Master Gardeners Association
Community Newsletter - The Garden Gate
Each month we will be publishing a community newsletter, bringing you relevant seasonal horticultural information for Rockbridge County. If you would like receive our newsletters as soon as they are published, enter your email address and click on the Subscribe button to the right.
March 18th at 10:30am: "Edible Mushrooms" with Stephen Kaplan from Kaplan's Welcome Home Farms (RARA Community Room, 350 Spotswood Dr., Lexington)
April 15th at 10:30am: "Planting for Birds" with Dr. Robyn Puffenbarger from Bridgewater College and CSVMGA (RARA Community Room, 350 Spotswood Dr., Lexington)
May 13th at 10:30am: "Invasive Plants" with Natali Walker from Blue Ridge PRISM (Lexington Presbyterian, Dunlap Auditorium, 120 S. Main St., Lexington, enter on Randolph St. side)
June 10th at 10:30am: "CoreWorks" with Annette Green from Boxerwood (Lexington Presbyterian, Westfel Room, 120 S. Main St., Lexington, enter on Randolph St. side)
July 15th at 10:30am: "Fall Vegetable Gardens" with Jim Kvach from RAMGA (Lexington Presbyterian, Dunlap Auditorium, 120 S. Main St., Lexington, enter on Randolph St. side)
September 16 at 10:30am: "Fall Lawn Tasks" with Dr. Mike Goatley from Virgina Tech Extension (Location TBD)
Virtual Plant Clinics
This year, due to the need for social distancing, we are taking our Plant Clinics virtually through Zoom presentations. Upcoming Zoom presentations may be found on the Home page. Following are recordings of recent virtual Plant Clinics:
Growing Plants from Native Seeds
February 16, 2023
Identifying Plant Diseases
July 16, 2022
Plant ID: There's an App for that!
June 18, 2022
To Lawn or Not to Lawn?
April 23, 2022
The Healthy Gardener
March 19, 2022
No video is available
Feeding Birds Naturally
February 19, 2022
Starting Plants from Seed
January 15, 2022
Winter Fun: Hunting for Invasive Plants
November 20, 2021
Access code for the video is #o5EaC82
Checklist for Fall Gardening
October 16, 2021
Planning…..Purchasing…..AND Planting Tips…
It’s that TIME! May 8, 2021
The 3 Gardening P's - Planting - Propagation,
AND Plant Sale Preview - April 17,2021
Slides from this Plant Clinic.
March 17, 2021
Slides from this Plant Clinic.
Winter Plant Care
February 13, 2021
The Joy of Seed Shopping
January 16, 2021
Resources from this Plant Clinic.
From our Newsletter
Faith’s Garden Notes…
By Faith Vosburgh
Looking for large trees to screen your property? Instead of purchasing a Leyland Cypress, why not consider, say, a Cryptomeria? Leylands have been massively overplanted, probably due to the fact that they are an evergreen that can grow about 3’ per year. But the ultimate height for a Leyland is about 100’ and too many times I have noticed plantings in smaller residences where the trees are planted only a few feet apart. Leylands need to be 12-15’ apart for good air circulation and to allow space for the plant to mature.
Leylands are very susceptible to several fungi. Probably most common is a fungus called Seridium canker dieback (Seridium unicorne) which will ultimately kill the tree. If you notice lots of dead branches on your tree, look for dark, oval or elongated lesions on stems and branches oozing resin. These are the cankers. Drought seems to make the trees more susceptible to the disease. Young Leylands can also suffer from Phytophera Root Rot, another fungus and a problem that is often due to poor drainage. This fungus lives in the soil and enters the plant through the succulent part of small roots. And there is Bot canker (Botryosphaeria dothidea). The first symptom of this disease presents itself with yellowing branches. Dead stems will reveal v-shaped cankers, often girdling a stem. There is little to no oozing with this canker. It also differentiates itself from the other cankers in that the needles don’t fall off the affected stem or branch. One more fungus is Passiflora Needle Blight caused by the fungus Passalora sequoia. Needles will brown and drop from the inside of the tree outwards. This starts on the lower branches and eventually moves its way to the top, leaving a tree with green needles only at the tips of the branches.
All this Leyland talk leads me to my favorite tree for screening, the Cryptomeria, common name, Japanese Cedar (although it is not a true cedar). Cryptomeria are native to Japan (it is their national tree) and are highly prized both as an ornamental and as a wood. They are evergreen with awl-shaped needles spirally arranged with a bark that is a beautiful reddish color. In the winter, the evergreens may take on a bronzy tinge. There are pretty rosebud-like spherical 1” cones.
There are lots of cultivars out, both large and small. I have not had much luck with the smaller varieties (3-5’) as our hot sticky summers often cause them to brown out from the inside. The foliage on the small Cryptomerias tends to be very dense. The larger ones work better here. ‘Yoshino’ is the most popular, reliable, and readily available cultivar to use for screening. This plant gets to be about 30’- 40’ with a 15-20’ spread. It has bright blue-green foliage and the characteristic reddish bark. It's easy to grow, has a medium growth rate, and transplants easily.
Sources: “Leyland Cypress Diseases, insects, and related pests. Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center.
Dirr, Michael. Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. 6th edition. Stipes Publishing, 2009.
Continuing Education Opportunities/Area Gardening Events:
The annual Waynesboro Shenandoah Plant Symposium (another one I try not to miss) is scheduled for Friday, March 24 at a new location, the Wayne Theatre in downtown Waynesboro. The roster of speakers include Kelly Norris (one of my favorite garden speakers), Heather Holm on Native Bees, Felder Rushing of NPR’s Gestalt Gardener, and Yolima Carr of the Elizabeth River Project at Paradise Creek Nature. For more information and to register: https://www.waynesboro.va.us/971/Shenandoah-Valley-Plant-Symposium
And here are a few more webinars, thanks to Jan Smith, to help you with your Continuing Education hours while it is too cold to work outside:
Virginia Native Plant Society recorded webinars
From all the chapters' programs.
Maryland Native Plant Society recorded webinars
Note the webinar on sedges
VA Master Naturalist High Five for Nature
Short webinars featuring 5 species .... plants, animals and insects.
OH State - long but very good series on bees
Plant Virginia Natives 2 part series of webinars
On the left side there is a list of resources - look for Spring Landscaping and Fall Landscaping. Each has multiple topics covered.
Following are additional online and in-person continuing education opportunities:
VIRGINIA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION VIDEO LIBRARY
VCE offers a variety of video on topics geared to both beginner and more advanced gardeners. Examples of topics include:
Fall Cover Crops and Soil
Cedar Apple Rust
Common Diseases in the Home Garden
For these and many more videos that address specific topics or those of more general interest, visit this link.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener YouTube channel has lots of instructional videos. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-rsFK2y4FJDI5ful2JEiw
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond has a slew of online classes, but all do have a fee. This is an amazing world class garden practically in our own backyard. https://www.lewisginter.org/learn/adult-classes/online-classes/
The Penn State Extension has a number of online classes and webinars: https://extension.psu.edu/trees-lawns-and-landscaping/home-gardening/see-all-home-gardening/shopby/online-courses--webinars
Another sources of webinars is the Xerces Society’s website: https://www.xerces.org/events/webinars
STATE ARBORETUM OF VIRGINIA
Mt. Cuba Center, a native plant garden in Delaware, has a series of excellent Classes on Demand, 90 minutes classes on topics such as soil, butterfly gardening, weeds, native groundcovers for $15 apiece. https://mtcubacenter.org/programs/classes-on-demand/