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TAKE ONE

Gardener News

May 2021

Proudly Serving the Agricultural, Gardening, Landscaping & Nursery Communities GARDENERNEWS.COM

TAKE ONE No. 217

What’s Growing in My Landscape Mulch?

Tom Castronovo/Photo

Fuligo septica; or commonly known as dog vomit, scrambled egg slime or slime mold. While the appearance of this mold may raise a high level of concern the first thing you should know is it is not toxic and will not harm your lawn, garden or plants. It feeds on moist organic matter and forms a yellow patch which will turn a greyish-ivory color. effects to plant health and vigor. Undesirable nuisance fungi, however, may also occur when When used properly, mulches different types of mulches or and composts can improve soils composts are used under certain and provide many beneficial conditions. Some of the more

By Steven K. Rettke Contributing Writer

common examples of these nuisance fungi include the shotgun or artillery fungus (Sphaerobolus), slime molds (Physarum), stink horns (Mutinus), bird’s nest fungi

(Crucibularium), toadstool mushrooms, and several plant pathogens. Although these nuisance fungi are mostly natural decomposers of organic matter and most of

them are harmless, this article discusses how the various nuisance fungi sometimes associated with mulches and composts can be controlled or (Cont. on Page 20) minimized.


2 May 2021

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

Hall’s Garden Center & Florist

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May 2021 3

JOIN THE BATTLE.

BEAT THE BUG.

STOP THE SPREAD OF THE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY. CHECK YOUR VEHICLE Search for all spotted lanternfly life stages

Egg mass Sept.-June

Early nymph April-July

Late nymph July-Sept.

Adult July-Dec.

SCRAPE. SQUASH. REPORT. For questions in New Jersey call 1-866-BAD-BUGZ or email SLF-plantindustry @ag.nj.gov Scrape

egg massess into a container of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer

Squash

any bugs you see

Report

any sightings

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/


4 May 2021 The headline above is a theme that builds upon the current Jersey Fresh and Jersey Grown advertising campaigns. Jersey Fresh was the first agricultural products branding program in the nation run by any state department of agriculture. One of the other columnists in Gardener News is Alfred Murray, who was the branding program’s first director and fashioned much of the program that is still in place today. I would venture to say that we probably are the only state in the union that has not changed its branding moniker for agricultural products. That’s because, since it was conceived in 1983 and the first campaign launched in 1984, Jersey Fresh has meant something. It stands for something real. Farmers in the midst of the most densely populated state routinely place in the top-10 in the USA for any number of products, like nursery (the state’s leading sector by sales value), floral, vegetables, fruits, all entries we have come to appreciate and enjoy. You know it! Jersey tomatoes, sweet corn, blueberries, peaches, apples, etc., really can be distinguished from products imported or long-distance shipped We need to be innovative in preventing the spread of invasive species such as the crop-devouring spotted lanternfly and diseasespreading insects such as ticks and mosquitoes. That’s why the state Assembly Agriculture Committee is considering two bills to appropriate funds for research in the state budget for next year: $250,000 to the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station for tick research and control, and $1.5 million to the State Mosquito Control Commission. We must shift our focus away from the traditional approach of spraying pesticides on infested areas such as wetlands to surveillance and state-of-the-art prevention methods that safeguard people and protect the environment. Research is taking place globally and we have the good fortune of having world class researchers working right here at Rutgers Agricultural Experiment Stations and the Rutgers Center for Vector Biology (CVB) - formerly known as the Entomology’s Mosquito Research and Control Program. CVB works with Mosquito Control Programs in all 21 New Jersey counties. CVB researchers study pest and pathogen ecology, evolution, and control in a state-of-the-

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

Stay Loyal to Local

or raised to travel, not to taste. New Jerseyans in surveys consistently express great pride for what farmers produce and demonstrate they have confidence in the brand. This is a two-way street. By supporting our state’s farmers, New Jersey residents help to ensure that the farms near their homes continue into the future. That includes all the benefits those farms bring to our communities, including privately held and managed open space and fresh, wholesome products. New Jersey grew out of an agrarian past from the nation’s earliest beginnings and pretty much every county had established farmers who plied the land and interacted with the people on a very basic and interpersonal level. Fortunately, that isn’t just our state’s heritage. It still exists today,

and we want to make sure that not only continues, but also grows. Our farmers in the Garden State are your neighbors. Their children grow up with your children. They support local causes and share their bounty in countless and unselfish ways. Farming in the 21st century, however, is tougher than ever before, because we are part of a global market where agricultural products can come from anywhere, at any time, from around the world, and find their way to your table. There is a catch, however, that should be noted, and it is truly important. Many of the products that are shipped here come to you without much information about where they originated or how long they stayed in transport. They’re just put on a shelf or counter without provenance.

But there are important questions to ask. What conditions was it grown under to get it to market? For example, some tomatoes from thousands of miles away are picked green and ripened in transit (gassed) to arrive pink in color and have a shelf life like it was a loaf of sliced white bread. By contrast, our farmers pick/pack and can have their products to the market and to you within hours. You have likely heard the expression, “Know your farmer, know your food,” and when you ask for Jersey Fresh you truly do just that. Look around you right now and you are witnessing that annual ritual of spring planting all over the state. You are driving by and witnessing what will be available for you to take home weeks from now, after

Agriculture and Natural Resources By Eric Houghtaling New Jersey Assemblyman

Funding Research to Fight Invasive Species

art molecular laboratory that develops and uses highly sensitive DNA-based tools. They recently documented new pest species in New Jersey that are both exotic to the United States and southern U.S. species expanding north, and are developing strategies for their control. The DNA-based approach has shown great promise. Imperial College of London scientists have had success modifying mosquito DNA to produce mosquitoes that inherit mutations that knock out the genes females need to make eggs. Their work has shown the genetic change carries through to subsequent generations of female mosquitoes. This kind of research could help eliminate other diseasecausing insects, including Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks that infected 4,000 people in New Jersey in 2018. Many scientists think gene

drives, which enable one gene to spread rapidly in a population at the expense of other genes, could have their biggest impact on agriculture, where they could be used to quickly transform entire crops so that farmers don’t need to use polluting pesticides. Meanwhile, Agriculture Committee members also are trying to bring top state officials together by creating an Invasive Species Task Force. In March, the Agriculture Committee voted favorably on a bill that I sponsored with Assemblymen Ronald Dancer, Parker Space, and Harold Wirths to create the fivemember task force. The task force would include the commissioners of the Environmental Protection and Health Departments, the Secretary of Agriculture, the State Forester, and the executive director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University.

The Task Force would prepare a comprehensive invasive species management plan to guide New Jersey’s response to species such as spotted lanternflies and East Asian ticks. There’s a lot at stake here when combating invasive species. Economists at Penn State University say the spotted lanternfly could cost New Jersey at least $324 million per year and up to 2,800 jobs. Lyme disease cases, which can cause lasting health problems, have been up and down in recent years, but 4,000 cases were confirmed in New Jersey during 2018, the last year for which data is available.  By developing uniform policies and a coordinated response, the Task Force would come up with a plan to prevent new invasive species from entering the state and to limit the spread of the ones already here. One of the ways we can combat invasive species is by making sure

what has grown has been drenched in the sun and picked at the perfect time. “Stay loyal to local” is something you can do to assure our farmers in New Jersey will always be here. When you do this, it keeps the industry moving forward and prevents the question ever being asked, “Where are the farms and farmers?” The goal here, I think, is for you to never have to ask this question either. It’s a way of life that has always been important in the Garden State, and with your help, it will continue that way for generations to come.

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 native New Jersey species thrive. That’s why I introduced a bill last month that would provide a sales and use tax exemption for retail sales up to $100 of native plants and seeds. Using native plants helps preserve food for the animals native to the state, encourages biodiversity, and reduces soil erosion. You can help in this fight against the spread of the spotted lanternfly if you see them in your garden this spring by contacting the Department of Agriculture through its spotted lanternfly page at https:// bit.ly/3rAuVnp and clicking the “reporting tool.” The department also offers an instructional egg mass scraping video, at https://bit. ly/3dn8HQu. By bringing together the scientists, policymakers, and Garden State residents, we will win the battle against these destructive invaders.  

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.


GardenerNews.com SupportSupport NJ Agriculture Support NJ Agriculture NJ Agriculture

May 2021 5

JERSEY GROWN JERSEY GROWN JERSEY GROWN

Support NJ Agriculture

Nursery StockNursery StockNursery Stock JERSEY GROWN JERSEY GROWN JERSEY GROWN

Sunflower Birdseed Sunflower Birdseed Sunflower Birdseed JERSEY GROWN JERSEY GROWN JERSEY GROWN

Firewood

Firewood

Firewood

JERSEY GROWN JERSEY GROWN JERSEY GROWN

JERSEY GROWN

Nursery Stock JERSEY GROWN

Sunflower Birdseed

Annuals & Perennials Annuals & Perennials Annuals & Perennials

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Governor

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Governor Phil Murphy

Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher

jerseygrown.nj.gov


6 May 2021

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

Home Gardeners School

Cultivate Summer Blooms & Bounties May 15, 2021 | 8:30am - 12:30pm EDT | $75

With a little education, increase the fruits of your loving labors. Designed to offer something for everyone, our virtual event is made up of nine (9) workshops that will provide information on growing and maintaining your summer garden. Session #1: 9:00am to 10:00am Easy Drip Irrigation The Basics of Butterfly Gardening Berrymania Session #2: 10:15am - 11:15am Deer Control Methods and Deer Resistant Plants A Homeowner's Guide to Container Gardening Designing with Native Plants Session #3: 11:30am - 12:30pm Walkways, Pathways, and Stairways Principles of Healthy Ecosystem Gardening Garden Accessories, Alias Garden Bling

Register Online Today! go.rutgers.edu/HGSSummer

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

GardenerNews.com

From the Director’s Desk

Rutgers Outreach Provided by Brian Schilling Director

The Rutgers Vegetable IPM Program – Positives for Everyone Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a system that helps farmers anticipate and limit pest problems before they reach destructive levels. As the name implies, IPM integrates all practical management strategies to increase profitability, conserve energy resources, and maintain environmental quality without adversely affecting the yield and quality of agricultural products. The Rutgers Cooperative (RCE) Vegetable IPM Program in New Jersey was initiated in 1972, to assist sweet corn growers in managing insect pests responsibly. It has since expanded to include many of our state’s vegetable crops and has become a platform for dissemination of pest information throughout the agricultural community. The goal of the RCE Vegetable IPM Program is to assist farmers, consultants, and extension educators in making the best possible management decisions in protecting crops. It is expected that IPM growers will maintain high quality produce while minimizing production costs, consider non-chemical means of mitigating pest issues as a first line of defense, and use agricultural chemicals efficiently and only when necessary. In the RCE IPM Program, field technicians work closely with participating growers, monitoring crops twice a week for insect and disease pests, allowing for timely decision making. Additionally, most participating farms have insect survey traps, which are also checked twice a week. Insect and disease pressure in the crop fields is quantified, and target insect pests from trap captures are counted, with all information reported to the growers. Upon pests reaching critical levels (action thresholds) in trap collections or field assessments, growers are provided with recommendations, and must decide how to manage the pest. The information gathered from farm visits is also disseminated to a wider audience via weekly publication of the Vegetable IPM Update in the Rutgers Plant and Pest Advisory online newsletter. Management options for the farmer depend upon the pests that need control and the stage of crop development. For example, finding pest insects or disease on the crop leaves in seedling plants may require different control methods than finding the same pests on mature plants that are near harvest. Examples of control tactics that may be employed by growers include: Varietal Resistance: When available, a first option is to plant a crop variety that is pest resistant. This can greatly reduce or eliminate the need for pesticide use on the crop. Varietal resistance is typically used to help manage plant diseases, and growers must anticipate disease issues in this case, purchasing seeds with the appropriate resistance packages prior to the

growing season. Cultural Control: Examples include disruption of pest life cycles through soil cultivation, rotating crops by location from year to year to avoid pest buildup, and manipulating the local environment to improve drying conditions within the crop, making it more difficult for diseases favored by leaf wetness. Mechanical: Various types of physical barriers may be used to separate the pest from the crop. Common types are netting, row covers, and screening. Growers must know when to remove row covers if bees are necessary for pollination. Sanitation: This involves the removal or destruction of potentially diseased or insect-infested crop residue that may serve as a reservoir for harmful organisms potentially damaging to later crops. Additionally, seeds may be hot-water treated to eliminate some pathogens, and tools and production equipment may be sanitized to prevent disease spread. Biological Control: IPM may use natural enemies (such as ladybird beetles, predatory mites, parasitic wasps, etc.) to limit pest numbers. Native beneficial insects are encouraged to populate crops by placing flowering plants nearby that provide resources (pollen, nectar, cover) to those insects. In addition, biological insecticides composed of bacteria, viruses, nematodes, or plant derivatives are used when possible. Pesticides: When necessary, conventional pesticides are used with restraint, and are based on pest pressure reaching actionable levels. This optimizes efficacy while limiting potentially harmful effects on non-target organisms. The RCE Vegetable IPM Program actively monitors for insects and diseases on approximately 65 commercial farms in New Jersey, with far greater outreach through web-based publications (see below). IPM is a major part of vegetable production on New Jersey farms, helping agriculture remain viable. Additionally, the Rutgers Vegetable IPM Program provides real-time status updates on certain insect pest populations so that researchers, consultants, and gardeners can make more informed decisions regarding pest management. For access to current vegetable IPM-related information during the growing season, growers and home gardeners are encouraged to subscribe to the Rutgers Plant and Pest Advisory, Vegetable Crops Edition: plant-pest-advisory.rutgers. edu/category/jersey-vegetable-crops. Free email or smart device subscriptions are available at this site. Rutgers also has vibrant IPM programs for tree fruit and greenhouse growers. Collectively, RCE’s IPM programs seek to assure consumers of New Jersey farm fresh produce that their growers are utilizing the best information to be economically and environmentally sustainable.

Editor’s note: This month’s contribution was written by Kristian Holmstrom, Vegetable IPM Research Project Coordinator, Rutgers Cooperative Extension.


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

May 2021 7

Solomon’s Seal – ‘Knee Deep’ in Garden Applications As a gardener, I am always searching for interesting, lowgrowing plants to incorporate into designs. A garden will have more depth and visual interest if the lower levels do not all mature to a uniform height. Rather, it is best if they mature from ground-hugging to knee height. For years, I have seen Dwarf Solomon’s Seal, botanically known as Polygonatum humile, for sale at specialty garden centers and did not appreciate its garden worthiness until seeing it in a woodland garden. Polygonatum is a member of the Asparagaceae or Asparagus Family, with approximately 63 species located in the northern hemisphere, mostly in Asia. The genus name was crafted in 1754 by the English botanist and Head Gardener for the Chelsea Physic Garden, Philip Miller (1691-1771). It is from the Greek, merging Poly, for “many,” and Gonu, for “knees,” and is a 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. May Trivia Question: What computer technology company has agricultural roots? Spotlight Program: Advance your career with a Wetland Delineation Certificate! Meet the demand for qualified wetland delineators. Developers, consultants, preservationists, and regulatory agencies all require skilled professionals who are able to identify the vegetation, soils, and hydrology that define wetlands. Delineators also need to have the practical field training, regulatory background, and other experience to support their findings. Along with hydric soils and hydrology, the presence of wetland plants is one of the primary factors involved in the identification of wetland areas and the delineation of wetland boundaries. Therefore, the ability to identify wetland plants and distinguish between upland and wetland plant species is an essential step in the wetland delineation process. The Rutgers Wetland

reference to the zig-zag shape of the creeping rhizome, which produces an angular, knee-like joint between the growth from each season. The species epithet was ascribed and the plant initially described by the Russian botanist and plant collector Carl Johann Maximovich (18271891). However, it was Friedrich Ernst Ludwig von Fischer (17821854) who properly described the plant and was posthumously ascribed as the author in 1859. Humile is Latin for “low” and it certainly well describes the six- to eight-inch height of this plant, especially when compared to the other, far taller species within this genus. The common name of Solomon’s Seal originated from the shape of the leaf scar on the rhizome, as it resembles the Seal of King Solomon. Dwarf Solomon’s Seal is actually native to a broad area of Asia. It is found in forests and grassy slopes in northeastern China, Japan, Korea and Eastern Siberia. Despite its shorter stature, the ovate to lance shaped

leaves are nearly the same size as its larger cousins, reaching three inches long. The foliage is an attractive glossy green, featuring deep parallel venation and leaf bases that clasp the stem. The upper leaves are curiously cup shaped, while the lower leaves assume a flatter appearance. The off-white flowers are also disproportionately large for the size of the plant, measuring close to three-quarters of an inch in length by one-quarter inch in diameter. They hang from short pedicels that originate in the leaf axils. The flowers are composed of the typical six tepals customary for the genus, whereby the outer leafy calyx and the inner petals appear identical and together comprise the flower. While in the bud stage, the tepals are fused into a tube with a small green dot at the base. As the flower opens, only the very base of the tepals reflex back, yielding a bell-shaped flower. As one would surmise from its native provenance, this species is perfectly hardy, enduring winters

from zones 4 to 8. The pencilthick rhizomes gradually spread and allow the plant to create a dense matt of low-growing foliage. Plants are best grown in a shaded or lightly shaded site. As with other members of the genus, Solomon’s Seal is drought tolerant once established and the only damage I have seen is from slugs. Of course, North America is not to be denied various species of Solomon’s Seal. Polygonatum biflorum is native to the eastern two-thirds of the United States and Canada and is a familiar sight throughout woodlands of New Jersey. Hardy from zones 3 to 8, it was properly named in 1817 by Stephen Elliot (17711830), an American legislator, banker and botanist. The species epithet, meaning “two flowers,” is a bit misleading, as the flowers appear in pendulous clusters of two to as many as 10 with the petioles originating once again from the leaf axils of the arching stems. Come fall, the flowers are replaced with attractive, quarter-inch diameter deep blue

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

Lifelong Learning

Delineation Certificate is awarded to participants who attend and successfully complete assignments for six days of training as follows: Vegetation Identification for Delineating Wetlands (North or South) (two days); Methodology for Delineating Wetlands (four days); and complete the take-home exam with a score of 70 percent or better. Vegetation Identification for Wetland Delineation: North: (May 17-19, 2021, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. EST), South (June 16-18, 2021, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. EST) Through instructor-led online lectures and virtual tours of various wetland sites, you will learn how to identify plant species frequently encountered by wetland delineators in Northern and Central New Jersey, as well as neighboring New York and Pennsylvania. By the end of the course, you will be able to quickly and confidently identify the wetland plant species that are important in determining if an area

meets the hydrophytic vegetation criterion for wetland delineation. GET STARTED TODAY! If you are planning to achieve the Wetland Delineation Certificate, you are required to complete this course prior to attending the Methodology for Delineating Wetlands. (Contact Suzanne Hills, suzanne.hills@ rutgers.edu, 848-932-7234). Methodology for Delineating Wetlands: (June 22-24, 2021; 9:00am – 4:00pm EST) (Hybrid Course). This three-day online course will introduce you to delineating wetlands using the Federal Interagency Wetland Delineation Manual, which is required for use in New Jersey.  Participants will learn how to recognize key indicators of wetlands and how to use them to follow the delineation methods outlined in the manual. You will apply the criteria learned in the online class sessions while performing wetland

determinations during the field trips in October. Skill Development: Vegetation: Analyze plant communities and identify dominant plants and indicators of hydrophytic vegetation. Soils: Identify sandy and non-sandy hydric soils based on the national list of hydric soil field indicators. Hydrology: Recognize direct and indirect indicators. Meet the Instructors: Ralph Tiner, M.S., M.P.A., SWS Fellow has over 40 years of practical experience in wetland delineation and is a nationally recognized authority in the field. He is a nationally recognized expert on wetland delineation and was compiler and principal author of the Federal Interagency Wetland Delineation Manual - the industry standard for identifying and delineating wetlands in New Jersey. Mallory N. Gilbert, CPSS; PWS, Emeritus; CPESC, Retired; Lt. Col. USAF, Retired. Mal has been a

fruits, beloved by birds and other wildlife. The plants typically grow from one to three feet tall. Regardless of which species you select, you will certainly not be disappointed in how the various species accent and enhance the garden. You might say that Polygonatum is “knee deep” in its diversity of forms and applications for resolving design challenges in your garden. 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. private consultant since 1986 and has more than 40 years of professional experience in plant science, natural resources management, and wetland and soil sciences. Mal has authored numerous environmental reports, publications, and regulations for a variety of state, federal, and private organizations. Trivia Answer: If you guessed Apple, you are correct! If you said MAC (intosh), you get bonus points!! Jef Raskin, an Apple engineer, wanted to name the computer after his favorite type of apple, the McIntosh, but the spelling was changed to “Macintosh” for legal reasons. Fast forward four decades - 100 million Macs, and 2.2 billion I-phones, all have roots in agriculture. 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 May 2021

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May 2021 9

Bobcat introduces new log grapple for mini By Tom Castronovo Gardener News track loaders and small articulated loaders 2021 Gardening Surveys Reveal Around The Garden

Secrets of “Pandemic Gardening” It gives me great pleasure to share with you some great information about the gardening world. The National Gardening Association released on April 14, 2021 the results of the 361-page National Gardening Survey, the nation’s most comprehensive annual compendium of gardening activity and purchasing trends. Also released on the same date was a companion survey, “What Gardeners Think,” a special 426-page report on gardeners’ attitudes and gardening behavior. Included with each survey are industry expert analysis and commentary. The surveys confirm that gardening participation was way up, with 18.3 million new gardeners documented from this national sample. Veteran gardeners are also gardening more, and gardeners of all types are participating in more gardening activities. Two-thirds of gardeners tried a new gardening activity. Growth in flower gardening is catching up with the still strong surge in food gardening. Nearly one-third of gardeners had difficulty finding at least one type of product they intended to purchase in 2020. Overall, 42 percent of gardeners say they increased gardening due to the COVID pandemic, while only 9 percent gardened less; 88 percent of gardeners intend to increase or maintain their level of gardening activity in 2021 (36 percent more, 52 percent the same), and 89 percent plan to increase gardening post-pandemic (30 percent more, 59 percent the same). The intent to garden more is particularly pronounced among the gardening cohorts of younger gardeners, gardeners with children, apartment/condo dwellers, and gardeners of color. The surveys reveal a more diverse and divergent gardening population. There was disproportionate growth of gardening among traditionally underrepresented groups, including younger families, renters and apartment/condominium dwellers, and people of color. Gardening participation remained flat or declined among Baby Boomers. The gains could speak well for the future of gardening, but only if these new gardeners continue to engage in gardening post-pandemic. The surveys and accompanying commentaries analyze the factors that drive new gardener retention or desertion. There was only modest evidence of an increase in online shopping, a trend analyzed in further detail in the surveys. Online shopping of gardening products at general online retailers (such as Amazon) remains relatively small. The surveys reveal the continuing strength of home centers and mass merchandisers in the gardening market, and the accompanying commentaries outline strategies that independents can take to differentiate themselves from those larger players. Younger gardeners are more driven by growing food and by family activity benefits of gardening, while older gardeners garden more to beautify their homes and for exercise. All age groups cited the mental health and emotional benefits of gardening, and most gardeners continue to seek more gardening knowledge and better tools. About one half of respondents age 18 to 44 say they

would definitely or probably cultivate cannabis if it were legal to do so, but only one in eight of those above age 55 say they would cultivate cannabis. One-third of households who do not currently participate in any lawn and garden activities express interest in growing marijuana, a possible hidden accelerator for the gardening industry. About these facts: The National Gardening Association’s (NGA) Research Division, Garden Research, is the nation’s most widely recognized authority on the U.S. consumer lawn and garden market, providing market research information for the lawn, garden, and nursery industries. Their market research reports and research services help companies identify and pursue opportunities, and improve their marketing, positioning, product development, and strategic planning. NGA’s Research Division’s services include research design, survey development, data collection, results tabulation, analysis, and presentation of findings. They conduct both quantitative and qualitative research studies, ranging from the National Gardening Survey to proprietary market research. Here are the latest garden trends from the experts at Ball Horticultural Company: Gardening enthusiasm is surging thanks to our increased time at home – whether on a small-space patio or in a larger backyard. In fact, people spent 42 percent more time gardening in 2020 than the year before, according to Axiom Marketing’s 2021 Gardening Insight Survey, and it is estimated the pandemic contributed to creating nearly 20 million new “gardeners.” Many experts agree the trend toward nurturing flowers, plants, and vegetables will continue into 2021 and beyond. Don’t be afraid to mix your flowers and herbs. Trending in 2021 is bundling your plants together to save space and make a multi-functional showcase. Start with a tiered fruit stand, line it with coco liner cut to fit inside each bowl space, and then add soil and plants of your choice. The handle and lightness of the stand make it easy to hang as a basket or decorate a patio or table for a beautiful and functional addition wherever you garden. About Ball: Ball Horticultural Company is a leader in all facets of horticulture. Their global family of breeders, research and development teams, suppliers, and distribution companies has a strong presence on six continents in 20 countries. They live by their founder’s motto: “All the Best and Nothing Else.” Launched by George J. Ball in 1905 as a wholesale cut flower operation, the company has grown to color the world and transform garden dreams into reality. Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, every member of the Ball team proudly takes part in finding solutions for the industry – always striving to be the first choice for service. Gardening has also been proven to reduce the symptoms associated with stress, depression, and anxiety. Gardening is also good for the soul. I’m living proof!

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.

To meet the challenging demands of landscaping and site clearing jobs, Bobcat Company announced the launch of a log grapple attachment for mini track loaders and small articulated loaders. This is an all-new offering from the company, adding to Bobcat’s 100+ industry-leading attachment lineup. Whether felling trees, loading logs onto trailers or transporting material, this free-hanging attachment adds superior force and agility where operators need it most. “The new log grapple is a solution for customers seeking maximum productivity by increasing the flexibility and versatility of an existing machine,” says Britta Kopp, marketing manager at Doosan Bobcat. “This attachment delivers increased efficiency over doing tasks manually and will get the job done more quickly.” Unmatched Power and Stability Built In The log grapple comes equipped with heavy-duty teeth and reinforced tines, providing outstanding grip when managing unwieldy logs and brush. Rope bollards provide an additional anchor point, assisting with stability while at work. Eliminate Jobsite Debris Faster and More Efficiently Operators will appreciate the log grapple’s 56″ wide opening and rotation in all directions for increased productivity, reliability and ease of use. The design allows for easy clamping of logs and piles of brush, clearing areas – even in confined spaces – more quickly. Versatility Built In For increased operator control, the log grapple comes with an integrated tree pusher, ensuring material falls in the intended direction and accomplishes multiple tasks with one attachment. About Bobcat Company Bobcat Company is a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and distribution of compact equipment. Headquartered in West Fargo, North Dakota, Bobcat offers a complete line of compact equipment including: skid-steer, mini track and compact track loaders; excavators; VersaHANDLER® telescopic tool carriers; utility vehicles; Toolcat™ utility work machines; compact tractors; small articulated loaders; zero-turn mowers; attachments and implements. As a global brand with a worldwide network of dealers and distributors, Bobcat is the industry’s original innovator, beginning in 1958 with the first compact machine and predecessor to the skid-steer loader. Bobcat continues to lead the industry by offering quality product solutions and technologies to empower people to accomplish more. For more information, visit Bobcat.com.

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10 May 2021

GardenerNews.com Unique Plants By Bob LaHoff Nursery Specialist

Chaos at Sea and Beyond It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed the world. Daily routines, social distancing, business models and personal health have been tested at every corner of our planet. This global pandemic has changed the world and has us all appreciating happier days, longing for our lifestyles to return. Optimistic that vaccines will help calm our fears and begin the restoration of what once was? Only time will tell. Recently, I was sent a fascinating article by my friend Andy, (general manager/grower of an extremely successful garden center in Pennsylvania), written by Peter S. Goodman, Alexandra Stevenson, Niraj Chokshi and Michael Corkery for The New York Times. A brilliantly written piece, it explains the disruption of international trade, the costs associated with such and “adding a fresh challenge to the global economic recovery.” Superb language use describes how “the virus” has “thrown off the choreography of moving cargo from one continent to another.” Most of us, at this point, can appreciate that it is taking longer to order a particular product from our couch and have it shipped expeditiously to our front door. My friend “Danny B.” certainly will attest to this as he waited several months to obtain his Peloton bike. Freight, whether it be by rail, over pavement, on water or in the air, has simply skyrocketed. Moreover, commodities such as office furniture, treadmills, flat panel displays, laptops, smartphones and ovens seem to be floating aimlessly “in towering stacks atop enormous vessels” as “the demand for shipping has outstripped the availability of containers.” Empty containers “piled up” in the furthest parts of the globe, workers sickened with COVID-19, a shortage of trucks and drivers, “the pandemic has disrupted every part of the journey.” And if things weren’t bad

enough, most recently, a massive container ship, Ever Given, was recently dislodged on the Suez Canal. The vast container ship blocked the critical waterway for some six days, pushing global supply delays even further. To the point, what does all this mean for the green industry? Simply put, we will all be paying more for goods as we try to beautify our outdoor garden spaces this spring. As I said, this is a global issue! Garden centers have been struggling to secure trucks and containers, either by rail or over asphalt since last fall and the costs associated with shipping products from one coast to another has skyrocketed. What once cost an Independent Garden Center $6,000 to ship a 53-foot tractor trailer, from Oregon to New Jersey EMPTY, has now been quoted as high as $16,000 in some cases. And with some industries reporting wait times as long as 90 days to secure a container, this is your classic case of supply and demand. Hence, why your rhododendron, spruce, clay pot, potting soil and even mulch could cost you more this year. Now, if all this wasn’t bad enough, the Pacific Northwest had a severe ice storm this winter. Pedestrian commodities, thank you Eileen Ferrer for the term, such as “Emerald Green” Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis “Smaragd,” and Skip laurel, Prunus laurocerasus “Schipkaensis” got “waffled” as a result. Two popular plants that will be in short supply this spring. And it’s not only plants… grass seed, fertilizers and soil amendments will be equally short. Independent Garden Centers, including ourselves, have been amassing, even hoarding, products all winter long to prepare for these shortages. So here it is, as pithily as I can state it… SHOP EARLY AND STOCK UP WHILE SUPPLIES LAST! And if you still have doubts about what

I’m saying, just think about the shortages of pansies, Easter bulb plants, and palm crosses earlier this spring. “Floating traffic jams,” out at sea, contribute to higher costs for transporting goods and empty containers shipped back for reload only punctuate the problem. Since the mid-1950s, containers revolutionized trade “by allowing goods to be packed into standard size receptacles and hoisted by cranes onto rail cars or trucks - effectively shrinking the globe.” THE WORLD IS CHANGING… and the average consumer has adjusted their spending habits. “From experiences to goods” we have reluctantly forgone vacations and improved our personal spaces. Improving our residential office areas, kitchens and basements; a renewed or new-found interest in gardening have all shifted consumer spending toward goods. As vaccinations increase, perhaps travel will open up more and consumer spending will trend toward the “experience” again, easing the need for more containers. That said, as the holidays approach, people may again shift their dollars back to “goods” and the need for containers will increase yet again. It really is anyone’s guess. But for now, one thing’s for certain, supplies are tight, and prices are up. 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.

Toro Introduces New Bullseye Product Line Toro is pleased to announce an entirely new product line of grass and turf maintenance equipment. Branded under the Bullseye product name, the new lineup includes grooming, cleaning and de-compacting solutions for synthetic turf managers – in addition to brushes, cultivation, renovation and seeding solutions for those maintaining any type of natural grass. “The Bullseye line is really about meeting the needs of our customers with solutions that make their job easier,” said Jeffrey Ische, product marketing manager at Toro. “Field managers and course superintendents trust Toro distributors and wanted to solve more of their maintenance challenges from a single resource. The suite of Bullseye products lets them do just that with high-quality solutions that provide even more versatility and productivity to their Toro Outcross and Workman GTX, MDX and HDX utility vehicles.” The Bullseye QuickGroom 550, QuickGroom 700 and QuickGroom 710 can all be configured as towable brushes, ideal for grooming all turf. They’re lightweight and easy to pull, and the brushes feature long-lasting bristles that are aggressive enough to stand up leaf blades and turf fibers or incorporate topdressing and infill materials, yet soft enough to minimize plant stress and turf wear. The FieldCombo 770, FieldClean 580, FieldMagnet 600, FieldFill 660 and FieldSweep 660 all provide effective and efficient ways to groom, clean and de-compact synthetic turf fields. The Bullseye lineup has a tool to complete any of the three primary field maintenance tasks, and with the available accessories to choose from, their versatility can be expanded to suit each customer’s specific needs. The remaining Bullseye products provide natural grass solutions. The AccuraSeed 620 slit seeder and the RapidSeed 430 and 590 dimple seeders provide highly efficient seeding options for property managers. The RotaQuake 630 linear aerator has strong, tapered steel blades that create cracks and fissures up to 10” (25.4 cm) deep for beneficial air, water and nutrient movement as well as root development with minimal surface disruption. The standard blade set on the Bullseye NuSurface 470 and 790 turf renovation tools allows customers to fraise or flail mow and clean up the debris, all in a single-pass operation. A single-pass verti-cut and cleanup can also be performed following a simple blade change. The quality products introduced in the Bullseye lineup provide solutions for natural grass and synthetic turf managers, backed by a name customers know they can count on. All products will be available for delivery later in spring of 2021. For more information on the new Bullseye lineup, please visit Toro’s website at www.toro. com About Toro With roots dating back to 1914, Toro is a leading worldwide provider of innovative solutions for the outdoor environment including turf and landscape maintenance, snow management, rental and construction equipment, and irrigation solutions. Through a strong network of distributors, dealers, retailers and rental stores in more than 125 countries, Toro helps customers care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, construction sites and agricultural operations. More at: www.toro.com


GardenerNews.com Sunflowers are the National Garden Bureau’s 2021 Flower of the Year. It’s about time for some recognition, since they have been grown for over 4,000 years. Helianthus, their Latin name, is derived from the Greek words helios meaning “sun” and anthos meaning “flower.” To grow them successfully, you will need a full-sun location. Watch the emerging flowers as they turn from east to west following the sun. Once fully opened, they stay eastward facing. Here in New Jersey, we grow Helianthus annus, the annual. The only perennial sunflower for us is H. maximilian, a six- to eightfoot tall, three-inch across yellow-gold back of the border beauty. America’s other perennial sunflowers, like H. porteri, longifolius, and smithii are residents of warmer climes. When I see sunflowers, I am reminded of this quote by Galileo: “The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics.” A mature sunflower head reveals a kind of sacred geometry with its Fibonaccilike seed arrangement. Decide first whether you want a single or branching type sunflower. Single flowers can be huge and are iconic garden elements. The branching varieties offer ongoing, although smaller, blooms. The next decision is about their disposition. Are you growing them

May 2021 11 is Monrovia’s Sunbelievable Sunflower. A branching, pollenless variety with excellent heat tolerance, Sunbelievable grows to about three feet wide and two feet tall, making it ideal for mid borders. By Lesley Parness Quite a change for a flower that Garden Educator is historically relegated to the rear of garden beds. A prolific bloomer, it will rival fall mums with its sunny yellow rays surrounding a deep brown center and cooler nights will enhance these colorations. So, find a place for this iconic pollenless or with pollen, there are birds. “Feed the Birds,” “Mongolian flower in your garden, step back, and many cultivars to choose from. Giant” and “Skyscraper” are great let it take the spotlight. All of them can be started indoors. varieties to grow for bird seed. A light However, because sunflowers are top dressing of aged manure, fish sensitive to root disturbance during emulsion, or a nitrogen rich (1-0-0) transplanting, start your seeds food mid-season is recommended. Editor’s Note: Lesley Parness in biodegradable pots that can be I’ve had success by topping offers a variety of presentations planted directly in the ground. Or (removing the tip of the main stem) and workshops for garden clubs, sow outside in well drained, clump when branching sunflowers have plant societies, and horticultural Recently free soil. six true leaves. This promotes more gatherings. To cut the flower, do so in the flowers, but it also delays flowering retired from her position as Superintendent of Horticultural early morning and when the petals a bit. are just beginning to unfurl. Put them Here are some of my favorites: Education at the Morris in water immediately and change “Limoncello,” with its single County Park Commission, the water frequently, as their hollow stemmed, Van Gogh like two- and with four decades of stems raise the potential for bacterial dimensional blooms; “Sonja,” teaching environmental science growth. a tangerine-colored branching and garden education, her If you are planning to harvest the pollenless beauty; “Buttercream,” focus now is garden history. seeds, wait until the back of the head is just 50 days to buttery perfection A complete listing of her talks yellowed with brown spots, the petals on long branches perfect for cutting; can be seen at lesleyparness. have fallen off, and the seeds are “Red” and “Plum” from the Pro-Cut com and she can be reached starting to loosen. Wrapping the head single series, known for their strong, at parness@verizon.net. This column will appear in the paper with a small mesh bag or cheesecloth wind resistant stems. will help protect it from squirrels and New to the market this year every other month.

The Garden Historian

Sunflowers Take the Spotlight for cutting and flower arrangements? In that case, you will want pollenless flowers, preferable for their no-mess attributes. If you are growing sunflowers for their seeds, for yourself, or your feathered friends, then you need sunflowers that produce pollen. Both types produce nectar for bees and butterflies and are worthy of a spot in a pollinator garden. Finally, what about the size and color of your sunflower? This species offers something for everyone’s taste, from dwarf sunflowers like “Teddy Bear,” “Sunbuzz” and “Smiley” to 15 foot or taller tall sunflowers like “American Giant,” “Mammoth,” and “Sunforest.” Colors range from pure yellows to every shade of red, orange, greens, and white. The disc can be black, brown or a range of reds and add to the flower’s appeal. Big or little, single or branching,

What’s False About False Solomon’s Seal? By Hubert Ling Well, the plant obviously doesn’t have a cheatin’ heart, but neither is it a true Solomon’s seal. False Solomon’s seal resembles true Solomon’s seal in shape and size; both are about two feet long and have numerous oval sessile leaves alternately arranged along arching stems. In addition, both plants thrive in shady, moist woods in slightly acid, humus-rich, loose soil and they frequently grow together. However, false Solomon’s seal, Maianthemum racemosum, has a large terminal, triangular cluster of one-eighth-inch, creamy white, star-shaped flowers, while true Solomon’s seal has two to four larger bellshaped flowers located at each leaf node. The mature fruits in false Solomon’s seal are a glowing, translucent red, while those in true Solomon’s seal are a chalky blue. False Solomon’s seal is a

perennial which arises from thick underground rhizomes each spring as a single unbranched shoot sprouting from each growing tip of the rhizome. Over time, large colonies may be formed since the rhizomes branch extensively underground but the doubling time for me has been about seven years. So, as with most shade-loving plants, you have no fear of it overrunning your yard. The one- to three-inch stems are slightly hairy and may zig-zag slightly between the leaf nodes. False Solomon’s has a very wide range in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. In the U.S., it is found in Alaska and in all 48 of the lower states. It is found in every county in New England and Pennsylvania and in almost every county of New Jersey. It is therefore the most widespread native plant that I have ever written about in the past 38 years. The genus name Maianthemum comes from the Greek Maios meaning

“May,” and anthemon meaning “blossoms,” which is very appropriate in New Jersey. The species name racemosum means “with flowers” that are arranged in racemes. The flowers have three sepals and three petals, all of which are small and identical and thus referred to as tepals. Most of what you actually see are the pistils and the stamens since the tepals are very small. However, what the tiny flowers lack in size they make up for in numbers. Each raceme will have 20 to 80 flowers. These numerous, fragrant flowers attract bees, moths, flies and beetles. False Solomon’s seal flowers are followed by small green berries. In late summer or early fall, these mature to form quarter-inch pink fruits with purple specks, or glowing red fruits each with one to four seeds. These fruits are readily consumed by birds and small mammals, which act to distribute the plant. As fall progresses, the leaves

often turn a rich golden color but sometimes they just turn brown, wither, die back to the persistent underground rhizome, and the plants get ready for the next year. Because of these striking features, false Solomon’s seal has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Native Americans used this plant medicinally for a wide range of conditions. As expected, since the rhizomes must defend themselves from predation, a poultice from the rhizomes has been used as a wound dressing since it is antimicrobial. However, I strongly recommend against medical experimentation since strong adverse reactions may occur, especially since this plant has not been studied rigorously for potency, safety, and efficacy. Propagation is by seed, which may not germinate until the second year since they need several cycles of heat and cold to stimulate germination. Faster reproduction can be accomplished by dividing

the rhizomes in spring or fall and planting them two inches deep. The plants do not have any serious insect or disease problems although drought and deer browsing can decimate your plantings. False Solomon’s seal is best used when massed in shady areas of woodland gardens. They are effective when combined with medium sized ferns such as lady or hayscented, and other shade-loving species such as white trillium, true Solomon’s seal, or bellwort. Or use them behind shorter native plants such as partridge berry, foam flower, wild ginger, Greek valerian, and wild columbine. False Solomon’s seal is easy to grow, long-lived, and basically trouble-free when well established.

Editor’s Note: Hubert Ling is President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. He can be reached at milhubling@verizon.net.


12 May 2021 I recently had the opportunity to attend a large farm equipment auction here in central New Jersey. Let me just say that it was probably the largest auction I have ever been to, both in terms of the items being sold and the turnout of buyers. The farm that held the auction had unfortunately ceased operations and was selling off all its remaining equipment and supplies. And while the business might not have been a success, the auction certainly was, especially in terms of turnout and the prices that were bid for the equipment. I will try to explain why this auction was so successful. Here in New Jersey, most auctions are usually held in late winter/early spring, after the threat of heavy snow but before the outdoor planting season gets underway, and this auction fit in this time frame perfectly. Another factor that helped to boost attendance was the fact that it had rained very hard the day before the auction. And while that certainly made for some mud at the sale, it also prevented growers from doing And they’re off! And Green Grass is turning the corner, with Dandelion coming up right beside her; meanwhile Tall Fescue is emerging slowly. What happened to Kentucky Bluegrass? He’s real slow. Wait, wait, did Crabgrass forget to get in the gate? He’s not even in the running. Watch out for White Clover, he’s a wild one. Who’s going to win the race in your lawn? As I write this article, The First Day of Spring and Warmer Days are coming on quickly, thanks to Mother Nature. No, these aren’t horses. They are real sunny, spring days, that are finally here, Hurray! I fertilized my lawn this weekend and it is already greening up. The problem that many of you are facing is why do the weeds always seem to emerge first and much quicker than my beautiful lawn I had last fall? Onion grass, bitter cress, moss, white clover, they’re everywhere! The heavy snow leaving much moisture in the ground gave these lawn weeds a chance to thrive once the temperatures increased

GardenerNews.com The Town Farmer By Peter Melick Agricultural Producer

Farm Auctions

any fieldwork on their own farms that day, which freed up their schedules so that they could attend the auction. It also didn’t hurt that it was a very comfortable 60 degrees that day and it wasn’t raining, which made it very pleasant to stand around outside. Because the COVID pandemic had forced the cancellation of just about all of the usual grower meetings, conventions, and trade shows during the past year, many farmers had not seen each other in quite some time. So, as you could imagine, this turned into the de facto agricultural social event (read bullshitting session) of the season. But there were other reasons for the large attendance at

this auction. First of all, this farm had been an extremely diverse type of operation that had included vegetables, greenhouses, and livestock to go along with a retail operation. This diversity helped to attract a wide range of potential bidders to the sale where there was literally “something for everyone.” Secondly, because this was a fairly new operation, the bulk of the equipment was fairly new as well. At most of the sales I have been to, there has usually been a fair amount of older worn-out items that are sprinkled in with the newer, more modern pieces. I have even been to an auction where they sold off the scrapping rights to the farm. That gave the successful bidder,

once all of the other items were removed, the opportunity to go around the farm and salvage any junk or scrap left remaining in the hedgerows. But there was none of that at this sale. Everything was only a few years old and for the most part, well maintained and in excellent shape. This set the bar high and it remained there for the entirety of the auction. There were a few items that I was interested in bidding on, but they quickly rose to and then surpassed price levels that I was not prepared to go to. And on another item that I was pretty serious about, just as the bidding started, I looked over and saw a friend of mine bidding and I just did not want to bid against him.

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.

time? I know that many of the stores have been doing a brisk business just like last year. Well, while you were reading this article, you forgot By Todd Pretz to pay attention to the screen. Kentucky Bluegrass is starting Professional Turf Consultant to come up but I don’t think he’ll win this race. Dandelion seems to be wilting; perhaps she ate some bad food? Tall Fescue, my favorite, is the heavy snow and winds pre-emergence to prevent coming on strong toward the and snow plowing. I know I crabgrass establishing. Be sure finish. What about White have some lawn areas that got to follow all label directions. If Clover? Well, he seems to be damaged by my snowblower you just want to perk up your shriveling and won’t be able to that need to be re-seeded. It lawn, apply a lawn food now even make it to the end of the seems like our jobs never end; and perhaps some weed killers race. Crabgrass does not seem to be in sight, and it seems the joys of homeownership! in late spring. Now is a great time to get It’s a little early to treat for like Green Grass will run for going if you have not done grubs; monitor their life cycle the roses and crowd out all anything so far. Do you have and consider grub treatments competitors and also will have bare spots to apply grass in mid- to late-May or early to get a haircut after this race. Three cheers for Green seed? Rake them vigorously June. However, surface insects and slightly rake the seed into such as fleas, ticks and ants Grass, hip, hip, hurray! the soil barely covering it so will start to emerge once the you still see the seed. Cover weather warms up. Again, these areas with cardboard or monitor your lawn and find Editor’s Note: Todd a trash can lid or blanket if you products that are labeled for Pretz is Vice President are applying a crabgrass pre- these pests. of Jonathan Green, a emergent so you do not stunt By now, you are probably leading supplier of lawn the grass seed growth. mowing and it’s time to get and garden products in Did you have an excessive your sprinkler system ready the northeast. For more amount of crabgrass last year? for when you need it. What information, please visit: Now is a good time to apply about a new spreader; is it www.jonathangreen.com

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A Day at the Races

slightly. Grass seed is like a brown bear, it needs a little more wakening up from its long winter’s nap. Nothing that a little honey, or I mean, fertilizer, won’t help kick-start some growth. Well, here we are, what are you going to do first to your lawn? Or did you already put something down? My friend Paul in Delaware already pulled some weeds and applied organic lawn food; he’s got dogs he loves. Perhaps some of you applied pre-emergent crabgrass preventer with lawn food. Maybe some calcium carbonate lime after you raked the yard up of all the twigs and things that got deposited from

So, I kept my hands in my pockets. And, although it was nice day, and it was good to see many of my fellow farmers from around the state and it was nice to catch up with everyone, I came home without purchasing anything. I could not even buy a hot dog as all on-site food sales had been curtailed due to the pandemic. I am sure that the grower who had the sale wished things had turned out differently and he did not have to have the auction in the first place. But he can’t complain about the auction itself. That was a home run!


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May 2021 17

Growing Gardeners By Diana Dove Environmental Educator

What Children Learn When They Volunteer to Garden Children and teens of all ages make tremendous contributions through volunteerism in youthdriven garden projects at schools and in their community. Young volunteers learn about people, the ability to try new things and the importance of working together as a team to accomplish a project. There are immeasurable benefits growing gardeners gain and carry for a lifetime from their volunteer experience, regardless of their age. How does volunteering in a community garden impact youth? As the Youth Chair of the Karen Nash Memorial Butterfly Garden, I thought about this as I spent time reviewing youth volunteer records of middle school and high school students, as part of their nomination application for the Junior and High School National Honor Society. I thought about some of the things youth volunteers learn. They gain experience in working with people of varied ages and cultures. Volunteering opens the eyes of a child to new perspectives. They will have new experiences, surrounded by positive people who are community minded and take action to make good things happen. These students participate in something important. It helps them feel like part of a community as they become more involved. Some develop leadership abilities and others become valuable team members; all must follow instructions and work together to be successful. Gardening engages volunteers outside; it is good exercise. These are good ways to stay healthy. Young volunteers bring high energy to garden projects while learning new skills as they accomplish garden tasks. What we did not foresee when we began

gardening with youth, nearly 24 years ago, was how far the benefits to the children would extend as they grew up. When some of our teen volunteers went on to college, some returned to our Butterfly Garden in the summer to offer their time as adult volunteers and share their experiences. Some were hired to work in their college garden. One designed a rooftop garden above an engineering college. Another was hired for a unique garden-art related research project, because of her previous gardening experience. There are limitless opportunities for children to volunteer and learn to garden at every age level starting from a very early age. Children who volunteer in a garden, observe how things grow. They become more aware of their surroundings. Toddlers could grow a garden at a daycare center or a school class or FFA club might plant flowers in barrels by the school’s entrance. To participate in an environmental project, students might start a rain garden to soak up rainwater from a roof or driveway. Ecology club students might participate in a watershed protection program by planting trees or shrubs on both sides of a waterway, called riparian planting, to prevent erosion. Scouts could plant American chestnut tree seedlings in a tree species recovery program. At the beach, there are dune grass planting projects that engage children. Young readers in a summer library program could create a pollinator container garden below the library windows that serve as an observation blind. A zoo, nature center or museum might have a Butterfly Conservatory filled with butterflies and pollinator plants that require volunteer care. Children feel good about

doing something to help others. Scouts could grow vegetables in a community garden and donate them to a soup kitchen. YMCA summer campers might grow square-foot gardens for vegetables to donate back to the community. Youth volunteers might maintain a special use trail lined with raised garden beds for wheelchair bound visitors. A town recreation commission could engage summer youth in planting a garden in a park by their community pool. At county fairgrounds, 4-H members might create educational themed gardens. Scouts could plant a colorful reading garden at a local hospital. A child and his family could choose to help a neighbor who can no longer garden; there are many ways to garden and volunteer for the sake of “doing something good.” As youth volunteers become experienced in gardening, they become teachers for younger children. This gives them confidence and increases their self-esteem. Learning to garden and share that knowledge can begin at any age, nearly anywhere. Volunteering teaches a student to arrange time in their schedule to do something to benefit others. They learn the importance of recording their volunteer hours. When children volunteer, they learn skills for life. A student can utilize a good volunteer record when applying for a job, to college, for a recognition award, or just to gain experience to grow a garden of their own some day. The truth is, without young volunteers, many community gardens could not exist in the future. Consider offering volunteer opportunities or an internship to youth to nurture GROWING GARDENERS.

Editor’s Note: Diana 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.

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18 May 2021

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF  AGRICULTURE  NEWS Developing New Markets for Specialty Crops and Expanding Existing Ones USDA’s Ag r icult u ral Marketing Service (AMS) is announcing $169.9 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to fund innovative projects designed to support the expanding specialty crop food sector and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. The total includes: $72.9 million available as part of the annual Farm Bill funding for the program; and An additional $97 million available as emergency funding for applications under this solicitation. Congress provided this funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, due to COVID-19 impacts to the food system. Grant project funding awarded as part of pandemic assistance can also go to organizations to assist farmworkers (e.g., for PPE and vaccination costs), projects

to fund farmers, food businesses, and other relevant entities to respond to risks and supply chain disruption. The SCBGP funds are allocated to U.S. states and territories based on a formula that considers both specialty crop acreage and production value. Interested applicants should apply directly through their state departments of agriculture. A listing of state contacts is available on the USDA website. Applications must be submitted electronically through www. grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 11, 2021. Any grant application submitted after the due date will not be considered unless the applicant provides documentation of an extenuating circumstance that prevented their timely submission of the grant application. For more information about grant eligibility, visit the SCBGP website.

USDA Agency Launches New Site for Science-Minded Students AgLab, a new scienceeducation website operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, is now “open for business” to student and educators alike at https://aglab.ars.usda.gov/. AgLab builds on the past successes of its predecessor, Sci4Kids, in educating students about the critical intersect of science and agriculture in their daily lives, such as wrinkle-free cotton, edible coatings that keep apple slices from turning brown, a low-glycemic sweetener, DEET insecticide, and a bounty of new varieties of fruits and vegetables. Geared toward k-12 students with an interest in food and

science, AgLab offers a variety of content to promote a greater understanding of how agricultural research is helping meet the food, fiber, feed and fuel needs of a growing world population while also safeguarding our environment and natural resources. Produced by the ARS Office of Communications in Beltsville, Md., AgLab operates with the recognition that today’s students are tomorrow’s farmers, scientists, policy makers and consumers. With this latest iteration, the website reaffirms its commitment to making sure kids have access to information about agricultural research in a way that’s fun, timely and significant.

USDA Seeks User Feedback on New Agricultural Commodity Import Requirement Portal The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has developed a new portal to simplify access to entry requirements for agricultural commodities imported into the United States. APHIS’ Agricultural Commodity Import Requirements (ACIR) online portal allows users to use a simple search interface to locate and display import requirements. Users can check ACIR to see if they need to apply for a permit. APHIS’ eFile system for permit, license, and registration applications uses the ACIR import requirement data when processing plant and plant product permit applications. APHIS is beta-testing ACIR’s public portal starting with Plants and Plant Products Not for Propagation. Users can watch ACIR help videos to learn how to

navigate through the portal, access information, submit questions, and provide feedback. APHIS will use the feedback to improve the user experience as they continue to develop the interface. Users can visit our ACIR feedback page at https://acir.aphis.usda. gov/s/acir-feedback or email us at acirdatabase.comments@usda.gov to provide your feedback. When fully implemented ACIR will also include import requirements for Plants for Planting and Propagation, Animal Products and Byproducts, and other Miscellaneous and Processed Products articles. It will also include Treatment Schedules and procedures We anticipate full implementation of ACIR in fiscal year 2022. Once complete, ACIR will replace APHIS’ online import requirement manuals for plants and plant products.

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Honors Scientists of the Year For her outstanding contributions to research on crop responses to global climate change, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Lisa A. Ainsworth is the agency’s Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year for 2021. Ainsworth, research leader for the ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit in Urbana, Illinois (Midwest Area), is one of many ARS researchers being honored for their scientific achievements. Ainsworth joined the Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit in 2004 as a plant molecular biologist and has served as research leader since 2019. Her research aimed to find

solutions for challenges affecting food production and security. Her work influenced the direction of climate change impact assessment and adaptation for federal, nongovernmental organization and philanthropic efforts. Ainsworth notably served as a lead investigator for the joint ARS and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment (SoyFACE) Global Change Research Facility. SoyFACE is one of the largest and most comprehensive Free Air Concentration Enrichment (FACE) facilities in the world for studying crop responses to atmospheric change.

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GardenerNews.com In the 1970s, the “holy grail” of the magnolia world was to find a yellow magnolia. It was theorized that this could be created because the cucumber magnolia, Magnolia acuminata, has slightly yellowish flowers and it was thought that if an appropriate additional parent could be identified, a “yellow” magnolia could be produced. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s breeding program worked on the hybrids which crossed Magnolia acuminata with the Yulan magnolia, Magnolia denudate, and the first yellow magnolia was released, “Elizabeth.” Today, there are probably three to four dozen selections of the yellow magnolias, but “Elizabeth” remains one of the best. It has upward-facing, soft, sulfur-yellow flowers that are slightly fragrant. Most of the “yellows” tend to bloom more toward the end of April or even into early May, therefore the risk of the flowers being singed by frost is minimal. “Elizabeth” blooms right before the leaves are emerging. Because one of the parents is the cucumber tree magnolia, the ultimate size and stature of “Elizabeth” is unknown because Magnolia acuminata can reach over 100 feet tall. But it is safe to say it has hybrid vigor and probably will reach close to 50 feet tall.

May 2021 19 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society By Andrew Bunting Vice President of Public Horticulture

Great Yellow Magnolias For the Garden While all magnolias are grown for their exceptional flowers in the spring, most magnolias, including “Elizabeth,” have exceptional gold yellow leaves in the fall. “Butterflies” is one of the earliest of the “yellows” to flower. The tepals (modified petals) are born in profusion and make for an amazing floral effect. Like “Elizabeth.” this is a fast-growing tree that reaches a significant stature over time. This is also one of the hardiest of the yellow magnolias. It was hybridized by Phil Savage in Ohio. In my “top ten” of all magnolias, I would have to include “Lois,” which also came out of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden breeding program. In its first 15 years, “Lois” remains stout and somewhat compact in its stature. It has an amazing abundance of tulip or chalice shaped flowers, which are a rich butter yellow. Over time. “Lois” will reach 30 feet tall,

but it is probably one of the better “yellow” magnolias for the smaller garden. Philippe de Spoelberch at Arboretum Wespelaar in Belgium hybridized “Daphne” which has bright, clear yellow flowers. At maturity, “Daphne” reach only 12 feet tall, with a spread of five to seven feet, making for a nice compact plant for the small residential garden. “Yellow Lantern” has very large, goblet-shaped flowers. This cultivar is very hardy. It is upright in habit, reaching 20 feet tall at maturity. The parentage is interesting in that it is a hybrid between Magnolia acuminata var. subcordata “Miss Honeybee,” which is another yellow magnolia, and the pink saucer magnolia, Magnolia x soulangeana “Alexandrina.” While the flower is primarily a soft yellow, it has a suffusion of soft, blush pink at the base of the tepal and has reasonable fragrance.

Others that you might consider include Magnolia acuminata, the cucumber magnolia, and a parent of most of the “yellows.” You would not grow this magnolia specifically for its flowers, because they are relatively small and have an outer bluish cast to the tepal, which shrouds most of the flower color, and flowering tends to occur when the leaves are out. But, of the group, this is a true native occurring in woodlands from Canada south to Florida and as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana. It is called the cucumber magnolia due to the fruit which looks like a small cucumber. This towering tree can reach 100 feet tall, with a spread up to 75 feet tall, and like many of the “yellow magnolias,” it has stunning golden fall color. Finally, one of the most interesting of this group is “Judy Zuk,” which was the last magnolia to be released from the Brooklyn Botanic

Garden’s “yellow” program. It is a complex hybrid including M. acuminata, M. liliiflora and M. stellata. This resulting hybrid has tulipshaped flowers that are a mix of orange and yellow and a little flush of pink and has a fantastic fruity fragrance, and the tree is upright.

Editor’s Note: Andrew Bunting is Vice President of Public Horticulture for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is one of the most recognized horticulturists in the Philadelphia, Pa., region and a highly regarded colleague in the world of professional horticulture. Bunting has amassed a plethora of awards, including the American Public Gardens Association Professional Citation, Chanticleer Scholarship in Professional Development, Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Marion Marsh Award, and the Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. In addition, Bunting has lectured extensively throughout North America and Europe, and participated in plant expeditions throughout Asia and Africa. Learn more at https://phsonline.org/team/ andrew-bunting

2021 Philadelphia Flower Show Tickets On Sale Now The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) announced tickets to the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show, June 5 – 13, are available for purchase at PHSonlineorg. Attendees are asked to select their preferred date and session at the time of purchase. To allow for social distance protocols, a limited number of tickets will be available for each day and time segment. Early purchase is highly recommended. The Philadelphia Flower Show, typically held each March at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, will be held outdoors for the first time in its history this summer at the historic Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park (FDR Park) in South Philadelphia. Given the pandemic, the move will allow PHS to present the Show safely, at the height of the gardening season and with the added health benefits of the outdoors. The central location, situated adjacent to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, is accessible to major highways and mass transit. The Park features

inspiring natural beauty and an expansive setting that also provides Show designers with an exciting new layout for creative expression and horticultural displays. Visitors will experience the Show through three distinct “Districts” that feature all manner of Plants, Design, and Gardening created for all skill levels. The Flower Show “footprint” will span 15 acres of FDR Park’s 348 acres parallel to Pattison Avenue allowing the vast majority of FDR Park and its amenities to remain accessible to the public during the Flower Show dates. PHS is working closely with local community leaders and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation on Show planning. “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the outdoors and offer joy and beauty after a year that has been marked by so many challenges. This experience is a wonderful example of the enduring and combined power of green space, plants, and gardeners to create

impact and inspiration,” said Sam Lemheney, PHS Chief of Shows & Events. FDR Park, a registered historical district, was built to the design of Olmsted Brothers, the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and John Charles Olmsted in the early 20th century. With walkable pathways, majestic trees and breathtaking views, FDR Park is an inspiring venue that contributes to the splendor that the Flower Show is known for. 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show Information: Public safety is a critical component for the upcoming Show and adherence to recommendations from the CDC and City/State health officials is paramount to Show planning. PHS will continue to work closely with health officials with updated guidance available at PHSonline.org Ticketing: Attendees must reserve a date and time of visit for all tickets purchased. Tickets are limited. Early purchase is recommended.

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), an internationally recognized nonprofit organization founded in 1827, plays an essential role in the vitality of the Philadelphia region by creating healthier living environments, increasing access to fresh food, growing economic opportunity, and building deeper social connections between people. PHS delivers this impact through comprehensive greening and engagement initiatives in more than 250 neighborhoods; an expansive network of public gardens and landscapes; year-round learning experiences; and the nation’s signature gardening event, the Philadelphia Flower Show. PHS provides everyone with opportunities to garden for the greater good as a participant, member, donor, or volunteer. For information and to support this work, please visit PHSonline.org.


20 May 2021 May is one of my favorite months. The temperatures are perfect, the rain has mostly subsided and my property is bursting with flowers and green grass. Here are some tips on how to make sure your yard looks amazing this May. First, we must clean up the fall and winter debris from the yard. Gather up those twigs and dead leaves and add them to your compost pile (you do have a compost pile, don’t you?) Cut back all the perennials that have died off before they start flowering in the summer. Dig up the previous year’s annuals and add them to the compost pile, too. At the same time, or prior, send off a soil sample to Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory to find out how your soil stacks up. You can get a soil sample kit from your county’s Rutgers Cooperative Extension office. They will analyze your soil samples and generate a report that includes soil pH and Adams-Evans buffer pH (aka Lime Requirement Index), and nutrients extracted by Mehlich 3: phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), boron (B), and iron (Fe).

GardenerNews.com They may have some ideas you haven’t thought of yet. Most of all, they can help you achieve your backyard paradise without making the mistakes that so By Gail Woolcott many homeowners make when attempting to do it themselves. Executive Director If you are determined to make your landscape a DIY project, be sure to read as much as you can about the projects you are planning and know what to put them. whereby your professional will you are applying. Believe it or You can also prepare for the make decisions based in science not, landscapers are a mix of summer by adding mulch, which and apply products in a way that artists, scientists, visionaries and will protect the plants and keep minimizes overall environmental psychologists all wrapped in one the soil cooler for their roots. risks. If you don’t mind some great package. But not too much! (Hopefully weeds and pests, you may try to you read my article about mulch go for an organic approach. This Editor’s note: Gail Woolcott volcanos.) Do not cover the collar can be achieved, but will take is the Executive Director for of trees with mulch and try to time and patience. the New Jersey Landscape add no more than one inch of Finally, there are several Contractors Association. mulch to planting beds each year. reasons to call in a professional She was presented with a Mulch will break down and add when putting together your community service award from nutrients to the soil, but you want 2021 landscape that we should the Borough of Fairview for to avoid any more than three all consider. New construction, her assistance in leading the inches total. including paver patios, walkways, 9-11 Memorial Park project You’ll also need to assess and firepits, etc. require knowledge and the Legislative Champion treat for weeds and pests. This and adherence to standards for of the Year award from the should be left to a professional grading these areas. They can Federation of Employers and pesticide applicator/operator, who also ensure proper drainage to Workers of America. She is currently the State Licensee is continually educated in which avoid runoff and flooding. pests and weeds you have and the A landscape professional can Chair on the National types and quantities of product you help you determine the right mix Association of Landscape will need. Aim for an integrated of plants, as well as apply the Professionals International pest management approach, proper amendments to the soil. Certification Council.

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Have an A“May”zing Landscape

They will also provide you with recommended amendments for your soil if you include what you are trying to grow in the area (lawn, shrubs, trees, flowers, etc.) on the soil sample questionnaire. Once you know what amendments you need, you can apply them per the instructions and you will be ready to plant. But wait! Before you plant you should most definitely have a plan. Do you want to plant flowers to bloom at different times? Is there sun or shade in the space you are planting? What are the different watering needs of the plants, turf and trees in this area? Make sure before you plant that you know what you want to plant (types of plants, growing heights, etc.), how you want to plant them (in rows, in clusters, willy-nilly), and where you want

What’s Growing in My Landscape Mulch? Some Common Nuisance Fungi: The artillery fungus (Sphaerobolus) found in mulched areas has probably caused the most concern to landscapers and potentially pose some economic concern to their clients. This fungus produces fruiting structures that resemble tiny cream or orange-brown cups that hold a spore mass resembling a tiny black egg (0.1 inch in diameter). When enough water accumulates, the spores are shot high into the air up to several yards. The dark colored spores resemble small tar spots and will stick to house siding, downspouts, cars, leaf surfaces, and any nearby structure. The artillery fungus is strongly phototrophic and will shoot their spores toward light sources or white-colored surfaces. The spores have extreme adhesive qualities and are difficult to remove, even with high pressure sprayers. The slime molds (Physarum)

in fact, are not a fungus, but are soil-dwelling amoeba. They are a single-celled organism that contain multiple nuclei when they clump together to form a single mass. They can potentially move several feet per day over mulched landscape beds. Slime molds can also climb vertically up plants. Slime molds have numerous colored species, but the “dog vomit” species has a white color and is commonly observed in our area. Although this amoeba is harmless to plants and animals, to some sensitive individuals, the “blob” can humorously cause “psychological trauma,” because of its’ ability to move. Stinkhorn fungi grow on organic, decomposing hardwood mulch. The common stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus) is often found in coniferous forests and has a strong, objectionable odor. The dog stinkhorn (Muinus caninus) is commonly found growing within landscape mulch and is smaller and less odorous. The numerous species all have

(Continued from page 1) a slimy, gelatinous body surface that emerge during rainy periods, but will shrink and dry out on their own in a few days after the weather dries. They often will be seen growing together in large clusters. Despite the odor and sometimes distinctive coloration, these fungi are not considered toxic to plants or poisonous to people. The bird’s nest fungi (Crucibularium) are commonly encountered nuisance fungi found in landscape mulch. Their fruiting bodies resemble tiny egg-filled birds’ nests (0.25-0.5 inches in diameter). They are much larger than the artillery fungus structures but are often found together feeding on decomposing organic matter such as wood chips or bark mulch. The nests are “splash cups” and when raindrops strike at the right angle, the fruiting bodies or “eggs” are expelled from the nest for distances of two to three feet. The fruiting bodies are gregarious and will be found clumped together in

groups, but not joined together. Toadstool mushrooms are collectively a grouping of mushroom species that are poisonous and potentially deadly if consumed. Like all the mulch nuisance fungi discussed in this column, these mushrooms are primarily hardwood mulch decomposers. The danger associated with the toadstool mushrooms are, of course, their toxic poisons if unknowingly consumed. A deadly poisonous toadstool mushroom species when consumed is known as the death cap (Amanita phalloides). Although more commonly found in Europe, it can sometimes be observed in our area. It takes knowledge and experience to identify the key botanical mushroom features that determine if a species is edible or poisonous. Why Nuisance Fungi Occur in Mulch: Most of the nuisance fungi problems in the landscape increase when mulch is created from both fresh hardwood bark

(usually oak and maple) and fresh ground wood originating from almost all tree species. Such wood products decompose readily because they contain large concentrations of cellulose. The finer the wood products are ground, the more troublesome the problem will be. This will particularly be true if the particle size drops below threeeighths of an inch in diameter. Alternatively, the bark chips (nuggets) from mature softwood trees (such as pine or cypress) contain mostly lignin, wax, and protected cellulose that are more resistant to decay. Consequently, they will usually produce fewer problems. However, fresh mulch from young softwood trees do not contain bark cellulose with protective lignin waxes or tannins. These rot resistant materials do not form within softwood trees until they have matured. Therefore, mulch from young trees is more vulnerable to rapid decomposition and colonization by nuisance fungi. (Cont. on Page 25)


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May 2021 21

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22 May 2021

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NORTHEAST DEPARTMENT DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Delaware Department of Agriculture First State Agency To Make 1t.org Pledge The Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is the first state agency in the United States to make a pledge that supports the 1t.org global goal to conserve, restore, and grow one trillion trees by 2030. DFS will work with a wide range of partners to secure resources needed to meet the goal of conserving, restoring, and growing one million trees by 2030. DFS plans to support the initiative by utilizing best management practices for forest protection and restoration, conservation of soil and water resources, and increasing the urban tree canopy. Healthy forests are a critical nature-based solution to climate change. Forests in the United States and forest products currently capture almost 15 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. “A commitment to protect and enhance Delaware’s forests is in the best interest of everyone,” said Delaware State Forester Michael Valenti. “Community trees and rural forests provide so many natural benefits, but the most valuable of them all is a forest’s contribution to a clean and healthier environment.” Encompassing 1.25 million acres, Delaware has nearly 360,000 forested acres. With 78 percent of the state’s forests privately owned, the Delaware Forest Service (DFS) recognizes that technical assistance will be vital to achieving the pledge made to the 1t.org U.S. Chapter. The agency employs 22 full-time forest service staff, including professional

foresters, conservation technicians, education, communication, and administrative professionals. These experts will provide technical assistance, funding, and education to serve as the foundation for tree planting, conservation, reforestation, forest management, and wildlife protection throughout Delaware. “We are continuing our commitment to the State of Delaware by focusing on participating in sustainable forestry and stewardship, restoring forested wetlands and headwater forests, and promoting sound soil and water conservation practices,” said Urban Forestry Coordinator Kesha Braunskill. “While planting trees is an important component to increasing our tree canopy, it’s essential for us to protect and maintain the trees we already have. Trees are an important means to combat climate change by benefiting the quality of life and reducing the heat island effects especially in our underserved communities throughout Delaware where climate effects are most impactful.” DFS also plans to assist new and existing businesses in opening new markets for forest products and increasing forestry professionals within the industry. Research has shown that for every million dollars invested in tree planting and forest restoration activities, 40 new jobs are created, improving Delaware’s local economy. “States in the U.S. have a vital role to play in reaching the trillion trees goal, given that they are on the frontlines with private landowners and

communities,” said American Forests President and CEO Jad Daley. “We are thrilled to have Delaware continue its proud ‘first state’ tradition by making the first state-level pledge to the U.S. Chapter of 1t.org. In addition to demonstrating how states can accelerate efforts to conserve, restore and grow forests, Delaware is contributing vital urban forestry expertise by having Kesha Braunskill of the Delaware Forest Service on the chapter’s U.S. Stakeholder Council.” The 1t.org U.S. Chapter, led by American Forests and World Economic Forum, was created in August 2020, shortly after the Forum launched its global 1t.org initiative. The chapter is championing a new approach in the U.S. to creating healthy and resilient forests. Central to this approach is a diverse group of government agencies, non-profit organizations, corporations, and others who facilitate knowledge exchange, surface new collaboration opportunities, and unlock the full potential needed to accelerate and scale-up forests-related ambitions and actions. There is no other means in the U.S. for bringing together organizations that have made commitments related to forests to learn from each other and help each other achieve their goals. To learn more about the pledge made to the U.S. Chapter of 1t.org by the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Delaware Forest Service, visit https:// us.1t.org/pledge/delaware-forest-service-one-milliontrees-2020-2030.

CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Department of Agriculture unveils new CT Grown logo and branding In support of its efforts to promote Connecticut’s robust agriculture and aquaculture industries, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg) unveiled a new logo and branding for the CT Grown program as part of a multifaceted initiative to highlight agriculture and aquaculture products grown/raised in Connecticut. The new branding refreshes a logo originally developed by DoAg in 1986 to support a program that over the past three decades has blossomed into a multifaceted initiative targeting diverse local, regional, national and international markets through both direct-to-consumer and wholesaleoriented program components. In order to continue to grow brand awareness of the program, DoAg has invested in the branding and marketing of CT. In the development of this refreshed branding, DoAg surveyed more than 1,700 consumers, providers and wholesale partners who shared the elements they wanted to honor in the brand legacy and the elements they wanted to introduce to refresh the perspective of this $4 billion business sector. DoAg opted to keep CT Grown’s long standing and symbolic green and blue colors and is honoring the

producer’s pride by enlarging the word Connecticut and clearly outlining the shape of the state. Within the logo design, DoAg recognizes the impact of aquaculture and agriculture with symbols of both coast and country. By simplifying these elements, the CT Grown brand becomes more inclusive and improves readability — especially valuable for outdoor signage and packaging applications. At the center of the design, with the “o” on the horizon, like the sun, is the word GROWN, the heart of the brand. Finally, the tested tagline — “A way of life.” This two sided signature mark, not only honors the producers that nurture the environment to provide for their communities, it also encourages consumers to make the selection, endorsement, engagement and loyalty to Connecticut Grown products not just a seasonal opportunity, but... a way of life. Among the goals for the refreshed branding and marketing campaign is to connect with new audiences, particularly those who have not yet recognized the value of buying local agriculture and aquaculture products and to highlight the importance

of supporting these industries. Additionally, this investment will provide Connecticut farmers with tools to engage in the campaign and promote the CT Grown brand as well as Connecticut agriculture and aquaculture. “Connecticut agriculture is steeped in both tradition and innovation. We’ve acknowledged both with our refreshed CT Grown brand and with our multimedia marketing campaign to showcase the diversity of production happening right here in our state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the importance of local agriculture into the spotlight and the Connecticut Department of Agriculture is committed to equipping our farmers with the tools to promote themselves, and the industry as a whole, to consumers.” Miranda Creative, Inc., a 33-year brand management firm of Norwich, CT, was selected through a competitive bidding process to direct the rebranding program, in conjunction with the internal marketing team at DoAg. For regular updates to the program, please follow @ConnecticutGrown.


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May 2021 23

OF AGRICULTURE NEWS NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Department Encourages Residents To Find, Destroy Egg Masses Before Hatching New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher is encouraging New Jersey residents to help take part in eliminating Spotted Lanternfly egg masses before they hatch near the end of April or in early May. Secretary Fisher and NJDA Plant Industry Division Director Joseph Zoltowski provide information and instructions on how to find and destroy the egg masses in a recently released video. “As the temperatures begin to warm, and more people are outside on their own properties we are asking them to look for and destroy Spotted Lanternfly egg masses,” Secretary Fisher said. “The more of these egg masses that can be eliminated now, means there will be less of this nuisance pest later in the spring and during the summer.” Spotted Lanternfly egg masses hold between 30-50 eggs of the invasive species. One sign to look for to see where Spotted Lanternfly has been is a black sooty mold on a tree. The Spotted Lanternfly prefers the Tree of Heaven, which is common in New

Jersey. While the Spotted Lanternfly is not a threat to humans or animals, it is known to feed on numerous types of vegetation. NJDA and USDA crews have combined to treat more than 20,000 acres and have destroyed thousands of egg masses on nearly 600 properties throughout this past winter season. The Spotted Lanternfly is native to Asia, but arrived in the U.S. in Berks County, Pa., on a shipment in 2014. The species has been advancing ever since, causing Pennsylvania to have 34 counties currently under quarantine. The New Jersey counties currently under quarantine are Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Somerset and is expected to expand. To watch the instructional egg mass scraping video, go to htt ps://w w w.yout ube.com / watch?v=mU0CAPqAkeE . To learn more about the Spotted Lanternfly and what to do if you find them on your property go to https://www. nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/pi/prog/ pests-diseases/spotted-lanternfly/.

PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agriculture Department Funds $300,000 in Projects to Boost Sales of PA-Grown Agricultural Products Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced $300,000 in state matching funds awarded to 16 projects aimed at increasing consumer awareness of Pennsylvania agriculture products and market opportunities for agriculture producers. “With so many appealing products produced in Pennsylvania, consumers don’t have to look far to find fresh, healthy choices close to home,” Redding said. “When aware of the options, consumers are more likely to choose local products. Promoting the story behind the food is a compelling way to attract consumers to Pennsylvania products. Once they make that first purchase, it is natural for them to become repeat customers.” The Pennsylvania Agricultural Product Promotion, Education and Export Promotion Matching Grant is a program within the 2020-21 state budget. The Bureau of Market Development offers this grant to encourage and maximize the promotion of Pennsylvania-produced agricultural products. Non-profit organizations based in 11 counties received matching funds for projects, many of which have a regional or statewide focus. The department prioritized projects aligned to COVID-19 recovery. Learn more about the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s efforts to promote a thriving, resilient agriculture industry at agriculture.pa.gov.

NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE State Dedicates Highest Level of Funding Ever to Protect Valuable and At-Risk Farmland Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a record $52.5 million is now available through the Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program to help farmers across New York protect valuable and at-risk farmland. This is the highest level of funding being offered in the program’s 25-year history. In addition, for the first time, the program will distribute funds to each of the state’s 10 economic development regions, with $5 million being allocated to each region. “Protecting New York farmland is critical to our agricultural industry, helping to ensure our farmers can continue to produce healthy foods for our communities and invest in their operations,” Governor Cuomo said. “As a result of the historic levels of funding being offered, and with eligibility expanded for this important program, we are providing even more opportunities for our farmers to conserve valuable agricultural land, protecting the future vitality of New York

farming.” Municipalities, counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and land trusts are eligible to apply for grants of up to $2 million each to help offset the costs of individual conservation easement projects that protect viable agricultural land from being converted to non-agricultural use. For the first time ever, eligibility criteria for the program have been adjusted to include the agroforestry, equine, and wine sectors, reflecting New York’s diverse agricultural industry. In addition, other closely aligned State goals have been integrated into the eligibility criteria to allow multiple objectives for certain projects, including food security, climate resiliency, and source water protection. Another first for the program, an incentive payment is now available to participating landowners whose project specifically incorporates climate resiliency or source water protection. Soil health assessments

are also now an eligible project cost. There is no application deadline and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until available funds have been awarded to eligible projects. Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball said, “New York’s Farmland Protection program has been critical to helping to conserve thousands of acres of valuable farmland over the years and keep it forever in agriculture. I am proud of the innovative approaches the Department has taken to build on these successes and increase the program’s reach, including assisting our farmers to diversify their operations, transition ownership to the next generation, and now, expand eligibility criteria so even more farms qualify for the program. This, along with the record level of funding being offered today, will move us toward our next milestone of permanently protecting 100,000 acres of farmland in New York State.”


24 May 2021

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GardenerNews.com Americans love a good party, and in this melting pot of cultures that comprise our great nation, there are plenty of opportunities to find a reason to celebrate a particular occasion. One event that keeps growing in popularity is the fifth day of May – also known as Cinco de Mayo. While many in America refer to this day as Mexico’s Independence Day, (which is actually September 16, but why let facts get in the way of a good party), it has become a popular day to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage. Cinco de Mayo refers to a battle that occurred during the FrancoMexican War. The war resulted when the French launched an invasion of Mexico in 1861. With the United States preoccupied by their own war, Napoleon III saw an opportunity to establish French dominance in Mexico. Had France won the war, Napoleon III planned to use Mexico as a base to aid the Confederate army in America’s Civil War. On May 5, 1862, the Mexicans engaged a much larger and better equipped army of French forces near Puebla, Mexico. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Mexicans claimed victory, losing few men while French casualties were much higher. While the victory itself was

May 2021 25 NJ Agricultural Society By Al Murray Executive Director

Celebrating South of the Border

not considered a major battle, it provided a significant morale boost to the Mexicans and helped slow the French advance towards Mexico City. Recognized in Mexico as “The Day of the Battle of Puebla”, the day is considered a minor holiday celebrated largely in the region where the battle took place. Ironically, more people in the United States celebrate Cinco de Mayo than in Mexico. One thing about Americans, when we appropriate someone else’s holiday, at least we keep it authentic in the food and beverage department. As expected, Tequila, Mexican brand beer, and traditional foods rule the celebration. According to industry experts, the United States leads the world in Tequila consumption with over $2.9 billion in sales. It is estimated that over 14 percent of cocktails

consumed in the United States are tequila-based. Americans also love their Corona Extra beer. In a typical year, we consume over 264 million gallons of the suds. On Cinco de Mayo, consumption of Mexican beverages triples – turning the day into what could be called “Drinkode-Mayo”. Avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, and chile peppers are also prevalent in dishes served during the holiday. New Jersey is a major producer of several varieties of chile peppers. Unfortunately, they will not be in season until later in the summer. However, Jersey Fresh cilantro and Jersey Fresh tomatoes grown in greenhouses will be available to help celebrate the holiday with some fresh salsa. Cilantro is also a key ingredient in many Mexican dishes. (As well as Chinese and Indian cuisine.)

While associated with Mexico, cilantro originated in Spain and was brought to Mexico by the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s. Cilantro is an herb that is a member of the parsley family, and its leaves have a pungent, lemony, peppery taste. It is always used fresh because if dried or cooked, cilantro loses much of its taste. Maintaining freshness is always the key to cilantro, and since it’s grown in such abundance in New Jersey, that is never a problem. While there are over 25 species of chile peppers, the three most popular in the United States are jalapeno, serrano, and poblano peppers. Scientists believe all species of chile peppers originated in Bolivia. Despite their association with Mexican food, India remains the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of chile peppers. New Jersey’s pepper production season runs from June to October, with

the largest supply available in July, August, and September. Avocados will also be a staple on Cinco de Mayo, and Americans will enjoy over 87 million pounds. While impressive, it ranks second to Super Bowl Sunday, where 105 million pounds are typically consumed. Now that Mexico has brought us Cinco de Mayo and it is celebrated throughout North America, my thoughts turn to our Canadian friends and I wonder what we can do to turn “Boxing Day” into an Americanized celebration. Viva la Molson!

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

What’s Growing in My Landscape Mulch? Composted Mulch: A recommended way to avoid the problem of nuisance fungi and to maximize the benefits of mulching is to add nitrogen and then compost the mix for a minimum of six weeks. The nitrogen source can include grass clippings, poultry manure and urea (applied at a rate of one pound of available nitrogen per cubic yard of mulch material). An alternative is the addition of 10- to 15-percent by volume of composted sewage sludge to the hardwood bark or wood mulch. How Temperature, Moisture and pH Influence Nuisance Fungi: Sometimes high-quality, composted mulch products are applied around the landscape and yet problems with colonization by undesirable fungi still occur. This scenario can happen when thermophiles (i.e., microorganisms requiring high temperatures to survive) that thrive during the composting process begin to die when temperatures cool to

the 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit range after application. This “biological vacuum” within the fresh compost is rapidly colonized by mesophiles (lowtemperature microorganisms). If the composted mulch is dry (i.e., moisture content is below 35 percent) when it is applied, some of the nuisance fungi can become the primary colonizers. The chances for potential problems occurring in the future are then more likely to happen, especially if the mulch is applied too deeply (four inches or more). The pH levels can also predetermine the likelihood of nuisance fungi colonizing the mulch. When pH drops below 5.2, then beneficial bacteria/ fungi that inhibit nuisance fungal growth cannot colonize and compete successfully. Sour mulches can have a pH range as low as 2.5 to 4.8 and will not only promote the growth of fungi but are toxic to most plants. Reducing Problems Before They Start:

(Continued from page 20) Applying water to dry mulch or compost materials as they are placed in the landscape can prevent many of the fungal nuisance problems. It is important to soak all mulches immediately after they have been applied. Once the water content of mulch exceeds 40 percent (50 percent is even better) by total weight, the high-moisture organic matter is rapidly colonized by beneficial bacteria and fungi within the first few days enabling them to compete with the nuisance fungi. Sour mulches with pH levels below 5.2 should not be applied within the landscape. The low pH and resulting fungal problems are usually prevented if the wood and bark products are nitrified (i.e., addition of one pound of an accessible N source per cubic yard of mulch) and composted. Generally, a good game plan to follow when using mulch in the landscape is to purchase composted products that have a low percentage of woody

material. Remember, softwood bark is rot resistant and does not promote the growth of nuisance fungi. Fresh woody products (i.e., grounded wood pallets), having particle sizes less than threeeighths of an inch in diameter should especially be avoided unless they are composted first. If composting fresh woody products is not feasible, then coarse particles greater than three-quarter inches should be applied. The larger diameter mulches will less likely create problems if they are not applied to a depth greater than two inches. Finally, fluffing the mulch up at least twice a year may help by disrupting the formation of spores. Solutions After Mulch Problems Occur: Once nuisance fungi have colonized and become a problem within mulched areas, control options are often limited. Probably the most attempted solution is the application of fresh, dry mulch on top of the existing mulch colonized

by nuisance fungi. Such an approach rarely solves anything, since the problem will occur again the following year, if not sooner, and likely become worse. A more effective control is to simply spade the infected mulch into the soil layer and then thoroughly soak with water. The best control option is to remove the mulch and place it in a heap after completely wetting it. This will promote self-heating and once temperatures reach a range between 110 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the nuisance fungi will be destroyed. Editor’s Note: Steven K. Rettke is a Greenhouse/ Nursery IPM Program Associate, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station/ Cooperative Extension. He can be reached at rettke@ njaes.rutgers.edu or by calling 732-431-7260, ext. 7278


26 May 2021

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Full Moon May 26, 2021 Eastern Daylight

TIP OF THE MONTH Abraham Browning of Camden is given credit for giving New Jersey the nickname “The Garden State.” According to Alfred Heston’s 1926 two-volume book Jersey Waggon Jaunts, Browning called New Jersey the Garden State while speaking at the Philadelphia Centennial exhibition on New Jersey Day (August 24, 1876). Browning said that our Garden State is an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other. The name stuck ever since. However, Benjamin Franklin is credited with a similar comparison of New Jersey to a barrel tapped at both ends. Some have used that to discredit Browning with naming the Garden State. In 1954, the state legislature passed a bill to have “The Garden State” added to license plates. Before signing the bill into law, Governor Robert Meyner investigated the origins of the nickname and found “no official recognition of the slogan Garden State as an identification of the state of New Jersey.” He added, “I do not believe that the average citizen of New Jersey regards his state as more peculiarly identifiable with gardening or farming than any of its other industries or occupations.” Governor Meyner vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode the veto. The slogan was added to license plates soon after. The Garden State has 7,354 square miles of land; 1,368 square miles of water; 8,723 square miles total area; 9,900 farms; and 127 miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The State Animal is the Horse, the State Fish is the Brook Trout, the State Flower is the Violet, the State Bird is the Eastern Goldfinch, the State Tree is the Red Oak, the State Fruit is the Blueberry, the State Bug is the Honeybee, the State Reptile is the Bog Turtle, and the State Butterfly is the Black Swallowtail.


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