Ask a Master Gardener Volunteer
Answering the public's questions about gardening using science-based information is an important objective of the Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program. Submit your landscape, yard, and garden questions here.
John Heinz - 2022 Delaware County Master Gardener of the Year
The Mission of the Delaware County Master Gardener Association is to provide environmentally sound, research-based horticultural education to the residents of Delaware County. There are many ways to accomplish this, but this Year’s candidate stands out specifically in three areas. John Heinz has worked tirelessly and quietly answering questions sent to the Help Desk, replying to questions submitted to the state-wide Ask a Master Gardener program, and interpreting and making recommendations regarding soil analyses.
Dig into a Book!
Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of our own Backyard
by Sara Stein, 1993. Reviewed by Terri Litchfield, DCMG
A history of Stein’s property in Pound Ridge NY after originally taming the land into a typical suburban lawn and garden, resulting in the loss of a myriad of life forms in the garden. The book documents her efforts to “ungarden” in order to support wildlife and restore the ecosystem. Demonstrates principles of gardening for biodiversity years be-fore Doug Tallamy’s “Bringing Nature Home” made these ideas mainstream.
Of interest to gardeners of all skill levels. Includes illustrations. Gives an example of how these gardening practices such as replacing lawn with native plantings in adjacent yards create “mosaic ecosystems,” or what are considered wildlife corridors today.
Chapter 11, Smiles of Vanished Woods; describes the complexity of nurturing natural landscapes with several examples of unintended consequences
Coevolution of wildlife and plants results in plants that bloom when their pollinators require the pollen and nectar, thus a need for blooming plants from early spring through late fall, not for the gardener’s pleasures but for the very existence of certain insect species in the landscape.
Soil organisms play an important role in the ecosystem of natural areas and landscapes. These ideas are mainstream now but not widely understood in the 90’s.
In 1990 a local town board (Pound Ridge, NY) prohibits removal of trees in a number of situations because of the disruption it causes to the ecosystem. This law seeks to protect land from soil erosion and flooding; reduce air pollution; provide oxygen; temper noise; and provide natural habitat for wildlife. Yet it permits “radical surgery” in the landscape, for instance the removal of all understory trees and shrubs, thus disrupting the ecosystem services the law sought to protect. “They can’t legislate woodland complexity or impose species diversity.”
It pulls together so many concepts which are widely accepted today but which must have seemed farfetched at the time of publication
Shale Meadows Elementary School
Karen Rissmeyer (Master Gardener class of 2021!) has initiated an exciting learning project at Shale Meadows Elementary School. Karen, a newly retired educator from Olentangy Local School District, reached out to principal Greta Gnagy and teacher Mandy Robek of the Shale Meadow Monarchs to offer Master Gardener help to create a Monarch school garden and to teach students about the life cycle and food source for the Monarch butterfly.
After two years of schools restricting outside access to their students for health concerns, Master Gardeners were finally invited back into the classroom to share the science and fun of gardening – woohoo!
On Wednesday, January 5, three intrepid Master Gardeners (Karen and MG intern helpers Cynthia Buettner and Stephany Merick) arrived at Shale Meadows Elementary school armed with milk jugs, milkweed seed, a handy dandy drill, duct tape and soil. Their mission – to educate five third grade classes about monarchs, their migration, their host plant, and why creating a monarch waystation is helpful to the continuation of the species. Karen led a discussion that taught the students about monarchs and also about milkweed, winter seed sowing, and reviewing the water cycle. As a retired teacher, Karen was more than ready to jump into leading the students in a game, simulation, and discussion that led up to the winter seed sowing activity.
Students drilled milk jugs, filled them with potting soil and wet the soil. Fluffy milkweed seeds were scattered in the soil (and possibly elsewhere) and gently misted. Do-it-all duct tape sealed the cut edges of the jugs and they were ready to be put outside to stratify in the cold. The student “Milkweed Crew” will watch over the jugs when they're out on the playground over the winter. Karen taught the “Crew” what to watch for (moisture –too much, too little) and what to do to make their little seedlings healthy and happy.
Thank you to Greta Gnagy and Mandy Robek for giving us such delightful mini gardeners and for allowing us to share the wonder of Monarchs with your third graders.
And thank you to our creative and energetic intern MGs Karen Rissmeyer, Cynthia Buettner and Stephany Merick who are bringing the science of gardening back to our schools!
From The Weed Detective
Did you know that mistletoe is considered a weed in locations where it grows naturally? Did you know it is one of only 2 parasitic plants that grow naturally in the United States? Did you know there are over 900 varieties of mistletoe that grow worldwide?
Mistletoe or Viscum album is a parasitic plant that grow on a variety of host trees and shrubs. Popular host trees are hawthorn, apple, poplar, lime and conifers. Mistletoe sends its roots into the tree and draws out nutrients and water.
Mistletoe can be identified by their many-branched stems that are swollen at the nodes and brittle. Leaves are opposite. The common Christmas variety has leathery, evergreen leaves and is covered in white berries through winter and spring. Flowers are inconspicuous, unisexual, and lack petals. The berries are one-seeded, white and have a sticky pulp that adheres to the beaks of birds that feed on the fruit.
The white berries are poisonous and cause gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, and cardiovascular issues. I’m pretty sure these are the same symptoms as Christmas Cookie overload so it can be hard to tell the symptoms apart! Keep mistletoe away from children.
Ohio Invasive Plant Council 2021 Annual Meeting Presentations
Mark Warman, Cleveland Metroparks Hydrilla at Mosquito Creek Reservoir
LaeRae Sprow, Metroparks Toledo Developing an Invasive Management Strategy
Emma Crockett and Holly Latterman, The Dawes Arboretum Experimentation on Best Practices for Dense Woody Invasive Removal and Habitat Conversion
Chris Roshon, Preservation Parks Delaware County Early and Often: Persistence Pays Off with Callery Pear
Shelby Ashcraft, Five Rivers Metropark Effective Use and Follow Up with Forestry Mulching
Dr. Bethany Bradley, University of Massachusetts Breaking Down Barriers to Proactive & Consistent Risk Assessments of Invasive Plants
Registration (free) is required to view the recording. Please follow this link. The password is: #OIPC2021