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Gardener News

January 2019

By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping CommunitiesTAKE GARDENERNEWS.COM

Nelson Lee

We also salute him for the time he takes Gardener News proudly bestows our 2018 “Person of the Year” to Nelson Lee, to raise money for charities, and for being for his unwavering dedication to the entire dedicated to creating positive life changes in landscaping community in the great Garden today’s society. Lee joined the New Jersey Landscape State.

Contractors Association board of directors in August 2012 and remained a very active and dedicated director through December 2013. He was elected vice president from January 2014 through April 2016. In May


No. 189

of 2016 he was elected as the association’s president, a roll he continues to serve today. In his leadership role as president, Lee has facilitated new relationships with associations, reinstated more social outings, including bowling night and member mixers, introduced the Budding Contractor award to recognize up and coming companies in the industry, (Cont. on Page 25)

2 January 2019

G a r d e n C e n t e r D i r e c t o r y

Got Rock Salt? We Do… & Calcium, Snow Shovels, Firewood & Propane. Hall’s Garden Center & Florist

700 Springfield Avenue, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922 908.665.0331 |

Thank you for a wonderful 2018 season. See you in March! The Biondi Family

Celebrating Our 72nd Anniversary

601 Union Ave. Middlesex, NJ

January 2019 3

Succulents have made a big presence in all lawn and garden centers in recent years. The unique color variations and the many assortment types of succulents that are available have attracted a wide audience. Being a ‘low maintenance’ plant certainly amplifies their appeal. Even though Succulents are relatively easy to grow, there are 5 necessary items to manage in order to be successful in maintaining this plant: Light & Temperature, Soil, Water and Fertilizer. Light & Temperature Depending on the variety of Succulent, know that on average, these plants thrive with 6 to 10 hours of light. The best condition for an indoor situation is to station the plant by a south, east or west window that achieves a few hours of direct sunlight. Sometimes supplemental light is needed as well. Different plants have different requirements. Aeonium Succulent are native to the Canary Islands and North America and therefore, enjoy a warm or hot environment with lots of bright light. However, the Haworthia, is a Succulent that enjoys a lower light condition in a cooler environment. During the dormant season, succulents do best in temperatures from 45-55 F. Studies have shown that low temperatures during the dormant season encourage future flowering growth. Soil Soil composition is an important factor in determining long term life for your succulent. As a rule, succulents prefer well-draining soil that holds a little moisture and nutrients with a mid-range pH. The ferti•lome® Succulent Soil accomplishes all these goals. The Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss and the EcoPeat will support the plant physically in its pot yet allow the water to drain. EcoPeat is a natural fiber from the peat bogs which provides excellent aeration and appropriate moisture holding properties. The addition of Horticultural Perlite aids in the aeration process and helps dry out the peat. Both the calcitic and dolomitic limestone keep the pH in an ideal spot for the plant to take in the necessary nutrients.

Water The simplest way to water succulents is to thoroughly soak the ferti•lome® Succulent Soil then wait for the soil to completely dry before watering again. The goal is to water deeply but less frequent. This method forces the succulent to grow its roots down deep. Deeper roots promote a healthier plant. When choosing a container for your succulent, it is best to purchase a container that has drainage holes to allow the excess moisture to escape. Plus, if you are not sure if it is time to water, simply feel the bottom soil thru the drainage holes to see if it is damp. If it is damp – don’t water; if it is dry – water. Nutrients ferti•lome® All Purpose Water Soluble Plant Food 20-20-20 completes the ideal succulent environment by adding necessary nutrients for the plant. Simply dissolve ½ teaspoon in 1 gallon of water and apply the mixture to the soil. What is unique to the ferti•lome® All Purpose Water Soluble Plant Food 20-20-20 is that there is minimal to no salt content in its formulation. Many succulents are extremely sensitive to salt. The salt found in common fertilizers tend to dry out the tiny root hairs and make it difficult for the roots to obtain moisture and nutrients. Fertilizing your succulents varies upon the type of succulent. Some need once a month or every other month feeding while others only need a light feeding once in the spring or summer. Have fun learning about the succulent and its needs! Succulents are a great way to satisfy your gardening interest. With just a few maintenance practices and proper supporting products, growing succulents is a breeze.

4 January 2019



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Milkweed for Monarchs Helpline

By Jeannie Geremia Contributing Writer

The New Year is upon us and it’s time to unveil a brand new project as we need help in figuring out the logistics. Hopefully, my garden friends, there are volunteers, including growers, both commercially and homegrown, that will help bring this project to fruition, providing a necessary pipeline for host plants needed by our butterfly species. Most notable among the butterflies in need are the Monarchs, but also our state butterfly, the Black Swallowtails, and others as the need arises. Let me begin by explaining the genesis of this project with ideas on how to implement it. The project began percolating in my head a few years ago as I began receiving distressed phone calls and emails from people who were growing host plants for Monarchs and Black Swallowtail butterflies, and were in a panic because they had attracted too many caterpillars and not enough plants to feed the hungry guys. This appears to be an ongoing dilemma, both for Monarch caterpillars and Black Swallowtail caterpillars, as the following years produced the same SOS’s, including in my own back yard. It’s thrilling to see the eggs and subsequent caterpillars attracted to the milkweed for Monarchs, and parsley, fennel, dill, carrot tops, and golden alexanders for Black Swallowtails that we have provided for just such a result. That, of course, is the only way our butterflies can make it to their final magnificent stage of life, by having the food source they so desperately need. One of the main reasons the butterfly population has plummeted is due to habitat destruction and GMO specific plants designed to withstand herbicides

and/or pesticides, thereby eliminating milkweed and other weed species that heretofore not only acted as host plants for butterfly species but provided necessary nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. In researching resources available, it was apparent that milkweed seeds were being provided by various organizations dedicated to growing our Monarch population. Most notably, too, were the milkweed plants that Leonard J. Buck Gardens have provided for the last three years via a grant from a caring donor’s will. It also is an ongoing pleasure to come into a garden center and be greeted by organically grown milkweed, parsley, fennel, and dill. I can’t tell you the number of caterpillars I find in all sizes at my local garden centers and nurseries. I was also thrilled to see how protective the various garden centers were to the caterpillars on their host plants. The joy and excitement displayed by garden center staff and owners as they witness the miracle of a butterfly’s life cycle and know they are doing their part in educating the public to help in growing our butterfly population makes all the work involved so worthwhile. The problem surfaces when too much success has been generated and we have too many caterpillars eating on too few plants with the little babies in starvation mode. The solution is to create a HELPLINE that can be accessed from any part of the state. I’m proposing to establish a north, central and south group and will work to implement it this year by appointing a chair and committee in each section of New Jersey. This project, entitled ‘Milkweed For Monarchs Helpline’ will enlist local growers, garden centers and nurseries that will have

an ongoing supply of host plants and, if and when their supplies are depleted, be able to direct the emergency need for more milkweed, parsley, fennel, dill to another supplier. My question is, in this technological age, where would the information be most effectively posted? Please let me know your thoughts and we can start work on creating a solution to this ongoing dilemma. Finally, I have some new observations for the New Year regarding our Black Swallowtails, as I must say they mirror New Jersey’s personality in their unpredictability. I had 32 chrysalises this past October to overwinter. The last caterpillar to make its chrysalis appeared on carrot tops in our community garden in the middle of October. He was pretty big and I brought him home on his carrot tops in water, hoping he’d make his chrysalis within a week or so. Not going to happen, as he prevaricated in my butterfly habitat that had 31 chrysalises. A few weeks went by of cold weather and he seemed in a suspended state, so I finally brought him in to my laundry room where he made his chrysalis within a day and joined the others out in my gazebo to overwinter. Five of my Black Swallowtails just couldn’t wait for spring and have hatched out, much to my consternation as Baby, its cold outside! Enjoy!

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

January 2019 5

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6 January 2019


Equine Science Center Hosts “Evening of Science and Celebration” The Rutgers Equine Science Center hosted its 2018 “Evening of Science & Celebration” on Thursday, November 8 in New Brunswick, NJ. Sponsored by MidAtlantic Equine Medical Center, this year honored Kennis “Buttons” Fairfax, a renowned horses show judge and clinician from Westfield, NJ. Kennis received the 2019 “Spirit of the Horse Award” for his lifelong commitment to advancing the proper care and management of horses, and for his contributions to youth education. “Buttons’ lifelong passion has been horses and their relationship with people,” says Center director Karyn Malinowski. “Being able to share his knowledge of horses with others is what he finds most rewarding. His goal of opening the equine world to inner-city children provides them with a unique experience that they might not have previously thought possible.” The Center also presented its 2019 Gold Medal Horse Farm award to Mortonhouse Farm, owned by John Crater. Mortonhouse Farm is an equine and beef cattle farm located in Long Valley, New Jersey. Primarily a boarding and pleasure horse farm, the 110-acre farm is composed of 35-40 acres of pasture and keeps up to 20 horses. Horses spend most of the year outside and spend little time indoors. The farm also includes more than four miles of trails for horseback riding, and is connected to a larger trail network. Mr. Crater has been involved in numerous conservation programs on his farm, including the development a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. He has adopted numerous environmental management practices, including rotational grazing, vegetative buffers, fencing, and pasture improvements, which all increase environmental sustainability. Proper manure management is adhered to, with manure being collected, stockpiled, and spread regularly on pasture and hay ground. Using this method, John is able to fertilize the hay and pastures that is used to feed the horses and cows, decreasing the amount of feed that needs to be purchased. John has hosted numerous field days and Rutgers University classes on his farm, even including an onfarm research project to determine the effects of animal diet upon waste excretion. About The Gold Medal Horse Farm Program & Award The award and this overall program give recognition to outstanding equine farms for their dedication to environmental sustainability and management. It also underscores the efforts of the New Jersey equine industry to maintain the beauty of the Garden State. The program is a collaborative initiative by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University (NJAES), the Rutgers Equine Science Center, and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA). Mortonhouse Farm joins Dorsett Arabians (2017), Hidden Hills Farms (2016), Lord Stirling Stables (2015), Woodhollow Farm (2014), D’Arrigo Racing Stable LLC (2013) and Showplace Farms (2012) as the state’s only Gold Medal Horse Farms. Any farm owners interested in applying for next year’s award may access the application on the Equine Science Center website at research/ryders-lane-farm/educational-programs/goldmedal-horse-farm/

From the Director’s Desk

Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director

Introductory Fisheries Science for Stakeholders

The fishing industries of New Jersey provide significant socio-economic benefits to the state, including the provision of local, high-quality seafood and serving as key components of the social fabric of coastal communities. In 2015, New Jersey’s commercial fishing and seafood industries had an estimated $2.1 billion total economic impact and provided over 30,000 jobs, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) report on the Fisheries Economics of the United States. Concurrently, New Jersey’s recreational fishing industry had an estimated additional $1.2 billion total economic impact in 2015 and involved approximately 1 million anglers who participate both for recreation and to harvest local seafood as a source of food and personal nutrition. Given the value of New Jersey’s commercial and recreational fishing industries, it is critical that appropriate fishery management regulations are in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of both our marine fishery resources and the industries that rely on these resources. Multiple entities are responsible for sustainably managing our marine fisheries to meet biological and socio-economic standards, including federal bodies such as the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and on the state level the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. Fisheries management has become increasingly complex in terms of the content of management plans and the fisheries science considered in the development of these plans. On a global scale, stocks of marine fishery resources that have management plans in place are in better shape than locations without management and are typically rebuilding rather than declining. Recent research has concluded that the continued investments in fisheries management outweigh the costs, given the realized economic benefits of enhanced yield from global marine fisheries. For New Jersey and the Middle Atlantic region, the NMFS 2018 Fishery Stock Status Updates identifies multiple stocks that have been rebuilt from once depleted status (e.g., monkfish, dogfish, scup, black sea bass, golden tilefish) and only one stock that is experiencing overfishing (i.e., summer flounder), suggesting that fishery management in the Middle Atlantic has been relatively successful for meeting biological objectives. Fisheries management plans and the science that informs these plans clearly have major impacts on New Jersey’s commercial and recreational fishing industries, including quotas, closed seasons/fishing grounds, fishery monitoring, and fishing gear restrictions. Given these influences and the increasing complexity of fisheries management and science, it is critical that stakeholders of New Jersey’s commercial and recreational fisheries are educated on these processes so that they are prepared to make progress on these issues, such as serving on fishery management councils or panels, testifying during public hearings, getting involved with cooperative research projects to address key issues, educating other stakeholders, and promoting positive stewardship of marine fishery resources. Therefore, in order to meet these needs, Rutgers Cooperative Extension annually offers a fisheries science class entitled Introductory Fisheries Science for Stakeholders (IFISSH) which covers topics such as fisheries biology, oceanography, stock assessment, and fishery management. The mainstays of fisheries science and management are stock assessment models, which calculate estimates of population abundance and mortality rates through time and the results from which are key data for informing management decisions. Stock assessments have been compared to counting the number of trees in a forest, but imagine not being able to see the animals because they are underwater and typically moving around! Therefore, conducting stock assessments is an inherently difficult task with often a great deal of uncertainty. These complex models can be boiled down to the ABC’s by describing them as including data on the abundance, biology, and catch of a stock to estimate the population status. However, the reality is that the complexity of stock assessments and management plans can confuse even a senior scientist with many years of experience. Therefore, the IFISSH class brings in experts from state, federal, and academic institutions as guest lecturers to demystify the world of fisheries science, assessment, and management for stakeholders of New Jersey’s fishing industries so that they are better prepared to understand and get involved with issues impacting their industries. The 2019 IFISSH course is open to all who are interested in participating and will meet at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday evening from January 29 through April 2 at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County (1623 Whitesville Road, Toms River, NJ 08755). This is a “HyFlex” course, where people can participate live either in-class in Toms River or remotely via webinar from anywhere in the world. If you are interested in the IFISSH course and have more questions or would like to register, then please contact Kelly Jurgensen (Administrative Assistant:, 732-349-1152) or Dr. Douglas Zemeckis (County Agent III: zemeckis@, 732-349-1152). Editor’s note: This month’s contribution was written by Dr. Douglas Zemeckis, Rutgers Cooperative Extension County Agent in fisheries, aquaculture, and coastal resource management for Monmouth, Ocean and Atlantic counties.


January 2019 7

An Ironclad Plant for the Home The cold weather of January provides an excellent opportunity, as well as a great excuse, to remain indoors and focus on houseplants. Although the warm home environment is great for the gardener, the low humidity and the reduced light levels make it a challenge for plants – especially if they recently enjoyed the summer in the humid outdoors. Fortunately, for avid gardeners and novices alike, there remain a few plants that thrive in these harsh environments and actually grow best under neglect. One such plant that I have enjoyed since my youth is the Jade Plant, Crassula ovata. Jade Plant is a member of the Crassulaceae or Stonecrop Family that features among its clan of 35 or so genre a number of ornamentals including Sedum, Echeveria and Aeonium. Crassula contains around 200 species

and was named by Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) in 1754. The name originates from the Latin Crassus, meaning thick and refers to the thickened foliage and stems that are characteristic of many of the species. Most species of Crassula, including Jade Plant, are succulents, inferring that they can store water in their fattened leaves, stems and occasionally even in the roots. Crassula as a genus has a widespread distribution, with species native to the more arid regions of North America, Europe, Africa, New Zealand and Australia. However, the center of the world’s population lies in South Africa north into Mozambique, which is home to Crassula ovata. The species epithet of ovata is from the Latin meaning egg-shaped. Jade Plant was first brought to England in 1759 and in 1768 was named Cotyledon ovata by Philip Miller (16911771). Miller was the head gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden from 1722-1771 and taught many budding

gardeners, including William Forsyth, for whom Forsythia is named. It was not until 1916 that George Claridge Druce (1850-1932), an English Botanist and mayor of Oxford, properly reclassified the genus as Crassula. Jade Plant is certainly not rare. Arguably, many gardeners consider this plant to be a dull, if not an outright boring windowsill plant! I suspect the problem lies in our impatience, as we typically abandon or kill the plant through the kindness of over watering before it reaches the elegant stages of its life. Plants need to be grown for 15 to 20 years before they start to assume the majestic appearance of a well weathered tree with a strong, stout trunk. The key is not to over water and only up-pot to a marginally larger container, since excess potting soil can easily become waterlogged. Water the most conservatively during the winter, when growth is at a minimum due to the lower light levels. If the plant receives ample direct sunlight

Make a Difference in Your Community – Become a Rutgers Environmental Steward Since 2005, hundreds of volunteers have made the commitment to protecting New Jersey’s environment by participating in the Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program. Offered by Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the program introduces non-scientists to the science underlying key environmental issues in the Garden State so they can tackle problems in their own communities. In January and February 2019, depending on which program you take, participants can enroll in a program in one of four New Jersey counties: Atlantic, Essex, Middlesex and Somerset. Participants do not have to be county residents to participate in the program, which costs $250 for the 20 weeks of training. If you have a passion for the environment, a desire to learn and volunteer in your community then this program is for you! Stewards start out in the classroom once a week, dealing with topics that include climate change, soil health, energy conservation, water resource protection, invasive species management, land use policy, wildlife ecology, protecting pollinators and native vs. invasive species, among others. Optional field trips to environmentally significant sites around the state are included as part of the program. Leading researchers from Rutgers are joined by government and non-profit representatives to share their knowledge with the stewards. In order to become certified, graduates must complete a 60-hour volunteer internship of their choosing. Internships are unique and intended to align with the passion of the individual, the needs of the program and those of the local community. Some previous Steward internship projects have included monitoring shorebird populations, composting restaurant food waste, mapping and eradicating invasive species in local parks, restoring native dune vegetation in shore communities and creating rain gardens. The classes, field trips and internship do not replace a science degree. However, the program presents stewards with real-world environmental problems and introduces a network of experts and organizations that can help participants as they wrestle with solving problems in their local communities. For more information, visit http://

throughout the year, you will be rewarded with clusters of pink-blushed white flowers at the tip of the stems throughout December and January. With greater exposure to sunlight, the leaves also develop very attractive colorations of red and yellow. The production of these pigments is actually a defense mechanism against the harmful effects of UV radiation, reminiscent of people developing suntans in the summer. The selection that is called “Variegata” or “Lemon and Lime” has very attractive light yellow to white streaks of variegation running from the base of the leaf to the tip. Often, these leaves will take on purple shades if they receive more sun. An even more unusual leaf shape is found on the selection called “Gollum,” in which the leaf is rolled into a cylinder with what appears to be a suction cup at one end. Again, with ample sunlight, the tips of the leaves become very attractively brushed with red. Plants with ironclad

constitutions that not only survive, but thrive under the challenging home environment should not be looked upon as boring, but given a place of respect. Jade Plant is certainly one of the grand patriarchs of houseplants, growing ever more elegant and dignified with age. With few insects other than mealy bug that can be problematic, this is an ideal plant to enjoy during the cold days of January, and for the remaining 11 months as well. Editor’s Note: Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth; is the managing director of the Rutgers Gardens, a 180-acre outdoor teaching classroom, horticultural research facility and arboretum; an adjunct professor in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences; regularly participates in the Rutgers – Continuing Education Program; and past-president of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at (732) 932-8451. For more information, please visit

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

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

8 January 2019

January 2019 9

Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

Spotted Lanternfly Update

Right now, we need to be on the lookout for Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) egg masses. In several past columns, I have written about the spotted lanternfly invasion that is settling into the northeastern states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. The May 2018 Gardener News cover story’s headline was “Bracing for a Potential Storm.” Well folks, the storm threat is imminent. If you did not see the story in the May paper, please log onto and click on the “Read Back Issues” link. These pretty looking bugs, as some may call them, have been known to feed on over 70 different varieties of trees and shrubs as well as fruit trees and grape vines. The adults are quite colorful, with a black head, grayish black spotted forewings, and reddish, blackspotted hind wings. Adults are approximately one inch in length and a half-inch in width and are present from midJuly through the fall. Feeding occurs on the trunk and limbs of plants, not on the fruit or leaf tissues. During feeding, spotted lanternfly excretes significant amounts of honey dew (or sugar water). Honey dew deposits provide a food source for a sooty mold fungus that can grow on plant surfaces and fruit, leading to reduced photosynthesis and plant vigor. Both nymphs and adults of spotted lanternfly cause damage when they feed, sucking sap from stems and leaves, reducing photosynthesis, weakening the plant and eventually contributing to the plant’s death. Let’s get into to this right away. This is how I know the storm threat is imminent. In the past several weeks I have received emails and phone calls alerting me about spotted lanternflies gathering in fireplaces. One caller thanked his lucky stars that he had glass doors separating the opening of his fireplace and his living room. He told me if the glass doors weren’t there, the spotted lanternflies would be all over the inside of his house. After a lengthy conversation,

we both decided it would be a great idea to call in a chimney sweeping company to further examine his fireplace and chimney’s flue. About two weeks later, my phone rang again. I was told that the chimney sweeper found over 1,000 dead spotted lanternflies above the damper door that separated his fireplace from the chimney’s flue. He was very thankful for my suggestion. After having a conversation about these findings with a good friend of mine, he became worried about the plumbing ventilation pipes on roof tops. Back to the egg masses. I wonder how may egg masses are being laid inside flues and plumbing ventilation pipes. I’ve been told that females try to lay their eggs on protected sites, such as the underside of a branch or near flaps of the bark. They’ll also lay eggs on just about any solid object, including rocks, lawn furniture, rusty metal, junk piles, cinder blocks, fence posts, firewood, cars and plastic children’s playsets. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, theses egg masses are typically an inch long by three-quarters of an inch wide. The overall length of an egg mass is about one inch. The eggs are laid in columns, side by side. There can be as many as 30 to 50 eggs per clump. The mass of eggs are covered in a grey putty-like covering. The individual eggs have morphological distinctive features. The overall appearance is a small ovoid seed with a rounded side and flattened front. The flattened front is made up of an elongated oval disc. At one tip is a stem-like structure that extends out from the egg. The sides of the egg, when viewed from the front, are also sunken in. This gives the eggs a pinched look. There is one generation per year. By hiring a chimney sweep, it can help solve several major issues. A chimney sweep – one who’s been professionally trained and licensed – will not only be able to clean away creosote and ash build up, but they’ll also be able to spot minor issues with your fireplace and your chimney’s inner structures. Small problems with

these systems (including cracked brickwork, a damaged liner or loose flashing) can very easily turn into major problems if they’re not taken care of quickly and properly, so catching them early will save you some money in the long run. They can also help protect you from unnecessary fires and carbon monoxide poisonings. Not all chimney inspection companies have insurance and it’s not unheard of for unscrupulous companies to lie about their coverage. So, before you let a sweep so much as touch your chimney, ask to see proof of insurance. A company with insurance will be happy to furnish their paperwork upon request, and a company that’s cagey about doing so probably isn’t worth hiring at all. Back to the landscape. The leaves are finally off the trees in the Northeast and the bones of the deciduous trees are in full view. The evergreens are clearly dotting the landscape. Nature at its best. And we want to keep it that way. Now is also a great time to also thoroughly inspect your landscape for egg masses before it’s too late. A licensed tree care company can help with the higher elevations. If you find any egg masses, be sure to destroy them completely. Do not just throw them in the garbage. As always, if you hire a contractor to inspect for spotted lanternfly egg masses, make sure that they have taken the spotted lanternfly course and exam offered by Penn State Cooperative Extension - Pennsylvania’s LandGrant University. And make sure that they show you their credentials. I passed the test and have my credentials.

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

N.J. Assemblyman Wants Horse License Plates to Support Equine Therapy for People with Disabilities Sitting atop the state seal is the horse, which also happens to be the state animal. In fact, New Jersey holds the national title for having the most horses - more than 27,600. That’s one horse for every 323 people or nearly 4 horses for every square mile. The animals are used for racing, breeding, showing, pleasure riding, and more recently, therapy for children and adults with disabilities. Equine therapy is a growing industry in the Garden State and nation-wide. to help fund therapeutic riding programs, Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney (R-Bergen) has introduced legislation (A4800) calling for the Motor Vehicle Commission to create a special state animal license plate featuring an emblem noting the horse as the official state animal. “Given our love affair with this beautiful animal, this is a great way for residents to support these programs which are helping so many people, especially children,” said Rooney. “Horses are particularly effective because they respond immediately, making it easy for children and adults with learning, emotional, and physical disabilities to connect with the horse. This is a perfect fit.” The $50 application fee and $10 annual renewal are earmarked for the state animal license plate fund. Proceeds will help support therapeutic riding for people with special needs as well as the health and wellbeing of horses. Therapy is effective for people with autism, delay in mental development, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, learning disabilities, and trauma and brain injuries. It helps improve motor coordination, posture, balance, muscle tone, concentration, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Doherty/Bateman Bill to Allow Dogs at Breweries Passes Senate The New Jersey State Senate has passed legislation sponsored by Senators Mike Doherty and Kip Bateman to allow dogs in New Jersey breweries. “Any time we see an industry that’s actually growing in New Jersey, we should seize any opportunity we can to help those businesses succeed,” Senator Doherty (R-23) said. “Employers face enough challenges as it is because of all the red tape in this state. Our bill was inspired by all of the brewery owners who have been vocal about the fact that being dog-friendly is good for business. Eliminating the regulation that keeps dogs out of breweries is an easy way to keep craft beer flowing in the Garden State.” The Senators’ legislation, S-2753, would permit dogs only in the sampling and tasting areas of New Jersey breweries, including indooronly establishments. “Across New Jersey, craft breweries are on the rise. We know how popular these destinations have become even in smaller communities, particularly among young adults,” Bateman (R-16) said. “Millennials will funnel $200 billion into the US economy this year alone. Research also shows that millennials also spend more than $1,285 per year on their pets. Unfortunately, they are leaving New Jersey at higher rate than any other population group, including retirees. By allowing dogs in breweries, we can give the next generation of NJ families another reason to stay in New Jersey and frequent the businesses they love.” To prevent contamination, S-2753 would allow dogs to be present in areas of licensed microbreweries where brewed products are consumed. Dogs would not be permitted in areas where items produced for consumption might be contaminated. Dogs would also be prohibited from areas where they risk contaminating clean equipment, glassware, or related articles in the area designated for the consumption of brewed products. Under the bill, areas where dogs are present would be required to be kept in a clean condition. Any messes or accidents must be promptly cleaned and sanitized. Additionally, staff members would not be permitted to have direct contact with dogs while on duty, and would be required to immediately wash their hands should direct contact occur.

10 January 2019 The Farmer’s Almanac predicts an average temperature winter and perhaps more than normal rain and snow, haven’t we had enough moisture for a few years? No one could have predicted last year’s varying weather patterns. Let’s see if I can predict how 2018 weather might affect your lawn in 2019. We all know about the excessive rainfall totals for 2018 in New Jersey, which were about 25 inches to 75 inches more than normal in many regions. A six-foot person is 72 inches tall. Wow, that’s a lot of rain! Weeds tend to thrive in wet weather. Be sure to follow a sound lawn care program in spring to combat crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. With cool spring weather, if there is a lot of moisture in the ground, it will delay germination of newly planted grass seed, at least until the soil temperatures reach 55 degrees or more. Too much moisture in the ground also delays proper Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

soil preparation to plant grass seed. Who wants to rake mud? Lying water and puddling “drowns” the soil. For proper plant growth, water and air need to be present in the soil. Too much rain drives air out of the soil and will inhibit grass growth. Newly planted grass seed might rot if sitting too long in water. Aeration is of little help, since the soil goes right back into place with the next rainfall. Consider using soil amendments in spring, such as calcium carbonatebased products or gypsumtype products, to relieve salt damage and/or compaction in the soil. If the weather does not

What lies ahead? get very cold for a long period of time this winter, insect populations could be running rampant next spring and summer. This is because cold, winter weather helps kill off a larger number of insects. Even the mosquitos had a hard time breeding last year due to constant disruption caused by excessive rainfall. Pressure from snow mold may be greater this year due to cold, wet weather from last fall. If your lawn was too lush and leafy before you put the lawn mower away you may get snow mold. Remember to cut your lawn short on the last cutting late in the fall to deter snow mold from developing. What if we get a long,

freezing winter with snow cover for more than 30 days? If this happens, we may see some damaged turfgrass in the spring. Too much snow weight plus the cold temperature could kill existing grass. On the bright side, if you tried “snow or frost” seeding, you probably will have success unless it washes away. Road salting can be a problem for your lawn. The repeated deposits of salt from plowing the roads onto your lawn may kill the grass. Too much salt “dehydrates” the plant and if left alone long enough it will kill the grass. Apply gypsum-type products to neutralize road salts on your lawn. Apply these products as soon as

New Jersey Native Orchids? Part 1 By Hubert Ling Yes, New Jersey has native hardy orchids! In fact, we have or had 54 species scattered in 19 genera. However, seven species have not been seen for several years and may be gone from the state (extirpated). The orchid family is one of the largest family of flowering plants with 28,000 species in 763 genera around the world. Most orchids are epiphytes (grow on trees) and live in the tropics, but orchids in the Americas are found from Alaska and south to near the chilly southern tip of Argentina. All of our New Jersey orchids grow in the ground and are called terrestrial orchids. New Jersey orchids are found in moist meadows, drainage ditches, acid and basic bogs, and wooded areas. We also have a small weedy orchid imported from Europe Epipactis

helleborine, which can be locally common in meadows and open woods. I have actually been encouraging it my yard and it pops up here and there occasionally and is not aggressive. Orchids do things differently from most other flowering plants. Orchid seeds are very tiny, even smaller than cardinal flower seeds, with up to 20,000 seeds in a single capsule. Strangely enough orchid seeds do not carry food reserves which are found in almost all other types of seeds. This fact allows the parent plant to produce more seeds but also makes it extremely unlikely that any one seed will survive to produce an adult plant. An orchid seed must land in a favorable growing environment and must also land next to a friendly fungus. The fungus must share food with the slowly developing orchid seedling, which remains colorless and may stay underground for several years until it sends

up the first small green leaf. Exactly why the fungus puts up with this parasite is still a matter of wild speculations. Orchid flowers are bilaterally symmetrical like animals: there is only one way to cut the flower into two equal parts. They are not like a daisy or a starfish, which are radially symmetrical: if cut like a pie, all the pieces will be identical. There are three sepals in orchids and three petals; if, as is common, they are similar in shape and color, they are called tepals. The upper petal is generally larger and is called the lip which serves as a landing platform for pollinating insects. In most orchids, like the Cattleya corsage orchid, this upper lip rotates 180 degrees by maturity, thus becoming the lower lip. However, in orchids like New Jersey’s grass pink the upper lip remain the upper lip perhaps forcing insects to fly and land

upside-down. In addition, some orchids only rotate 90 degrees, forcing insects and photographers to tilt their heads to see what is going on. The “lower” lip in some orchids such as New Jersey’s Platanthera and Liparis, form one or more long, hollow tubes, which are called spurs. These spurs contain nectar at their tips. The idea is that insects with long tongues, such as moths, must first pick up pollen before they are rewarded with nectar. Apparently, if the spur is made just a little longer than usual, the moths have to struggle to get the nectar and better cross pollination results. An evolutionary war has been suggested where orchids with longer spurs are pollenated more frequently and moths with longer tongues get more nectar. Charles Darwin was so enamored with orchids and how they were pollinated that he wrote two books about them.

you can before spring arrives for the best success. Perhaps you did some damage to your lawn due to excessive snow shoveling, plowing or chipping away at ice along the edges of the driveway or sidewalks. Maybe your new teenage driver drove on the grass a few times learning how to back out of the driveway? Rake and re-seed these areas in the spring as early as you can get on the lawn to avoid weeds from filling in bare spots. When you read this article, the Super Bowl will be just around the corner. Sadly, it does not look like my team, the Eagles, will repeat last year’s win. But your lawn can be a winner if you start considering what lies ahead. 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:

Besides being one of the most sought after garden and greenhouse plants, orchids produce the very popular flavoring agent vanilla. Vanilla is produced from the elongated beanlike fruits of the vanilla orchid, which is a native to Mexico. Today, most vanilla is grown in Madagascar or Indonesia and must be hand-pollinated since the natural pollinator exists only in Mexico. Fine food enthusiasts insist that fresh, home-prepared vanilla is the only way to go. Cured vanilla beans are available in specialty food stores and on the internet. Part 2 on the orchid family will discuss native New Jersey orchid culture and where and how to find them. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is the Horticulture Chairman for the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at

January 2019 11

News from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture New Jersey Department of Agriculture Awards Grants to Gleaning Organizations

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher announced the New Jersey Agricultural Society, Bushels of Blessings and the Foodshed Alliance will share a $100,000 Gleaning Support Grant, made possible through the Department of Agriculture’s State Food Purchase Program. “New Jersey’s extremely generous farmers regularly give back to their communities by allowing organizations to pick and collect surplus produce that might have gone to waste and in turn, donate the produce to emergency feeding agencies,” Secretary Fisher said. “This funding will go a long way to helping these three gleaning organizations continue to collect and distribute this healthy food to those in need.” The Department of Agriculture provides Gleaning Support Grants to eligible non-profit entities that are gleaning from New Jersey farms and distributing gleaned food to New Jersey organizations to help feed the State’s hungry. The New Jersey Agricultural Society Program will receive a $58,240 grant and is dedicated to collecting fresh fruits and vegetables from farms, farm markets, wholesalers, and food distributors and distributing them to 70 agencies throughout the state. Started in 1996 by a few area farmers, the program now includes more than 60 farmers. Bushels of Blessings, based in Carney’s Point, will receive a $26,260 grant. The agency has successfully gleaned more than 200,000 pounds of food in Salem and Gloucester counties and distributed this surplus produce to almost 40 organizations. The Foodshed Alliance in Blairstown, which operates LocalShare, will receive $15,500 in grant funds. LocalShare is a program that connects food pantries and local farms so that crops left after the harvest, which might otherwise go to waste, feed hungry families instead. They utilize volunteers to help with gleanings and deliver to food pantries. The organization works with dozens of emergency feeding organizations throughout northern New Jersey. The funding for the Gleaning Grants comes from the State Food Purchase Program, for which Governor Murphy allocated $6.8 million this year to be distributed quarterly to the State’s six food banks to purchase healthy food, with a high priority on buying locally grown produce from New Jersey farmers.

Hunterdon County Teen Named 2019 NJ Agricultural Fair Ambassador

Lianna Bonacorsi, of Flemington in Hunterdon County, has been chosen as the 2019 New Jersey Agricultural Fair Ambassador. The 17-year-old North Hunterdon High School senior was selected from among six contestants by the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey during the group’s fall dinner on November 11 in Eastampton. As ambassador, Bonacorsi is charged with visiting the state’s agricultural fairs in 2019, and promoting agriculture to the public, and bringing people together to support the state’s farmers. “Lianna’s knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for agriculture will make her an ideal spokesperson as she attends our state’s agricultural fairs next summer,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said. “Lianna’s passion and dedication will allow her to encourage other young people to pursue their goals and become involved in agricultural youth organizations and explore agriculture-related careers in the future.” Bonacorsi is currently a member of the Hunterdon County 4-H Club, lives and works on her family’s two fruit farms, and currently raises goats, rabbits, ducks and chickens and has also raised sheep and pigs in the past. She is Vice President of the National Art Honor Society, President of the German Honor Society and is a second-degree brown belt. “I was not anticipating this at all,” Bonacorsi said on winning the honor. “I’ve never done anything like this, so I was a little intimated. It will be great to meet the state’s farmers and I am really interested to see the

work they do.” Bonacorsi is planning to go to The College of New Jersey and is looking at majoring in art education or art therapy and remain involved in agriculture as well. “I definitely want to come back to agriculture in the future,” she said. “Growing up I didn’t see myself involved in science and math since I am more artistically inclined, but I have definitely learned a whole lot about how agriculture works. It does have a lot do with science and I’m glad agriculture has exposed me to that.” Bonacorsi has also enjoyed getting to know people in her community while working on the family farms. “My biggest thing is interacting with the customers from our community,” she said. “During the strawberry season I’m out there every day and during the apple season, we grow over 70 different types of apples, so I like seeing the reactions when people say, ‘what kind of apple is this? I’ve never heard of it.’ “ This is the 16th year the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey has named an ambassador. In choosing an ambassador, the Association seeks a good representation of young people active in agriculture in the Garden State and their county fair. There were 20 agricultural fairs in the state this past summer, including the New Jersey State Fair at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. The earliest fair is held in June, with the final fair of the season in early October. For more information on New Jersey’s agricultural fairs, visit

Woodstown High School Agriscience Educator Named Finalist for National Award after Winning Region I Honor

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) has announced that Deanna Miller, a Teacher of Agriculture at Woodstown High School, is the 2018 ACTE Region I New Teacher of the Year and one of five finalists for the 2018 national award to be announced November 28. The award recognizes new 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. “Winning this award is a great honor and it’s a really special to me to be one of five nominated for the national award,” Miller said. “The support from the administration has been tremendous and the other teachers and staff have been great to me as well. And the outstanding students we have here at Woodstown make this a really wonderful learning atmosphere.” Miller has worked to build a high-quality CTE program at Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District. She has implemented and strengthened course sequencing and strived to obtain the needed certifications to teach the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) to ensure that her program is operating with the most relevant material. Miller also utilizes the CASE third-party assessments to evaluate student growth and achievement within the program, the use of which allows her to adjust her teaching as needed to heighten student achievement. She has also made efforts to increase her students’ career success through 100 percent implementation of supervised agricultural experience (SAE) projects. Every one of her students is required to keep a journal and financial records, when applicable, on their SAE project. “Miss Miller has been a great role model and has set a high standard for our Ag Education students,” said Woodstown High School Principal Richard Senor. “Her

knowledge and passion for Ag Education inspires our students to strive to reach their full potential. Between the enthusiasm that she brings to her classroom as well as the skills she integrates into her instruction, she provides her students with the tools they need to be successful in life, no matter which career path they choose.” “Her leadership of our FFA chapter has helped it to continue to thrive as members learn skills and strategies that allow them to excel in state and national competitions. We are very proud of Miss Miller for all of her accomplishments thus far and are honored to have her as a part of our esteemed faculty here at Woodstown High School.” Miller is CASE certified in Plant, Animal, Agricultural Research and Development, and Food Science. She also was the New Jersey Association of Agricultural Educators (NJAAE) Teacher Turn the Key Award Recipient in in 2017, the NJAAE Ideas Unlimited Award Winner in 2018, is the NJAAE Secretary and Southern Region Vice-President and is a Penn State University Virtual Mentor. “The influence of a dedicated teacher like Deanna is something that can last a lifetime for the students she interacts with every day,” New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher said. “Her hard work, dedication and care create an ideal atmosphere for her students and FFA members to succeed now and well into the future.” Miller will attend the ACTE Excellence Awards Banquet in San Antonio, Texas, where the winning teacher will be announced. 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

12 January 2019 The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association is excited to announce our 2018 Landscape Achievement Awards winners. The awards program is designed to acknowledge landscape professionals who execute quality landscape projects. In sponsoring the awards program, the NJLCA strives to recognize superior landscaping projects and to encourage landscape contractors’ consistent use of quality materials and workmanship. The names of entrants are kept from the panel of judges, so as not to affect the decisionmaking process.

2018 NJLCA Landscape Achievement Award Winners: Blu Sol Pools (Bloomingdale) for the North Caldwell Pool project, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: $100,000-$250,000. Castle Point Landscape Design (Basking Ridge) for the Purpora Driveway Design, the Award of Excellence, and for the Strauss Property Overhaul, the Award of Distinction, both in Landscape Installation without Pool: $50,000-$100,000. CLC Landscape Design (Ringwood) for the Contemporary Montclair Backyard project, the Award of Excellence, and the Luxurious Livingston Backyard project, the Award of Excellence, both in Landscape Installation with Pool: $100,000$250,000. DiTomaso Landscape Group (Oakland) for the Ramsey Residence, the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-$500,000. Exclusive Stoneworks (Lyndhurst) for the Lentin Residence, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Director of Operations

The NJLCA Award Goes To… Up to $25,000; the Mosera Residence, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000; for the Mosera Lighting project, the Award of Excellence in Design/Build: Lighting, for the Kapp Residence, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Up to $25,000; and for the Cavaleri Residence project, the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: Up to $100,000. Horizon Landscape Company (Wyckoff) for the Gross Residence, the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: $25,000-$50,000; and for the Battifarano Residence, the Award of Excellence in Maintenance: Residential. L a n d s c a p e Techniques, Inc. (Nutley) for the NJ Sharing Network Meditation Garden, the Award of Excellence in Design/Build: Commercial/ Industrial. Landscapeworks Inc. (Hawthorne) for the Bernabe Side Yard project, the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: $25,000$50,000. Let It Grow, Inc. (River Edge) for the Hudson Tea project, the Award of Excellence in Maintenance: Condo/Townhouse. Limone Farm & Gardens (Haledon) for the Downtown Maintenance Project, the Award of Excellence in Maintenance: Public Space and for the Stunning Waterfall Project, the Award of Excellence in Design/Build: Water Feature. Scenic Landscaping (Haskell) for the Closter

Garden Property project, the Award of Excellence in Maintenance: Residential, for the Denville “Spool” Design project, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: Up to $100,000; for the Westchester Residence, the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-$500,000; and for the Bernardsville Pool and Outdoor Living Design, the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: $100,000-$250,000. Siciliano Landscape Company (Red Bank) for the Irving Place Residence, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000; for the Auldwood Lane Residence, the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-$500,000; and for the Auldwood Lane Rumson Residential Maintenance project, the Award of Distinction in Maintenance: Residential. Sponzilli Landscape Group (Fairfield) for the NYU Langone Kimmel Hospital project, the Award of Excellence in Design/ Build: Commercial/ Industrial. Thomas Flint Landscape Design & Development LLC (Waldwick) for the Compain Residence, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation with Pool: Over $500,000; for the Liebowitz Residence, the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation with Pool: $250,000-$500,000; and for the Rosano Residence, the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation with Pool:

$100,000-$250,000. Va n d e r S l u y s Landscape Development, LLC (Wyckoff) for the Wyckoff Residence, the Award of Distinction in Landscape Installation without Pool: Up to $25,000; for the Wyckoff Residence Landscape Lighting, the Award of Distinction in Design/Build: Lighting; for the Wragge Residence, the Award of Merit in Maintenance: Residential; for the Woessner Design/ Build, the Award of Merit in Landscape Installation without Pool: Up to $25,000; and for the Draganescu Residence Foundation Planting, the Award of Merit in Design/ Build: Foundation Planting. Wicklow & Laurano LLC (Flanders) for the Franklin Lakes Blustone Patio and Outdoor Kitchen, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000; for the Ledgewood Commercial Maintenance project, the Award of Merit in Maintenance: Commercial/ Industrial; and for the Bedminster Pool Pavilion and Patio project, the Award of Merit in Design/Build: Commercial/Industrial. Young’s Landscape Management, Inc. (Moorestown,) for the Caprarola-Margate project, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Over $100,000; for the Cooper River Plaza Maintenance, the Award of Merit in Design/Build: Condo/Townhouse; for the Kolovos Residence, the Award of Distinction in Maintenance: Residential; and for the Nace Residence

project, the Award of Excellence in Landscape Installation without Pool: Up to $25,000. In addition, the NJLCA gave awards for Contractor of the Year to John Raffiani of Raffiani’s Automatic Sprinkler (Fair Lawn, N.J.); Associate of the Year to SiteOne Landscape Supply (Mahwah, N.J.); Volunteer of the Year to Alex Arenas of American Beauty Landscape Design (Paramus, N.J.); Budding Contractor of the Year to Harmony Landscaping and Property Management (Bernardsville, N.J.); Innovator Award to DynaSCAPE (Ontario, Canada); Media Recognition Award to Kevin Gilbride, SNOW Magazine; and Legislator of the Year Awards to Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (16th District) and Assemblyman Kevin Rooney (40th District) . The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) is a proven resource to the landscape contractor, green industry service provider and supplier as well as the consumer. They are a community of green industry professionals who are dedicated to advancing the integrity, proficiency and continued growth of the landscape industry. For more information please visit Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott is the Director of Operations for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. She was presented with a community service award from the Borough of Fairview for her assistance in leading the 9-11 Memorial Park project and the Legislative Champion of the Year award from the Federation of Employers and Workers of America. She is currently the State Licensee Chair on the National Association of Landscape Professionals International Certification Council.

January 2019 13

The NJLCA Award Goes To...

Tom Castronovo/Photo New Jersey State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, left, New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association Vice President Richard Goldstein, center, and New Jersey Assemblyman Kevin Rooney. Both legislators received the association’s Legislator of the Year award during the association’s 2018 Holiday Gala, Landscape Achievement Awards and Installation Dinner on December 11.

Tom Castronovo/Photo Joe Bolognese, Jr., Landscape Achievement Awards Chairman for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, sings about the Gardener News during the opening ceremony at the association’s 2018 Holiday Gala, Landscape Achievement Awards and Installation Dinner on December 11, 2018.

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16 January 2019

Fighting Invasive Pests is Crucial to Healthy Forests











Please allow me to introduce myself to you. I am Lori Jenssen, executive director of the New Jersey Forestry Association (NJFA), and I welcome you to my column. NJFA is a non-profit organization, focused on sustaining the 1.1 million acres of private forestland in New Jersey. NJFA’s activities include education and outreach on the management of New Jersey’s forests as watersheds, wildlife habitats, environmental contributors, and urban buffers, and as resources for renewable forest products, landscape beautification and recreation. NJFA provides a forum for monitoring legislation, addressing landowner’s rights and responsibilities, understanding farmland assessment and stewardship, ensuring responsible, sustainable forest management, and solving problems such as aging forests and invasive plants, animals and insects. This column will help you understand just how


important forests are to New Jersey and the challenges they face. And speaking of challenges… “Of course, you know, this means war!” is attributed to Groucho Marx in the 1933 movie Duck Soup, but these days it is being shouted in New Jersey’s forests, vineyards, and fruit orchards. It’s a war against three invasive insects from Asia - and whether hemlock, hardwoods, fruit orchards, or grape vineyards, they have been or soon will be attacked by one of them. New Jersey hemlock forests have for years been under assault from the sap sucking Woolly Adelgid. Identified in 1951 in Virginia (according to the USDA Forest Service), it has been found in more than 90 percent of the areas where hemlocks grow in the United States. The hemlocks of your youth have all but vanished in New Jersey. They are no longer heavy with needles, producing a cool forest floor. Instead they are often scraggly or dead. That’s because of the Woolly Adelgid. If you’ve heard the sound of chainsaws feverishly harvesting ash trees, there’s a good reason

for that. In both urban and forest environments, ash trees are being removed in a hurry to avoid the anticipated devastation as the bright metallic green Emerald Ash Borer moves up the East Coast and deposits its eggs into crevices in the trees’ bark. The threat affects 8.7 billion ash trees in the lower 48 states - about 2.5 percent of above-ground forest carbon mass. The Spotted Lanternfly is poised to destroy grape and apple populations and attack various hardwoods - building their families in the “Tree of Heaven” - a highly invasive tree species originating in Asia that can grow anywhere. According to Penn State Extension, Tree-of-Heaven was first intentionally introduced into the United States in the Philadelphia area in 1784. Immigrants later introduced Treeof-Heaven to the West Coast in the 1850s. Valued as an urban street tree, it was widely planted in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area. From these areas, Tree-ofHeaven has spread and become a common invasive plant in urban,

agricultural, and forested areas. In a perfect storm, the Spotted Lanternfly was accidentally brought to Pennsylvania 230 years later. What can be done? When it comes to the Woolly Adelgid we are too late. While some promising predator beetles have been identified, much of the damage has already been done. In New Jersey, certain Woolly Adelgid resistant hemlock species are being isolated and the New Jersey Forest Service is hopeful of reintroducing them in the state. Individual trees can be treated against the Emerald Ash Borer, but it is costly, requires professional application (under pressure through a series of holes drilled around the tree’s base), and is effective for only a couple of years. For every tree treated, there are thousands within sighting distance that will be attacked and killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. The fight against the Spotted Lanternfly is just beginning. The current response is to chemically kill the majority of Tree of Heaven, and treat those remaining to kill the Spotted Lanternfly, and use “sticky bands” to catch nymphs.

Also, egg masses - often found on flat surfaces, under mowers and on firewood - can be destroyed. In Spotted Lanternfly areas, keep your vehicle windows closed and check for “passengers” before you leave. As invasive insect threats continue to expand, challenges formerly faced primarily by traditional agricultural farms are reaching our forests. It is essential that we understand and educate on those threats, encourage research into remedies, and support forest landowner efforts in the fight. Special thanks to NJFA Board Member Richard Kelsky for his assistance with this article. Next month, we will focus on farmland assessment for woodland owners and the new options that are available. Editor’s Note: Lori Jenssen has been the Executive Director of the New Jersey Forestry Association since 2005 and holds a Master’s degree in Non-Profit Administration from Rutgers University. She can be reached at or by calling 908-832-2400.

January 2019 17

18 January 2019

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It’s fast and easy! Please visit the top right-hand corner of Since germinating in 2003, Gardener News has become the New Jersey metropolitan area’s most influential monthly agricultural, gardening and landscaping newspaper, both online and in print. Recently, I was going through some files at the New Jersey Agricultural Society. Since the organization is 237 years old, we’ve accumulated some interesting things over the years. While rummaging around, I found a publication entitled, “An Almanack for the Members of the New Jersey Agricultural Society.” It was published in 1948 and the inside cover described it as, “Comprising An Agricultural Calendar; Also a Curious Miscellany Gathered from a Host of Authors of Times Past Embellished with Engravings.” Almanacks have been published all over the world for many centuries. Poor Richard’s Almanack was one of the first published in America by Benjamin Franklin. Another, the Old Farmers Almanack has been published since 1792, making it the oldest continuously published periodical in North America. American almanacks were particularly useful for farmers. These almanacks were usually comprised of four sections. The first listed calendrical and astronomical articles and data, i.e. sun/moon rise and set times, tide times, and celestial sightings for the entire year. The second section featured a monthly calendar that Be it a solitary sedum, a windowsill of cyclamen, or an indoor forest of ferns, while deep in January’s frosty grip, what pleasure there is in houseplants. As early as 1000 B.C., wealthy Chinese grew penjang indoors. Ancient Roman villas sported lemon trees in terra cotta urns and Egypt’s Ptolemaic palaces grew herbs and spices. But not until England’s Victorian Age did the growing of houseplants become available to the middle class and trendy. How did plants move indoors? It was a complex concurrence of societal changes, scientific advances and botanical imperialism that made houseplants so accessible and popular. Victorian building codes required that city houses be built of brick, not wood. The walls therein were no longer paneled, but plastered and painted white, thereby reflecting more light. Roof lines of opposing houses could no longer touch across streets, allowing more light in as well. Window construction changed, as the sliding sash window, recently arrived from Holland, replaced smaller, leaded panels. The Window Tax and Glass Tax were amended, and the window sill was mandated. Glass manufacturing evolved, and larger panels of glass could be made. By the Victorian age, most urban middle-class families

January 2019 19 NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director

A Blast from the Past

included annual and seasonal events, including civil and religious holidays; daily astronomical events; astrological cycles, as well as suggested agricultural/ gardening and gestation days. An almanack also consisted of a “year in review” of the previous year. This served as a time capsule that preserved the mood, habits, trends, and other interests of our nation of the time, that could be referenced by future generations. The fourth section served as a reference guide that offered advice, recipes, health tips, general interest stories, historical quotes, and humorous anecdotes. If you think about it, almanacks served as our nation’s first internet! The author of the Society’s Almanack was Dr. Harry Weiss (1883-1972). In addition to being active in the Society, Dr. Weiss had a distinguished career with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. He served the

Department for 44 years as an entomologist and retired as the Division Director of Plant Industry. In his professional role, he was known for combatting the Japanese beetle after discovering its presence in the United States and for work to counter other pests, such as the gypsy moth. In his personal life, he was interested in books and history, collecting and writing about early Americana, particularly as related to New Jersey. He was also an avid collector of Chapbooks, which were a type of cheaply produced booklets that were popular in the 17th to mid-19th century. Chapbooks were frequently almanacks, folk tales, pamphlets, political tracts, or children’s stories. His 800-book collection is housed at Rutgers University. From reading Dr. Weiss’s almanack, it was apparent that he drew heavily from his large collection of manuscripts and had

a lot of fun putting it together. Sprinkled throughout were old observations, some that still hold true today. “A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay.” “If your head is wax, don’t walk in the sun.” “The times are bad because men’s minds are so.” “He who scatters thorns, let him not go barefoot.” Also included were some medieval remedies to cure a host of aliments such as insomnia, the common cold as well as household hints in how to rid your home of mosquitos, rats, and other insects. Different recipes appeared, including one named Salade Louis XV that called for crawfish tails, the liver of fowls, and some truffles. Each month contained weather forecasts that were just about as accurate as today’s. In February, the almanack predicted, “Showers this month, or the next or that next after that.”

The Garden Historian By Lesley Parness Garden Educator

Houseplants for Healthy Homes Beyond the Potted Palm: Victorians and their Houseplants

had water indoors, or at least to their kitchens, making care of houseplants feasible. Availability of plants was a key factor, too. The Victorian motto “Rule Britannia” meant Britain had trading posts in India, the Far East, the West Indies, Canada and Australia. In this “Golden Age of Plant Exploration,” thousands of new plants were shipped to England. Many of them traveled in a small glass box called a Wardian Case. This invention was a key element in the success of transporting new plants from distant lands to England. The case was invented by Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, an East London doctor and amateur horticulturist. Ward’s attempts at a home garden had failed because of the copious smoke issuing from surrounding factories. In 1829, he accidentally discovered a solution for this when he sealed a moth chrysalis and some mold in a glass

jar in his garden. Moisture would rise during the day and condense on the glass, and then return to the ground when the evening cooled it, “thus keeping the earth always in the same degree of humidity,” he wrote. A week later he could see the growth of a seedling fern and grass. The concept of a sealed terrarium was groundbreaking. While glasshouses were relatively common among professionals, the theory hadn’t been applied on a smaller scale. It would be hard to overstate the importance of the Wardian case, as it facilitated the trade of plants worldwide and helped shape modern global tastes and economies in commodities from bananas to sugar, rubber to tea. Previously, plant transit was principally conducted by shipping seeds. Now, all these new plants could arrive safely at British nurseries. The Victorian plant nursery industry thrived.

Nurserymen such as John Veitch and George Loddiges demonstrated horticultural and marketing genius. Then, England’s fast-growing railway system provided quick transport to city markets like London’s Covent Gardens. Great English horticultural institutions like Kew Gardens and the Royal Horticultural Society were formed at this time, thereby making scientific information accessible to the public. Small plant societies of every interest, in every town encouraged hobbyists. Victorian indoor gardeners had their challenges. Gas lighting and coal fireplaces emitted harmful fumes. Victorians discovered which plants thrived under these conditions. When fashionable heavy drapery limited light, low light plants like English ivy, dracaenas, and Chinese evergreens were selected. Finally, the suitability of houseplant care as a pastime for

Also sprinkled throughout were stories and anecdotes taken from Colonial newspapers, as well as farming advice, crop conditions, and other New Jersey agricultural information gleaned from the 1800s. For readers who are interested in seeing more, just Google “An Almanack for Members of the New Jersey Agricultural Society.” The entire 80-page book is available to read online. As I end this month’s column, I’ll take some advice from the almanack. “Now, Courteous Reader, I must bid adieu, And if you think more’s been said than true, And that your time it hath been misapply’d (sic), A better subject take – lay this aside.” 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 “ladies” helped to popularize it. They were advised to wear gloves with linen gauntlets attached, in order not to soil their hands or sleeves! As participants in today’s multi-billion-dollar houseplant industry, we share a common past with Victorian gardeners for whom houseplants were a source of pride and pleasure. Interested in the Victorian age? You may enjoy my talk, “Suitable for Framing: A Woman’s Place in Botanical Art & Scientific Illustration,” on February 10, 2019, at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum. For information, visit

Editor’s Note: Lesley Parness offers a variety of presentations and workshops for garden clubs, plant societies, and horticultural gatherings. Recently retired from her position as Superintendent of Horticultural Education at the Morris County Park Commission, and with four decades of teaching environmental science and garden education, her focus now is garden history. A complete listing of her talks can be seen at lesleyparness. com and she can be reached at This column will appear in the paper every other month.

20 January 2019

New Jersey Nursery & Landscape The New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association (NJNLA) honored Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman with the “Legislator of the Year” award on December 12 (National Poinsettia Day) at the NJNLA Annual Awards Dinner, held at The Boathouse at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. Last year, Senator Bateman was presented with the association’s “Green Industry Advocate of the Year” award. The Senator has been a longtime advocate of the green industry, as demonstrated by his commitment to issues affecting the nursery and landscape industry: Water Conservation and Water Quality, Invasive Plants/Native Vegetation, Snowplow and De-icing Limited Liability legislation, Horticultural Therapy Week, New Jersey Agriculture Day, New Jersey Public Gardens and Arboretum Day, and more. Senator Bateman was Gardener News Person of the Year for 2014. Senator Bateman is a ranking member of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and sponsored the 2014 constitutional amendment to establish a long-term funding source for open space, farmland and historic preservation. He has solidified that commitment by championing efforts to secure funding for Green and Blue Acres in subsequent years as well. Other awards were part of this annual celebration and included Nurseryman of the Year, Robert Swanekamp. He is the co-owner of Kube Pak Garden Plants in Allentown, N.J., and is responsible for sales and production. The Swanekamp family has been involved in greenhouse production since 1955, when Fred and Bernie Swanekamp started Swanekamp Greenhouses in Piscataway, N.J. In 1963, the business was sold, and the families moved to Allentown to purchase Kube Pak Garden Plants. The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Jeannie Geremia. Geremia is The Garden Club of New Jersey Inc.’s President Elect, GCNJ’s Wildlife Habitat Chair, National Garden Clubs, Inc. Accredited Life Flower Show Judge, and Contributing Writer for Gardener News. She initiated and led the successful campaign to have the Black Swallowtail Butterfly designated as the Official State Butterfly of New Jersey, receiving two New Jersey Assembly and Senate Resolutions for her efforts. Jeannie created the “Pollinator Center” Project, developing a series of six signs, along with Vice Chair Diana Kazazis, as a vehicle to grow our pollinator population. The campaign received the highest award offered by National Garden Clubs, Inc., the Award of Excellence in May 2017. Geremia was Gardener News Person of the Year for 2012, and received grants of money, equipment, plants and shrubs totaling $101,100 and gave all in mini-grants to community gardens, public gardens, educational materials, programs and schools specifically focusing on promoting “Jersey Fresh” and “Jersey Grown,” buying locally produced agricultural products from our nurserymen, farmers and garden centers. Jeannie received the highest award offered to GCNJ membership, the Presidential Citation, five times by four GCNJ Presidents. Most recently, Geremia received the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey’s 2017 Women in Wildlife Award for Service on November 1, 2017, and continues to be an advocate for wildlife, the environment and agriculture in New Jersey, doing it all as a volunteer. The Hall of Fame Inductees were Richard and Heidi Hesselein. Richard and Heidi Hesselein both come from four-generation nursery families, but on opposite sides of the country. Richard grew up in San Francisco, where he worked from early childhood at his family’s wholesale nursery, H. Plath and Sons. Heidi’s family background is Princeton Nurseries, where she learned plants and production from her father, William Flemer III. Richard and Heidi met through the nursery business in California, after she received her degree in English Lit at Middlebury College in Vermont, while he was completing his B.A. in Botany at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. They moved to New Jersey to work at Princeton Nurseries in 1977, with Richard rapidly taking charge of their large B&B and Bareroot growing area in Allentown, N.J. Heidi took some time off to raise their four children, and reentered the business in the late 1980s. In 1998, after leaving Princeton Nurseries, Richard started Pleasant Run Nursery with the intention of growing what they really loved: new,

unusual and hard-to-find woody ornamentals and perennials. One of their specialties is a vast list of Magnolias propagated by bud grafts as well as cuttings and seed. Heidi joined Pleasant Run in 2001, and has focused primarily on sales and education. Their operation has grown to 95 greenhouses on 15 acres of production, all currently powered by solar energy and utilizing extensive bioswales, rain gardens and display beds to get their message across about the importance of sustainability in the Green Industry. They test a significant number of new introductions each year in their landscapes to be able to know from experience what plants work best in our Mid-Atlantic region. Both Richard and Heidi are Certified Nursery and Landscape Professionals in New Jersey. Richard previously also served on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association, as well as holding the office of Treasurer, and received the N.J. Nurseryman of the Year award in 2008. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Gold Medal Plant Award Committee, and both the Hesseleins are members of the Eastern Regional International Plant Propagators’ Society. Heidi is a member of NYC’s Hortus Club, and has spoken at a number of trade shows, conferences, arboreta and garden clubs. The Retailer of the Year is Donaldson’s Greenhouse & Nursery. The Donaldson family has been farming in Hackettstown, Warren County, N.J. 1906. As story has it, the farm began as a small operation with some livestock and crops after being traded for a two-family home in West Orange, N.J. During the first two generations, the farm grew into a 114acre dairy, potato, hay and grain farm. In the 1980s, the farm became more diversified, with the inclusion of field crops, fruits and vegetables, as well as a greenhouse and nursery operation. The Young Professional of the Year went to Rosalind Doremus. She grew up playing outside. If you were looking for her, there is no doubt you would find her in her family’s acre backyard. It was here that she climbed trees, built hideouts, and ran the town of “Sisterville” Population: 3, and while she pretended to drag her feet as her mom named various plants around the garden, she was actually the only one of her sisters to retain these names. She loved camping, finding much peace within the sights and sounds of nature, often daydreaming of ways she could save the planet. She quickly fell in love with selling plants to homeowners and making friends with all the local landscapers. If there was something that she didn’t know, she was quick to look it up as she wanted to be sure her customers were getting the right plant. She was sure that every landscape needed to include the colors red, yellow, and blue, and of course, something weeping! She learned to work hard here, and she did so for many years after school and full time on the weekends. The CNLP of the Year award went to Kathy Elliott Krygier. She has been a CNLP in good standing since the beginning of the program and an NJNLA member for 40 years. During this time, she has supported both NJNLA and the CNLP program. This past year was no different as Kathy displayed her love of the business and her eagerness to learn. She promotes a high degree of ethical standards and consistently attends NJNLA/CNLP programs with enthusiasm. Her passion and love of the business is always evident. The Landscape Grand Award winner was Landscape Techniques, LLC. for the Marcus Residence. And, Tom Castronovo, executive editor and publisher of the Gardener News was presented with the associations Special Recognition award. About NJNLA The New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association is the oldest green industry organization in New Jersey and supports all industry businesses, nurseries, landscape professionals, and garden centers by advocating on issues of importance; collecting and distributing important information, articles and best management practices; and coordinating educational and networking events to strengthen connections within the industry. For more information about NJNLA, please visit

January 2019 21

Association Annual Awards Dinner

Tom Castronovo/Photo New Jersey State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, right, and Jeannie Geremia just after receiving their awards. Both of these individuals were previous Gardener News “Person of the Year” recipients.

Tom Castronovo/Photo Robert Swanekamp, left, Nurseryman of the Year for the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, thanks the association’s members and attendees during the annual awards dinner after receiving his prestigious award as David DeFrange, Treasurer of New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association listens in at the podium.

NJNLA/Photo Tom Castronovo, center, receives the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association’s “Special Recognition” award from Bob Heitzman, left, New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association Immediate Past President, and Jack Otterbein, President of the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association.

22 January 2019 Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

Saucy Strawberries, Jambalaya & Bumbleberry 2018 was one of the wettest years on record, which made it just terrible for gardening. Farmers here in the Garden State had awful yields of corn, tomatoes and peppers, and unless you were into aquatic gardening, many plants just rotted. Alas, that was last year and I am looking forward to this year and much improved gardening. Every year, there are so many new plant introductions to get excited about. Sometimes, I find, new introductions are thrust into the market without really being tested. However, here are a few plants I feel have real merit and will stand the test of time. A Lily of the Nile, Agapanthus “Galaxy Blue,” many have been waiting for seems to finally be here. A cold hardy African Lily touted for withstanding New Jersey’s cold winter temperatures, Zone 6, grows about three feet tall and two feet wide. Typically grown in warmer climates, Walters Gardens seems to have cracked the code, bringing this lily type farther north. Proven that they can be buried in snow and still survive, you can expect blue flowers with globular clusters on tall stems suspended above clumps of green foliage. A re-bloomer in full sun, it will flower from midsummer to early-fall. A great addition to perennial beds and patio containers, I am very excited about this lily. A variegated redbud appearing in many trade publications and periodicals lately is Cercis canadensis “Carolina Sweetheart.” Typical pea-like, rosy-purple flowers open along its branches, creating an almost “ribbon affect.” The show continues as its heart-shaped leaves unfurl, showcasing variegated leaves opening to shades of pink, red, purple and green. This redbud is ideal for smaller garden spaces, reaching only 20 to 30 feet tall with an equal spread. An umbrella-like growth habit, this new release

is the result of work done by Dr. Tom Ranney at North Carolina State University and the NCNLA. As a side note, I saw this tree at Universal Studios, Seuss Landing, Orlando, Fla., this past autumn. A perfect tree to pair with the bright colors and whimsical adventures of Dr. Seuss. A “Hardy” Ice Plant introduction by “succulent maven” Chris Hansen, Delosperma Hotcakes “Saucy Strawberry” should not disappoint. A tight, flat “pancake” growth habit, “Saucy Strawberry” has strawberryred outer petals surrounding its ultraviolet center with a white eye and a touch of yellow in its center. Able to survive in zone 6, this little gem grows only a few inches tall and about 15 inches wide. Fast growing, for an Ice Plant, this ground-hugging mat is covered with bright green, succulent foliage. Hidden most of the time, though, because this re-bloomer keeps performing. An excellent, carefree, addition to container and rock gardens, Ice Plants generally appreciate sunny, hot and dry locations. A new coneflower to behold is Echinacea Sombrero®Tres Amigos.“Watching the blooms mature throughout their long season is like witnessing a living sunset in slow motion.” ( This sun-loving perennial, beloved by local pollinators, showcases three colors at once. Peachycoral markings age to rose and fade to burgundy on this tidy, compact, sturdy perennial seldom browsed by deer. Drought resistant and part of a highly floriferous series, the Sombrero series is worth seeking out. A hydrangea to get excited about in a land where redundancy runs rampant is Hydrangea macrophylla “Bailmacfive.” Another Endless Summer® type, Summer Crush® is another Bigleaf hydrangea. However, this one differentiates itself in the hydrangea market. A profusion of big raspberry-

red or neon-purple blooms, Summer Crush® is a color breakthrough in reblooming garden hydrangeas. Bred by Bailey Innovations, this new addition will survive zone 4 conditions and only grows about three feet tall and wide. Can you imagine this new reblooming selection, with its bright raspberry-red color backed by deep green, glossy leaves in a patio container? An exciting ornamental grass, from Emerald Coast Growers, is Pennisetum alopecuroides “Jambalaya™.” A long-flowering infertile variety that won’t self-seed forms tidy, uniform mounds with slender, erect foliage and silvery-pink plumes. This fountain grass type grows three feet tall and two feet wide, likes full sun and is “Hardy” to zone 5. Finally, a perennial Salvia with a great name is Salvia nemorosa “Bumbleberry.” Named in part because bumblebees and other pollinators swarm this perennial type, “Bumbleberry” also produces dark fuchsia pink flowers on dark wine purple calyxes. Deep green foliage and a petite habit should thrust this newcomer to superstardom. “Bumbleberry” only grows a foot high and wide and makes other pink Salvia types pale in comparison. There are so many new plants pushed into the marketplace each year, it makes it difficult to keep track. The aforementioned plants offer a deciduous tree and shrub, an ornamental grass and a tapestry of perennials to help paint your new garden with exciting color and variety. Editor’s Note: Bob LaHoff is co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center and Florist in Union County, a member of the Union County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, ReevesReed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331.

USDA to Conduct Floriculture Survey The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct the Commercial Floriculture Survey in 17 major floriculture production states in the U.S. In the Northeastern region, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania will be included in the survey. From now until February 28, 2019, growers will be asked to provide information on production area, sales of floriculture commodities, and the number of agricultural workers on their operation. “The information obtained through this survey will help identify State and National trends in areas such as new product development and changing production practices, so that growers can make vital business decisions and evaluate the results of the growing season,” said King Whetstone, director of the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office. “By participating in the survey, floriculture growers ensure that NASS can provide accurate data on floriculture production, thereby enabling USDA and the industry to be more responsive to domestic and international markets and consumer needs,” Whetstone explained. NASS will compile and analyze the survey information and publish the results in May 2019 in the Floriculture Crops report. As with all NASS surveys, the information respondents provide is confidential by law. “NASS safeguards the privacy of all responses and publishes only State- and National-level data, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified,” stated Whetstone.

USDA Survey to Focus on Irrigation Water is a source of life and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is giving Northeastern Region farmers and ranchers a chance to report on their stewardship of this precious resource. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will conduct the 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey, formerly called the Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey, to gauge on-farm water use and irrigation practices. “This survey provides the only comprehensive information on irrigation activities and water use and Northeastern producers themselves stand to benefit the most from this survey,” said Northeastern Regional Director King Whetstone. “By providing comprehensive information on irrigation activities and water use on their farms, producers will help in the development of improved technology, better equipment and more efficient water use practices.” The survey will also include an additional focus on nursery and horticultural operations. NASS will collect information about irrigation water use during 2018, including application methods, equipment, facilities, expenditures, crop acreage and yield. The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey will be mailed on January 3, 2019. Please respond online, by mail, or telephone by February 15, 2019. The 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey, a follow on to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, will only be mailed to those producers who indicated irrigation in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. As part of the Census program, the irrigation survey participation is mandatory with accordance to U.S. law. As is the case with all NASS surveys, information provided by respondents is protected by law. Survey results will be available November 13, 2019 online at For more information about the 2018 Irrigation and Water Management Survey, call the NASS Northeastern Regional Field Office 1-800-498-1518 or visit https://www.nass.usda. gov/AgCensus/index.php . A few years ago, while selling our produce at a farmers market, people kept coming up to our tables and asking if we had any spinach. I found this to be somewhat odd, because first of all, we didn’t even grow any spinach, and second, we just happened to be in the midst of a food safety scare which was centered around the possibility of some tainted spinach from the Southwest or Mexico entering our nation’s food supply chain and causing an outbreak of a foodborne illness throughout the United States. I kept asking myself why in the world would these people keep asking us if we had spinach, especially because we were in the midst of this media-induced maelstrom of food safety caution? Then it finally dawned on me why these people were requesting spinach from us. Other than the smartass who said he wanted to buy some spinach so that he could give it to his ex-wife, these people, by and large, were all looking for a product that the news media had identified as being potentially unsafe, and the first place that they turned to was Now that another year has passed, I always like to look back and reflect upon some of the events of the year, and what it means to the tree-care industry. First, after a mild fall, the new year began with frigid single-digit temperatures. I recall bringing in 2018 under a moonlit and very cold night. It stayed cold for many days, and this sudden hard freeze is not good for some trees, as with a warm fall many have not gone fully dormant. This is especially true for both broadleaf and needled evergreens, since they have a large surface area that loses water. Fully established trees are usually OK, but fall installations are more vulnerable to these rapid temperature swings. I observed a great deal of “winter burn” on holly, Leyland cypress, and lateplanted white pine. Best rule of thumb is to plant evergreens in spring so they have ample time to establish. Then, depending upon where in the state you

January 2019 23 The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

Messaging Matters in Outbreaks their local farmers market. I distinctly remember one woman saying that she felt as if she could trust our products more because she knew us personally, and that she had no idea who was on the other end of some of the other produce that she normally purchased at the supermarket. Whether she was right or wrong about her assumptions, that was the way that she felt, and those personal feelings had influenced her purchasing decisions. Now, let’s fast forward to today, where recently the FDA and the CDC just issued and then lifted a nationwide ban on the sale of romaine lettuce because of the strong possibility that romaine lettuce was the source of an E. coli outbreak that had sickened people across the United States. This almost unprecedented

action by the federal government seems, at least to me, to be at its best, overly cautious, and at its worst, heavy-handed and not properly thought out. Sure, in defending this action, they will use phrases such as “erring on the side of safety,” and “proactive measures.” But other than ruining a lot of lettuce, what have they really accomplished? They say that they were able to “pinpoint” the location of the tainted lettuce to California. If that was the case, why on earth was there a nationwide ban? Why should growers and consumers in the eastern part of the United States be lumped into this? Someone growing lettuce in a greenhouse to sell to restaurants in New York City is now suddenly forced to abandon their crop because some lettuce

in California may or may not have been contaminated? Actions like this defy logic. I remember that a few years ago, green onions from Arizona were thought to be the culprit in a foodborne illness outbreak. This was accompanied by the usual news media stories. Only a few months later, it was found that Mexican grown tomatoes were actually the real culprit. How do you ensure food safety without putting a chokehold on an entire industry? Perhaps one way to start would be to put growers back in touch with their customers. Due to the massive consolidation that has taken place within the industry, the only way for growers to comply with many of these regulations is to get bigger and bigger.

Tree Notes By Steve Schuckman NJ Licensed Tree Expert No. 512

A Look Back On 2018

live, we had that earlyMarch snowstorm, with heavy, wet snow…at least where I live in Essex County. The snow clung to tree limbs and branches, and anything weak or previously damaged came down. In Montclair, most of the damage was to green ash. In most cases, it was just a portion of the tree – not the entire tree – as green ash tends to have co-dominant trunks. In addition, many trees had been weakened by Emerald Ash Borer. In total, we lost about 200 trees. Crews worked for weeks just making damaged trees safe, then had to go back and finally remove them. It was, to say the least, devastating. April showers bring

May flowers, so the saying goes, but spring was just a little too wet and cool. Now, I know it was not good for retailers, nor was it good for trees. Consistent cool, wet weather while the trees were breaking bud and leafing out resulted in widespread foliar disease. I observed anthracnose of many varieties, leaf spots, cedar-apple rust galore, powdery mildew and things I never did figure out. While usually not a long-term problem for most trees, it just makes the leaves unsightly. For crabapples and flowering pears, cedarapple rust can weaken the trees and multiple years of infection can kill them. Fine by me if it gets the pears.

Emerald Ash Borer continues its march throughout the state. I have written about this pest in the past, so need only to say if you have an ash tree on your property, you have only two options: have the tree treated by a professional tree-care company or remove it. Treatment is only worthwhile if the tree is in excellent condition and you are really attached to it. I recommend removing it and replacing it with something other than ash, as the pest is not going away. Of course, the new pest in town is the Spotted Lanternfly. First observed in Pennsylvania in 2014, it has spread quickly to New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. It reproduces

This would be fine if nothing went wrong. But now, due to the massive scale of many of these growers, what would have been a minor issue now shows up in 45 different states. And because of the myriad ways of selling, preparing and packaging lettuce, it makes it that much more difficult to track down if there is a problem. Hopefully, we will be able to figure out a solution to this problem. If not, people may gravitate away from eating healthy things. As Larry the Cable Guy once said, “When was the last time you heard of someone getting sick from eating a Slim Jim?” Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is currently a Tewksbury Township Committee Member. He also served as a director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau and is a past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Peter has also been featured on NJN, News 12 New Jersey and on the Fox Business Network. well, and populations can be huge. The problem is that unlike Emerald Ash Borer, Spotted Lanternfly has many host plants, many of them economically important. States are scrambling to control this new pest. We will keep you up-to-date. As I write this, December is still to come, so I have no idea how the year’s end will play out. Will it get cold and snow, or stay mild? I cannot predict. But considering all the rain we have gotten in November, I am going to go out on a limb (ha!) and just say…have your shovel ready, and keep some good books on hand. Editor’s Note: Steve Schuckman is owner of First Mountain Aboriculture, which provides horticultural consulting and community forestry services. He is currently the consulting forester for Bloomfield, Hawthorne, Maplewood, and Montclair, in New Jersey. He is also a New Jersey Licensed Tree Expert. He can be reached at

24 January 2019

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January 2019 25

Gardener News is Now Accepting Nominations for its


Person of the Year Award. Do you know someone in the “Green Industry” whose contributions deserve recognition? This person must be from the landscape, nursery, garden center or gardening industries who best epitomizes concern for, involvement in, and dedication to those pursuits. Or a person who performs exemplary outstanding service to the green industry. The deadline for receiving nominations for 2019 is November 1, 2019. Gardener News annually bestows our “Person of the Year” Award in our January edition. To download the form, please visit and click on the “Person of the Year” link under Awards.

Thank you!

2018 Person of the Year: Nelson Lee (Continued from p. 1)

oversaw the Blower Ban lawsuit – the first time a green industry association has sued a town, led the New Jersey Minimum Wage increase legislation opposition by getting 4 associations to join together in fighting the increase, and has worked with several legislators to further a snow legislation bill that prohibits snowplow or de-icing service contract from indemnifying promisee against liability for loss or damage in certain instances. Gail Woolcott, a contributing writer for the Gardener News and director of operations for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association says that it is her honor to support the nomination of Nelson Lee, to be chosen as the 2018 Gardener News Person of the Year. She also says that Lee tirelessly fights for the rights of the landscape and snow contractors of New Jersey. And that professionalism is more than just a word for Lee because he is always volunteering his time by looking for ways to better our members and the industry. His dedication to help the Association fulfill its mission is immeasurable. The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) is a proven resource to the landscape contractor, green industry service provider and supplier as well as the consumer. They are a community of green industry professionals who are dedicated to advancing the integrity,

proficiency and continued growth of the landscape industry. Lee is also a senior leader with the Anthony Robbins Organization. He helps provide vision, inspiration, and resources needed to empower members of our society. Every day he boosts a happier and deeply satisfying way of life to all who come in contact with him. In his spare time, he raises money for charities through running half-marathons with Crohns & Colitis Foundation and marathons for Team for Kids and biking long distance for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Lee is the president of Landscapeworks Incorporated, which he founded in 1988 with locations in Hawthorne, Hackensack and Morristown, New Jersey. He is also the president of Landscapeworks Snow and Ice Management, Advanced Mulch Services Inc. and Advanced Hauling, also in New Jersey. Lee is married with one daughter and enjoys running, cycling and racing automobiles. This paper now wholeheartedly salutes Nelson Lee for being an experienced community leader with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer services industry. And for caring, being a generous donor to life’s challenges, being skilled in negotiation, business planning, operations management, landscape contracting, and life coaching.

Gardener News also solutes him for being dedicated to advancing the integrity, proficiency, profitability and personal growth of the landscape professional. Whether in the forefront or behind the scenes, Lee constantly provides encouragement, inspiration and practical advice for those who know him personally and for those get a chance to meet him. This paper also thanks him for his significant contributions for making the world a better place to live. Gardener News began the annual “Person of the Year” cover story in 2008. Gardener News will annually bestow our “Person of the Year” award to a person who performs exemplary outstanding service to the agricultural, farming, gardening and/or landscaping communities Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening and landscaping communities through this newspaper and

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26 January 2019

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January 2019 27


MORRIS COUNTY (NJ) PARK COMMISSION is seeking a full-time GardenerDesigner. Employees in this position are responsible for maintaining assigned garden areas to the highest degree of horticultural standards as well as supervising subordinate staff with activities related to the design, installation and maintenance of seasonal and permanent plant displays. Individuals should have a strong demonstrated ability in landscape design and aesthetics, as well as a strong working knowledge of a variety of annual, perennial, herbaceous, woody, bulb, and tropical plants. This position is based at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum but will be utilized at the park systems other horticultural sites Willowwood Arboretum and Bamboo Brook and facilities. Work is approximately 70% gardening / 30% designing. Essential functions include but are not limited to: • Designs, plants and maintains a variety of seasonal and permanent display gardens and container plantings, with annuals, perennials, bulbs, herbaceous, woody and tropical plants. • Sources, selects and orders appropriate supplies & plant materials while working within a defined budget. • Supervises and participates in the installation and care of designed plantings resulting in high quality gardens and grounds for public enjoyment and to enhance facility rental revenue potential. • Produces professional planting design drawings by hand (or with computer design software, if available) and maintains all associated plant records in coordination with the Horticultural Plant Records program. • Works with members of the Horticulture Education department to develop planting designs and gardens that supplement horticultural classes and programs. • Trains and supervises staff in the maintenance of annuals, perennials, vines, shrubs, tropical plants, and trees in accordance with the horticulture standards of the Morris County Park Commission. • Performs horticultural tasks such as, but not limited to, soil preparation, planting, weeding, staking, deadheading, watering, fertilizing and mulching. • Applies pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers and maintains associated application records as required. Minimum: A two-year Associate’s degree in Horticulture, Landscape Design, or a related field; 3-years’ work as a professional gardener or groundskeeper; 1-year’s experience supervising a staff making landscape plantings in a public garden; landscape contracting, or related industry; a portfolio of original garden designs and installations; the ability to identify woody, herbaceous, and annual landscape plants; and the ability to obtain NJ Pesticide Operator License. • Valid New Jersey Driver’s license. • Applicants must pass Horticultural Design Foreman test to be eligible for this position. • Salary: $54,109.00 plus Benefits. Please visit for full job description (apply for horticultural display foreman position) and additional information regarding the Park Commission. Applicants must download the employment application and submit with cover letter and resume to No phone calls please. Deadline: until filled.

Full Moon, January 21, 2019 Eastern Daylight


Spider mites on house plants can be a real problem. The mites are spiders, not insects. They have eight legs; insects have only six. Regardless, they are a serious pest both indoors and out. Spider mites are very small, only about one-fiftieth of an inch long, and so are difficult to see. They have piercing-sucking mouth parts for feeding on plant sap. They can multiply rapidly and in large numbers cause leaves to take on a dusty, dull appearance. Leaves then yellow and drop or turn brown or tan. Leaves may appear stippled and curled. Fine webbing may also be evident under the leaves or between the leaf and the stem. When a leaf or branch is tapped over a white sheet of paper, small specks that appear as dust or pepper may be seen to move. Spider mites can go from egg to mature adults in less than two weeks. Dislodge as many mites as possible using a strong stream of water. Done on a regular basis, this can reduce populations dramatically. Wash the plants either outdoors or in the shower. Many insecticidal soaps are also effective in controlling mites, so check the label. Many miticides registered for use indoors are available. Follow directions and, if possible, spray out-of-doors or in a garage, weather permitting.

The Premier Gardening Monthly Newspaper Number 189 Published Monthly Reserve Ad Space Phone: 908.604.4444 Website: E-Mail: Staff

Executive Editor/Publisher . . . . Art Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advertising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tom Castronovo Jenna Whitehead Tom Castronovo

December Columnists Tom Castronovo Todd Pretz Gail Woolcott Brian Schilling Al Murray Peter Melick Bob LaHoff Steve Schuckman Leslie Parness

Contributing Writers

Bruce Crawford Hubert Ling

Jeannie Geremia Lori Jenssen

Gardener News is published monthly by

Gardener News, Inc.

16 Mount Bethel Road #123 Warren, NJ 07059 The Gardener News invites correspondences on gardening subjects of interest. Gardener News, Inc, and its Publisher reserve the right to accept, refuse, or discontinue any editorial or copy, and shall not be liable to anyone for printing errors, misinformation or omissions in editorial or copy. The information contained in articles herein represents the opinions of the authors and, although believed to be accurate and complete, is not represented or warranted by Gardener News, Inc. to be accurate or complete. All advertising is subject to the Gardener News advertisement rates, and must be PAID IN FULL at time of submission. Publisher reserves the right at its absolute discretion, and at any time, to cancel any advertising order or reject any advertising copy whether or not the same has already been acknowledged and/or previously published. In the event of errors or omissions of any advertisement(s), the newspapers liability shall not exceed a refund of amounts paid for the advertisement. NOTE: All editorial, advertising layouts and designs and portions of the same that are produced and published by Gardener News, Inc., are the sole property of Gardener News, Inc. and may not be reproduced in any form unless written authorization is obtained from the publisher. POSTMASTER: Send all address changes to: Gardener News, 16 Mount Bethel Rd - #123, Warren, NJ 07059. (c) 2019 Gardener News, Inc.

28 January 2019

Gardener News January 2019  

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping Communities

Gardener News January 2019  

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening and Landscaping Communities