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TAKE ONE

Gardener News

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping & Nursery Communities

June 2021

GARDENERNEWS.COM

TAKE ONE No. 218

2021 Philadelphia Flower Show: “Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece” By Tom Castronovo Executive Editor/Publisher Gardener News For the first time in its almost 200-year history, the 2021 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) Philadelphia Flower Show will move outdoors and welcome visitors to experience the beautiful vistas and rolling landscape of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park (FDR) Park – a registered historical district – in South Philadelphia. The Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – one of the designers of New York City’s famed Central Park. In its new location, the show will span 15 acres of the park’s footprint, expanding in size to nearly 450,000 square feet of exhibits, activities, and open space, a 45-percent increase from previous Flower Shows held inside the Philadelphia Convention Center. The annual event is recognized for its beautiful blossom displays, education, and as a chance for people to connect with nature. Health and safety are essential to the design of the Flower Show, which is working with local health officials to create a safe

PHS Philadelphia Flower Show/Image

and beautiful show experience. Each year, the show contributes a beautiful kickoff to the spring growing season and provides an important economic impact on the region of more than $62 million. An increased footprint in 2021 is intentional, as

the Flower Show seeks to offer new experiences for its audience, while also adhering to best practices regarding social distancing. Public safety is a critical component for the upcoming show, focused on guests and staff alike. This year’s show will feature

reserved tickets for morning or afternoon sessions, with other health and safety requirements such as: maximum occupancy limits; required masks; social distancing; and strict adherence to recommendations from the CDC and City/State health officials to keep all Flower

Show attendees safe. The departure from the show’s typical late-winter timing will allow for a spectacular presentation of the nation’s most looked-to gardening and floral attraction. The early June dates are at the height of the gardening (Cont. on Page 25) season,


2 June 2021

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4 June 2021 Like the old song goes, “June is busting out all over.” It’s a timeless theme, in a song written for the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical “Carousel.” At its heart, it’s a love song, or at least a song celebrating the idea of love, and incorporates – using images of nature – how this time of year brings forth the full rebirth of the spirit of life. Many people alive today may have never realized it was a show tune from the 1940s, but they probably have heard the very catchy phrase from someone, at one time or another. In the world of agriculture, this month is the time we know that our best fruits and vegetables are coming into season and will line up through the summer and fall in a sumptuous array of the finest offerings that careful and nurturing cultivation can provide for your family. It’s a glorious and eagerly awaited cornucopia of all the farm fare New Jersey is supremely and rightfully famous for. High quality, tasty, and delicious farm products lovingly grown, carefully nurtured, and picked or cut at the peak of flavor and rushed to market for the ultimate in freshness. First up, full-flavored tomatoes, super-sweet sugar corn, greens of

Once a year, my town holds a town-wide yard sale. Countless families use this opportunity to clean out their attics and garages and set up impromptu department stores on their front lawns. Hordes of treasure-seekers, professional bargain hunters and the simply curious cruise up and down the neighborhood looking for that perfect find. Seemingly oblivious to other cars, stop signs, or any traffic control measures, the buyers inch down the middle of the street craning their necks towards the offerings on each side as they shop from their cars. A treasure spotted, without warning a car will suddenly stop, and the driver flings open their door and leaves the car idling in the street as they haggle over an item marked at a dollar. A simple five-block trip to the grocery store can now take 30 minutes. I think the only other people who hate this day more than I do are the town’s department of public works employees. When the sale is finally over, whatever remains typically ends up at the curb for pick up on trash day. As far as I can tell, the only one making a killing is the local volunteer fire department, who uses this day to conduct a hoagie sale. They are usually sold out before noon.

GardenerNews.com NJ Dept. of Agriculture By Douglas H. Fisher Secretary of Agriculture

An arriving summer season like no other in memory all descriptions, full-fleshed yellow, white, and red dribble-down-yourchin peaches, those famous Jersey blueberries, and so on down the line. Agriculture in our state is some of the most diverse in the nation and most everyone knows, at least in general terms, why we are called the Garden State. Every single fruit or vegetable has a New Jersey story of its own: why it does so well here; invariably its climate, soils, famer knowledge and experience; as well as market preferences that all come together and make conditions that end up with our crops, which are so endeared to millions. Most of us have formed a relationship which manifests into a romance with the flavors of our favorite fruits and vegetables from Jersey Fresh growers. This is the time to make our

plans for the rest of the summer and on toward the rest of 2021. And things are way better for us now than they were this time last year. Throughout the pandemic, the people who make up agriculture in New Jersey strived to both cope with the changes to life brought on by the pandemic and to offer hope to the rest of us through what they produce and offer to our world. While dealing with the struggles brought to their own operations – health and safety of workers (including their family members), disruptions to the supply chain and how they get their products to market, and a sense that everything about life was undergoing fundamental change – our farm operators felt an obligation to be the rock in their communities that helped provide stability that someday we would be back to “normal.” Thankfully and gratefully,

we are easing our way out of the necessary but uncomfortable restrictions of last year due to COVID-19 and heading toward more opportunities for social engagement and interaction. Stability is returning. Farmers markets, farm tables, and some agricultural fairs, 4H and FFA gatherings, are coming back into a brighter light and recharging from the time we had to adapt and avoid much of what was previously taken for granted. Now, after having been through a year of COVID in a more protective cocoon, we can venture out while observing some less stringent, basic safety protocols. Being in these farm settings will do just as much for your pyche as it will for your appetite. Enriching your spirit and engaging your senses to connect more fully to nature and its bounty is a life-giving endeavor.

NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director

Of Trash & Treasure

Now, while I may turn my nose up at a yard (junk) sale, it is common in the agricultural community to hold consignment sales - which are interesting and enjoyable. Usually held at a farm, it involves the auctioning of excess equipment. Think of it as a massive yard sale. But, instead of dirty old sneakers or musty old books, a farm field is filled with tractors, plows, and a variety of other agricultural equipment. Consignment sales serve several purposes. Farmers finding themselves with surplus equipment use the opportunity to convert it into cash. Used equipment is much more attractive cost-wise, especially for a small or beginning farmer. Most farmers are fastidious in keeping their equipment well maintained. Consequently, the sale items are almost always in excellent condition. Finally, they

serve as a social event. Recently, my good friend Paul Hlubik teamed up with Pirrung Auctioneers and held a consignment sale at Paul’s home farm – Backacres Farm, in Wrightstown, N.J. Paul has hosted a consignment sale for several years, and both he and Pirrung Auctioneers always donate a portion of the proceeds to the New Jersey Agricultural Society. Their generosity helps the society feed the hungry, support school gardens, and conduct an agricultural leadership program. The sale was held on a beautiful spring day, and Paul’s farm field contained rows and rows of equipment representing generations of farming. In one area, there were old horse-drawn hay wagons, horse buggies, manual plows, and other antique farm implements from bygone years. In another area, tractors in

every shape and size were lined up; prospective buyers starting the engines, chatting with the sellers, and eyeing up potential competition when it came time for bidding. In normal times, the auctioneer and his team walk from item to item. One of the team holds a flag and stands by the item being auctioned. The auctioneer with a bullhorn would proceed to take bids. A couple other team members known as “ring men” would scan the crowd and assist in spotting bids and communicating information back to the auctioneer. While I enjoy the patter of the auctioneer and watching the competition between bidders and their unique gestures in quietly signaling a bid, I was always afraid to get too close to the action. I was self-conscious that an illtimed scratch would result in me

The importance of our farmers and related food businesses, their roles in providing life-sustaining products when the world beyond our immediate living spaces felt chaotic, was driven home through the pandemic. With June here, let us celebrate the fact that was suspended for a time, is back on-line, and is waiting for you. I am sure we will cross paths this season. And please feel free to send the Department stories and photos, through our various web and social media platforms, of your interactions with our state’s wonderful farms and farmers.

Editor’s Note: Douglas H. Fisher is New Jersey’s Secretary of Agriculture. He is the department’s executive officer, secretary to the State Board of Agriculture and a member of the Governor’s cabinet. Secretary Fisher fulfills executive, management and administrative duties prescribed by law, executive order or gubernatorial direction. He can be reached at 609.292.3976. For more info, please visit: http:// www.state.nj.us/agriculture bringing home a 1965 John Deere 2040. In a nod to the times we must endure, this year was different. Outdoor crowd size was regulated, masks and social distancing were required. Even the auctioneer rode above the crowd in an enclosed “Pope-mobile,” and buyers had to wave a card with an identifying number. Despite this, there was optimism of a new growing season in the air. It was wonderful seeing friends I haven’t seen in a long time. It felt like a corner has been turned.

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


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June 2021 5


6 June 2021

R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E Office Officeof ofContinuing Continuing Professional ProfessionalEducation Education

Home Gardeners Gardeners School School

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From the Director’s Desk

Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director

FallSummer Finale & Winter Cultivate BloomsPrep & Bounties

Can You Garden Mosquitoes Away?

Designed offer something forthe everyone, virtual event is With a littletoeducation, increase fruits ofour your loving labors. made up of workshops will provide information Designed toeight offer(8) something forthat everyone, our virtual event is on maintaining your fall garden and it for winter. made up of nine (9) workshops thatpreparing will provide information on growing and maintaining your summer garden. Session #1: 9:00am to 10:00am Native for to Fall/Winter Session #1:Plants 9:00am 10:00amInterest/Ecology (1 of 2) Peony Propagation Easy Drip Irrigation Soil & Processing TheSampling Basics of Techniques Butterfly Gardening Berrymania Session #2: 10:15am - 11:15am Native for Fall/Winter Session #2:Plants 10:15am - 11:15amInterest/Ecology (2 of 2) ADeer Cook's HerbMethods Garden and Deer Resistant Plants Control Putting Your Garden to Bed for the Winter A Homeowner's Guide to Container Gardening Designing with Native Plants Session #3: 11:30am - 12:30pm The Wonderful World of Bulbs Session #3: 11:30am - 12:30pm Landscaping for Winter Interest Walkways, Pathways, and Stairways Composting and Soil Health Principles of Healthy Ecosystem Gardening Garden Accessories, Alias Garden Bling

With longer days and warmer temperatures returning, many of us look forward to spending time in our gardens tending to flowers and anticipating the taste of fresh produce. But one thing gardeners do not look forward to is the return of mosquitoes, whose bites not only cause itchy welts, but in the northeastern U.S. may transmit dangerous diseases. Each year in the U.S., mosquito-borne viral infections result in hundreds of human cases of debilitating encephalitis (brain inflammation) and in rare instances, incapacitation, or death. Mosquitoes can also transmit heartworm to dogs and cats, putting our companion animals at risk. The first step in reducing the number of biting mosquitoes in your garden is putting away, draining, or covering all buckets, plant saucers, small fishless ponds, rainwater extensions, etc., that can accumulate standing water needed for the development of the immatures of urban mosquito species. Talk to your neighbors to nudge them to do the same; a single “productive” yard can result in a miserable summer for an entire neighborhood. But if you live next to a wetland where native mosquitoes can thrive or, much worse, if you have a neglectful neighbor, what is a resourceful gardener to do? A quick internet search will provide lists of plants whose fragrances may act as natural mosquito repellents. But how effective are they? Can certain plants protect you from mosquito bites? How do mosquitoes interact with plants? Many plants produce compounds that can repel mosquitoes but require additional steps to extract the repellent. Case in point – oil of lemon eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) is a commercially available plant-based repellent sanctioned by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Likewise, catnip or catmint (Nepeta cataria) oil is repellent to mosquitoes, and a recent study proposed that cats’ enthusiasm for the plant, which they rub on their heads, may have developed to avoid being bitten. Importantly, there is evidence that the simple presence of certain plants can repel mosquitoes. For example, in controlled studies several Lantana species, an African flowering bush, effectively prevented mosquitoes from entering homes when grown in large masses around the house. Lantana are annuals in the northeast U.S. that, once established, require little maintenance. However, care should be taken as this plant is poisonous to children and dogs and can become invasive in warmer regions. Another study found that marigolds (several Tagetes species) reduce mosquito biting in

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

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

experimental tents where whole plant material had been previously stored. With their striking flowers and tolerance for poor soil, marigolds are an attractive option as a potential mosquito repellent plant, although significant effects will likely require large numbers and strategic placement. For gardeners with a penchant for herbs, fresh lemon basil, Ocimum canum, and hoary basil, Ocimum americanum, have both been shown to repel mosquitoes and reduce landing rates on humans in small, enclosed gardens or greenhouses, although their effectiveness in open landscapes has yet to be determined. Of note, both basil species were most effective when lightly bruised to enhance the release of repellent compounds. While we tend to focus primarily on the bloodfeeding female mosquitoes, all adult mosquitoes must feed on plant nectar that provides the sugars, proteins, fats, water, and essential nutrients necessary for their survival. Therefore, the degree to which certain plants can help minimize mosquito bites in your garden depends on existing attractive nectar sources. For example, the common garden impatiens, Impatiens walleriana, is highly attractive to mosquitoes that feed on the luxurious blooms. Nutritious plants and lush, humid gardens can increase the lifespan of adult mosquitoes, which can then lead to more bites and more disease transmission. As always, a multifaceted approach is best. If you want to add mosquito repellent plants to your garden, make sure you will also enjoy them for their colors, aromas, or flavors, and do not rely on them exclusively for mosquito control. For the best protection from urban/backyard mosquitoes in New Jersey, which are most likely to bite you, follow the usual guidance. Put away or discard sources of standing water. Cover water containers or pre-treat the water with mosquito dunks or bits which contain organisms that specifically kill mosquitoes. Apply an approved repellent at regular intervals (make sure to check the label) to exposed skin or, if you can stand it, wear long sleeves and long pants for protection from bites. Choose white or lighter color clothes because day-biting mosquitoes, which are those most likely to pester you when you are gardening, will then be less likely to bite you. Taking the proper precautions throughout the growing season will make gardening more enjoyable and ensure that your plants, and not you, are what any mosquitoes in your garden will feed on.

Editor’s note: Nicole E. Wagner, Senior Research Technician; Grayson A. Tung, doctoral student; and Dina M. Fonseca, Director, Rutgers Center for Vector Biology, are the authors of this article.


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R U T G ER S N J AE S / R C E

June 2021 7

Diervilla – No Codling Required I have long concluded that plants requiring little to no attention are overlooked in favor of those dependent upon your endless care and codling. The first time I was introduced to Northern Bush Honeysuckle, botanically known as Diervilla lonicera, was around 1990. It was growing in a public garden that was in serious need of care. With weeds growing lushly through the surrounding shrubs, the Diervilla stood weed free. A plant requiring no coddling and yet I had never heard of it. For all those gardeners who also may not as of yet met this plant, let me introduce you. Diervilla is a member of the Caprifoliaceae or Honeysuckle family and is a small genus with only three species, all native to eastern North America. The plant was named in 1706 by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708) in honor of Sieur de Dièrville, a French medical doctor and botanist. This Lifelong Learning column is dedicated to amplifying innovations in teaching and learning - spotlighting educational and professional development courses and webinars available at Rutgers throughout the year. Please visit the website at the bottom to obtain the full list of classes available. We R Here When You Need Us. June Trivia Question: What “magical” plant is associated with the Summer Solstice? Spotlight Program: (NEW) Combating Mold in Buildings (July 20-21, 2021, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST). Through instructorled online lectures, this course will prepare participants to become environmentally responsible in mold prevention and mold remediation in commercial buildings. This course will detail mold inspection, assessment, and sampling methods. The course will also cover testing procedures and legal requirements. Topics to be discussed include: Biological and microbiological contaminants found indoors; health effects of mold; the law of mold and who watches us; mold inspection and the modern home; introduction to the building science system; effectiveness of Indoor Air Quality air duct cleaning (mold); structural drying and clean-up after a flood; designing and monitoring microbiological remediation projects; the mold remediator and crew (it’s a team effort); post-abatement

Dièrville explored Acadia, a region of North America that included present day Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Canada, and a portion of Maine. Dièrville scouted the area from October 1699 through October 1700 and returned with numerous plants, including what would ultimately become Diervilla lonicera. In 1753, the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) mistakenly named the plant Lonicera Diervilla and it was not until 1768 that the plant was properly named by Phillip Miller ((1691-1771). The species epithet describes how closely the plant resembles Honeysuckle, botanically named Lonicera. Northern Bush Honeysuckle is one tough plant! It is native from Quebec west to Saskatchewan, south into the Great Smoky Mountains. Growing two to three feet tall and spreading wider, the two- to six-inch long by one- to threeinch wide foliage is a glossy green, with the new foliage often washed with a touch of orange. The leaves are finely serrate or

toothed and are attached to the stem via a short petiole. In the wild, it grows in welldrained rocky areas in full sun or light shade. While hiking at Franconia Notch in New Hampshire, I saw several plants growing from a rocky fissure in the dry edge of a stream bed and they looked perfectly content. From late June into August, the plants produce clusters of half-inch-long yellow, trumpet shaped flowers at the tips of the arching stems that are frequented by bumblebees and other pollinators. The flowers need two genetically different plants to yield seeds, which are greedily devoured by various bird species come fall. The selection “Copper” has striking copper-red colored new growth that continuously appears throughout the summer, followed by bronzy-red fall color. Southern Bush Honeysuckle, Diervilla sessilifolia, is very similar to its Northern cousin. As the common name denotes, its natural populations are more southern, with populations found growing in the Appalachian and

Great Smokey Mountains along stream banks, dry slopes and ridges and woodland edges. The species was identified and named in 1843 by Samuel Botsford Buckley (1809-1884), who focused on plants and geology throughout the southern United States. Like its cousin, this species is equally at home in sun and shade, although it is taller growing. The yellow flowers are equal in size and duration of bloom, while the nectar is just as sweet should you decide to draw it out of the flower. The flowers and its nectar are also popular with bumblebees. The selection called “Butterfly” has glossy green foliage and come fall, the foliage assumes more attractive shades of a dusky red, even in shadier locations. The plants have certainly proved to be more than adequately winter hardy, with Northern Bush Honeysuckle enduring zone 3 winters and its southern cousin zone 4. They provide dense, weed-proof ground covers for locations in beating sun or shade and are

Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education By Kenneth M. Karamichael Continuing Education Professional

Lifelong Learning

assessment sampling and results. This course is appropriate for any professional seeking to learn more about the dangers and safe handling of mold, including: Building Facility Personnel, Property Managers, Industrial Hygienists, Mold Professionals, Microbiologists, Indoor Air Quality Professionals, HVAC Personnel, Home Inspectors, as well as municipal, county and state health officials. This course is approved for the following continuing education credits: NJ (CPC-6.5 hours), NY (PDH-6.5 hours), and ASHI (6 hours). Meet the Instructor: James Tucker, MBA, CMH, CPM & CPI is a Certified Mold Hygienist with a background in construction management, commercial construction, and inspection. In addition to professional experience as a construction inspector, construction manager, construction and building analyst, construction safety manager, and weatherization technician, James

has earned an MBA from Ashworth University, a BA in Biology/Health Science from Thomas Edison University, and numerous professional certifications related to mold and indoor air quality. Come learn from one of the best in the industry! NJ Pesticide Applicator’s License: (CORE) Training (Upcoming online-course dates: July 16-22, and August 20-26, 2021) – This is the first step in training for individuals interested in becoming a licensed New Jersey pest control operator and/or applicator. Topics include: Federal pesticide laws; the New Jersey Pesticide Control Act; Pesticide hazards and how to minimize them; Proper handling, storage, and disposal of pesticides, and types of application equipment and use. This course satisfies New Jersey’s requirement of attending a basic pesticide training course for new applicants seeking to gain a state license. For more information

on pesticide applicator training requirements, please visit (http:// pestmanagement.rutgers.edu/pat/). Note: This is NOT the CORE exam. You must register for the exam separately through the Rutgers Pesticide Applicator Certification Exam Registration (PACER) system. (pacer.rutgers.edu) The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Pesticide Licensing Control Program (PCP) regulations contain information on the training requirements for new (never licensed) commercial applicators and/or operators, as well as the requirements for currently licensed persons and those who have not maintained their license. Under these regulations, a new commercial applicator or operator must attend a PCP-approved basic pesticide training course and complete 40 hours of on-the-job training in the functions and operations associated with the category of license the

great for stabilizing dry slopes that would kill most plants. What’s more, they produce attractive yellow flowers for a good two months throughout the summer above clean green and copper foliage. With so many plants requiring codling from late frosts, insects, or protection from encroaching weeds, it is time to give attention to a plant providing great beauty while asking for so little in return.

Editor’s Note: Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth, is the Rutgers State Program Leader for Home and Public Horticulture, a part time lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, regularly participates in the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education Program, and Past President of the Garden State Gardens Consortium. He can be reached at crawford@njaes. rutgers.edu. individual is seeking to obtain. Recertification of a currently licensed New Jersey commercial pesticide applicator/operator is maintained by completing recertification courses in both Core and the category being recertified for within a five-year period. Trivia Answer: Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort). The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (Summer Solstice) is also associated with Midsummer Day and St. John’s Day. Historically, there are many legends and rituals related to this special day – including collecting special herbs. In addition to the bright “sun-like” color and shape, and “raylike” stamens, St. John’s Wort was believed to have mystical protective powers throughout the year. Visit CPE.RUTGERS.EDU to learn more about the hundreds of programs available at OCPE, Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Editor’s Note: Kenneth M. Karamichael, Ed.M., is an internationally recognized continuing education professional with Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education within Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Ken can be reached at kenneth@ rutgers.edu.


8 June 2021

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GardenerNews.com Summer is a great time to celebrate the innovation of Garden State farmers. We take for granted the thinking and work that goes into the delicious local produce that we pick up at local farm markets or the supermarket. But the creativity of farmers here puts the “fresh” in Jersey Fresh and protects our environment as well. Efforts such as D&R Greenway Land Trust joining Soil Carbon Partners (SCP) to start the Climate Project at St. Michaels Preserve in Hopewell Township this spring are a good example. The innovative project combines organic agriculture with soil improvements to test whether they will significantly reduce the soil’s natural ability to store carbon, which degrades local environments. It also is enhancing the beautiful D&R Greenway preserve. The innovation of Garden State farmers goes beyond growing methods and has been at the core of keeping their businesses going as their suppliers and one of their principal sources of sales, restaurants, were forced to close over the past year. Farmers in New Jersey turned to online ordering. They opened their markets earlier and offered curbside pickup to reach customers. As Agriculture

June 2021 9 Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman

Celebrating Garden State Farmer Innovation

Secretary Doug Fisher says, “Wholesalers became retailers and retailers turned to home delivery.” Our farmers also stepped up their efforts to help feed people in need as food insecurity skyrocketed throughout 2020. Consider the New Jersey Agricultural Society’s Farmers Against Hunger program. Farmers Against Hunger collects surplus produce still in the field, a process known as gleaning, and from farmers markets, to donate to local and regional food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries. Last year, the Agricultural Society - the oldest agricultural organization in the country, established 1781 - and its Farmers Against Hunger volunteers collected and recovered more than 2 million pounds of produce to deliver to food banks. They worked with government officials and

other partners to host pop-up food distribution events across the state. In April, the Agricultural Society announced its first ever land stewardship center on three acres at Laurel Run Park in Delran, in partnership with Burlington County. Farmers Against Hunger will use the new center, which sits on land that was once peach orchards, to expand its operations and educate people about farming. Volunteers and staff will harvest the produce they grow to donate to food-insecure families across the region. Farmers Against Hunger is just one example of the efforts to educate the public about the importance of agriculture, the state’s third-largest industry, to the economy and the environment. This education is taking place at schools and local gardening clubs all over New Jersey. This spring, seventh-grader

Mila Varela and a handful of other students at Weehawken High School started the Weehawken Bee Club. Supervised by art teacher Elizabeth McParland and Antonio Quinlan, the executive director of North Bergen nonprofit Hudson River Apiary Society, the club’s members are learning the basics of beekeeping, from the biology of bee colonies to harvesting honey. It’s gratifying to see young people like the members of the Weehawken Bee Club getting involved because New Jersey’s pollinators are disappearing. Garden State beekeepers report they have been losing 40 percent to 50 percent of their colonies annually for almost a decade. Honeybees are a $7 million industry in New Jersey and combine with wild bees and other pollinators to help pollinate almost $200 million worth of fruits and vegetables a year.

In May, the Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension held its first online information session for “RU Ready to Farm,” its new training program for beginning farmers. Middlesex County Agricultural Agent Bill Hlubik is providing online and in-person, handson training to new and beginner farmers from around the state. There’s more going on here than just teaching farming techniques to hobbyist farmers. As the RU Ready to Farm literature points out, agriculture in New Jersey is at a tipping point, with many experienced farmers nearing retirement. The average age of New Jersey farmers is approaching 60. As the literature points out, the future of Garden State farm production depends on our ability to nurture the next generation of farmers as well as crops and pollinators.

Editor’s Note: Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling is Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the New Jersey State Assembly. He can be reached at 732-6953371 or AsmHoughtaling@ njleg.org, or by mail at 802 W Park Ave, Ste 302, Ocean Township 07712.

Please Don’t Eat the Wild Turnip! By Hubert Ling While you are at it, please don’t eat the wild ginger, wild leeks, Indian cucumber, or other native plants, either. You might ask why. The best simple answer is that they aren’t very good or even awful and dangerous. In addition, it is immoral and monetarily indefensible. The reasons why are fairly obvious. Cultivated crops are almost exclusively large, sun-loving, plants which have had their chemical defense arsenal drastically reduced by careful breeding; thus they grow fast and taste good. However, since most of the Eastern U.S. was originally covered in forest, almost all the understory native plants are shade-loving, slowgrowing, and full of toxins to prevent herbivory. Sunny areas for herbaceous plants are limited to extreme habitats such as animal

trails, river flood zones, mountain balds, avalanche zones, areas with frequent fires, and swamps. These areas are relatively rare and thus most of our tenacious, native, herbaceous plants are relegated to the shade where growth is perhaps 1/25 that of sunny areas. Just about the only time it is justifiable to consume a native plant is if you have grown it yourself and are just eating a little of the excess. So, after 25 years of growing wild ginger, I tried some. Big mistake!! Well it was awful, had a very strong unpalatable flavor, and seemed poisonous, which I found out later was the truth. Wild ginger can cause kidney failure and should be avoided. Commercial ginger can produce about a pound of ginger per square foot per year. You may get about 1/45 of a pound with wild ginger. Commercial ginger gives you a pleasant, aromatic, safe product, which out-produces

the wild counterpart 45/1 and you don’t have to visit your urologist. How about wild leeks? The commercial leek weighs about half a pound and takes up about 16 square inches of soil and takes one year to grow to maturity. A wild leek takes up about two square inches of soil, so you can grow about eight wild leeks in the space of one commercial leek. However, a wild leek weighs about 0.17 ounces and takes five years to mature. The ratio is about 200/1 in favor of the commercial leek. Even worse is the contest between the native Indian cucumber and Burpee Burpless. With one or two commercial cucumber plants in one square yard, you might expect about 25 cucumbers a year, or about 12,500 cubic centimeters of cucumber. Cucumber plants are very easy to grow. However, Indian cucumber will only grow in the shade and probably needs a special fungal mycorrhizal

partner. In other words, if you try to grow it, it probably won’t. Indian cucumber plants are small, so 144 of them could grow in one square yard. I have never seen them that dense, but we can just suppose. The “cucumber” rhizomes are about 1.8 cubic centimeters and take about 10 years to grow. The ratio is at least 500/1 in favor of the commercial cucumber, although a more realistic figure might be 5,000/1 if only 15 Indian cucumbers will grow naturally in one square yard. Finally, we have the wild turnip. Jack-in-the-pulpit has been called wild turnip since the corm from “Jack” can grow to about three inches in diameter in perhaps 40 years and it is about the size and shape of a turnip. I have only seen one Jack which had leaves about one yard long and probably a three-inch “turnip,” although I have seen a few Jacks about two feet by two feet high and

many about one and a half feet. A commercial three-inch turnip is ready in one year and about 40 turnips will fit in one square yard. Thus, we have a ratio of about 800/1 in favor of the commercial turnip, of course. Commercial turnips are ready to process immediately, while the Jack’s corm must be sliced thin and hung for one year to allow toxic concentrations of oxalic acid to dissipate. Do yourself a favor and stick to commercial fruits and vegetables. Your taste buds and general health will benefit from that decision. Most native plants are not that common and foraging can easily eliminate populations forever. Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at milhubling@verizon.net.


10 June 2021 New York Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Parks Encourage Campers to Use Local Firewood While Enjoying the Outdoors With the start of the 2021 camping season underway, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid today encouraged campers to use local firewood and follow New York State firewood regulations to help prevent the spread of invasive species. Untreated firewood firewood that has not met the state’s heat treatment standard - can contain invasive pests that kill trees. To protect New York’s forests, untreated firewood should not be moved more than 50 miles from its source of origin. “Using local firewood is an easy way to help protect our forests from invasive pests and diseases,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Moving untreated firewood is one of the main ways invasive pests spread to new areas. I urge all campers to help stop the spread of invasive species and protect the places we love by leaving untreated firewood at home and using firewood from local sources.” “We all have a role to play in protecting our parks and forests from the risks of invasive species that can be carried on firewood,” said Commissioner Kulleseid. “By leaving their firewood at home and using only local sources, campers can help slow the spread of disease and protect our precious natural resources.” Many people take campfire wood from their backyards or neighborhoods as they head out to a favorite camping spot, not realizing the wood may be hiding the eggs, larvae, spores, adults, or even seeds of invasive threats. Hitching a ride on infested or infected firewood allows these pests to spread faster and farther than they could have on their own. A variety of invasive species can be transported on firewood, from wood boring beetles and defoliators to fungi and diseases. New York State firewood regulations: •Prohibit untreated firewood from being brought into New York State from other states or countries; •Prohibit untreated firewood grown in the state from being transported more than 50 miles from its source or origin; and •Require that people carry source, origin, or treatment documentation whenever transporting firewood. The origin of the wood is where it was grown. Anyone that cuts firewood for personal use is required to fill out a Self-Issued Certificate of Origin (PDF), available on DEC’s website. Producers of untreated firewood for sale must obtain wood grown within 50 miles of their business but may then declare the business as the source of the firewood. Examples of the source documentation (PDF) are also available on DEC’s website. Consumers purchasing untreated firewood should make sure the source is clearly labeled to know how far the wood may be transported. Firewood that meets the state’s heat treatment standard (160 degrees Fahrenheit core temperature for 75 minutes) needs to be labeled “New York-Approved Heat Treated/Pest Free,” and can be moved without restriction. Heat-treating to this standard has been proven to kill insects and diseases that may be in firewood. Kiln-dried only means the wood was heated to dry it out so it will burn well, but it may not have reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit for 75 minutes. Purchasers of heat-treated firewood are encouraged to look for the appropriate label indicating the wood meets the standard. Pressure-treated firewood should never be burned. Quarantines for individual invasive species, such as oak wilt and the Asian longhorned beetle, may further restrict the transport of firewood in specific areas. As quarantines are lifted, expanded, or tightened, the firewood regulation will continue to remain in place. For more information on Firewood and Invasive Insects or to see DEC’s PSA, visit DEC’s website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/ or contact DEC’s Forest Health Division at foresthealth@dec.ny.gov.

GardenerNews.com Growing Gardeners By Diana Dove Environmental Educator

Why Children Should Grow a Wildlife Habitat Garden

Children and teens who grow a wildlife habitat garden and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors experience something unique that helps them make connections about wildlife, the environment, and people. They may develop a positive attitude, caring about the land and living things, that could last a lifetime. As an environmental educator who volunteers with GCNJ youth gardeners, I have cherished many unplanned teachable moments. I’ve watched children become mesmerized at the sight of a hummingbird sipping nectar from the red flowers of the Red Buckeye Tree, and together we shared the excitement of seeing a Pileated Woodpecker in the garden. Then, someone finds an earthworm who brings gardening to a full stop as we observe, investigate, learn, and connect…that’s part of becoming GROWING GARDENERS! Do you know what the requirements are for a wildlife habitat garden? According to the National Wildlife Federation, a garden qualifies if it provides cover, water, places to raise young, and food, through sustainable gardening practices. Some wildlife habitat gardens are designed and planted by just one person, while others are planted by a group or an organization. A healthy wildlife habitat garden will sustain life when it contains what living things require, regardless of its form. They are found in all shapes and sizes, in both urban and rural areas. In some places, these gardens are planted in window boxes, or plant containers on a balcony, deck, patio, or a store front. In other areas, gardens grow in a backyard or on a farm. Some are located on the grounds of parks, nature centers, wildlife

refuges. arboretums, plant nurseries, large businesses, zoos, museums, libraries, senior centers, community pools, schools, a college campus, municipal buildings, or you may find a wildlife habitat garden planted in an amusement park. Some are certified and identified by a special sign. You’ll find guidelines and information on sites about wildlife, pollinator, or backyard gardens such as: the National Wildlife Federation at www.nwf.org; National Audubon Society at www.njaudubon.org; Jersey-Friendly Yards Organization at www.jerseyyards.org; North American Butterfly Association at www.naba.org; the USDA-Forest Service at www.fs.fed.us; Natural Resources Conservation Service at www.nrcs.usda.gov; and you can research New Jersey native plant information and more from Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station www.njaes.rutgers.edu. How can children find wildlife habitat garden information? They could read books, search online, visit certified gardens, attend garden programs, kids workshops and Zoom programs provided by arboretums or local libraries, by viewing gardening TV specials, attending garden center and greenhouse Open House events, and volunteering in a wildlife habitat garden. One of the first things to do at the garden site is to test the soil to determine if it should be amended. Soil test kits have details. Tomas Gonzales, the garden designer of the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden, always says, “Dirt First!” Your soil is the basis of the health of your garden. Focus on native plants. When there is enough area, combine a variety of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. Determine how much sun and shade fills your space. A wide diversity of plants will

provide food for a variety of wildlife, enhancing the area’s biodiversity. Install a bird feeder as an additional food source. Wildlife cover is vitally important. The previous fall’s growth should be left standing through the winter to provide cover and food. Rock piles and brush piles throughout a garden site create additional cover. Research bat and bee houses, then decide if they should be added. A healthy garden habitat attracts beneficial insects, which increases the overall balance of the habitat. Provide a water source and be mindful of water conservation. Use rain barrels to collect rainwater for watering. Never let water stand too long. It takes 10 to 14 days for mosquitoes to develop in standing water and you don’t want to create a mosquito breeding area. To prevent erosion, examine your space for drainage and water flow. Leave large surface areas open and unpaved for seepage. Your garden may reduce flooding and increase the quality of life. In our KNMBG Butterfly Garden, we emphasize planting non-invasive, native, organic plants, free of neonicotinoids, that are both drought- and deer-resistant. We plant milkweed species to create monarch butterfly feeding stations. Strive to keep your garden free of chemicals. Harvest seeds from the garden with proper storage and learn about their requirements for germination; some require cold temperatures in order to germinate. Children who grow a wildlife habitat garden develop a nurturing attitude of stewardship for the land. Support and encourage youth to grow a wildlife habitat garden in your area. GROWING GARDENERS who plant for wildlife agree with Woodsy Owl WHOO says, “Lend a Hand, Care for the Land.”

Editor’s Note: Diana Dove is an Environmental Educator who can be reached at dianadove13@gmail.com Please like the Facebook page of the garden she founded at Facebook/Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden. Diana serves as the GCNJ Youth Consultant for Environmental Education. She has a BS in Forestry & Wildlife Management with a concentration in Biology, plus a BA in Communications from Virginia Tech. Diana has been teaching Environmental Science to all ages since 1975, and is a former Senior Naturalist for a County Park System. She currently co-teaches Clean Communities environmental programs with her husband, Mike.


GardenerNews.com

June 2021 11 Around The Garden By Tom Castronovo Gardener News

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NJLCA Joins Ag Convention Lineup First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association for being granted membership to the New Jersey Agricultural Convention by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture at the Board’s monthly meeting on April 28. The State Board of Agriculture designates organizations that shall be entitled to be represented by delegates at the annual New Jersey State Agricultural Convention. Delegates come from a variety of organizations, including county agriculture boards, commodity groups, and statewide agriculture organizations like the New Jersey Farm Bureau and Rutgers New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station, all with the goal of furthering agriculture and its interests in the Garden State. One of the main purposes of the annual Convention is for delegates to debate resolutions that help set the policy path for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for the coming year. Some delegates, chosen by the State Board, serve on the Resolutions Committee that begins writing those resolutions in November for presentation at the February Convention. The process involves reviewing the resolutions from the previous year’s Convention to determine which items have been accomplished, which need to continue to be pursued, and which may no longer needed mentioning in the resolutions moving forward. The Agricultural Convention also serves as a showcase for where agriculture in New Jersey stands, including presentations by experts on major issues facing the industry. And it provides a blueprint for what the future holds in production techniques, marketing of agricultural products, defense against invasive pests, and was to adapt to emerging state and federal regulations. Officials such as the New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture, the Dean of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) and the President of the State Board of Agriculture address the approximately 100 delegates, along with other attendees, to the Convention. The New Jersey State Board of Agriculture presides over the Convention, but its members do not directly vote on the resolutions. The State Board is an eight-member body established by the New Jersey Legislature to set the broad agricultural policies of the Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture was formally constituted in 1916 as a principal department in the Executive branch of state government, consisting of a State Board of Agriculture as the policy-making body of the department, a Secretary of Agriculture, and other staff positions

and organizational units. The State Board operates in accordance with the agricultural laws of New Jersey to promote the agricultural interests of the state and to protect and serve the citizens of New Jersey by providing information and unbiased enforcement of laws and regulations ensuring quality products and services. The Department’s oversight includes products and services such as seed, feed, fertilizer, conservation of soil and water resources; control, suppression, and eradication of livestock and poultry diseases and plant pests; and many other issues are addressed by the State Board, as well as feeding schoolchildren and the distribution of surplus federal foods to soup kitchens and pantries that serve our state’s needy citizens. As with each department in State government, the Department of Agriculture is under the direct authority of the Governor. Throughout the year, the Department works with other State and Federal agencies to both regulate and promote agriculture in New Jersey, as well as ensure that food-insecure residents have access to healthy, high-quality agricultural products. Members of the Board are elected by the Agricultural Convention and recommended to the Governor for appointment with the advice and consent of the Senate. Each year at the Convention, two new members are selected to two outgoing members, with those names forwarded to the Governor. The statute under which the Department of Agriculture is granted its authority is New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.) Title 4. Rules that have been adopted by the State Board of Agriculture and/or the Secretary of Agriculture are contained in Title 2 of the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.). The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association (NJLCA) is a proven resource to landscape contractors, green industry service providers and suppliers, as well as the consumers who engage the services of landscape contractors. They are a community of green industry professionals who are dedicated to advancing the integrity, proficiency, and continued growth of the landscape industry. The NJLCA does this through a combination of education, training, and legislative advocacy. The NJLCA represents the entire Green Industry in New Jersey, including landscape contractors, landscape architects, sod growers, nurseries, growers, garden centers, horticulturists, floriculture and the industries that supply them. The non-profit association was founded in 1966.

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


12 June 2021

GardenerNews.com

Learning About Plant Agriculture

On Thursday, May 13, David DeFrange, a graduate of Delaware Valley College with a degree in bioscience and ornamental horticulture environmental design, the 2019 Gardener News “Person of the Year,” a graduate of the New Jersey Agricultural Leadership Development Program, a member of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture and owner of Copper Creek Landscape and Nursery in Frenchtown, Hunterdon County, N.J., addressed the diverse facets of plant and landscape care with members of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association during their monthly meeting on May 13. He also spoke about futuristic plant material, pricing, drainage, irrigation, shade/sun, maintenance, and companion planting options. The members also gained knowledge of unique plants and ways to care for them and how to make correlations between environmental factors and Tom Castronovo/Photo plant cultivation. The meeting was held outdoors at Mr. C Fence in Garfield, Bergen Pictured are: Dave DeFrange, center; Adam Reisboard, left, CEO of Mr. C. Fence in Garfield; County. COVID safety precautions and John Freitag, co/owner of Yellow Wagon Landscaping, LLC and Vice President of the New were observed. Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. Since the start of the pandemic over a year ago, some things have stayed the same, but many things have changed. As a society, we are still trying to figure out which of these changes are only temporary and which of these changes may be permanent. But one thing that we are having to deal with in agriculture, as well as in the rest of society, is that many of the products that we rely on to grow, package, and market our agricultural products are now in short supply. Early on, many of the shortages could be directly attributed to the pandemic. Panic buying by consumers caused runs on numerous food items. Because the dining habits of Americans were changed so drastically, it took a while for the production and distribution channels to catch up and re-stock the supermarket shelves. A year ago, prices really did not rise. Items were just hard to come by. Now, it seems as if production has stabilized somewhat and the agricultural industry has caught back up to the consumers. While food seems to be

The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

Shortages

plentiful again, many other types of products now seem to be in short supply. Lumber, steel and plastics (to name a few) have all gone way up in price since last year. And with many types of products, not only are they more expensive, they are just not available. Just to give you an example, I needed some white oak lumber to complete a project at my house. My contractor looked into prices and found that it would be three times the normal price and would take several months to get. In order to complete the project, I had to go into the woods, find three white oak trees and cut them down myself. Then, I had to get the logs out of the woods and transport

them to a local sawmill where they could be cut to the desired sizes. I felt like I was following in the footsteps of one of my pioneer ancestors from back in the 1700s. But at least I was able to complete the project. Many others are not as fortunate. Certain shortages might not be pandemic-related and might just be bad luck. For example, 85 percent of the plastic resin produced in the United States comes from Texas. And due to the severe cold weather that state experienced over the winter, many of the facilities that produce these plastic products have been severely hampered. This plastic shortage has the potential to affect the pricing and availability of many

agricultural products. For our farm, I worry about items such as plastic mulch, which we use to grow vegetables, as well as plastic bags. I also am concerned about the availability of plastic jugs, which we use to package our cider during the fall season. And if these items do go up in price, will we be able to pass these increases along to the consumer or will we be forced to absorb them? Many of the equipment dealers and other companies that we do business with are also complaining about difficulties in obtaining and manufacturing their products. What used to take a phone call and 24 to 48 hours might now require two to four weeks of lead time. And in some instances, it seems as

if the products themselves are not the issue, rather it is the transportation of these products that has become the problem. Then there is the issue of finding enough able-bodied workers. I realize that many people were put out of work by the pandemic, but just about every business owner that I know of consistently complains about not being able to find enough employees. Hopefully, in a few months, we will be able to look back and see that these disruptions to our economy were only temporary in nature and that our country was able to produce our way out of this difficult time. Editor’s Note: Peter Melick is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick and a 10th-generation New Jersey farmer. Peter is Mayor of Tewksbury Township, Hunterdon County, NJ. He also served as a director for the New Jersey Farm Bureau and is a past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture. Peter has also been featured on NJN, News 12 New Jersey and on the Fox Business Network.


GardenerNews.com

June 2021 13

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14 June 2021

GardenerNews.com

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Spotted lanternfly is a serious invasive pest with a healthy appetite for our plants and it can be a significant nuisance, affecting the quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors. The spotted lanternfly uses its piercing-sucking mouthpart to feed on sap from over 70 different plant species. It has a strong preference for economically important plants and the feeding damage significantly stresses the plants which can lead to decreased health and potentially death. While it does not harm humans or animals, it can reduce the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas. For more information visit https://www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/pests-diseases/spotted-lanternfly/


GardenerNews.com

June 2021 15

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16 June 2021

GardenerNews.com

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GardenerNews.com Got Milk? We all know how good milk is for folks young and old to build strong bones due to the calcium content. What does calcium have to do with plant health, particularly grass seed plants? Let’s find out! Calcium is a minor nutrient but sometimes is needed in large quantities by grass plants for healthy growth and plays a critical role in your lawn. Liming materials neutralize soil acidity and supply calcium. Many of us know that farmers apply limestone to improve the soil and this is the reason why. I have mentioned many times the need to perform a soil pH test so you can determine what soil amendments are needed to be applied for best grass growth. In the MidAtlantic and Northeastern states, soil pH tends to be at or a bit below the desirable range due to the amount of rainfall we receive. What is the desired range to grow cool-season grasses? A soil pH level between 6.2 and 7.0 is ideal, and if you are out of this range, 20 to 70 percent of your lawn fertilizer Most of you have heard of the Jersey Fresh program, which we see in many supermarkets across the state, signaling that the produce we are purchasing has been grown right here in the Garden State. I, too, hope that many of you have heard of its sister program Jersey Grown, which was first announced in 2006. The Jersey Grown program certifies locally grown plants, trees, shrubs, flowers, sod, cut Christmas trees, firewood and even sunflower bird seed. The Jersey Grown label on these products “certifies the item is grown in New Jersey so it is accustomed to the state’s soil and growing conditions and is disease and pest-free” according to www.jerseygrown.nj.gov. These landscape materials must have been propagated in New Jersey or grown here for at least six months before retail sale. But why should you care about Jersey Grown? The number-one answer is in the description itself. Being that the plant materials and sod are grown here, the soil is native to the plant and gives it much more hardiness. It is grown in the temperatures and precipitation of our area. All of this reduces the stress put on a plant and gives it the

June 2021 17 Turf ‘s Up By Todd Pretz Professional Turf Consultant

Got Calcium?

nutrients will be wasted! Some soil test kits from the local garden center or hardware store or university or independent soil test laboratories can test for calcium levels and tell you what is the optimum level of calcium for the plant you are trying to grow. Calcium levels in lawn fertilizers will be listed under the Guaranteed Analysis on the bag. Calcium helps to produce plant tissue and is responsible for holding together the cell walls of plants. It is also crucial in activating certain enzymes and for sending signals that coordinate certain cellular activities, and I’m not talking about your cell phone. Calcium is acquired from

the soil solution by the root system and translocated to the plant via the xylem. How do you know if your lawn has calcium deficiencies? The first would be the results of a soil test. Deficiency symptoms appear initially as tissue necrosis, leading to stunted plant growth. In other words, your lawn may start to look funky and under stress. You could crunch up a bunch of eggshells and spread them on your lawn to add calcium, but that might take a few years (LOL!) A better way is to apply calcium carbonate type products like limestone if you need a calcium boost but also want to raise your soil pH. Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate or gypsum-based products can

also add much-needed calcium but they do not raise soil pH. They also loosen hard soils. What else does calcium do for grass plants? It promotes healthy soil structure by loosening soils and stabilizing organic matter, which increases soil water and nutrient holding capacity. Calcium also can “tie up” heavy metals in the soil so they do not become available for plant uptake. Calcium helps with root movement and elongation and helps to buffer the stress of heat and drought. When your lawn has been subject to some injury from the kids playing, calcium supports the response to the grass repairing itself. Of course, calcium-rich soils provide a beneficial environment for

The NJLCA Today By Gail Woolcott Executive Director

#JerseyGrown

opportunity to flourish that much more. In addition to the health of the plant, being locally grown attributes to a healthier environment for all of us. The plants spend far less time being transported across the country, reducing the greenhouse gasses emitted from tractor trailers moving them from place to place. It also reduces the amount of fuel used by these transporters. Buying Jersey Grown can also reduce the number of invasive species planted in our yards, keeping our ecosystems working as they should. Moreover, when you buy locally grown plant material, sod and other products (which at $505 million in sales is New Jersey’s leading agricultural commodity), you are supporting the farmers who are growing these crops.

They in turn, are hiring your friends and neighbors. Who are, in turn, purchasing from other local retailers, restaurants, and service providers. This helps the entire community thrive, while also supporting small businesses and the industries that supply and service them. What could be better? The Jersey Grown website also offers helpful resources, such as a list of where you can purchase certified plant material and other products. It also offers weather maps, hardiness zone maps, consumer links, gardener information, industry links and additional information about the assorted products that fall under the Jersey Grown label. For those growers and greenhouses who are not yet certified as Jersey Grown, what

are you waiting for? There is an application right on the website and gives you the ability to advertise your status as a certified Jersey Grown supplier, pamphlets about the program for customers, and more benefits for a minimal fee. Once you have purchased all your plant material, and are ready for any landscape installation, your last step before installation is to call New Jersey One Call. The following require a call to “Call Before You Dig”: planting trees, installing a mailbox, fencing or dog fence, new sidewalks and/or curbs, installing a new irrigation system or moving an existing system, drainage, tree stump removal, paving and driveway installation (and more). If you are doing the installation as a homeowner, you will need to

microbes to thrive. Going in the opposite direction, low calcium levels in your soil decrease uptake of nutrients and turfgrass strength, decrease microbial activity, and increase thatch and leaching potential. Remember the good old days when you spread limestone and half of it blew down the street and got all over your spreader and shoes? There are a number of pelletized calcium products available on the market. These pellets make the products easier to spread and reduce the dust factor greatly. Once these pellets receive water, the brown binder goes away and the calcium is released to the soil to do its thing. Who knew that calcium was so important? Let’s go eat some milk and cookies! Editor’s Note: Todd Pretz is Vice President of Jonathan Green, a leading supplier of lawn and garden products in the northeast. For more information, please visit: www.jonathangreen.com call 8-1-1 or visit www.nj1-call. com to ask for a mark-out, which will show you where utilities are located. If you are or are having a landscape professional do an installation or construction, it is their responsibility to call for the mark-out. This service is expected to take up to three days to complete. Once it is done, if you need to dig near any of the marked lines, carefully hand dig within two feet on either side of the line. H Have a wonderful June and happy “locally grown” planting!

Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott is the Executive Director for the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association. She was presented with a community service award from the Borough of Fairview for her assistance in leading the 9-11 Memorial Park project and the Legislative Champion of the Year award from the Federation of Employers and Workers of America. She is currently the State Licensee Chair on the National Association of Landscape Professionals International Certification Council.


18 June 2021

GardenerNews.com

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT African Swine Fever Virus Vaccine Candidate Now Produced in a Cell Line The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announces that an African Swine Fever Virus vaccine candidate has been adapted to grow in a cell line, which means that those involved in vaccine production will no longer have to rely on live pigs and their fresh cells for vaccine production. “This opens the door for large-scale vaccine production, which is a valuable tool for the possible eradication of the virus,” said senior ARS scientist Dr. Manuel Borca. African Swine Fever is known to cause virulent, deadly outbreaks in wild and domestic swine, causing widespread and lethal outbreaks in various countries in Eastern Europe and throughout Asia. African Swine Fever is not a threat to humans and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. However, outbreaks have led to significant economic losses and pork shortages on local and global

scales. No commercial vaccines are currently available to prevent the virus from spreading. There have not been any outbreaks in the United States, but it’s estimated that a national outbreak could cost at least $14 billion over two years, and $50 billion over 10 years. This discovery, highlighted in the Journal of Virology, overcomes one of the major challenges for manufacturing of an African Swine Fever Virus vaccine. The newly developed vaccine, grown in a continuous cell line — which means immortalized cells that divide continuously or otherwise indefinitely—has the same characteristics as the original vaccine produced with fresh swine cells. “Traditionally we used freshly isolated swine cells to produce vaccine candidates and this constitutes a significant limitation for large-scale production” said senior ARS scientist Dr. Douglas Gladue. “But now we can retain the

vaccine characteristics while simultaneously replicating the vaccine in lab-grown cell cultures. We no longer have to rely on gathering fresh cells from live swine.” The continuous cell line vaccine candidate was tested in a commercial breed of pigs and determined to be safe, protecting pigs against the virus. No negative effects were observed. This research was supported in part by an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some of the scientific personnel were part of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center Research Participation Program, administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. All animal studies were performed at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, following a protocol approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

USDA Accepting Applications for FY 2021 International Education Program The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service is accepting applications from eligible organizations for fiscal year 2021 funding for the International Agricultural Education and Fellowship Program. The funding will allow organizations and institutions with experience in agricultural education and extension to provide fellowships to eligible U.S. citizens to assist developing countries in establishing school-based agricultural education and youth extension programs. The application deadline is June 17, 2021. Under the International Agricultural Education and Fellowship Program selected entities will implement projects, to be carried out by U.S. fellows, that incorporate classroom instruction, field demonstrations, entrepreneurship projects, and leadership development focused on topics that align with the agricultural policy, development, and extension goals of the host country and USDA. More information about the program and the FY 2021 funding opportunity is available at: https:// www.fas.usda.gov/programs/internationalagricultural-education-fellowship-program.

Some Things to Consider For 2021 Periodical Cicada Season For some, that means a summer of noisy mating calls and days full of the red-eyed insects landing in your hair or on your clothes. For others it means free bait to catch that prize-winning fish, or preparation for a season of delicacies – think chocolate-covered or deep-fried cicadas. Whatever your response may be, there is so much to learn about these unique insect species. Every 17 years, the underground development cycle is completed for the Brood X periodical cicada. They will step away from feeding on below-ground roots and begin to push their way through to the surface once the soil temperature reaches a stable temperature of 64 degrees. The good news is that this insect poses no threat to us humans. They don’t bite and they don’t sting. Instead, they are known to leave

quite a cluttered mess outside your front door or on the bottom of your shoe due to the way they shed their exoskeleton as they re-emerge into the world. This minor annoyance is overshadowed by the unique fact that this biological event only occurs in the eastern United States. The Smithsonian’s National Collection of Insects partners with the USDA-ARS’ Systematic Entomology Lab (SEL) to track the geographical spread of each brood, as well as the timing of the species’ emergence. There are 15 active broods across the eastern USA occupying distinct geographic areas and with either 13 or 17-year lifecycles, and Brood X is considered one of the largest. USDA-ARS Scientist Stuart McKamey works within the SEL and has extensively studied other cicada species that damage coffee or

sugarcane crops in tropical countries. Research has shown, however, that in the United States, periodical cicadas only cause serious damage to young shrubs and trees. “When large numbers of cicadas insert eggs in a branch with their saw-like egg-laying structures, the branches can be killed,” said Dr. McKamey. “For large trees this is like a natural pruning, but young shrubs are at risk of dying. The best way to protect our yards is to lay a ¼ inch netting over young shrubs, which is available commercially.” This easyto-use method protects young trees and shrubs from egg-laying female cicadas. McKamey also explains that male cicadas send a mating call to the female cicada by vibrating a drumlike organ at the base of its abdomen. In turn, the female will respond with

a wing-flick that may sound similar to what we hear when we snap our fingers. “If you snap you fingers outside during the cicada onslaught, you may end up with male cicadas flocking onto you,” McKamey said. There are actually three species of 17-year periodical cicadas that will emerge together this year. They look almost the same to us, but the males of each species have a different mating call so they can connect with the females of the right species. Once the cicadas decide to mate with one another, the female will lay her eggs within slender branches of plants and trees. When the eggs hatch, the juvenile nymph will fall to the ground, burrow into the soil, and grow for another 17 years. And then the cycle will repeat itself all over again.


GardenerNews.com

June 2021 19

OF AGRICULTURE NEWS U.S. and Mexico Keep Organic Trade Open On May 7, 2021, Mexico’s agriculture secretariat (SADER) extended the deadline for U.S. organic exports to be certified to its Organic Products Law (LPO). U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with his counterpart Secretary Victor Villalobos, and they agreed to extend the compliance deadline to December 31, 2021. Through 2021, USDA-certified organic products may continue to be exported, but on January 1, 2022, organic products exported from the U.S. to Mexico must be certified to the LPO standard.

USDA Agency and Company Partner to Explore Personal Care Products from Hemp Expanding the market for hemp seed oil is the goal of a new cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) involving Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and the Midwest Bioprocessing Center (MBC), a Peoria, Illinois-based firm specializing in organic chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing. At the heart of the 24-month agreement is a patented process that a team of chemists with the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria developed, called “biocatalysis.” In short, it involves using enzymes and heat rather than harsh chemicals and solvents to catalyze reactions that bind natural antioxidants like ferulic acid to lipids in soybean and other vegetable oils. In prior research, the team used the process to create a class of compounds called feruloyl soy glycerides (FSGs) from soybean oil. These were subsequently licensed and commercialized for use as ingredients in skin- and personal-care products because of the ultraviolet (UV) absorbance and antioxidant properties that they offered. Now, under the cooperative agreement with MBC, the team will explore creating similar ferulic-acidbased ingredients from bio-catalyzed hemp seed oil, potentially broadening the market for this commodity from an estimated 90,000 U.S. acres of industrial hemp, a type of Cannabis sativa that was legalized under the Farm Bill of 2018. Hemp seed oil today is popularly used in cannabidiol-containing products for perceived health benefits.

However, like soy or corn oil, hemp oil also contains a variety of nutrients, fatty acids (including omega-3 fatty acids) and bioactive compounds that can be transformed into specialty chemicals offering useful new properties. Toward that end, the ARS-MBC team will focus on bio-catalyzing hemp oil to make “cosmeceuticals”— skin-care ingredients that perform specific functions, like protecting skin from UV light, retaining moisture, or stabilizing other active ingredients used in skin-care formulations. “Collaborating with industry partners like MBC, which has expertise in enzymology and the infrastructure for scale-up, is critical to exploring expanded uses for our original technology,” said Compton, with the ARS center’s Renewable Technologies Research Unit in Peoria. The research unit is one of seven comprising the NCAUR that collectively specialize in researching value-added uses for agricultural commodities as well as the byproducts of their manufacture into other processed goods. The NCAUR has also played a lead role in devising sustainable approaches to processing these commodities with an eye towards expanding economic opportunities for growers of both established crops like corn, wheat and soybean, as well as emerging ones, like cuphea and industrial hemp. In addition to opening the door to the cosmetics and personal care markets, NCAUR scientists are researching ways to better process hemp into fuels, lubricants and adhesives, as well as functional food ingredients and fiber products.

Stingless Wasps Defend Ash Trees and Battle the Emerald Ash Borer For years ash trees had been declining and dying in southeast Michigan for no apparent reason. Then in 2002, the Michigan Department of Agriculture discovered why—it was a small wood-boring beetle called emerald ash borer (EAB). Soon after it was detected, USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program sent PPQ and Forest Service scientists to China to look for EAB’s natural enemies in its native range. They found three wasp species (parasitoids) attacking EAB eggs and larvae, and brought them back to study—hopeful that at least one species could be safely released as a biological control (biocontrol) against the pest. Biocontrol is a practical pest management tool that uses pests’ natural enemies to suppress or reduce pest populations. It is cost-effective and environmentally sound, reduces the use of conventional pesticides, and is self-sustaining once biocontrol agents establish their populations. Fast forward to 2021. PPQ’s EAB biological control staff rear four stingless wasp species that are EAB natural enemies. Three attack EAB’s larvae, and one attacks its eggs. The staff produce the wasps year-round and keep them in cold storage until spring. In mid-May, the staff began shipping wasps to our program cooperators—State departments of agriculture, Native American tribes, universities, and environmental groups—for release. “This release season we will send multiple shipments of one or more species to 150 release sites in EAB-infested states,” said Supervisory Entomologist Ben Slager, who manages PPQ’s EAB biocontrol rearing facility. “All four wasp species are amazing EAB hunters; however, researchers know the most about how effectively

Tetrastichus attacks and kills EAB larvae, spreads, and protects ash sapling and young trees.” Tetrastichus are comparable in size to an average mosquito. They hunt by feeling vibrations from EAB larvae feeding under the bark. They use their ovipositor to pierce through the bark and lay multiple eggs inside the larvae. Their eggs hatch, feed, and eventually kill the EAB larvae as the wasps complete their lifecycle and bore out of the tree ready to attack EAB larvae. Since the start of the biocontrol program, PPQ has released about 8 million wasps in 30 EAB-infested States. We have successfully recovered wasp offspring in 22 States, demonstrating that the wasps are reproducing, becoming established in the areas where they were released, and—more importantly—attacking and killing EAB. EAB parasitoids are showing promise in several States, especially in terms of protecting young ash saplings from EAB. In 2019, USDA scientists teamed up with researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to study the effects of EAB biocontrol in Michigan and several northeastern states. They found that the wasps were killing 20 percent to 80 percent of EAB in ash trees up to 8 inches in diameter. Their study documented that more EAB were being attacked by wasps, fewer EABs were attacking ash trees, and the ash trees were regenerating. “In January 2021, PPQ removed the Federal domestic EAB quarantine regulations so we could devote our resources to biocontrol,” Slager said. “I’m happy to say the biocontrol results from the field have been encouraging, but we certainly have a lot more work ahead of us.”


20 June 2021

GardenerNews.com Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

Smokin’ Hot

There is a tree I have been meaning to write about for some time, but the timing never seemed right. A tree type, I feel, that is so underappreciated and certainly underused. I have friends who, on occasion, surprise me and ask questions about a tree or plant they saw and suddenly become interested in my world. To this point, my wife has had a dear friend since childhood, and after all these years she has become a friend to me as well. Stefani is a vice president of global retail merchandising for a major American cosmetics brand and in my opinion has flawless taste. Her home and surroundings seem to epitomize grace and style. She has a “keen appreciation of how aesthetic principles work,” understanding color, contrast, texture, rhythm, etc. Her personal choices of expressing herself seem to be effortless and simple, so when she asked me for a Smoketree type, Cotinus coggygria, it just seemed fitting. Common Smoketree or Smokebush is a plant type that finishes nicely between 10 to 15 feet tall and equally wide. A formidable, deciduous candidate for smaller spaces, this tree is a superb alternative to popular redbud and dogwood types. The native range for Cotinus coggygria is temperate Asia and Europe and its hardiness is between zones 5-8. A tree easily grown in average soil types, Smokebush has been touted to survive nearly anywhere except in miry ground types. Despite its rare appearances in American gardens, perhaps occurring as often as Brigadoon, this upright, loosespreading, multi-stem tree can also be procured as a single stem. The common name, Smoketree (Smokebush), comes not from its tiny yellow flowers in the spring, but

rather from its “billowy hairs attached to elongated stalks on the spent flower clusters.” It is precisely this feature that has smoky purplish-pink highlights in the summer that remind me of optical fibers. Smoke-like puffs cover the tree and help punctuate the bluish-green leaves that are ovate to obovate. And while Smokebush can have erratic fall color markings at times, one can only hope for its yellow, orange and reddishpurple hues all to align. It is mystifying to me why this plant is not more popular, given that it has no serious insect or disease problems, is drought-tolerant and not favored by deer. However, Stefani may argue this last point, not as deer fodder, but rather “buck rub.” This striking accent plant could clearly be a single focal point or, as I have seen it done in Far Hills, N.J., used as an impressive hedge running over 100 feet. As with most plants, there is a plethora of cultivars to choose from. “Royal Purple” has foliage that is a rich maroon-red, darkening to purplish red or black. Color that does not fade and in fact has rich reddish-purple fall color too. It is this cultivar that was used in Far Hills, N.J., fronting a line of Magnolia virginiana. Imagine the dark tones of “Royal Purple” set against the silvery blue-green foliage of a fragrant, summer flowering magnolia… breathtaking! “Golden Spirit” is a bright yellow cultivar discovered as a chance seedling in 1990. An exciting plant that looks as good in the ground as it does in brightly colored pots in your outdoor space. “Velveteeny” is a “teeny” form of “Royal Purple.” Complete with feathery plumes of gray to pink flowers in the summer and striking burgundy foliage, this rounded dwarf form has adorned a few

containers at our home. “Pink Champagne” has bronzepurple new growth maturing to green with compact feathery pink inflorescences and “Grace” has a massive pink flower panicle. “Grace” received an Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society and is certainly worth seeking out. For centuries this plant was identified as Rhus cotinus, thus explaining its occasional reference as Venetian sumac. Now a stand-alone genus with only a few species, this midsize plant packs a colorful punch to any landscape, particularly its cultivars. While Smokebush may have a sort of tropical flare, it will be quite happy in an exposed, sunny location free of shelter. Pruning this plant can be quite the conundrum to gardeners, however. Coppicing this plant, almost to ground level in late winter or early spring, will promote vigorous new shoots and brightly colored leaf markings. However, in so doing you may control the plant’s size, but you most certainly will sacrifice its abundant flowers. Cotinus coggygriaoffers, so much on such a small frame. A multi-branched shrub or small tree that can be tamed and kept tidy… or not? It’s no wonder Stefani became so enamored with it and chose it as a signature piece for her new home. Editor’s Note: Bob LaHoff is co-owner of Hall’s Garden Center and Florist in Union County, a member of the Union County Board of Agriculture, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, past member of Reeves-Reed Arboretum Buildings and Grounds Committee, a lifetime member of the Conifer Society and past member of the retail council for Monrovia Growers. He can be reached at (908) 665-0331.

Bobcat Company and Country Artist Justin Moore Announce Partnership and Fan Sweepstakes Bobcat Company (“Bobcat”) announced a partnership with multi-platinum recording artist Justin Moore. Moore will serve as an official brand ambassador for Bobcat, and the company will sponsor Moore’s 2021 concert tour featuring his new eight-song collection, “Straight Outta The Country” (The Valory Music Co.). The partnership also officially launched a fan sweepstakes, the Straight Outta the Country Giveaway, offering Bobcat prize giveaways and custom co-branded Bobcat and Moore swag. In addition, Moore will team up with Bobcat to make a charitable donation to benefit a nonprofit organization to be announced later this year. “I have admired their products for many years, so I am proud to share my love of the Bobcat brand with my fans,” said Justin Moore. “I am also honored to partner with Bobcat and join them in supporting charitable projects, as we share similar values and a commitment to giving back.” Bobcat has a long history of community support and engagement, including engaging volunteers and providing financial and in-kind support to organizations and programs to make a positive impact in local communities. “We are extremely pleased to be working with Justin, as he shares similar values with Bobcat and believes in working hard and delivering top performance,” said Laura Ness Owens, vice president of marketing, communication and public affairs at Doosan Bobcat North America. “Together, we are proud to support our community, and to make a positive impact on those needing assistance.” Announcing Straight Outta the Country Giveaway The partnership also officially launches the Straight Outta the Country Giveaway, which will run until Oct. 31, 2021. The contest gives fans the chance to win one of three Bobcat compact equipment prizes. Sweepstake prizes include a Bobcat Compact Tractor with Front-End Loader – CT2025, a Bobcat Zero-Turn Mower – ZT6000 (61”), and a Bobcat Utility Vehicle – UV34XL For official rules and full details on how to enter, visit www.bobcat.com/country. Fans can enter for their chance to win by visiting www.bobcat.com/country. For additional entries, fans can share with friends via social media and text messaging. Winners will be selected in a random drawing and announced later this year. The partnership also features co-branded t-shirts and baseball caps available for purchase to fans attending Moore’s concerts. As the latest celebrity to become a member of the Bobcat family, Justin Moore joins pro quarterback Carson Wentz and professional bull rider Jess Lockwood. Moore’s 2021 tour is currently underway, and tickets are available for shows across the United States. To learn more about city stops and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.justinmooremusic.com/tour.

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22 June 2021

GardenerNews.com

NORTHEAST DEPARTMENT NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

First Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy Cases for New Jersey in 2021 The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has quarantined a property in Morris County after two horses developed the highly infectious equine herpes myeloencephalopathy (EHM). Both horses, 17-year-old and 20-year-old Quarter Horse geldings, developed clinical signs on April 18, 2021. The horses were administered prompt treatment and have improved clinically. EHM is the often-deadly neurologic form of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) infection. Other horses on the premises are under quarantine as temperatures are also being taken twice daily on all quarantined horses to monitor for sickness. The NJDA is tracing and

notifying the appropriate parties regarding recent horse movement. “The Department took swift action in an effort to prevent the disease from spreading to other horses by enacting a quarantine, which stops movement of horses in and out of the properties and puts in place preventive measures to contain the virus,” New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said. The EHV-1 organism spreads quickly from horse to horse and can cause respiratory problems, especially in young horses, spontaneous abortions in pregnant mares, and the neurologic form of the virus can result in death. The incubation period of EHV-1 is

typically 2-10 days. Clinical signs include respiratory disease, fever, nasal discharge, depression, cough, lack of appetite, and/or enlarged lymph nodes. In horses infected with the neurologic strain of EHV-1, clinical signs typically include mild incoordination, hind end weakness/ paralysis, loss of bladder and tail function, and loss of sensation to the skin in the hind end. The virus spreads readily through direct contact with infected materials. While highly infectious, the virus does not persist in the environment for an extended period and is neutralized by hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and sunlight. The virus does not affect humans and other domestic

animals, except for llamas and alpacas. Concerned owners should consult with their veterinarian prior to taking any action as the clinical signs of infection with the neurological form of EHV-1 (EHM) are common to many other diseases. EHM is a reportable disease in New Jersey. If an owner has a horse exhibiting neurologic signs or suspects Equine Herpes, they are directed to call their veterinarian immediately. The NJDA Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory is available to assist veterinarians with the EHV-1 testing. For contact information, please visit the lab website at www. jerseyvetlab.nj.gov.

PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Administration Invests $500,000 in Future of Agriculture, Funds 57 Ag Education Grant Projects At Penn Manor High School Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Education Executive Deputy Secretary Pam Smith announced that $500,000 from the Pennsylvania Farm Bill has been invested in developing the future workforce for Pennsylvania’s $132.5 billion agriculture industry by funding 57 grants for ag education. “Kids are the future and opportunities in agriculture are increasing every day,” said Redding. “Our goal with this program is to show Pennsylvania youth that agriculture is more than cows and plows. It’s computer science and technology, food science and animal health – it’s in labs and on farms, in restaurants and healthcare facilities. More importantly, it’s on our plate every day and we need a new generation to ensure that continues.” The Ag and Youth Program of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill funds projects for ag education and workforce development programs, seminars and field trips, agricultural safety training, capital projects, and equipment purchases that work to build a strong future workforce for Pennsylvania’s leading industry

by increasing awareness about opportunities to work in agriculture. The legislation for the program was sponsored by Representative Pam DeLissio. “In 2019 I was privileged to be the primary sponsor of the Agriculture and Youth Development Grant legislation that revised and reestablished a program to fund youth organizations that promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship across the commonwealth,” Rep. DeLissio said. “This legislation, part of the first ever PA Farm Bill, increased available grant funding to $7,500 per grant and made available matching funds of up to $25,000 for capital projects. “The PA Farm Bill lays the groundwork to strengthen Pennsylvania’s work force and ensure the next generation is prepared to fill the employment opportunities that are anticipated in this sector. Congratulations to the students at Penn Manor High School on their grant and the opportunities it will create.” Penn Manor High School

received a grant for nearly $7,500 to purchase equipment to provide students opportunities to develop advanced skills for the welding industry through STEM. With the purchase of a plasma table and accessories, along with coordinating curriculum, students will have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of computer-aided design (CAD) projects to prepare them for real-world experiences in the industry. “From the food on your plate to the chair on which you’re seated to the ground that you hike on and beyond, agriculture is all around us and a part of everything we do,” said Executive Deputy Secretary Smith. “These grants will help students connect with agriculture, learn more about Pennsylvania’s leading industry, and explore the dynamic, in-demand careers that are waiting for them which they may never have considered before.” The 2021-22 Ag and Youth Program funded 57 projects, 14 for matching reimbursement grant projects of up to $25,000 and 43 for direct non-matching grants of up to $7,500. Projects were funded in 33

Pennsylvania counties. The PA Farm Bill is Governor Tom Wolf’s bold, aggressive, and necessary investment in Pennsylvania agriculture to grow opportunities and resources, remove barriers to entry, and inspire future generations of leaders for the industry. Pennsylvania agriculture is a $132.5 billion industryOpens In A New Window that provides more than 593,000 jobs to Pennsylvanians. That’s a 2.4 percent increase in workforce size since 2018. As the industry diversifies and innovates with new technology and its aging workforce retires, new opportunities are continually available. The Wolf Administration is dedicated to growing interest in this industry that feeds Pennsylvania and the world. For more about the PA Farm Bill’s investments in agriculture or the work of the Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, visit agriculture.pa.gov. Parents looking for an opportunity to expose their kids to agriculture are encouraged to visit agriculture. pa.gov/kidsarethefuture.


GardenerNews.com

June 2021 23

OF AGRICULTURE NEWS NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

System Helps Farmers Forecast Insect and Plant Disease Risk, Avoid Crop Loss New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball, in partnership with the Cornell University New York State Integrated Pest Management Program (NYSIPM) and Northeast Regional Climate Center, announced the launch of the Network for Environment and Weather Applications (NEWA) version 3.0, a complete update of the popular online system that has helped New York farmers better protect their crops from insects and plant disease since 1995. NEWA 3.0 now offers an improved user experience paired with any smart device, a secure user account system with customized preferences, and more to help New York growers continue to share critical information and use IPM best management practices that support the agricultural industry. Commissioner Ball said, “NEWA has long been key to New York farmers’ integrated pest management, an environmentally and economically sensible way

to protect New York’s crops, our agricultural industry, our natural resources, and our health. The launch of NEWA 3.0 will help our farmers to better safeguard their land and crops and will ensure the continued strength of our agricultural industry.” NEWA is a weather network that makes it possible for farmers to share resources for weather data collection, analysis, distribution, and archiving. Weather stations, primarily located on farms, deliver data to the NEWA website, which automatically calculates and displays weather data summaries, crop production tools, and IPM forecasts. NEWA users report annual cost savings of $33,048 from avoided crop losses, $4,329 from reduced sprays, and $2,060 in overall per acre annually, according to a 2017 survey. The NEWA 3.0 website features many improvements, including: an optimized user experience on any smart device; a secure user account system with customized preferences;

saved model preferences; an online Help Desk system; improved data quality; and much more. The new release includes 17 completed fruit and vegetable insect pest and plant disease forecast models, with 7 more lined up for release in coming months. These resources link with data streams from 717 public and private weather stations in 15 participating US states. Dan Olmstead, Cornell Cooperative Extension Associate and NEWA Coordinator said, “Our growers asked for an easy, efficient, and useful website. NEWA 3.0 not only delivers, but completely surpasses, everyone’s expectations. This achievement strategically positions the New York State IPM Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension to support sustainable farming practices throughout the region in coming years by combining new technology with local real-time weather data and research-based knowledge.” NEWA 3.0 (beta) is available for

use immediately. There is no charge for access or account creation. For more information on NEWA 3.0, visit https://dev.newa.cornell.edu. The old website at http://newa. cornell.edu will remain in place until the current growing season is complete. For more information, contact NYSIPM’s Dan Olmstead at (315) 787-2207 or dlo6@cornell.edu. About NEWA and the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program NEWA is part of the NYSIPM and Cornell Cooperative Extension. The New York State Budget, through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of Environmental Conservation, provides $1 million to NYSIPM programs annually as part of the Environmental Protection Fund. As part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, NYSIPM promotes risk-reducing practices in agricultural and community settings.

CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Connecticut Food Policy Council Announces Launch of New Website and Action Plan The Connecticut Food Policy Council is pleased to announce the launch of a new website and action plan to create a more resilient Connecticut food system. The website, ctfoodpolicy.com, is a resource of food policy groups, food systems information and data, food benefits accessibility, and more to link economic development, environmental protection, and preservation with farming and urban issues. The creation of a website is one of several actions currently being undertaken now that the board is fully appointed and meeting regularly. Prior years saw sporadic attendance and lack of quorums during meetings due to appointment vacancies leading to no actions moving forward. “Our boards, councils, and

commissions are invaluable in driving good policy and providing input to the agency,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “The Food Policy Council members each contribute a dynamic voice and opportunity to learn more about the unique communities they serve.” Established in 1997 by the Connecticut legislature under Public Act 97-11, Section 21, this is the only statewide food policy council in Connecticut and is administratively supported by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Together with various partners throughout the state, they are charged with developing, coordinating, and implementing a food system policy. It is a collaborative mix of agricultural producers, agricultural organizations, and six state agencies including Agriculture,

Administrative Services, Education, Transportation, Public Health, and Social Services. Connecticut is home to more than a dozen food policy groups; each addressing different geographic locations and/or segments from consumers, production, and processing to food waste management and distribution. Food insecurity in Connecticut and benefit programs are an aspect of the food system that the council is beginning to develop work on, leveraging the state agency council membership. According to Feeding America’s 2019 Map a Meal, there are 426,620 food insecure residents in Connecticut, or 11.9% of the population. In 2020, the Department of Social Services administered the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to

serve an average of nearly 218,000 households per month, representing 467,764 individual participants and $819,027,405 in total benefits. The Connecticut Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program served 43,777 individuals in 2020 with a total of $36,250,000 on food and the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), in partnership with the USDA, served 41,048 WIC participants and an additional 24,791 income eligible seniors and disabled adults to source fresh, unprocessed Connecticut Grown fruits, vegetables, and honey. Comments, suggestions, and additions to the Food Policy Council website content are welcome and can be directed to Erin Windham at Erin.Windham@ct.gov or Cyrena Thibodeau at Cyrena.Thibodeau@ ct.gov.


24 June 2021

GardenerNews.com

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GardenerNews.com Last week, I was on a conference call for the annual meeting of the Greater Philadelphia Gardens consortium, an organization with the slogan “Philadelphia: America’s garden capital.” It’s true. In addition to the consortium’s 30-plus gardens, our area has dozens of other horticultural and botanical gems to explore. In Swarthmore, Pa., we have the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College right in my backyard, with its multiple beautifully designed campus gardens. The arboretum also boasts one of the finest collections of trees, shrubs, and vines in the world — as well as what is arguably one of the top-five magnolia collections globally. Another gem, in Media, Pa., is the Tyler Arboretum, which has an original collection of Painter Trees, named for the family that planted them on what was then their family farm. These include many conifer species and a massive specimen of Ginkgo biloba. Tyler also boasts impressive collections of conifers, cherries, magnolias, and many native trees. Chanticleer was turned into a public garden about 30 years ago, this former estate ranks as one of the finest designed gardens on the planet — truly among the best of the best when it comes to plantsmanship and garden design. Then there’s the relatively

June 2021 25 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society By Andrew Bunting Vice President of Public Horticulture

America’s Garden Capital

new Stoneleigh Gardens (now owned by the Natural Lands Trust), located on the former Haas estate in Villanova, which features native plantings. In addition, not far from Chanticleer and Stoneleigh, you can find the campus arboreta of Haverford College and Villanova University. One of my favorite local garden destinations is the Jenkins Arboretum in Devon, Pa. It features a beautiful collection of azaleas, rhododendrons, and related species, as well as many different kinds of complementary groundcovering perennials. Travel south along Route 1 to Kennett Square, and you will find Longwood Gardens, the granddaddy of local gardens, which rivals the greatest gardens of the world. In addition to boasting one of the largest conservatories anywhere, Longwood is home to more-than-impressive features like its Fountain Garden, Italian Water Garden, and Topiary Garden.

Further south still, in northern Delaware, Dupont estates and gardens abound. The gardens at the Winterthur Museum, the Nemours Mansion, the Hagley Museum and Library, and the Mt. Cuba Center are all worth visiting. And, when you’re in Wilmington, the gardens around the headquarters of the Delaware Center for Horticulture are worth a peek. North of Philadelphia is Temple University’s Ambler campus, which hosts another great campus arboretum. Like the Mt. Cuba Center, Stoneleigh Gardens, and Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, it is a must-see for wildflowers. Further north, in Point Pleasant, Bucks County, you can visit the magical Gardens at Mill Fleurs. I love the combination of sculpture and gardens at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J. And 40 minutes south of Hamilton, you can find the Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve of Medford Leas.

Back on this side of the river, Philadelphia is rightly known as the birthplace of American horticulture. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, founded in 1827, is the oldest horticultural society in the United States. It maintains many terrific free and accessible public gardens and landscapes throughout the city and its suburbs. These include the Azalea Garden, Logan Square, and the gardens of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. The society even maintains a garden at a tiny historic gas station on 20th Street and Arch Street. The Society also features pop-up gardens with drinking and dining options, like the South Street Pop Up Garden and the recently opened Manayunk Pop Up Garden. This month, the Gateway Garden at Drexel University will open on Market Street. The Navy Yard has many gardens and parks, and you can find horticultural installations and pocket parks all along Philly’s

Delaware River waterfront. Additionally, the 19 diverse gardens of Meadowbrook Farm — the former estate garden of J. Liddon Pennock, a florist who exhibited at the Philadelphia Flower Show for many years — can be found just outside the city in Jenkintown, Pa. in Abington Township. No wonder Philadelphia is known as America’s garden capital! Editor’s Note: Andrew Bunting is Vice President of Public Horticulture for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is one of the most recognized horticulturists in the Philadelphia, Pa., region and a highly regarded colleague in the world of professional horticulture. Bunting has amassed a plethora of awards, including the American Public Gardens Association Professional Citation, Chanticleer Scholarship in Professional Development, Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Marion Marsh Award, and the Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. In addition, Bunting has lectured extensively throughout North America and Europe, and participated in plant expeditions throughout Asia and Africa. Learn more at https://phsonline.org/team/ andrew-bunting

2021 Philadelphia Flower Show: “Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece” (Continued from page 1)

allowing for new possibilities for guests to experience seasonal flora. The early-summer timing, the outdoor location, the show’s new District layout, more shopping opportunities, and outdoorcentric add-on activities allow a safe, exciting experience for all ages. The Flower Show will also offer exceptional beauty and an increased diversity of flowers and plants, with the most designers ever showcased. “The 2021 Flower Show will inspire and bring joy to our visitors and provide gardeners with a wonderful highlight to the growing season,” said Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events. The dates are June 5-13,

2021, taking advantage of the park’s inspiring natural beauty and expansive outdoors location. Attendees must reserve a date and time of visit for all tickets purchased. Tickets are limited. Early purchase is recommended. Full details for the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show can be found at: www.phsonline.org/ the-flower-show. ABOUT PENNSYLVANIA HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization founded in 1827, plays an essential role in the vitality of the Philadelphia region by creating healthier living environments, increasing access to fresh food, growing economic

opportunity, and building deeper social connections between people. PHS delivers this impact through comprehensive greening and engagement initiatives in more than 250 neighborhoods; an expansive network of public gardens and landscapes; yearround learning experiences; and the nation’s signature gardening event, the Philadelphia Flower Show. PHS provides everyone with opportunities to garden for the greater good as a participant, member, donor, or volunteer. For information and to support this impactful work, please visit PHSonline.org. A BOU T THE PHILADELPHIA FLOWER SHOW The PHS Philadelphia Flower

Show is the Nation’s largest and the world’s longest-running horticultural event and features stunning displays by some of the world’s premier floral and landscape designers. The show has been named “Best Event” by the International Festivals and Events Association and “Best of the Best” by the American Bus Association (for the fifth consecutive year) in 2020-2021. Started in 1829 by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the show introduces diverse and sustainable plant varieties and garden and design concepts. In addition to acres of garden displays, the Flower Show hosts world-renowned competitions in horticulture and artistic floral arranging,

gardening presentations and demonstrations, special events, and the citywide Bloom Philly! pre-show celebration. Editor’s Note: Tom Castronovo is executive editor and publisher of Gardener News. Tom’s lifelong interest in gardening and passion for agriculture, environmental stewardship, gardening and landscaping, led to the founding of the Gardener News, which germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. He is also dedicated to providing inspiration, and education to the agricultural, gardening, landscaping and nursery communities through this newspaper and GardenerNews.com.


26 June 2021

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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) 2021 Gardener News, Inc.

Summer Solstice June 20, 2021 Full Moon June 24, 2021 Eastern Daylight

TIP OF THE MONTH Hanging baskets need to be watered regularly throughout the growing season. Check to see if the soil is dry by sticking your finger into the top of the soil. If it feels warm and dry, then it needs to be watered; if the soil feels cool, then it can wait another day. In the event that the soil has dried out, it will need to be rehydrated by soaking it in water for a few hours. Once a week, inspect your hanging basket and remove any dead or fading flowers and brown leaves. Cut back any part of the plant that looks dead, brown, or damaged. This will encourage new growth, more blooms, and make your hanging baskets look lush and full. Make sure that you fertilize when the soil is moist – not when the plants are wilting – and follow the directions on the specific fertilizer that you’re using. As your flowers grow, they may require more fertilizer than they did at the beginning of the season. It’s also a good idea to re-fertilize if your flowers are out in a heavy rainfall as the excess rain can drain the fertilizer.


GardenerNews.com

June 2021 27


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Gardener News June 2021  

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