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TAKE ONE No. 214
Sunlight, Fresh Air and a Lesson
John Melick, co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Hunterdon County, uses a pneumatic pruner, powered by an air compressor, to maintain an Empire apple tree on his family’s farm. apple tree orchard learning how to care for apple trees. I traveled to Melick’s Town Farm in Hunterdon County. They are the largest apple grower in New Jersey, with over 30,000 apple trees. Late winter is the best time to prune mature On a cool morning, I had the pleasure of being apple trees. With that said, I recently had the taught the art of pruning by John Melick, one of opportunity to spend a morning at a beautiful the farm’s co-owners.
By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor/Publisher Gardener News
John started out by telling me that pruning opens up a window into the tree’s canopy to allow sunlight in, which determines fruit size, quality and yield efficiency. He also said pruning increases air movement, which reduces insect and disease pressures, as well. Fruit trees need to get as much (Cont. on Page 8)
2 February 2021
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Thank you for a wonderful 2020 season. See you in March! The Biondi Family
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February 2021 3
Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News
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N.J. Gardeners Will Soon Breathe Fresh Air, and a Mayoral Salute Gardening is a wonderful activity that provides fresh food, fresh air, sunshine, Vitamin D, exercise and fun. When you’re outside, do you get tired of smelling exhaust fumes from cars while working in or visiting a community garden near the road? If so, I have some really good news for you. The age of electric vehicles is really taking hold in the great Garden State, thanks to two dedicated State Senators who have co-sponsored legislation to help eliminate those exhaust fumes. In an effort to make charging electric vehicles more accessible, the Senate passed legislation on January 11, sponsored by Senators Bob Smith and Kip Bateman, that would facilitate the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The bill, S-3223, would provide that electric vehicle charging infrastructure is an inherently beneficial use of land pursuant to the “Municipal Land Use Law” and therefore would only require minor site plan approval. “Electric vehicle charging has proven to be inherently beneficial since it benefits the public good and promotes the general welfare of a community,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “As a state, we have a goal to have 330,000 registered electric cars in New Jersey by 2025, and in order to achieve this goal, we must act now and begin developing more vehicle charging stations. With this bill, constructing new charging stations will be easier, allowing us to remain on track to reach this goal.” Under the bill, electric vehicle charging infrastructure would be a permitted accessory use and permitted accessory structure in all zoning or use districts and would not require the use of a variance. The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 32-0. I really love the fact that these two State Senators are growing fresh air for all of us to enjoy. As I pen this column, S-3223 does not have a companion bill in the Assembly. I am now pleased to congratulate my cousin Shawn Lipani on being selected by the Hillsborough Township Committee to serve as the township’s Mayor for 2021. My cousin Shawn co-manages Central Jersey Nurseries, a family-owned business in Hillsborough, Somerset County, N.J. Established in May of 1970, Central Jersey Nurseries is a family-owned and operated business located on a 20-acre site on Hamilton Road. Over 40 years ago, Vincent Lipani began the business as growers and designers/installers of residential landscape projects. Over the first decade of existence, his company evolved into the commercial landscape market, and now boasts over 30 years of experience
in commercial landscaping. My cousin Shawn can be found most days working in the power equipment part of the business. Going forward, it gives me great pleasure to address him as Mayor. Mayor Shawn Lipani is a life-long resident of Hillsborough and has been active in the community for many years, serving on many Township Boards and Commissions. Mayor Lipani entered his first full term in January 2019. In his time on the Township Committee, Mayor Lipani has served as Liaison to various boards and commissions, including Board of Adjustment, Board of Fire Commissioners, Credit Card Advisory, Economic and Business Development, Ethical Standards Board, Planning Board, and Veterans. Previously, he has served as Chairman of the Planning Board, Economic and Business Development Commission and the Board of Adjustment. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Hillsborough. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester, majoring in Political Science and minoring in International Relations. Following the Oath of Office of Mayor administered by Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Mayor Shawn Lipani assumed the presiding role over the remainder of the meeting. During his Mayoral remarks, my cousin Shawn thanked his family, friends, colleagues and the residents of Hillsborough for their support. “I assume this office humbly and with the acceptance of its responsibility and requirements to the residents of Hillsborough,” stated newly selected Mayor Lipani. He noted and thanked all the first responders, healthcare workers and employees who have worked around the clock during the pandemic and pledged continued support for the business community in 2021. Mayor Lipani’s other plans for 2021 include maintaining the fiscally responsible budget and the road paving plan. He will work with the State and monitor the anticipated completion of the Route 206 Bypass. Moving forward, he will work with the state, county and federal agencies to acquire any aid and or grants from past applications and future programs. Additionally, Mayor Lipani will support the Parks and Recreation Department as they plan and be creative in program offerings as well as the Community Assistance Network in continuing to provide the support for our seniors and residents in need. My cousin Shawn resides with his wife, Tara, and daughter, Anastazia. From 1944 to 1949, my uncle Thomas E. Beatty had the honor of serving as Mayor of North Plainfield, Somerset County, N.J.
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 February 2021 Before I begin this month’s topic, I want to start with a big thank you for the selection of me as the Person on the Year in Thomas V. Castronovo’s Gardener News. First, I am humbled by this designation and I am eternally grateful for the people and organizations that I am in contact with each day. Farmers, growers, packers, distributors, purveyors, educators, consumers, gardeners and so on, we all have roles to play in making sure we keep our state green and growing in sustainable fashion. Not just for now, but for future generations and all living things. The interaction with so many people and groups that share those goals is what drives me, so I am glad to have been recognized for striving to lead and achieve success in this space. Of course, we all know you must have a team that supports you, and it works better pulling together in one direction for the positive outcomes we seek. In my case, as the state’s Secretary of Agriculture, I am fortunate to have all the Department of Agriculture associates that share this same dedication. They truly work every day to make sure
GardenerNews.com NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture
No rest for the farmer – in any season
responsible agriculture is in balance with other agendas. OK, moving on. While we are in the depths of winter, much activity is happening on farms across our state. Equipment must be readied for spring plantings, seed supplies lined up, all the necessary treatments scheduled for the upcoming season. There are conventions and training sessions (some will occur virtually this year), markets that are explored, roadside stands to be made ready, and so on. A farmer is always on the job, even when you don’t really notice because much of it is happening out of our sight. Unless you ask, which is how I usually start my conversations with farmers. That question, “What’s going on right now on your farm?” can reveal a lot.
A successful farmer has to be versatile and multifaceted. It goes with the territory. As you have often heard from me, most farmers love what they do when it comes down to the growing and production part, or even the marketing side of things. Even with the red-tape bureaucracy that is always present, resulting in increasing gads of routine, boring, detailed minutiae from so many corners, including micro-mini unrelenting social channels, farmers (as they are able to do with all externalities) typically face work head on, It really takes so many steps to get agricultural and horticultural crops that nourish and sustain us to your table or your door. How many? A real lot! Think about it in terms of
USDA to Measure Fruit and Berry Production The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is conducting its end of season surveys for the 2020 fruit and berry production. The surveys will collect information about acres, production and prices from more than 2,500 growers in the Northeastern region of the United States. “The information from these surveys directly impacts our regions’ fruit and berry growers in many positive ways,” said King Whetstone, director of NASS, Northeastern Regional Field Office. “Growers can use the survey results when making business plans and marketing decisions. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) relies on the average yields and prices to administer farm programs. Cooperative Extension uses the data to provide needed outreach and education, and State Departments and agencies of agriculture use the information to aid growers.” In these surveys, NASS asks participants to answer a variety of questions about apples, blueberries (wild and tame), raspberries, strawberries, cherries (tart), peaches, and pears; depending on state and version of the questionnaire. For their convenience, survey participants have the option to respond online. As with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is confidential by law. NASS safeguards the confidentiality of all responses and publishes only state and national level data, ensuring that no individual producer or operation can be identified. NASS will compile, analyze, and publish survey results in the May 5, 2021 Noncitrus Fruit and Nuts Report. All previous Noncitrus Fruit and Nuts publications are available online at https://www.nass.usda.gov/ Publications. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office at (800) 498-1518.
an assembly line, the heart of activity for most of the nonagricultural products we buy. On an automobile plant’s assembly line, one person or team is constructing the frame. Someone else is putting on the wheels. Others are creating a spacious and comfortable interior. Someone with electrical skills is making sure the lights, radio and other devices will operate properly. The CEOs typically would not know how to do all that work. On the family farm, the difference is the farmer is the CEO but also is involved in ALL the steps in the process, not just one specialty along the line. I think about this daily because to stay ahead, it is necessary to keep looking forward. Farming is a symphony of synchronous
practices that takes not only dogged fortitude but also incredible and extraordinary talent. So, as we approach March, take a deep, meaningful look at what is going on as you pass by some of the farms in our state, or if you’re lucky enough, by having a conversation with a local farmer. You will find yourself marveling at the pace of activity that starts with an almost unseen seed or plug and, with luck, ends up in a bounty that is a blessing for all to partake in for the nourishment of body and soul. 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
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The FrelinghuysenArboretum Virtual 11th Annual Community Garden Conference Saturday March 6 at 9 am
Sponsored by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office of Morris County and The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum You don’t need to be a community gardener to participate* Join us to learn the skills to make your vegetable garden the best ever!
Keynote Speaker Ken Greene: The Art of the Seed Ken is the founder of the Hudson Valley Seed Company
Ask the Experts: Disease Management Peter Nitzsche, Rutgers County Agent Kris Holmstrom, Rutgers IPM Expert
Food Safety in Community Gardens Meredith Melendez, County Agent
Grace Tshanakas, Rutgers Master Gardener
The Pest Patrol: Discovering Pests and Diseases Rutgers Master Gardener IPM Team
Vegetable Garden Planning for Community Gardens Brian Monaghan, Rutgers Master Gardener
Coordinator’s Round Table
Moderator Ned Gardner, Co-manager, Ted Largman Community Garden Some sessions will be live with Q&A in real time; others will be recorded so you can watch them at your leisure. This program eligible for 5 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU’s • $25
353 East Hanover Avenue • Morris Township, New Jersey • 07960 *Registration is required by noon, March 5
February 2021 5
6 February 2021
R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E Office of Continuing Professional Education
Tips for Sustainable Landscaping Sustainable landscaping means mindful choices of design, plant selection, and gardening practices to sustain local wildlife, conserve energy/, improve air/ water quality, and save you both time and money. Use native plants and avoid invasive species Reduce grass areas with wild flowers or other ground covers Stop bagging grass clippings and use a mulching lawnmower Try permeable surfaces for any hardscaping Install a rain barrel to conserve water Compost Want to Learn More? Try Our 1-Day Online Course
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February 23, 2021 | 9am-3:30pm EST | $195 Topics include re-vegetation, rain gardens, composting, native plants, going organic, and more!
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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
From the Director’s Desk
Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director
Growing a Community of Gardening at Home As we dig deeper into the New Year, have you resolved to improve your gardening skills over last year’s? Remember when we all had to rapidly pivot from crowded in-person events to solitary online webinars and podcasts? Rather than let the weed of doom and gloom overtake our gardens, Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) made great strides in adding to online offerings for growers and producers, gardeners and homeowners, families and youth. This year is no exception, and faculty and staff have enhanced their delivery of online programs. We are grateful for your participation in our programming and hope that a highly successful growing season awaits us this year. With that budding expectation in mind, we are strengthening offerings and partnerships. Beginning in early February and lasting through mid-year, Bruce Crawford, RCE State Program Leader in Public and Home Horticulture, will be hosting a Gardening@ Home online series. Topics will include easy-tocare-for houseplants to the more challenging orchids; seasonal annuals and perennials; turf and lawn care; sustainable flower and vegetable gardening for both color and nutrition; plant selection for fall color and contrast; and landscape habitat. To give you a bit of a buzz on pollinators, the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education will be offering their “Bee-ginners Beekeeping Program” over a two-week period, Feb. 1 to 15. This online class is designed to provide information that new beekeepers need to start and care for a honeybee colony. This course is offered online within the Canvas learning management system. It will take approximately 14 to 15 hours to complete, and participants have two weeks to complete the coursework at their own pace. Participants will be introduced to bee biology and management, learn how to assemble hives, open and examine colonies, and see how honey and beeswax are harvested. This course also fulfills the legal requirements of the State of New Jersey for beekeeper education. The course instructor is Mike Haberland, Camden/ Burlington County Agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Mike uses beekeeping and the creation of native pollinator habitat for research and as a way to educate the public on the importance of pollinators. Whether you are completely new to beekeeping or already have a few years as an apiarist under your belt, you will gain valuable insights from our seasoned instructors and their combined experience. Past students have come from all walks of life— attorneys, teachers, retirees, farmers, artists—but they leave with one thing in common: a newfound
confidence to start their own hives and pursue their passion for beekeeping. Registrations are now being accepted at www.cpe.rutgers.edu/courses/current/ ae0401wb.html. A continuing partnership that blossoms in March is the 11th Annual Community Gardening Conference on Saturday, March 6. Co-hosted by Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, the 2021 conference will be presented online, showcasing an impressive list of session speakers, all experts in their field who will cover topics relevant to community gardeners, garden managers, and those establishing new community gardens. Some sessions will be live and others recorded so you can attend at your leisure. Topics and speakers sure to plant a seed of enthusiasm include keynote speaker Ken Greene, founder of Hudson Valley Seed Company; an “Ask the Experts” session on plant disease management with RCE Morris County Agent Peter Nitzsche and Vegetable IPM Research Project Coordinator Kris Holmstrom; Food Safety in Community Gardens with Mercer County Agent Meredith Melendez; Seed Starting by Rutgers Master Gardener volunteer Grace Tshanakas; Discovering Pests and Diseases in Community Gardens by Rutgers Master Gardener Community Garden IPM Team; Planning for Community Gardens by Rutgers Master Gardener volunteer Brian Monaghan; and the Coordinator’s Round Table, moderated by Ned Gardner, co-manager of the Ted Largman Community Garden, a three-acre garden at the ValleVue Preserve. Many community and home gardens rely on raised beds, a solution for a variety of challenges – contaminated soil, poor drainage, and physical accessibility for the gardener. However, raised beds also have their own challenges – most notably the “quality” of the soil used. The newly published Rutgers fact sheet, “Soil for Raised Beds” is sure to be a valuable resource for existing and new gardens everywhere: njaes.rutgers.edu/fs1328. The easiest way to keep up to date with all RCE programming efforts is by regularly visiting the NJAES online calendar, events.rutgers.edu/njaes, and viewing the months ahead listed along the top bar for upcoming events. Additionally, our revamped Home, Lawn, and Garden website, njaes.rutgers.edu/homelawn-garden highlights the major areas within RCE’s Gardening Initiative, from youth, wellness, and water conservation, to garden design, pesky pests, and volunteer opportunities within RCE program areas. Finally, in anticipation of a fruitful summer, seeds for the Rutgers NJAES-developed tomato varieties Rutgers 250, Ramapo, and Scarlet Sunrise are available at: breeding.rutgers.edu/tomato-availability.
Editor’s note: This month’s contribution was written by Nick Polanin, Chair, Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources and County Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Somerset County.
R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E
February 2021 7
Air Plants – A Much Needed Trend! It is no secret that plants, much like clothing, go through trends. Plants that are popular during one decade may not even be available during the decades to follow. Air Plants, botanically known as Tillandsia, were a mere curiosity 10 years ago and now are a “houseplant” of great demand. Its interest lies in the ability to seemingly live on air without any soil or obvious root system. Of course, it does not live on air, so what is the mysterious story behind this plant? Tillandsia is a member of the Bromeliad family or Bromeliaceae. It includes around 650 species native to mountains and deserts, extending from Argentina north through Mexico into southeastern North America and the Caribbean. The genus was named in 1753 by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) after the Finnish physician and 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. February Trivia Question: Which tree works the hardest in preparation for Valentine’s Day? Spotlight Program: CORE Training Program for the NJ Pesticide Applicators License. About The NJDEP Pesticide License: The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Pesticide Control Program (PCP) regulations contain information on the training requirements for new (never licensed) commercial applicators and/or operators, as well as the requirements for currently licensed persons and those who have not maintained their license. Under these regulations, a new commercial applicator or operator must attend a PCP-approved basic pesticide training course (such as Core, which is described below) and complete 40 hours of on-the-job training in the functions and operations associated with the category of license the individual is seeking to obtain. Recertification of a currently licensed New Jersey commercial
botanist Dr. Elias Tillandz (16401693). Tillandz would provide treatments for his patients based upon his knowledge of plants. Although quite variable, most species yield small rosettes of foliage, measuring only a few inches in diameter. They are also epiphytic, using a host plant or cliff for support, whereby the roots serve as a mechanism of attachment, not for gathering nutrients or water. The first Bromeliads are thought to have developed around 100 to 80 million years ago (MYA) on nutrient-poor soils in what is now Southern Venezuela and Guyana. Oddly, by 20 MYA, there still existed only a few species. The impetus for speciation was the rise of the Andes mountain range and the creation of new environments ripe for the “birth” of the genus Tillandsia around 15 MYA. The challenge for these nonterrestrial dwellers revolved around how to absorb water and nutrients. The answer was in the development of specialized structures called trichomes on the leaves.
Gardeners usually associate trichomes with pubescent leaves, like that of Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina) whose function is to prevent desiccation from winds. For the Bromeliad family, the function is to absorb nutrients and water. The silvery coating of the trichomes also reflects sunlight, cooling the leaf. Air Plants also have beautiful flowers! The flower is three-petaled and typically a very colorful red, yellow or bright cyan blue. Flowers can appear on very simple stems that produce flowers within a few weeks or on well-branched inflorescences that take upwards of several months to develop flowers. The individual flowers usually last five to seven days. After flowering, the plant produces one to several small plants or pups at the base as the mother plant slowly withers and dies. When the pups are roughly one-third the size of the mother plant, they can be pulled apart into separate plants or left to form an attractive cluster. For watering, I pass them
under a spigot of tepid water for a few seconds twice a week to thoroughly soak the leaves. The plant can also be submerged in water for up to 15-20 minutes once a week. It’s best to water in the morning and make sure the excess water is drained from the foliage to prevent decay. Provide filtered bright light and most will benefit from a room humidifier during the winter. They will also benefit from a diluted (25 percent) application of orchid fertilizer once a month from April through September and being placed outdoors during the summer months to enjoy the increased humidity. Tillandsia capitata “Peach” is a wonderful selection with a very soft pink blush to the foliage and will ultimately grow to four inches across. If you are looking for a much larger form, consider Tillandsia xerographica that can grow upwards of three feet in diameter and is best grown in bright light or morning sun. The various specimens of Tillandsia offer unusual houseplants for both the novice
Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education By Kenneth M. Karamichael Continuing Education Professional
pesticide applicator/operator is maintained by completing recertification courses in both Core (eight units) and the category being recertified for (16 units) within a fiveyear period. About the Core Training Program: The Rutgers/NJAES Office of Continuing Professional Education’s (OCPE) Core Training Program is a basic pesticide training course for those interested in becoming a licensed New Jersey pest control operator and/or applicator. Topics covered during this half-day (four hour) course include: federal pesticide laws, the New Jersey Pesticide Control Act, IPM, pesticide hazards and how to minimize them, proper handling, storage and disposal of pesticides, and application equipment and use. We offer sessions throughout the year in English and Spanish. Upcoming English Instruction course start dates are: January 8, February 12, March 19, April 9, and
May 14, 2021. Each online course consists of pre-recorded video lectures that will take approximately four hours to watch. You can view these lectures at your own pace anytime during the period the course is open (approximately one full week). All class assignments must be completed by 2 p.m. EST on the final course day. Completing this course satisfies New Jersey’s requirement of attending a basic pesticide training course for new applicant. Instructor: George C. Hamilton, Ph.D., is an extension specialist in pest management at Rutgers University. For over 30 years, Dr. Hamilton has dedicated his career to public outreach and education. His extensive knowledge in entomology - along with his innate ability to communicate effectively with any group/audience – has made him one of the most favored instructors at OCPE. Our next Spanish Speaking (online) course - Entrenamiento
CORE lnicial Para Aplicadores de Pesticidas NJ - is available on February 11, 2021 (8:30 – 12:00 p.m). Detalles del Curso (Course Details): lmpartido en espanol, este curso CORE en lfnea se enfoca en lo esencial de las regulaciones, seguridad y uso de pesticidas. Ha sido disenado para satisfacer el requisite del NJDEP de asistir a un curso basico de capacitacion en pesticidas como el primer paso para obtener una NUEVA licencia de pesticida. Esta clase esta aprobada para creditos de recertificacion. Conozca a su (Meet the) Instructor: Pedro Perdomo: Con 30 anos de experiencia trabajando con pesticidas tanto en el gobierno como en la industria publica, Pedro Perdomo comparte sus conocimientos e ideas ensenando para la Universidad de Rutgers. For the developing list of CORE Training course dates, please
and expert gardener alike. I personally like to place Air Plants into the canopy of other houseplants, such as Jade Plants, Aloe, or larger Bromeliads, where I feel they look most at home. They may not live on air, but they do impart a curiosity that draws people to plants – a much needed trend that I hope continues for decades to come.
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. visit: http://www.cpe.rutgers.edu/ brochures/intros/coretraining.html To learn more about the extended resources available at the Pest Management Office of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, visit: https:// pestmanagement.rutgers.edu/ Trivia Answer: The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) is most critical in the production of holiday sweets. The name is derived from the Greek for “food of the gods” from θεός (theos), meaning “god” and βρῶμα (broma), meaning “food.” In 2018, world production of cocoa beans was 5.3 million tons. Now, that’s a lot of love! 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.
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Sunlight, Fresh Air and a Lesson (Continued from page 1)
sunlight as possible, he said. John emphasized that pruning tools should be kept sharp and clean at all times. And that pruning should always be done on a dry day. Our tools included: Hand pruners; loppers; a finelytoothed, curved pruning saw; a pole pruner and a chain saw, for the larger cuts. I learned there are three main reasons you should prune your apple tree: its survival, stimulation, and shaping. I also learned when the fruit quality begins to suffer on the apple tree, it’s the tree’s way of telling you it is in need of a corrective pruning. And that the tree should be maintained annually. Before we started pruning, we viewed the tree from a distance, looking at its overall shape. The pruning process started by removing dead, damaged, and diseased branches. The dead wood was dark and
brittle. The diseased wood was a different color than the other branches. There was not a lot of that. Then we made the larger cuts by removing branches that were greater than onethird the diameter of the central leader. We started off with a chain saw. When we switched over to the pruning saw, he told me to make sure to keep the blade straight and apply pressure only on pulls. We then looked for and pruned out most upward and downward-facing branches, crossing and interfering branches. During my pruning lesson he showed me how to remove upright branches that sweep back inward toward the center of the tree. We also removed branches susceptible to breakage. He told me that over-pruning a tree will stimulate excess vegetative growth and that is something that you want to avoid. He told me to leave the smaller, pencil-thick fruiting
shoots alone. We left the tree with horizontal facing branches. Next we looked for suckers (branches growing from the base of the tree). He said these will never bear fruit. Removing these early in the pruning process helped me better see the structure of the tree, making it easier to see where further cuts were necessary. Then we stepped back, and viewed the tree again, looking for the one main leader or central trunk. He explained to me that the final result should look like a pyramid with well-spaced horizontal branches. I then learned about heading and renewal cuts. A heading cut is when a cut is made into a branch or the leader, cutting back to a weaker shoot along that branch or leader. Heading cuts stimulate excessive growth at the site of the cut, and will stiffen the wood that
has been headed. Renewal cuts, on the other hand, are cuts made at the point of branch origin. Most renewal cuts are intended to remove a branch that is no longer desirable because of vigor concerns or excessive crowding. Renewal cuts on established trees are always into mature wood and will not spark the vegetative re-growth that a heading cut will. Apple trees are productive and strong when pruned and trained to a central leader (or main leader) structure. This type of structure has a pyramidal shape with a single upright leader limb as its highest point. This central leader is the newest extension of a long, upright growing trunk from which all lateral branches arise. John told me to never remove all the branches from the top of the tree, leaving the center of the tree exposed. I asked him if pruning
an old, large, neglected tree is the same as pruning a maintained orchard tree. He said it takes about three years to make corrective pruning cuts on large, neglected trees. John then explained that there should be a two-footwide circle around each tree that is completely free of any vegetation. This is done so that there is not a suitable environment for mice and voles to live in. Mice and voles can kill a tree by girdling it in a very short amount of time, especially if there is a significant amount of snow cover and their other food sources are depleted. He also stated that it is important to ensure that the trees are protected from the deer. Now is also a good time to check the fertility of your soil. You can get a simple soil test done that measures the soil’s pH, and whether or not it is deficient in phosphorous, potassium, (Cont. on Page 20)
GardenerNews.com We are fortunate to live in the Mid-Atlantic region, which is truly considered one of the best overall climatic regions for growing the largest diversity of hollies. Hollies are part of the genus Ilex which comprises over 400 species worldwide and hundreds, if not thousands, of cultivars. In the coastal plain, which are the low lying areas from the Delaware Valley heading east to the New Jersey shore, we begin to see some of the native and local diversity of hollies, including the American holly, Ilex opaca; winterberry, Ilex verticillate; and the inkberry holly, Ilex glabra. When we think of hollies we think of the classic evergreen leaves and the red berries, typical of Ilex opaca, as well as the English holly, Ilex aquifolium. But that iconic holly look is also represented in many other species and hybrids. However, in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and surrounding areas, we are just on the edge of where English hollies thrive. Many selections can be grown, but they will need winter protection. English hollies actually prefer mild winters and generally cooler summers, such as in the Pacific Northwest. If I could choose only one species of holly for my garden, I would have to select the winterberry, Ilex verticillate, which
February 2021 9 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society By Andrew Bunting Vice President of Public Horticulture
The Best Hollies
is actually deciduous while most hollies are evergreen. This native holly has a huge native range across the eastern half of the United States. In the wild, it can often be seen growing on the edge of a stream or lake, which makes it a great shrub for poor-draining soils in the garden. This multi-stemmed shrub, which can reach up to 15 feet tall, can form a thicket over time. In the fall, as the leaves are falling, the small, shiny red fruits are ripening. Generally, the birds leave the fruits alone for the fall and winter. However, the American Robin and Grey Catbird are known to feast on them. “Winter Red” is the “best-ofthe-best.” It reaches about 10 feet tall and can literally be covered in berries from mid-September all the way until the following March. All hollies are dioecious, which means there are male and female plants Therefore, you will need a male pollinator.
“Southern Gentleman” will pollinate “Winter Red” as well as “Winter Gold,” which actually has an abundance of salmonorange fruits. “Maryland Beauty” is another exceptional “red,” and “Red Sprite” is a diminutive form, reaching four to five feet tall and needs the male pollinator “Jim Dandy.” The American holly, Ilex opaca, is one of the toughest broadleaved evergreen plants we can grow. Most of the cultivars become tree-like and can ultimately reach 50 feet tall with a tight pyramidal habit. In general, the American holly is characterized with dark-green, leathery leaves with spine-tipped edges. Several good fruiting cultivars include “Dan Fenton,” “Jersey Princess,” “Satyr Hill,” and a more shrub-like selection called “Maryland Dwarf.” Good male pollinators include “Jersey Knight” and “John Wister.” English hollies differ from the
American holly in that the leaves are glossy and shiny, versus the dull and opaque finish of the American hollies. Because they are not fully hardy here, a good substitution is the Koehne holly, Ilex x koehneana, which is a hybrid between Ilex aquifolium and the larger leafed, Ilex latifolia. Exceptional cultivars include “Wirt L. Winn,” “Lassie,” and “Martha Berry,” with “Ajax” and “Loch Raven” being good male pollinators. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal selection Red Beauty™ is a hybrid holly from Rutgers University which has the attributes of an English holly but is a lot hardier and more compact in size, reaching only seven to 10 feet tall at maturity and having a tight, pyramidal habit. Other relatively new introductions include Little Red™ which only reaches five feet tall with an equal spread, or Liberty™ which gets larger, up to 12 feet tall
at maturity. All of the evergreen hollies can be pruned in late-winter or midsummer to keep a more manicured pyramidal habit, but pruning is not required.
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
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society News PHS Receives $1M Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society announced it has been awarded a $1M Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant to make capital improvements at its Meadowbrook Farm public garden in Abington Township. Meadowbrook Farm is a 25-acre property bequeathed to PHS in 2003, by the late J. Liddon Pennock, Jr. PHS welcomes seasonal guests to Meadowbrook April - October to enjoy the spectacular plantings throughout the property as well as a host of educational programs. The 19 “garden rooms” at Meadowbrook Farm are maintained each year by PHS’s renowned horticulture professionals, highlighting seasonal interest and serving as a habitat for bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. The award will allow PHS to make capital improvements, increase visitor capacity and experience, and produce horticultural related programs and events. “At any time and especially now, PHS Meadowbrook Farm offers visitors of all ages a unique outdoor horticultural experience that is uplifting and vital,” said Andrew Bunting, Vice President of Public Horticulture. “Green spaces that allow people an opportunity to experience the natural world, to learn about nature, our ecology, and how vital conservation is, are invaluable,” said PA State Representative Ben Sanchez D-Montgomery. “Meadowbrook Farm is one of those beautiful spaces that allows us to make the connection with our environment, and when you see the beauty in our environment, you can’t help but want to preserve it. I’m grateful the Commonwealth has made this investment in Meadowbrook Farm for all to enjoy.” The RACP is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects.
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.
10 February 2021 It’s the time of year when there is always the threat of a winter storm, sleet or freezing rain. Most of us know how dangerous it can be to walk and drive on slippery surfaces and are happy to have our professional snow fighters out there taking care of the roads, driveways and walkways. I once walked out onto my front porch onto black ice, slipped down all four steps and proceeded to slide five feet down my front walkway. I was incredibly lucky I didn’t break anything and can now laugh at how I must have looked like a cartoon with my feet up in the air and not so gracefully landing, then sliding. De-icers are a vital part of winters in New Jersey, but they can cause some damage to plants and porous surfaces like concrete, pavers and stone. Therefore, we must balance the safety of you and your visitors with maintaining your landscape. There are several types of de-icing products that homeowners can use to either melt the ice or create traction. Let’s look at a few. Sodium Chloride – This is the familiar rock salt that most of us For some reason, whenever the weather becomes frigid, my mind triggers the first lines of the Nat King Cole classic, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .” Perhaps, it’s because there is nothing like a warm, fresh-roasted chestnut to be enjoyed on a cold, winter day. Growing up, there was an old chestnut tree in the neighborhood, and my early experience with chestnuts was to pick the prickly seed pods off the ground and wing them at my friends. Inevitably, a pitched battle would rage throughout the street. Having survived the “Chestnut Wars” and all the other stupid things little boys like to do, it was later when I was reintroduced to chestnuts on a city street. I was smitten at first bite. Chestnuts and chestnut trees have a long and storied history in our country and were involved in one of the greatest ecological tragedies to ever plague our forests. More than a century ago, nearly four billion American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) were growing in the eastern U.S. They were among the largest, tallest, and fastest-growing trees. The wood was rot-resistant, straight-grained, and prized for furniture, flooring,
GardenerNews.com decks. Anti-desiccants can be applied to certain plant material to reduce winter damage, but more research and speaking with your landscape professional is By Gail Woolcott important if this method is used. Finally, in spring, especially Executive Director if it is a dry one, hose off all plants and turf along road and walkways to remove any residue from deicers. Have a great month and be Magnesium Chloride is harsher walkways and stairways and try careful out there. In addition, be on plants and can be corrosive. to keep it away from the edges of kind to the snow fighters out It is effective up to 15 degrees the turf and planting beds. there who are working hard and below zero. Have your landscape long hours to keep us safe when Calcium Chloride – This professional (during the landscape we are out and about. treatment works up to 25 degrees season) create a small swale below zero. It actually gives off (one to two inches wide) along Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott heat to help in melting the ice and pathways and beds to allow for is the Executive Director for keeping it from refreezing. It is the runoff of salt and de-icing the New Jersey Landscape also safer for plants and turf, but products so they do not saturate Contractors Association. corrosive to concrete. these areas when melted. She was presented with a None of the above solutions Plant salt tolerant plantings community service award from are completely safe for vegetation closer to roads and walkways the Borough of Fairview for or porous surfaces and must be (a great database can be found her assistance in leading the used according to manufacturer’s at www.jerseyyards.org/plants 9-11 Memorial Park project recommendations. But there are where you can search by various and the Legislative Champion ways to reduce the damage they characteristics, including salt of the Year award from the do to your landscape. tolerance). Shovel or plow as Federation of Employers and First, pretreating is the best much as possible before applying Workers of America. She is way to handle snow and ice. de-icers again. They are meant currently the State Licensee Apply the appropriate amount for melting ice, not snow. Chair on the National prior to storms to make it easier Do not apply corrosives of Association of Landscape to shovel and plow later. Evenly any kind to concrete that is less Professionals International spread the treatment over your than one year old or to wood Certification Council.
The NJLCA Today
How to Avoid Winter De-icer Damage
know. It is the least expensive, but the harshest on plants and turf, as well as your pet’s paws. Typically, it is made for use on asphalt and can be very corrosive to porous surfaces. It can actually damage the soils beneath your vegetation. Calcium Magnesium Acetate – CMA is less corrosive than rock salt but is only effective when it is 20 degrees or above. It is good for use in parking lots, driveways and roadways. CMA is often sold in pellets and can be used on concrete. It should have much less effect on your plants and turf. Potassium Chloride – This treatment is safer for use around pets and plants. It is effective from 15-20 degrees or warmer. Its thawing and freezing cycles can cause damage to porous surfaces like concrete. Magnesium Chloride –
NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director
A Warm Treat for a Cold Night
fence posts, railroad ties, and all types of building. In fact, in many older homes today, the woodwork remains predominantly chestnut. The nut was significant to the rural economy. In addition to serving as an abundant food source for people, chestnuts also were used to fatten livestock for market since the animals could forage on this seemingly neverending supply. Because chestnuts became available in the fall and lasted through December, they inevitably became linked to the holiday season. Surviving news articles report train cars overflowing with chestnuts rolling into major cities to be sold fresh or roasted. Unfortunately, the reign of this important tree ended at the beginning of the 20th century with the introduction of Cryphonectria parasitica. Before
long, the American chestnut tree went from being the dominant species in the Eastern forests, to becoming virtually extinct. One commentator reflected, “The American chestnut tree survived all adversaries for 40 million years, then disappeared within 40.” Once the world’s leading producer of chestnuts, the United States now produces less than 1 percent of the crop. According to the USDA, the U.S. has 919 farms producing chestnuts on 3,700 acres. The top five states are: Michigan, Florida, California, Oregon, and Virginia. Today, most chestnuts we consume come from China, Italy, and South Korea. Chestnuts are not only delicious, but also contain a surprising number of nutrients. Chestnuts are great sources of fiber, vitamins B and C, and minerals like copper
and potassium. Unlike other tree nuts, chestnuts are high in starch and low in fat, making them more like a potato. While the meat of most nuts remains crunchy, chestnuts are soft, and their taste is reminiscent of a sweet potato. They can be eaten raw or roasted. If you want to channel your inner Daniel Boone, I suppose you can roast them on the fire. However, I find it is much easier and convenient to roast chestnuts in the oven. Here’s how I do it. First, when purchasing chestnuts, look for nuts with undamaged, glossy shells and no pinholes (pinholes could mean worms). If you shake the nuts and feel them move inside the shell, avoid them since they are old and dried out. Take a sharp knife and score a crisscross across each nut. This allows the steam to escape and
prevents the nut from exploding. Then soak the nuts in a bowl of warm water for a minute or two. Dry and place the nuts in a single layer on a baking tray with the crisscross side up and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 425 degrees. The crisscross will begin to peel back when the nuts are done. When they come out of the oven, peel the shell off as soon as possible. As the nut cools off, the shell becomes harder to remove. While roasted chestnuts will keep for a couple days in the fridge, its best to eat them right out of the oven. 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
February 2021 11
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GardenerNews.com Mother Nature can throw us a mixed bag in February, weather-wise. Usually it is still quite cold and nasty and no one wants to go outside. I remember about 10 years ago, a very mild February and the lawn season got going quickly. The lawn and garden industry had tremendous success last year since everyone was home and decided to get to projects they had not addressed for a long time, like a new lawn, pool, patio, fire pit, deck and pergolas, etc. A record amount of grass seed was sold in 2020. Will the same demand follow this year? It’s hard to say since you usually do not have to apply grass seed every year to your lawn, or at least not your whole lawn area. Once you do get out on your yard and do the initial clean-up of leaves, twigs and debris, you may have some bare spots. This can happen from sitting water or ice cover for a long period of time or leaves smothering the grass. If the kids and the dog used the lawn during cold
February 2021 13 Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant
Are you a lawn winner? winter months, the traffic can also cause some damage and kill grass. If you decide to apply grass seed this spring, here are some things to consider. Be sure to properly prepare the soil by raking your dead grass and loosening the soil to achieve good seed-to-soil contact. If the soil is too hard to rake, you may need to wait for the ground to warm up a few weeks. If you have not performed a soil test, please do so to see if you need to apply any soil amendments to make grass grow better. Use a new seeding-type fertilizer to help get the grass roots growing; these types of lawn foods reflect the middle number
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which is Phosphorous, like 12-18-8. If you want to use a preemergent crabgrass control that you can seed with on the same day, be sure it contains Tupersan-siduron. Remember, grass seed will not start to germinate until the ground temperatures reach about 55 degrees. Do not expect fast germination of spring planted grass seed! Did any of you try “frost” seeding this winter? Frost seeding is when you apply grass seed in the winter perhaps before a snow storm and let the snow cover and melting action work the seed into the ground. Please do not wait until late spring to apply grass seed; you want to
get the grass seed established before weeds appear and summer’s usual heat and drought conditions. Did you experience any damage due to excessive amounts of ice melters? Salts contained in many ice melters can damage grass even when it is dormant. If you have a lot of brown spots around sidewalk edges or the driveway, this may be salt damage and the grass will not grow back. Rake the dead grass out vigorously and consider applying a gypsum material to neutralize the salts in the soil and loosen the soil some before seeding. The Super Bowl is scheduled to be played on February 7, 2021 in Tampa,
Florida. If you have or are planning to watch it, is your lawn as nice as the stadiums? Raymond James Stadium has real grass but a great looking lawn can happen at your home too. Remember, they are big football players tramping and tacking each other all over the grass. There may be a few times a year they replace the sod, after some games, for the Super Bowl or after a concert. While replacing sod a few times a year is not practical for the home lawn, remember you don’t have 300-pound football players at your house either. I hope the team you choose wins and you can be a winner this year too in your block’s contest for The Best Lawn in Town!
Editor’s Note: Todd Pretz is Vice President of Jonathan Green, a leading supplier of lawn and garden products in the northeast. For more information, please visit: www.jonathangreen.com
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February 2021 15
“Growing Gardeners” – How Children Benefit from Gardening By Diane Dove Contributing Writer To assure there are adult gardeners in future generations, it’s important to teach gardening skills to young children and teens. Gardeners are needed to farm, grow food, landscape, design gardens, conduct agriculture and horticulture research, operate CSA and plant nurseries, and to become stewards of community and backyard gardens. Jeannie Geremia, the 2019-2021 Garden Club of NJ (GCNJ) President is a prominent supporter of youth gardening. She and I agree, you should teach a child to sow and grow. Jeannie invited me to write a couple of columns about gardening with children. I am Diana Dove, the founder of the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden. I serve on the GCNJ Board as the Youth Consultant for Environmental Education. In October 1996, I initiated a PTO Garden Committee at Memorial School in Washington Borough, N.J. (Warren County.) Partnering with sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Jody Higgins, the sixth-grade service project, and Tomas Gonzales, garden designer, an award-winning, quarter-acre, schoolyard wildlife habitat garden was born. It is the recipient of the 2019 National Plant America Award. The purpose of the project was to offer an ongoing youth community service opportunity at school, by creating a Butterfly Garden with native plants. The garden provides certified pollinator habitat and is a place for hands-on, outdoor based, cross-curricular learning and enjoyment by the community. For 24 years, I have volunteered in the garden with
children, teachers, teen and adult service organizations, community leaders, and businesses in a project now recognized as a role model for youth gardening. Professionally, I am an Environmental Educator with 45 years of teaching experience, having held positions as a County Park Senior Naturalist and the Director of an Environmental Education Program for a Girl Scout Council. I developed a wildlife and litter prevention series of environmental programs that I currently co-teach with my husband, Mike Dove. How do children benefit from gardening? It begins by engaging the five senses. Early in my childhood, I gardened with my mom. Together, we planted zinnias, sunflowers, sweet William, and snapdragons. I laughed when my mom showed me how to gently squeeze the snap dragon flower to make the blossom look like it was talking. When we planted a pussy willow tree, I was mesmerized by how velvety soft the pussy willow buds were. I remember the scent of the honey suckle and red roses. As a curious 5-year old, this got my attention. I listened and learned. I have observed how children investigate living things, making connections that shape their understanding of their environment. Handson learning allows children to retain information and sharpen observation skills that may help their development. If a child is responsible to care for a small garden section, they should be involved from the first planning stages and keep a journal to record observations and changes through the seasons. Growing plants can build self confidence. Gardeners see the results of their hard work. If a child grows
their own vegetables, they may improve their healthy eating. Life lessons learned include: nurturing, tool safety, learning about dependability, commitment, and accepting responsibility. Young gardeners become stewards of something important. This leads to developing a positive attitude towards protecting and caring for the environment, which will help them form sound conservation decisions later in life. When gardening with other students or family members, they make friends and strengthen family bonds. Children learn the value of community service when they engage in a community project. When children work with others, they experience teamwork and some emerge with leadership skills. Youth gardeners practice following instructions, patience, ways to focus, and problem solving. Gardening provides physical exercise while using fine motor skills and some people say it relieves stress. Youth gardeners spend time outdoors and enjoy applying a variety of academics: life sciences, environmental studies, soils, math, reading, meteorology, scientific and research methods, history, computer skills, photography, videography, plant identification and classification including poisonous plants, and more. Other activities could include: creative writing, art, baking, cooking, beekeeping, and woodworking. While outdoors, gardening makes learning fun! If you teach a child or teen to garden, you fill an important role in the future of Growing Gardeners. Please reach out to a child and share what you know about gardening; for their future and for ours.
Editor’s Note: Diana can be reached at email@example.com. You can also “Like” her garden on Facebook/Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden. She is the garden’s founder and the GCNJ Youth Consultant for Environmental Education. Diana has a BS in Forestry & Wildlife Management with a concentration in Biology, plus a BA in Communications from Virginia Tech. She is the recipient of ANJEE’s Patricia F. Kane Lifetime Achievement Award, and co-teaches Clean Communities environmental programs with her husband, Mike.
USDA Provides more than $70 Million in Fiscal Year 2021 to Protect Agriculture and Natural Resources from Plant Pests and Diseases The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating more than $70 million to support 383 projects under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, to safeguard the nursery production system and to respond to plant pest emergencies. Universities, states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and Tribal organizations will carry out selected projects in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. “State governments, academic institutions, and other essential cooperators across the country use these USDA funds to protect American crops and natural resources and ensure the marketability of our agricultural products across the globe,” said Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for USDA’s Marketing and Regulatory Programs. The fiscal year 2021 project list includes 29 projects funded through the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN). The NCPN helps our country maintain the infrastructure necessary to ensure that pathogen-free, disease-free and pest-free certified planting materials for fruit trees, grapes, berries, citrus, hops, sweet potatoes, and roses are available to U.S. specialty crop producers. Since 2009, USDA has supported more than 4,400 projects and provided nearly $670 million in funding through the Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program. Collectively, these projects allow USDA and its partners to quickly detect and rapidly respond to invasive plant pests and diseases. In FY 2021, funded projects include, among others: Asian giant hornet research and eradication efforts: $944,116 in Washington and other states; Exotic fruit fly survey and detection: $5,575,000 in Florida and California; Agriculture detector dog teams: $4,287,097 to programs in California, Florida, and nationally to support detector dog teams; Honey bee and pollinator health: $1,337,819 to protect honey bees, bumble bees and other important pollinators from harmful pests; Biosecurity: $1,339,183 to Texas to monitor for pests in agricultural shipments at ports of entry; Stone fruit and orchard commodities: $1,158,000 to support pest detection surveys in 10 states including New York and Pennsylvania; Forest pests: $876,485 for various detection tools, control methods development, or outreach to protect forests from harmful pests in 16 states, including Arkansas, Indiana, South Carolina, and New Hampshire; Phytophthora ramorum (sudden oak death pathogen) and related species: $513,497 in 14 states and nationally for survey, diagnostics, mitigation, probability modeling, genetic analysis, and outreach; and Solanaceous plants (including the tomato commodity): $434,000 to support surveys in 13 states including Texas, Mississippi, and South Carolina. USDA will use $14 million to rapidly respond to invasive pest emergencies should a pest of high economic consequence be found in the United States. In the past, USDA has used these funds to rapidly respond to pests such as grasshoppers, Mormon crickets, the Asian giant hornet, coconut rhinoceros beetle, exotic fruit flies, and the spotted lanternfly. As the United States and the world recognize the International Year of Plant Health through June 2021, this funding highlights USDA’s continued commitment to safeguarding our agricultural resources for current and future generations. Learn more about the Plant Protection Act, Section 7721 on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website: www.aphis.usda.gov/ppa-projects.
16 February 2021 My two brothers-in-law and I have been snow plowing the same condominium complex for nearly three decades. And it seems we have been having the same conversation, over and over again, about where to put all the snow when it piles up. Our contention has always been that architects, engineers and contractors should have conversations in the field, prior to places being built, to not only “iron out” academic solutions, but practical ones as well. Imagine if open spaces or cavities were designed into plans so that snow removal contractors had a deliberate or intentional space to put snow. This would eliminate cars having to be jockeyed while snow removal contractors try to displace snow and ice, often in the middle of the night. Another consideration, concerning property development, might have north-facing doorways and steps have simple dormers installed over a vestibule or other entrance? Snow and ice would move left and right helping to eliminate daily site visits. Waiting for snow to dissipate off a roofline only contributes to “slip and falls” and labor and material costs. My responsibility has always The Spotted Lanternfly showed up in a lot of headlines last year, as well as in every county in the Garden State. The attention is helpful, but the problem of invasive species is so much bigger. That’s not to say the exotic lanternfly, an invasive species native to China, India, and Vietnam that came here by way of West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, has been overplayed in the news. Lanternflies pose a serious threat to New Jersey crops, particularly vineyards in our state’s robust winemaking industry. The insects sip on sap from grapevines and ornamental fruit trees along with 70 varieties of trees and plants. Penn State University economists reported in 2019 that the Spotted Lanternfly could cost our state at least $324 million per year and up to 2,800 jobs. The State Assembly Agriculture Committee will continue to address invasive species throughout the year with an especially sharp focus on the spotted lanternfly. The colder weather will kill off any adult lanternflies, but come spring, various agricultural agencies say, the destruction will start again. If you see spotted lanternflies in your garden or on your trees, report them to the state
GardenerNews.com Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist
Plants That Can Take a Beating
been clearing snow away from garages and doorways with our John Deere skid loader/skid-steer. A small, rigid-frame, enginepowered machine with lift arms, there are lots of fun attachments that can be used to help make a contractor’s life easier. Back dragging driveways and making pathways for larger machines to come through has always been part of my job description. Together, we work seamlessly, almost orchestrated. However, when heavier snowstorms come, we sometimes run out of room quickly. We all do our best to distribute snow evenly, where every property gets its fair share. Pushing snow into “every nook and cranny,” I have found over the years that there are a handful of plants that can take just about
anything you can throw at them. Or more to the point, anything you can throw on them. Encased in snow and ice, sometimes for months on end, I am always astounded as to the punishment some plants can take. Cold hardy Prickly Pear, Opuntia, is a groundcover I have written about in the past. Still enamored by the fact that this rugged plant continues to crawl over the Belgian block, year after year, while I continue to selectively prune it back with the blade of my machine. Impressed with this plant’s ability to withstand razor sharp haircuts in the middle of winter, thrive in shallow, poor soil types and reliably flower throughout the summer, this plant is one of the most tenacious I know. Burning Bush/Winged Euonymus, Euonymus alatus
“Compactus” and Border Forsythia, Forsythia x intermedia, are two more plants, in abundance, on the property we maintain. This past spring, landscape contractors came in and cut back both of these plant types, knocking back years of growth, reducing both to mere stumps. Despite the callous pruning methods, these plants flushed out new growth and continued on their way. Over the years, these two plant types have been sheathed by winter’s harshest conditions, only to reemerge and prove their usefulness as a screen or border plant. Year after year, bucket of snow after bucket of snow, both Burning Bush and Border Forsythia have proven their resilience. Forsythia’s bright yellow flowers in the spring and Winged Euonymus’ vibrant
Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman
The Spotted Lanternfly and Other Nasty Hitchhikers
Department of Agriculture by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. gov or by calling (609) 406-6943. You should be proactive to preserve your plants and trees. The Agriculture Department offers a comprehensive website that includes a list of treatments and their effectiveness and a wealth of other useful information for homeowners and landscapers. If you live in a quarantine area for these insects, the Department of Agriculture asks that you “look before you leave.” These bugs are hitchhikers. In addition to traveling on the whims of the wind, they travel on vehicles. As we get into spring, check your car, trailers, or any outdoor items before you move them out of a quarantine zone. When possible, don’t park along tree lines and keep windows rolled up when you park. You also can learn much useful
information about the Spotted Lanternfly’s life cycle, so you know when to look for them and what to look for. Their appearance changes in different stages of their lives. Survey your own property because every effort we make around our homes and gardens to destroy them helps. If you can identify their egg masses and destroy them, you’ll be helping your community as well. And while you’re at it, look around the garden for invasive plant species. Invasive plants and insects are related problems, as non-native plant species often bring with them out-of-towners such as the East Asian Tick, which recently showed up here. These non-native plants may look pretty when they bloom but they can harm birds and animals and change entire ecosystems. We’re not just talking about economic
damage to plant nurseries and agriculture, but devastation to the Garden State’s natural landscape, killing entire crops and eliminating animal habitats. That’s why my Legislative District11partner,Assemblywoman Joann Downey, and I cosponsored a bill in 2020 calling on the state Department of Environmental Protection to research and develop data on invasive species. One of the most basic elements of the bill would create a single standard for determining which plants are invasive. Armed with that information, the DEP can implement educational and informational programs to inform the public about which species pose the greatest threat to the Garden State’s biodiversity. One of the goals of the bill is to create a model ordinance to help municipal governments as
fall color are reasons why these plants are often used. Finally, a deciduous plant type that has been submerged, again and again, in snow is Spirea, Spiraea. Many Spirea grow between two and five feet and reliably flower throughout the summer. Common flower colors include, pink, white and purple and often their foliage is green or yellow, some even tinged with exciting colors. While winter has been known to desiccate certain plant types, wreak havoc on brittle branches or eliminate, altogether, border-line “hardy” plants, the aforementioned plant types seem to just smile at winter’s wrath and even say, “Bring it on!” 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. well as homeowners and backyard gardeners mitigate the spread of invasive, non-native plant species. The Agriculture Committee has moved bills to recognize municipalities that provide habitats for pollinators and conserve important native plant species by creating a “Pollinator Pathway,” and to create a special Pollinator License Plate. Funds generated by the license plate sales would support the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program in efforts to protect pollinator animals in the state. Luckily, the Agriculture Committee has important allies in this quest in an army of determined and conscientious Garden State farmers, landscapers and gardeners. As always, we welcome your ideas.
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.
February 2021 17
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18 February 2021
NORTHEAST DEPARTMENT CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Farmland Preservation Program Reaches Milestone The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) celebrates the success of the Farmland Preservation Program, which permanently protected 13 farms and more than 1,000 acres in 2020. This accomplishment was possible through strong partnerships with Connecticut Farmland Trust, USDA-NRCS, municipalities, land trusts, and most importantly, the farm families willing to engage in the program. “It is especially remarkable to surpass the 1,000acre milestone in 2020 amid all of the challenges that the year presented,” said Bryan P. Hurlburt, Agriculture Commissioner. “Last year reaffirmed the importance of a diverse and abundant food supply and by purchasing the development rights we not only ensure the land base for future generations to farm but a stable food chain for Connecticut residents.” Farms were protected in the towns of Lisbon, Woodbury, Watertown, Voluntown, Middletown, Roxbury, Lebanon, Southington, and Thompson. The State of Connecticut achieved an overall 47% costshare match receiving $2.2 million in USDA ALE funds and $487,900 from local partners. Connecticut’s agricultural industry generates an economic impact of $4.0 billion to the state’s economy. Securing working farmland is important to sustaining the agricultural systems currently in place and ensuring availability of farmland for young and beginning farmers in the future. This is especially important as the average age of Connecticut farmers continues to rise. “The Farmland Preservation team preserved more farms and acres in 2020, the most tumultuous and challenging year in recent history, than in the previous year,” said Jaime L. Smith, Bureau Director. “We are excited to continue this work and progress into 2021. This program leverages a significant amount of dollars from our federal, non-profit, and municipal partners to preserve this precious, limited, natural resource in perpetuity.” Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation Program was established in 1978 to protect the prime and important farmland soils in the state in order to maintain and preserve agricultural land for the future. In 2012, the Community Farms Preservation Program was established to offer foodproducing farms with local community support an avenue to permanently protect their farmland from future development. To date, the state has purchased development rights on 386 farms encompassing over 46,142 acres, with a goal of protecting 130,000 acres.
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Monmouth County Ag Educator Honored for Winning Region I Award The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has announced that Kristina Guttadora, a horticulture teacher at Monmouth County Career Center in Freehold, is the 2020 ACTE Region I Teacher of the Year and was one of five finalists for the 2020 national honor. The award recognizes CTE teachers who have made significant contributions toward innovative and unique career and technical education programs and shown a professional commitment early in their careers. “I love being in the classroom and playing a part in supporting students and assisting them in reaching their academic goals,” said Guttadora, who is the FFA Advisor at the Monmouth County Vocational School. “To be the Region I Teacher of the Year is a great honor and to be considered for the national award is very exciting. The support of administration and staff have provided me with the necessary tools for success.” Guttadora received her BS in Plant Science at Rutgers University, and Masters in Agricultural Education from North Carolina State University. She served as a high school agricultural educator and FFA advisor in Freehold Township for 10 years, while staying actively engaged in the National Association for Agricultural Educators, attending regional conferences, and being selected for the Teacher Turn the Key and Outstanding Young Teacher award. From 2007-2009, she served as the New Jersey Agricultural Association of Educators president. “Ms. Guttadora is a tremendous asset to our teaching staff here at the Monmouth County Career Center,” Principal Nathan Kraemer said. “She provides a wealth of experience and knowledge and those qualities, along with her enthusiasm, have created an inspirational learning atmosphere that puts our students in an excellent position to succeed and realize their potential.” In 2011, Guttadora shifted her career direction to serve as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Agricultural Society, where she supervised the Farmers Against Hunger, Agricultural Leadership and Learning through Gardening programs. During her time in this position, Guttadora connected FFA chapters to volunteer opportunities with the organization. This career change enabled Guttadora to broaden
her understanding of the industry and make professional connections throughout the state. She returned to teaching horticulture in 2017 at the Monmouth County Career Center, where she networks to strengthen career and technical education and provide greater employment to her students. “Kristina is well-known and respected in the agricultural community in New Jersey,” New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher said. “She is very deserving to have her efforts recognized on the regional and national level.” The Monmouth County Career Center’s Horticultural program allows students to receive hands-on experience pertaining to floriculture, landscaping, and turf management. The school operates a working floral and garden shop open to the public where students sell crops and products grown in the greenhouse and created in class. Customer orders are filled for a variety of special events and holidays and provide the students the opportunity to gain retail and agricultural business skills. Technology is integral as students are taught golf course and landscape management techniques and receive live work experience on the school’s Par 3 golf hole and the 12 acres of property on site. In both programs, the students learn plant and cut-flower identification, pest management, fertilizer applications, and cultural techniques. The co-curricular organization FFA plays a major part of teaching students the skills they need to be successful in agriculture and other related careers. This is the fourth consecutive year a New Jersey Ag Education teacher has been honored with an ACTE Region 1 award. The previous three years Salem County Technical School’s Keely DiTizio, Woodstown High School’s Deanna Miller, and Newton High School’s Jenny Allen each were the Region 1 New Teacher of the Year. The ACTE Excellence Awards recognize individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to CTE, programs that exemplify the highest standards and organizations that have conducted activities to promote and expand CTE programs. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit https://www. acteonline.org.
February 2021 19
OF AGRICULTURE NEWS NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Statement From State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball on the Passing of Former Assemblyman Bill Magee “We mourn the loss of former New York State Assemblyman Bill Magee, who was a tireless advocate for New York farmers and a true friend of agriculture. As the long time Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee, Bill fought for critical legislation, such as Agricultural Land Assessment tax cap, and supported countless initiatives to foster and grow New York’s agricultural community. Bill’s strong family ties to the dairy industry inspired his support of important promotional programs, including the long-time cheese auction tradition on Dairy Day at the Great New York State Fair. He will be remembered here at the Department for his dedication and deep commitment to agriculture and his many accomplishments that have helped move New York agriculture forward.”
DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Urban Forestry Grants Up to $5,000 Now Available Delaware’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is once again offering competitive matching grants up to $5,000 for tree planting or tree management projects on public land. The grants – open to municipalities, homeowner associations, and certified 501(c)(3) non-profits in the State of Delaware – require a 50-50 match in either cash (non-federal funds) or in-kind services, including volunteer or staff time, equipment rental, or supplies. Requests can range from $500 to a maximum of $5,000 in one of two project categories: tree planting or tree management (i.e., professional tree inventory, hazardous tree removal, or pruning). This year’s application deadline is Friday, March 5, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. Applications will be judged on a competitive basis by a grant committee of the Delaware Community Forestry Council. Eligible projects must be performed on public lands within the community. Priority will be given to first time applicants, Tree Friendly Communities, and applicants that have passed an Urban Tree Canopy Goal Resolution (only applies to Municipalities). Complete details at delawaretrees.com. “Our annual community grants are focused on increasing tree canopy in Delaware by promoting quality tree planting and management projects,” said
Kesha Braunskill, Urban and Community Forestry Program Director. “These projects can be the basis for sustainable urban and community forestry programs throughout the First State. Everyone can enjoy the numerous benefits that trees have to offer: air and water quality improvement, increased property values, and natural beauty.” The Urban and Community Forestry Tree Grant Dashboard page provides a visual overview of the history of Delaware’s tree grants. Since its inception, the grant program has awarded 577 grants totaling more than $1.79 million— resulting in the planting of more than 14,000 trees. Details includes the locations and dates of specific grant projects by county, legislative map, or school district. http://de.gov/treegrantdashboard. The comprehensive database can list charts of the grants by year, county, and legislative district. The map to the right of the dashboard also allows viewers to zoom in to various parts of the state and then view specific projects by clicking on the blue dot. As part of its mission, several informative publications, resources, and links are available to help with proper planning and developing effective strategies for tree planting, care, and management.
MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Grants to Help Farms Improve Agricultural Composting Operations The Baker-Polito Administration announced $185,000 in grants to six Massachusetts farms to support improvements in agricultural composting practices and facilitate on-farm compost use. Awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), the grants will help farms fund equipment or projects to produce compost more quickly and efficiently while helping to protect the environment by recycling nutrients, improving soil health and keeping organic material out of landfills “As healthy soils are fundamental to the success of agriculture in Massachusetts, this funding will improve the viability and sustainability of Commonwealth farms,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to support these local farms and promote the growth of agricultural composting.” The Agricultural Composting Improvement Program (ACIP) is a competitive grant program that assists agricultural operations in funding equipment and projects to improve agricultural composting practices and facilitate the usage of compost as a valuable soil amendment on their farms. MDAR provides technical assistance to farms conducting agricultural composting and encourages farms to utilize compost as a soil amendment or manure management tool. “Agriculture and composting go hand-in-hand,” said Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux. “The ability of a farm to make and utilize compost on their farm is an important component of agriculture in Massachusetts, and we commend these farmers for their efforts to improve their composting operations.” Agricultural use of compost has been shown to increase water holding capacity of soil, improve soil tilth, add beneficial microorganisms and organic matter to soil, and assist in carbon sequestration. For livestock farmers, utilizing compost as a tool for manure management creates a more stable form of nutrients that can be transported and spread more easily than raw manure. The following local agricultural operations are receiving grants through the ACIP program: Edgartown – Morning Glory Farm has been awarded $41,250 to construct a compost pad; Leicester – Little Bit Farm has been awarded $5,039 to construct a compost pad; Tewksbury – Krochmal Farm has been awarded $57,660 for the purchase of compost screening equipment; Sunderland – Mt. Toby Farm has been awarded $13,006 for the purchase of compost screening equipment; Brewster – Eldredge Farm has been awarded $57,660 for the purchase of compost screening equipment; and Concord – New England Nurseries has been awarded $10,384 for the purchase of compost screening equipment. The MDAR Agricultural Composting Improvement Program is funded under the 2018 Environmental Bond Bill.
20 February 2021
Sunlight, Fresh Air and a Lesson (Continued from page 8)
or nitrogen. Try to get your pH somewhere between 6.0 and 6.5. If you need to add phosphorous or potassium, you can do that now. It is probably best to wait until the trees start to actively grow again in the spring to add the nitrogen. I asked John why his orchards are planted in rows running north to south. He said it maximizes sunlight absorption, fruit set, and enhances fruit development. My final lesson was orchard sanitation. John stressed that this practice is very important in maintaining healthy apple trees. Fungal pathogens can over-winter on pruned branches. Fungal spores produced on the branches left on the orchard floor can inoculate healthy trees and fruit in the spring when temperatures are warmer and rain, irrigation water, and wind spread the spores. Before we left the apple tree, we cleaned up the pruned branches. In closing, he told me that pruning cuts can vary on different varieties of apple trees. If people have any
questions on the variety of an apple tree on their property and exactly how to prune it, they should consult with their local cooperative extension service. John Melick is the brother of featured columnist Peter Melick. We cleaned our tools back at the barn. I love spending time on a working farm!
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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GardenerNews.com Now that we have reached the dead of winter, and the days are getting longer, we should remember to continue to look after our fruit trees. Just because they are not actively growing does not mean that they do not still require some attention from time to time. Keeping them free from wildlife damage, along with pruning and some soil preparation, are the key tasks that should be performed this time of year. If you are growing fruit trees in New Jersey, you no doubt must contend with deer damage of some sort. And with the potential for snow cover and lack of other available food options for deer during the winter months, it is crucial that deer fencing is still intact. Also, it is important to make sure that the fencing system is adequate even during a substantial snow event. A couple feet of snow on the ground or some snow drifts can put previously inaccessible parts of the tree back in harm’s way. I have even seen rabbits walk on top of the snow and feed on the lower portion of fruit trees after a heavy snow. Fruit buds
February 2021 21 The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer
Dormant Fruit Tree Care
seem to be the food of choice when almost everything else is hidden under a blanket of snow. And speaking of snow cover, it is also important to look after the trunk of the tree at ground level. Mice and moles also continue to feed during the winter months, and with a blanket of snow on the ground, the bark around the base of fruit trees can be a target for these critters. If enough feeding takes place, they can girdle the tree, which will severely injure it or kill it altogether. While putting down some poisonous mouse bait is an option for controlling their population, one of the best methods for preventing trunk damage is to make certain that
the ground under the fruit trees is kept clear of any vegetation. This lack of cover will allow the varmints’ natural predators, such as hawks, eagles, coyotes and foxes to feed on them that much more easily. And because the tree trunks absorb heat, the snow right around the trunks will generally melt away somewhat, which will give the predators some visibility and room to work in. As I just mentioned, the dark grey color of the fruit tree trunks will absorb heat on the south and southwest side of the tree, which is exposed to the wintertime sun. And when the ground is snow covered, the white ground cover reflects that much more heat to these tree trunks.
When trees are young, usually between 2 and 5 years old, they are susceptible to winter injury. What happens is that during the day, the temperature of the bark will rise as the sun hits it. Then, at night, the temperature will drop back down again. This constant temperature fluctuation can injure the bark and cause it to crack and split open. Fortunately, there is a fairly easy and inexpensive fix for this problem. Just get some cheap white latex paint and mix it half and half with water in a bucket. This will create a whitewash solution which you can use to coat the trunk and reflect the sunlight away from the tree, thereby keeping it cooler during the day.
To apply this mixture, I have found that the fastest way to do it is to wear a long rubber glove on your dominant hand. Then, over this glove, put on one of those sponge gloves that people use to wash their cars. Just dip the sponge glove in the paint mixture, grasp the tree trunk and slide your hand up and down once or twice. This should create enough whiteness to reflect the sunlight and keep the trunk from cracking. And because you are not using a brush, this can be done in a pretty short amount of time. Now it’s time to get ready to start pruning! 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.
The Hard to Find Common Viburnums By Hubert Ling Three viburnums: Viburnum acerifolium maple-leaved or arrowwood, V. dentatum Southern arrowwood; and V. prunifolium blackhaw viburnums are widespread throughout almost all of New Jersey as very common understory shrubs. In addition, viburnums are widely available at garden centers. However, if you investigate further, you will find that most viburnums found in garden centers are from Asia and the few American species that may be found are generally cultivars with the straight species often nowhere to be seen. Thus, procuring a truly native viburnum to plant in your yard may be a difficult, hard process. In this article I will discuss the two common New Jersey viburnums and a rare one: high bush cranberry viburnum.
Our common maple-leaved viburnum has a leaf very similar to that of a red maple in size and shape. However, this native viburnum has only three lobes per leaf and mediumsized teeth all around the edges of the three- to four-inch leaf. Red maple has three or five lobes but lacks prominent teeth along the leaf margin. Leaves from both plants turn reddish in fall, although red maple can become a brilliant scarlet, while maple-leaved viburnum is generally a soft pink-purple. This understory shrub grows to three to six feet high, has clusters of small white flowers in spring followed by red berries which mature to purple-black in the fall and are utilized by birds and squirrels. The name arrowwood stems from the fact that the branches of V. acerifolium and V. dentatum tend to grow very straight and long and are frequently about one quarter inch in diameter, just right for arrow shafts. Ötzi the Iceman used European viburnum for
his arrow shafts. Southern arrowwood is very similar to maple-leaved arrowwood in growth and habitat; they are frequently found growing in the same location. However, the leaves of southern arrowwood are small, two to three inches in length, and lack the three prominent lobes. The leaves are ovate and have medium-sized teeth around the edges. The leaf veins are deeply recessed so that the leaf surface has a corduroy appearance. In fall, the leaves may turn a dull yellow, red, or orange. The small fruits are berrylike, blueblack at maturity, and sought by birds and squirrels. Propagation of both arrowwoods is by seed or root and stem cuttings. Now for the rare high bush cranberry viburnum. Even trusted sources of native plants may sell you the very popular and widely planted European highbush cranberry Viburnum opulus opulus instead of our native Viburnum opulus americanum.
So, what’s the big deal, you might ask, especially since European cranberry bush is the same genus and species as the American? Well, in this case, there are clear differences since the American high bush cranberry tastes relatively good and is sought by wildlife, while the European one frequently has berries which persist throughout the winter since they are clearly unpalatable to humans and local wildlife. The American bush has zero to four small glands at the base of the leaf blades; these glands have short stalks and bulging convex tops. The European cranberry bush has two to eight larger glands with indented concave tops. The American cranberry bush grows six to 12 feet high and is host to spring azure butterfly larvae. The flowers are utilized by adult butterflies. The flower arrangement is most unusual. Around each cluster of fertile flowers is a ring of large, showy, sterile flowers, which
are often termed shills. These “fake flowers” are thought to visually attract insects to the small true flowers, but the shills offer neither nectar nor pollen. The fruit is popular with many species of birds and small mammals. People sometimes also use the red fruit for jam and jelly; the fruits sweeten up after the first frost. Propagation is from seed or by separating out shoots which sprout from mature plants. The viburnums discussed here are easy to grow, tolerate a range of soil types, and are drought resistant when mature. They all support our native bees, butterflies, and small mammals with creamy white flowers in spring and small berries in fall. In addition, unique color displays are given in the fall. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at email@example.com.
22 February 2021
Full Moon February 27, 2021 Eastern Daylight
USDA Designates Three New Jersey Counties as Primary Natural Disaster Areas Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue designated three New Jersey counties as primary natural disaster areas. Producers in Morris, Sussex and Warren counties who suffered losses caused by high winds and heavy rain from Hurricane Isaias that occurred from Aug. 3 through Aug. 4, 2020, may be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) emergency loans. This natural disaster designation allows FSA to extend much-needed emergency credit to producers recovering from natural disasters. Emergency loans can be used to meet various recovery needs including the replacement of essential items such as equipment or livestock, reorganization of a farming operation or the refinance of certain debts. Producers in the contiguous counties listed below are also eligible to apply for emergency loans: New Jersey: Essex, Hunterdon, Passaic, Somerset and Union The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is Aug. 18, 2021. FSA will review the loans based on the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program; Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program; Livestock Indemnity Program; Operating and Farm Ownership Loans; and the Tree Assistance Program. Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at farmers.gov/recover.
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The Premier Gardening Monthly Newspaper Number 214 Published Monthly Reserve Ad Space Website: www.GardenerNews.com E-Mail: Mail@GardenerNews.com Staff
Executive Editor/Publisher . . . . Tom Castronovo Art Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Susan F. Kessel Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tom Castronovo Tom Castronovo Todd Pretz Gail Woolcott Andrew Bunting
February 2021 Columnists
Brian Schilling Bob LaHoff Al Murray Douglas H. Fisher Peter Melick Eric J. Houghtaling Kenneth M. Karamichael
February 2021 Contributing Writers
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TIP OF THE MONTH Off Season Landscape Pest Monitoring During the winter dormant season, there are a significant number of potential pests of ornamentals that require monitoring. Pest populations ignored during the off season is a missed opportunity to evaluate future problems. These potential concerns can be especially pronounced on evergreen shrubs and conifers. Therefore, this winter do not make the mistake of thinking that landscape problems can be forgotten about until next spring. A little vigilance now can go a long way toward recording & possibly reducing future problems. Learn more at https://plant-pest-advisory.rutgers.edu/off-season-landscape-pestmonitoring/
NJDEP & Rutgers OCPE Announce Roll Out of New Online Pesticide Exam Portal! The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Rutgers University are pleased to announce that the new online Pesticide Applicator Certification Exam Registration (PACER) system is NOW AVAILABLE for your use. Anyone interested in taking a Pesticide exam must register through the PACER system at pacer.rutgers.edu. • The registration PACER system and exams are available 24/7. • All exams will be administered via remote proctoring including real-time student ID verification and activity monitoring to uphold the Department’s exam standards and security. • Exam applicants will be assessed a nominal fee for each exam. • All exams are CLOSED book. • The Department no longer offers any pesticide certification exams. Rutgers University, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), spent more than a year planning, coding and developing the PACER system and website to replace the time-intensive paper application process, improving the user experience. Learn more at https://pestmanagement.rutgers.edu/njdep-rutgers-ocpe-announceroll-out-new-online-pesticide-exam-portal/ Source: Rutgers NJAES
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24 February 2021
BEAST OF THE NOR’EAST W H E N A N O R ’ E A S T E R R OA R S I N , YO U N E E D A B E A S T O F A S N OW B LOW E R TO R OA R BAC K .
ERICA’ S AM
B L O W E R
*Based on average Traqline unit share for snow blower market from 2013 – October 2017
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WITH BOSS® SNOW BLADE, SNOW BLOWER OR POWER BROOM ^Manufacturer suggested promotional price subject to local dealer participation. †Based on average Traqline unit share for snow blower market from 2013-March 2020.
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