter is Dutch for Pentecost, the Seventh Sunday after Easter, when this azalea flowers in the northern In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of turning the soil. With apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson, regular readers of this fine publication would probably wholeheartedly agree with my little edit. With winter firmly in the rearview mirror, how wonderful it is knowing we have a whole spring and summer before us. I can already taste the Jersey Fresh blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, corn, and all the other wonderful items now coming to life in nearby fields. I don’t think too many people are sad to see the weather change, especially parents with children in school. How tortuous it must be spending long hours in front of a virtual classroom devoid of many of the activities schoolchildren need to grow physically and socially. I feel for the parents who had to find activities to fill the long hours at home. With many schools still closed, this month’s column is to tout a worthwhile program that parents can use that will get the kids outside, exercising, and learning. Learning Through Gardening is a program sponsored by the New Jersey Agricultural Society. The purpose of the program is to provide elementary schools with financial, educational, and agricultural
regions of its range. Our hardy, deciduous pinxter azalea is one of the most common and widespread of our native azaleas; it ranges from New Hampshire to Florida. The plant is also widespread in New Jersey and is found in almost every county. Pinxter flowers are trumpetshaped and white to pink. These slightly fragrant flowers are one to one-and-a-half inches long and have five stamens, which distinctively curve upwards and extend way out of the flower. In addition, the stigma is even longer and also curves upwards at the tip. This azalea will grow at a moderate rate to about five to six feet high and five to six feet wide. It is frequently multistemmed and grows best in partial shade in acid, humusy, moist to welldrained soil. However, it is easy to grow and tolerates dry, sandy, and rocky soil. In full shade, plants tend to be very leggy and bloom is seriously retarded for years or even decades. Also, your
plants will yellow and look sick if the soil pH rises above 6.5, so mulch with oak leaves or pine needles. Although pinxter azalea is susceptible to mildew, rust, and several insect pests, this wild azalea is much more resistant to severe damage than many of the common commercial azaleas. A healthy pinxter plant in the proper location should have no major problems, although deer can eventually wear down even the most vigorous plant. Propagation is by seed, stem cuttings, and root cuttings. The plants grow better with a mulch of rotted leaves or bark, which duplicates natural conditions, increases soil fertility and moisture, stabilizes temperature, and maintains the proper soil acidity. All members of the genus Rhododendron are listed as moderately poisonous from the compound grayonotoxin, which attacks nerves. All parts of the plant are toxic and this can be a problem for cats, dogs, and horses. The symptoms
are abdominal pain, diarrhea, difficult breathing. However, paralysis of limbs, coma, and cardiac failure are also known. An interesting side note goes along with toxic azalea and rhododendron flowers and that is mad honey. On rare occasions in Appalachia, a cold wave may kill off many flowers but leave the more cold-resistant azaleas and rhododendrons intact. This may lead to bees collecting rhododendron nectar exclusively and produce what is known as mad honey. Mad honey produces the same symptoms as those from ingesting the leaves and twigs. However, humans may also exhibit depression, low blood pressure, and cardiac arrhythmias. Fortunately, mad honey is very rare and having a few pinxter plants in your yard is much less dangerous to your neighbors than having several large rhododendrons, which is also not very dangerous. Pinxter azalea is a pollinator’s friend. The plant is in full bloom in early spring,
NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director
Planting Seeds in Young Minds
resources to create a school garden that is used as a learning laboratory. Teachers are encouraged to use the school garden to teach their standard curriculum, including math, science, social studies, health, and language arts. Students can learn how healthy, nutritious food is produced, why it is important to include fruits and vegetables in their diets, and reasons to care for their environment. Currently, this program serves 40 schools statewide and has involved 17,000 students and 1,600 teachers. Interested schools apply for a gardening grant, and if accepted receive the tools and materials necessary to build a school garden. Training, workshops, and lessons are also provided. The goals of the program are to teach children where their food comes from and give them the experience of growing their own
food. The program also e ncourages children to include more fruits and vegetables in their diets by allowing them to eat the fruits and vegetables they have grown at school. Learning Through Gardening also gives teachers an outdoor garden classroom where they can teach their everyday core curriculum in all subjects. A school garden provides so many benefits in helping a student learn and is often a child’s first connection to agriculture, while showing children where their food comes from and how it grows. It also teaches them that agriculture is vital to everyone. Learning Through Gardening also introduces healthy eating habits. Children who are given the opportunity to taste fruits and vegetables they have grown at school are more likely to eat them, and to ask their parents to buy them.
A school garden takes kids outdoors. Gardening is physical activity done in the fresh air. In the garden, children learn to work together toward a common goal. If children are given the responsibility of maintaining the garden, they will learn to assign tasks, share work, and take turns. Research shows that students who have school garden programs incorporated into their science curriculum score significantly higher on science achievement tests than students who are taught by strictly traditional classroom methods. And finally, as gardening adults, we all know gardening improves mental health and relieves stress. Parents reading this are probably thinking, “That’s all well and good if school was open, but how does this apply to my kids who have been home for a year?” Anticipating that question, the New Jersey
when there are few other plants with any flowers, and supports bees, butterflies, and migrating hummingbirds. Apparently bees and bee larvae and other organisms are not damaged by feeding on rhododendron nectar. In addition, at least 50 species of native caterpillars, such as hairstreaks and brown elfins, feed on Rhododendron. Pinxter plants produce numerous very small seeds, enclosed in small capsules, which are used as a food source by some birds. Pinxter azaleas make a welcome addition to your woodland garden. Highlight them as specimens or in groups or borders. They also work well as foundation plantings and in shade gardens. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Agricultural Society’s Learning Through Gardening Director Carolyn Taylor revamped the program and introduced “Learning Through Gardening at Home.” Now, parents can take advantage of 95 garden lessons that are linked to New Jersey Learning Standards in math, science, social studies, language arts, and health. A simple click on the Agricultural Society’s web page (www.agsociety.org) will introduce lessons about how to grow corn from a cob, where your candy comes from, how to grow your own lemon tree, kitchen scrap gardening, and much more. That’s some food for thought.
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@ gmail.com
16 April 2021 As we start to emerge from winter, I am constantly reminded at how important evergreen trees and shrubs are to the garden. On the East Coast, a staple in most of our gardens is the amazing myriad and diversity of evergreen rhododendrons and azaleas we can grow in this area. However, there are many other fantastic broadleaved evergreen shrubs to consider using. In the last 15 years or so, one of my favorite evergreen shrubs has been Daphniphyllum macropodum. Unfortunately, it is still relatively rare in the garden centers, but on occasion I see them for sale. While the flowers are somewhat inconspicuous, the foliage is rhododendron-like in many respects. However, Daphniphyllum is very glossy and the petiole (small stem that attaches the leaf to the branch) can be a very attractive pinkishred. Because of certain alkaloids present in Daphniphyllum, it is nearly 100-percent deer resistant. Only once in the last 20 years have I seen this plant browsed and that was in a garden near the Tyler Arboretum, where there is considerable deer pressure. In my home garden, I have a few specimens. One is a multistemmed shrub, while the other one has a single trunk and has become almost like a small
GardenerNews.com Pennsylvania Horticultural Society By Andrew Bunting Vice President of Public Horticulture
Beyond Rhododendrons, Great Broadleaved Evergreens for the Garden
tree. Another great attribute is that they can withstand very dry shade. At the back of my property, I have a row of large, mature Norway spruces, Picea abies. The canopy from these trees is so dense that even after a heavy rain it can be very dry in this area. In spite of these hostile growing conditions Daphniphyllum thrives. Over the years, I have become enamored with the many cultivars of Osmanthus heterophyllus, holly olive or false holly. This member of the olive family has spiny leaves not unlike many holly leaves. They are evergreen, multi-stemmed shrubs that can be grown in full sun to full shade. In the fall, a profusion of tiny white flowers are produced that are intensely fragrant. There are many cultivars, with “Gulftide” being the most popular. The foliage of “Gulftide” is the most holly-
like. It is a great selection for creating formal or informal hedging. “Gulftide” is a PHS Gold Medal recipient. “Goshiki” also received the Gold Medal designation for its outstanding attributes. I have a specimen in my front yard that is about 10 feet tall with a spread of six feet. It is characterized by also having holly-like leaves that have a beautiful variegation of dark green and sulfur yellow. “Sasaba” has wickedly spiny leaves that make it a perfect shrub for creating an impenetrable barrier. At maturity, it reaches a manageable five feet tall with an equal spread. And, “Kaori Hime” is very diminutive form, making it a perfect addition to the small courtyard garden or rock garden. Yesterday, I went to Longwood Gardens and spent quite a bit of time in the Hillside Garden in and around the Chimes Tower.
There are some wonderful specimens of the wheel tree, Trochodendron aralioides. This multi-stemmed, rounded shrub can become somewhat tree-like over decades of growing. The leaves radiate out from a central stem like the spokes on a wheel, hence the common name. Each leaf is glossy and elliptical. The branching develops in a somewhat layered pattern, which adds a certain structural component to the garden. Finally, I love the genus Sarcococca. This boxwood relative is truly deer resistant like the boxwood, Buxus. Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis Fragrant Valley™ has beautiful shiny narrow leaves. White flowers are borne in late winter to early spring and are amazingly fragrant. Commonly referred to as the sweet box, Sarcococca is a perfect plant to be planted in mass to act as a small massing
shrub or a groundcover. It thrives well in very shady conditions, including dry shade. Because it is deer resistant, it always looks great in the garden. In a small garden or urban garden where there is limited space, it can be used as a small accent at the entrance to the house or near gates and entrances where the fragrance can be enjoyed. Editor’s Note: Andrew Bunting is Vice President of Public Horticulture for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is one of the most recognized horticulturists in the Philadelphia, Pa., region and a highly regarded colleague in the world of professional horticulture. Bunting has amassed a plethora of awards, including the American Public Gardens Association Professional Citation, Chanticleer Scholarship in Professional Development, Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Marion Marsh Award, and the Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. In addition, Bunting has lectured extensively throughout North America and Europe, and participated in plant expeditions throughout Asia and Africa. Learn more at https://phsonline.org/team/ andrew-bunting
2021 Philadelphia Flower Show Tickets On Sale Now The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) announced tickets to the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show, June 5 – 13, are available for purchase at PHSonlineorg. Attendees are asked to select their preferred date and session at the time of purchase. To allow for social distance protocols, a limited number of tickets will be available for each day and time segment. Early purchase is highly recommended. The Philadelphia Flower Show, typically held each March at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, will be held outdoors for the first time in its history this summer at the historic Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park (FDR Park) in South Philadelphia. Given the pandemic, the move will allow PHS to present the Show safely, at the height of the gardening season and with the added health benefits of the outdoors. The central location, situated adjacent to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, is accessible to major highways and mass transit. The Park features
inspiring natural beauty and an expansive setting that also provides Show designers with an exciting new layout for creative expression and horticultural displays. Visitors will experience the Show through three distinct “Districts” that feature all manner of Plants, Design, and Gardening created for all skill levels. The Flower Show “footprint” will span 15 acres of FDR Park’s 348 acres parallel to Pattison Avenue allowing the vast majority of FDR Park and its amenities to remain accessible to the public during the Flower Show dates. PHS is working closely with local community leaders and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation on Show planning. “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the outdoors and offer joy and beauty after a year that has been marked by so many challenges. This experience is a wonderful example of the enduring and combined power of green space, plants, and gardeners to create
impact and inspiration,” said Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events. FDR Park, a registered historical district, was built to the design of Olmsted Brothers, the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and John Charles Olmsted in the early 20th century. With walkable pathways, majestic trees and breathtaking views, FDR Park is an inspiring venue that contributes to the splendor that the Flower Show is known for. 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show Information: Public safety is a critical component for the upcoming Show and adherence to recommendations from the CDC and City/State health officials is paramount to Show planning. PHS will continue to work closely with health officials with updated guidance available at PHSonline.org Ticketing: Attendees must reserve a date and time of visit for all tickets purchased. Tickets are limited. Early purchase is recommended.
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization founded in 1827, plays an essential role in the vitality of the Philadelphia region by creating healthier living environments, increasing access to fresh food, growing economic opportunity, and building deeper social connections between people. PHS delivers this impact through comprehensive greening and engagement initiatives in more than 250 neighborhoods; an expansive network of public gardens and landscapes; year-round learning experiences; and the nation’s signature gardening event, the Philadelphia Flower Show. PHS provides everyone with opportunities to garden for the greater good as a participant, member, donor, or volunteer. For information and to support this work, please visit PHSonline.org.
April 2021 17
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NORTHEAST DEPARTMENT CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Farm Transition Grant Restructured to Better Support Connecticut Agricultural Producers The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the Farm Transition Grant (FTG) has been restructured to better serve Connecticut farmers and farmer cooperatives. The creation of five grant categories will address gaps in funding to support farmers in times of growth, change, and emergency need. Applications will be accepted starting April 8 and due no later than 4:00 p.m. on April 15, 2021. “The changes to our Farm Transition Grant are a direct result of listening to the producers we currently serve and creating attractive funding opportunities for new farmers in Connecticut,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “The revised categories will level the playing field through a proactive approach, which fosters an environment of innovation and support, throughout the lifecycle of a farmer and their business enterprise.” The Farm Transition Grant is a matching grant program for Connecticut farmers and agricultural cooperatives to support the diversification of existing farm operations, transitioning to value-added agricultural production and sales. Funding is provided through C.G.S. Section 22-26j. “The Farm Transition Grant was previously a onesize-fits-all approach. After hosting a farmer focus group and giving extensive consideration to industry needs, five new grant categories have been developed,” said Jaime Smith, Bureau Director for Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation. “The agency strives to support farmers from those just
beginning, to those well established. We now have grant opportunities which echo that.” The new grant categories are summarized below. • New Farmer Micro Grants: To support new individuals/partnerships who have one full year to three years of production history and are seeking long-term careers that financially support them through farming and agriculture. • Infrastructure Investment Grant: To support farmers in production for a minimum of three years with infrastructure to expand the farm’s production and operation. • Research and Development Grant: For farms to conduct research to assess the viability and development of a new product line, service, or market. • Innovation and Diversification Grant: For the implementation of a new product or service for market or business expansion after a research and development phase has been explored. • Crisis and Emergency Response Grant: To provide aid in response to disasters where federal support, insurance, and loans are unavailable or have been exhausted. (This grant will not be initially available and will be announced as needed at a later date.) Grant guidelines and forms can be found at www. CTGrown.gov/grants for additional detail on match requirements and eligible expenses. Questions regarding the Farm Transition Grant can be directed to Amanda King at Amanda.King@ct.gov or found online at www.CTGrown.gov/grants.
VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Creation of Future of Agriculture Commission Governor Phil Scott has issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Vermont Agriculture to study and strategize how best to grow agriculture in the Green Mountain State. The Commission’s charge will focus on ensuring the viability and adaptability of this sector, including recommendations for more cross-sector collaboration, increasing production and promotion, reducing barriers to entry and increasing diversity within the sector, and continued progress on environmental issues. “The pandemic has further emphasized how important agriculture is to Vermonters and highlighted gaps in our food system. So, as we recover, we must continue to advocate for investing in Vermont communities and the work of the people who make their living off the land,” said Governor Scott. “This Commission will examine issues within agriculture from farm to table - and deliver recommendations on how to chart a path forward for agricultural commerce in our state.” The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) will lead the
commission, co-chaired by AAFM Secretary Anson Tebbetts and ACCD Secretary Lindsay Kurrle. “This commission will lead to economic development in the agricultural sectors by helping farmers, producers and businesses create new markets and new jobs,” said AAFM Secretary Tebbetts. “It’s important we do this work today and for future generations.” “Developing the future of commerce for the agriculture sector is critical to our economic recovery. As we look to grow our economy, recruit new residents and businesses to the state, and build a better future for all Vermonters, we must ensure our agriculture sector remains nimble and innovative both in the long and short-term,” said ACCD Secretary Kurrle. Commission members have not been appointed yet. Members will represent several sectors including maple, dairy and experts in Vermont’s food systems, as well as those with expertise in environmental and land use issues. The Commission will deliver a report to the Governor in November 2021. View the Executive Order at: https://governor. vermont.gov/content/executive-order-no-03-21
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Dr. Mel Henninger Honored for Distinguished Service Long-time Rutgers professor and extension agent Dr. Mel Henninger was recognized with a Distinguished Service to Agriculture Citation by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the virtual New Jersey State Agricultural Convention recently. “Mel Henninger’s significant contributions to New Jersey agriculture have made major impacts on how we grow produce,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “He is known and highly respected across the country for his in-depth knowledge of potatoes and the availability of his expertise, experience and insight to farmers here has heightened the Garden State’s production and agricultural reputation.” Dr. Henninger graduated from Penn State University with a degree in agronomy and he returned there to earn his Masters and Ph.D. in agronomy as well. Before being a professor emeritus for the last 10 years at Rutgers, he spent 391/2 years of his career as an extension specialist in vegetable crops at Rutgers. His career included nine years as Department Chair. “Working with my fellow Rutgers staff and agents for the farmers in New Jersey has allowed me to have a very rewarding and satisfying career,” Dr. Henninger said. “Receiving this honor is especially significant to me. Being recognized by my clientele and knowing so many others who have received it before me is very special to me personally and something I will always cherish it.” Henninger was very active on the national level, having been president and vice president of the Potato Association of America. He also is a former director of the New Jersey Agribusiness Association, has been a long-time member of the American Society of Agronomy, The American Society of Horticulture Science, and the New Jersey Agricultural Society, among others. His other significant honors have included winning the Stephen A. Johnston Person of the Year Award from the New Jersey Agribusiness Association, an Honorary Life Membership to the Potato Association of America, the Specialist of the Year by the New Jersey Agricultural Agents Association and a Vegetable Group Rutgers Cooperative Extension Award. Also, his paper, “The Predictive Model for Onset and Development of Internal Heat Necrosis of Atlantic Potato” was selected as the Most Outstanding Published for Vegetable Crops in 1991 by the American Society for Horticultural Science. He has also had numerous writings published in the American Journal of Potato Research, the American Potato Journal, the American Society for Horticultural Science, and Crop Science, among others. Dr. Henninger’s research with white potatoes has included studies on spacing for maximum yield, pest management, calcium, and phosphorus rates, and on fungicides. Other studies include varietal evaluation, pest control and storage quality for sweet potatoes, grafting tomatoes, and variety trials on several other vegetables grown in New Jersey. Organizations who qualify to send delegates to the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention may nominate a state farmer for the Distinguished Service Award. For more information, visit https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/about/sba/ guidelin.html.
April 2021 19
OF AGRICULTURE NEWS NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
21 Million Pounds of Surplus Agricultural Products Have Been Delivered to More Than 1.3 Million Households Across New York State Since Nourish NY Was Launched
Department of Agriculture Adds 8 Counties to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine, Highlights New Weapon to Sniff Out Pest
$25 million has been directed to New York’s network of food banks and emergency food providers to support the Nourish New York program through July 2021. Since the Governor launched Nourish NY at the height of the COVID19 pandemic in April 2020, 21 million pounds of surplus agricultural products have been purchased from New York farmers and delivered to more than 1.3 million households in need across New York State. Purchasing and food distribution using this third round of funding - which was first announced during the Governor’s 2021 State of the State Address - are currently underway. Since the launch of Nourish NY, a total of $60 million has been invested in the program. “New York is on the path to recovery from the pandemic, but there is a continued need to assist families and our farmers across the state who are still struggling,” Governor Cuomo said. “Since its launch last spring, the Nourish New York initiative has had incredible success in connecting our agricultural producers with food banks in every corner of the state to bring fresh local foods to families in need. This third round of funding will help ensure that no New Yorker goes hungry and households have access to nutritious foods - while also supporting New York’s agricultural economy.” The Nourish New York program provides funds to New York’s food banks and emergency food providers, who then purchase agricultural products from New York farmers and dairy manufacturers and deliver the food to families in need. Emergency food providers can use Nourish New York funds to: Set up
food-drive through events/giveaways; Distribute dairy vouchers that can be redeemed in grocery stores for products like cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, and butter, throughout the state, and/or; Purchase products directly from New York dairy/food manufacturers for their feeding programs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers experienced a drastic supply chain shift, which resulted in the loss of markets and income and in the waste of fresh surplus foods, particularly fluid milk. Simultaneously, the demand for food through emergency food providers escalated across the state. Seeing the opportunity to feed residents and aid farmers, the Governor launched the Nourish New York initiative. This initiative provided $25 million in funding for the first round and $10 million in the second round of the program for the purchase of foods grown, raised, or processed in New York State and has served as an important alternative revenue stream for farmers and dairy processors during the pandemic. More than 4,150 farms have been impacted through the program. State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Over the last 10 months, the Nourish New York program has helped feed more than one million families with nutritious dairy, fruits and vegetables, and so much more, and helped make sure our farmers had a market for their products. We are proud of the connections that have been made and thank the Governor for the continued commitment to purchase goods from New York State farmers and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to healthy foods.”
Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced that eight counties have been added to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly quarantine zone ahead of the 2021 spring hatch. With this addition, the quarantine for this invasive pest is now at 34 counties. “The Spotted Lanternfly is more than a pest in the literal sense,” said Redding. “It’s wreaking havoc for home and business owners, kids who just want to play outside, Pennsylvania agriculture and the economy of the state we all call home. Whether you think it’s your job or not, we need every Pennsylvanian to keep their eyes peeled for signs of this bad bug – to scrape every egg mass, squash every bug, and report every sighting. We need to unite in our hatred for this pest for our common love: Pennsylvania.” The new eight counties are not completely infested, but rather have a few municipalities with a known infestation. Cambria, Cameron, Franklin, Lackawanna, Montour, Pike, Wayne, and Westmoreland are new to the quarantine for 2021. “When we expand the quarantine, our goal is to slow the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly,” said Dr. Ruth Welliver, director of the department’s Bureau of Plant Industry. “And we have slowed it. Last spring we quarantined 12 counties with isolated infestations, and those counties have not been overrun because of the heightened awareness a quarantine brings. With continued aggressive treatment and monitoring, and an actively engaged community, we can help ensure families and businesses in these new counties aren’t inconvenienced by widespread infestation.”
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Quick, aggressive treatment to newly identified populations of Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania has been funded through the Rapid Response Disaster Readiness line of Governor Wolf’s Pennsylvania Farm Bill for the past two years. The 2021-22 PA Farm Bill proposes another $3 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly. New to Pennsylvania’s fight against the Spotted Lanternfly this Spring is, a female German Shepherd, trained as a puppy at PennVet’s Working Dog Center to detect Spotted Lanternfly eggs, often in places humans can’t access. Lucky joined the department in November 2020 and helps to inspect businesses like nurseries, greenhouses, vehicle fleets, and log yards. She is the first dog in the nation trained to detect Spotted Lanternfly. Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a Spotted Lanternfly permit. Homeowners with questions about treatment are encouraged to contact their local Penn State Extension office or learn about management, including approved sprays. Pennsylvanians who live inside the quarantine zone should also review and sign the Compliance Checklist for residents. Since 2015, the department has received more than $34 million to combat Spotted Lanternfly in Pennsylvania -$20 million in federal funds and another $14 million in state investment. The department also awarded more than $260,000 in January for four priority research projects. For more information on Spotted Lanternfly, visit agriculture.pa.gov/ spottedlanternfly.
20 April 2021
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April 2021 21
GROWING GARDENERS How Gardening Connects Children to the Environment
By Diana Dove Contributing Writer EARTH DAY is April 22, so it’s appropriate for me to write about how spending time outdoors is important to a child’s health and wellbeing. Gardening is one way to engage children outdoors, where they can connect with the environment. According to www.earthday.org, the 2021 world-wide Earth Day theme is “Restore our Earth.” This was established after consulting with 192 countries in the Earth Day Network. Scientists stress there is a dire need to take better care of our planet’s resources. Restoration brings hope at a time when the world is dealing with the COVID19 pandemic. Some health issues are a result of global environmental degradation. As an environmental educator, I view Earth Day as a positive catalyst to bring attention to the need to help children learn and relate to our natural environment and to help them understand the importance of actively participating to preserve pollinator habitats and natural resources. There should be a focus on sustainability, conservation practices and youth involvement. Children are naturally curious and benefit from investigating the outdoors and making discoveries. Keeping a garden journal and taking seasonal photographs are easy ways for children to record progress and changes in a garden while sharpening
observation skills. Children who garden learn about interrelationships in nature. They learn the requirements for living things, and they grasp why living things on our planet need clean water, clean air, healthy soil, energy and space to grow. They learn how plants and animals interact in the food web. Children pay attention to changes and effects of the weather. They discover how plants and animals are similar, yet different, but connected in the web of life. Children learn about the role people play to help or harm the quality of the environment. They learn it’s their choice whether to be careless or to care. In order to protect our quality of life for the long haul, the equation must include educating children. Whether it begins as teaching one child, or as a class activity, planting one seed or one tree, or working with a group of children to grow vegetables, or plant pollinator plants in a wildlife habitat garden… teaching children to garden is one way to help them connect with the environment. Their gardening experience may help them grow into responsible adults who are able to make sound environmental decisions to protect our natural resources, preserving them for the future. A garden lesson can begin simply by planting seeds indoors in cups or in recycled plastic bottles with sunlight from a windowsill or light from a lamp, or
growing plants in a container outside on a balcony, or planting vegetables or pollinator plants in a garden bed. When children garden outside, they spend much needed time outdoors while actively engaged in handson activities. This needs to be emphasized to create environmental awareness. Sensory experiences help children perceive their surroundings. Do you recall the feeling of holding a cold, wiggly worm in your hand, digging into the earth to discover a multitude of life in the soil layers, observing changes in a plant’s growth over time, or becoming aware that a weather front was headed your way as the wind hit your face? Young gardeners gain insight when they tune in their senses to the sights and sounds around them. There is an urgency to educate children about protecting the natural resources that sustain us. When the children who garden now grow up, they may become our future teachers, community leaders, parents, or serve in other capacities where they may be the decision-makers responsible for managing or protecting natural resources for the future. As Earth Day approaches on April 22, think about ways to reach out to a child or youth groups to support youth garden projects and help them connect with the environment. Every plant grown by a child helps to restore our earth in some way, thanks to “GROWING GARDENERS.”
Editor’s Note: Diana can be reached at email@example.com She founded the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden. Please “Like” this garden at Facebook/Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden. Diana serves as the Garden Club of New Jersey Youth Consultant for Environmental Education. View the youth section of the Garden Club of NJ website called “The Kids’ Garden Place,” www.gardenclubofnewjersey.org Diana earned a BS in Forestry & Wildlife Management with a concentration in Biology, plus a BA in Communications from Virginia Tech. As an Environmental Educator, she has taught Environmental Science to all ages for over 45 years, and is a former Senior Naturalist for a County Park System. She currently co-teaches Clean Communities environmental programs with her husband, Mike.
USDA Clarifies Rules for Buying and Selling Seeds and Plants Online From Other Countries Following a months-long investigation into thousands of reports from citizens who received unsolicited seed packages in the mail last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is providing additional guidance to help online buyers and sellers comply with U.S. laws when they import seeds and live plants for planting from other countries. The information, available on the APHIS website, will also help protect critical U.S. agriculture infrastructure and natural resources from potential invasive pest and disease threats. The guidance explains buyer and seller responsibilities; outlines required documents, such as import permits and phytosanitary certificates; provides information on plant and seed species that have additional import requirements; and makes clear which types of plants and seeds are not allowed to be imported into the United States. APHIS published the site after evaluating thousands of reports of unsolicited seed deliveries that began in July 2020. While APHIS confirmed that some of the seeds were sent to the United States unsolicited, others were seeds the recipients ordered—unaware they were coming from a foreign country. Regardless, most of the seed shipments were illegal because they entered the United States without a permit or a phytosanitary certificate. “Plants and seeds for planting purchased online from other countries can pose a significant risk to U.S. agriculture and natural resources because they can carry harmful insects and pathogens,” said Plant Protection and Quarantine Program Deputy Administrator Dr. Osama El-Lissy. “We’ve been working closely with e-commerce companies and other federal partners to stop the flow of illegal plant and seed shipments from entering the country. This new site is a big step forward in our efforts to facilitate the safe trade of plants and seeds through the e-commerce pathway.” APHIS has found no evidence that someone was intentionally trying to harm U.S. agriculture with these shipments. In fact, there is no correlation between where the seeds were sent and U.S. critical agriculture infrastructure. APHIS officials believe the unsolicited packages are part of an internet “brushing scam.” Sellers carrying out brushing scams will often ship inexpensive items to increase transactions. The more transactions a seller completes, the higher their rating and the more likely that their items will appear at the top of search results on an e-commerce site. APHIS has been working with e-commerce companies to remove the online sellers that are participating in the illegal import of propagative materials, including seeds. The agency has also been working with e-commerce companies to ensure they, and the sellers who use their platforms, are complying with USDA import regulations. “We are thankful to the public for reporting the seeds and getting them to USDA officials so that we could investigate them and avoid introducing foreign pests into our environment,” added Dr. El-Lissy. Learn more at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ home
22 April 2021
N.J. Deer Repellent Spray Service Expands to Help Long Island Residents Protect their Landscapes from Deer Damage A leader in the deer repellent industry in New Jersey for almost 20 years, New Jersey Deer Control®, LLC (NJDC) is excited to announce its expansion into Long Island. Since the company opened, it has received many inquiries and much interest from Long Island residents, and starting April 1 it will be able to service them with their new company “DEER GUYS®.” Although it’s a new name, they will still be using the same tools and strategies that earned NJDC its consistent success. White-tailed deer emerged as a nuisance about 30 years ago in the Northeast, and now they are a scourge to many in the form of car crashes, crop damage, overgrazing of our natural ecosystems, and, of course, the destruction of property owners’ expensive, and often prized, landscaping. Although some over-the-counter products exist to help homeowners battle this costly issue, most are either ineffective, offensive smelling, non-resistant to rain, or all of the above. New Jersey Deer Control’s patented, natural repellent, as well as their scientific knowledge of the behavior, biology and physiology of the white-tailed deer, has helped establish them as a leader in the industry, boasting a customer base of over 3,500 clients in New Jersey alone. Additionally, in 2015, NJDC opened up New York Deer Control to protect landscapes in the southern Hudson Valley region. This N.Y. division has also met with great success, and has set the blueprint for this expansion into Long Island. Based in Suffolk County, but servicing all of Long Island, DEER GUYS® will be managed by Mr. Robert A Curcio Jr. (“RJ”). As Staff Ecologist for NJDC for the past three years, RJ has learned the deer repellent business inside and out. A graduate of Drew University, he has focused much of his neuroscience degree on wild mammal behavior and their relationship with their environments. In addition, his knowledge and efforts with NJDC have earned him awards from the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, the Community Association Institute, and the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. When asked about his approach to the company’s expansion and Long Island deer issue, RJ replied, “The success of our product and service speaks for itself. My approach is going to combine this proven model with my extensive knowledge in white-tailed deer behavior and ecology to be a complete deer-management resource for the Green Industry of Long Island.” Christopher J Markham, Wildlife Biologist and President of NJDC, as well as inventor of the company’s patented repellent, said, “RJ has proven himself a leader within our company, and I know with absolute confidence that he will succeed in carrying on NJDC’s traditions of integrity, superior customer service standards and proven results in the deer repellent industry. I am very excited about the potential of this expansion, as the deer-browse issue in many parts of Long Island is very substantial. After years of speculating about the expansion, we’re now ready to help Long Island residents take back their yard.” Learn more by calling 1-855-DEERGUYS (1-855-333-7489)
N.J. Pesticide Storage Inventory Due May 1 to Fire Department Licensed pesticide applicators and dealers in New Jersey who store pesticides are required by law to send a copy of their inventory along with a cover letter to their local fire company by May 1st each year. Applicators and dealers must maintain a list of the pesticides stored or likely to be stored during the year. The inventory should be kept separate from the storage area. Applicators and dealers must keep the letter on file for three years and should have it available for NJDEP upon request. This does not apply to pesticides for personal use, or to storage of pesticides at loading or application areas for less than 7 days. The purpose of the inventory is to provide fire companies with a description of materials stored in case of a fire or an emergency. Licensed pesticide applicators and dealers who store pesticides are also required by law to send a cover letter with a copy of the inventory pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:30-9.5(b).4. Regulations also require a description or diagram depicting the specific location on the property where the pesticides are stored. Learn more at https://www.nj.gov/dep
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April 2021 Columnists
Brian Schilling Bob LaHoff Al Murray Douglas H. Fisher Peter Melick Eric J. Houghtaling Kenneth M. Karamichael
April 2021 Contributing Writers
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Help Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 by picking up trash while enjoying an outdoor activity.
Full Moon April 26, 2021 Eastern Daylight
Help Celebrate Arbor Day on April 23 by Planting a Tree.
TIP OF THE MONTH There are two types of fertilizers available to the gardener: granular and water soluble. Each type has advantages and disadvantages. Granular fertilizers deliver food to a plant slowly but have the advantage of longevity. Since they must be broken down by water before a plant can use them, granular fertilizers do not leach out of the soil as rapidly as water-soluble types. Water-soluble fertilizers are faster acting but more transient, which means they must be applied more frequently than the granular type. Both types of fertilizers are effective. Avoid applying a fertilizer on windy or rainy days. This can cause it to be misplaced and ineffective. When using a granular fertilizer, always be sure to knock the fertilizer off plant leaves to avoid burn. Never apply a granular fertilizer when the soil is extremely dry, and water it in thoroughly after applying to prevent plant burn.
April 2021 23
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