Delaware County
Master Gardener Association


Delaware County Master Gardeners are avid about horticulture and eager learners. This site is one way we share these passions and provide "environmentally sound, research-based gardening practices" with our communities. 

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.

DCMGA Plant Sale

The plant sale will open Its doors at 9am on Saturday, July 20, and again on Sunday, July 21.  Thanks to our great donors and our own Master Gardeners, we will have the tables absolutely packed with annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs.  Be sure to stop off at the specially grown Native Plants area for deals on over 1,000 plants.  We will also have a Garden Treasures section that will sell gently used garden tools and other items for your garden.  We will also have a wonderful raffle.  Hope to see you there!

AMGS-OH Trees Class on June 13, 2024

The Secrest Arboretum in Wooster, Ohio, was the host of our seventh class.  The Arboretum is a lovely, 110-acre venue filled with a large variety of trees, shrubs, and perennials.


We began the day with a presentation by Secrest Curator Jason Veil, who spoke on Tree Selection.  The basic message is "The Right Plant in the Right Place," which is using available knowledge to choose a tree or tree-type that is compatible with both your environmental conditions and your planting objectives.  


It's important to consider the tree's physical traits (size, shape, growth rate) as well as the benefits of the tree:  think of energy conservation (shading and screening), aesthetics (color, texture, and structure), ecological benefits (wildlife habitat, pollinators), wind regulation, rainwater capture and stormwater management, etc.  Also look at the cons of the tree: liabilities (poor branch structure and strength), insect vulnerability, disease susceptibility, falling parts (foliage and fruit), aggressiveness/invasiveness, and intolerances (most broadleaf evergreens don't do well In Ohio because of moisture evaporation and high winds).

Dr. Kayla Perry, an entomology professor at OSU, spoke on Heterogeneity in Forest Landscapes. Heterogeneity is the state of consisting of dissimilar or diverse elements - such as the layers of a forest.


Habitat heterogeneity is the number of different habitats within an environment or ecosystem.   Forests have both horizontal and vertical habitats.  From top to bottom is the canopy, the understory, shrubs, herbs, and then the ground itself.  A stream can add a second habitat.  The more habitats there are, the more niches are available for different species.


A few of the many interesting facts Dr Perry shared were that the forested land cover in Ohio has increased over the last century, that nothing feeds on multiflora rose, and that leaf-litter and soil layer provide the highest non-plant diversity and support plants and animal diversity in all other layers of the forest through decomposition.


Our final speaker was Paul Snyder from Secrest Arboretum.  Paul spoke on Tree ID and brought a multitude of tree and shrub limbs and leaves for us to see the different identifiers, such as alternate, opposite, sub-opposite, or whorled branching; the different leaf margins; and the variety of venation.  His presentation was concluded by a walk in the Arboretum discussing the traits seen in several of their trees.


Upon return to the classroom, we played a Tree bingo game that Nancy Reynolds had.  She challenged our class to develop a bingo game of the trees that are native to Ohio. Her black walnut cookie was a family recipe that she recalls eating every holiday.


The book giveaway, Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast, by Michael Wojtech and Tom Wessels, was won by Charlotte Niceswanger.


We concluded the class with close to 40 classmates reporting on their class project.  It was

amazing that there didn't seem to be a duplicated project in the bunch!  Our respective counties are really going to benefit from the knowledge we are gaining in this class!

DCMGA Plant Sale

Save the dates for our Annual Plant Sale at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, 236 Pennsylvania Avenue, Delaware, OH 43015, In the Hog and Lamb Building.  The Sale is on  Saturday, July 20 from 9am to 4pm, and Sunday, July 21 from 9am to 3pm.   You will find lots of lovely plants (annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, vegetables, and herbs), our specially-grown native perennial for pollinators, a garden treasurers corner, and a fun raffle table.  

AMGS-OH Trees Class on May 23, 2024

It's hard to believe that we are half-way through this program!  Yes, this was our 5th of 10 classes and, just like all the others, it was a doozy!

We began our day with Pam Bennett, OSU Extension and statewide MGV coordinator, who gave an excellent presentation on proper tree planting techniques.  Some takeaways are that you should always tease out the roots before planting, regardless of whether you are dealing with a balled-and-burlapped (B&B) or container-grown tree.  B&B trees should have the top 1/3 of the burlap removed after the tree Is In the hole and the wire container cut and folded down so It does not girdle the roots.  Pam believes in the  catharsis of using a machete to cut off the bottom roots and pruners to remove any circling roots or roots that have grown above the root flare.  The hole should be deep enough to ensure that the root flare is about one inch above the soil but up to eight times the width of the pot or root ball.  If you have heavy clay soil, you may want to create a well at the bottom of the hole so that the ball sits on a higher, dryer mound of soil and the water can gather in the well.       

The only pruning to be done on a new tree Is to remove a co-dominate leader, rubbing branches, narrow crotch angles and water sprouts, broken branches, and suckers.  Do NOT prune the terminal leader of branch tips.  Don't stake the tree unless you are dealing with strong prevailing winds or the root ball is very loose.   

Our next speaker was Chris Ahlum, president of Ahlum and Arbor Tree Preservation Company.  Chris spoke to the why, when and how of tree pruning.  It's Important to prune to ensure the tree is structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing, healthy,  does not create an unsafe environment, and to improve flower or fruit production.   With trees that flower on current season wood, prune during the dormant season or just before growth will occur In the spring.  For trees that flower on last season's wood, prune just after the bloom.  Only prune oaks between October and March to prevent oak wilt.  

Pruning should only occur next to the collar, as the callus tissue that heals the wound comes from collar.  Use a three-cut method but first cutting under the branch one to two feet from the trunk (this will prevent the bark from peeling), then cut from the top just slightly beyond the first cut, and finally cut at the collar.

For conifers, the best pruning technique is to pinch off the candles (new growth).  

Our final speaker of the day was Laura Deeter of Chadwick Arboretum, who spoke on identifying trees and basic care.  Laura began by reminding us why it is important to know the botanical name:  the common name for a plant can and will change from one area to another and, regardless of what language you speak, the botanical name remains the same.  

Laura also shared  that an 80 year old oak is the equivalent of a 13 year-old child; In the 1800s In Austria, they excavated tree roots and found them to be up to 30 feet beyond the drip line; you can water a tree a night If you water from the ground; and that dyed mulches are often from pallets and you have no idea what had been stored on that pallet.

Laura then led us on a trek around the Secrest's rear parking lots to identify numerous trees and answer questions.      

Nancy Reynolds baked Mulberry muffins as our tree taste-treat for the day.  And Chris Ahlum brought a number of copies of his book, The Guide to Ohio Trees:  Forty Trees, Forty Years, and generously donated four copies that were won by  Marlene Dorko of Madison County, Karen Jensen of Franklin County, Karen Lewis of Franklin County, and Christy Pearl of Madison County.   Emma Barth-Elias of Summit County won the Sibley Field ID book and flashcards. 

Therapeutic Gardening

We can’t even describe how much our May activity warmed our hearts. It was a very hot day, and we were scheduled to plant the raised beds at the Avalon. We figured no one would show up due to the heat. We were scurrying to get the beds ready to plant when we looked up and saw a line forming as our group of friends entered the courtyard ready and raring to go! They patiently waited while we wrapped up spreading the soil and gathering the plants for each bed. Finally one of our friends said “I’m ready to get my hands dirty” and with that the planting commenced!

A big thanks to the following…Lettuce Work Nursery for the donation of herbs for the sensory garden, individual DCMG's for donating plants to the pollinator bed, the residents for their successful winter seed sowing and the Avalon for all the plants they purchased. Look at the smiles!

AMGS-OH Trees Class on May 9, 2024

It may have been raining outdoors, but we were snug as a bug at the US Army Corp of Engineers' Visitor Center at Alum Creek!  

Our day began with Jim Chatfield, OSU Extension, who provided a wonderful presentation on flowering trees.  He mentioned the four deciduous conifers (dawn redwood, bald cypress, larch, and, new to many of us, the pseudolarix (golden larch))  as examples of gymnosperms that have closed fruit that doesn't flower and are usually pollinated by wind, as opposed to the angiosperms that are tru flowering plants and usually pollinated by insects.  In February we begin seeing hazelnut and forsythia blooms, followed in March by silver and red maple, cornelian cherry dogwood, pawpaw, beech, oaks, maples, and crabapples.

Dr Chatfield graciously donated his copy of The Tree Book by Michael Dirr and Keith S Warren to the Delaware County Master Gardeners. 

Our next speaker was Heather Sheets with ODNR's Project Learning Tree program.  This environmental educational curriculum  can be used by teachers, educators, parents, and community leaders who want to work with pre-school to grade 12 youths.  There's something here for everyone who wants to work with kids.   We concluded this section of class with some tree yoga (check out the photos!).

Dr Gary Gao was our final speaker and entertained us with his stories and quips, not to mention his vast information on fruit trees.   One would think that growing apple trees would be easy - but not so!  You need to address pruning, fungicides, Insecticides, timing of application, coverage (hence why most commercial growers select dwarf trees), rain Issues, fertilization (which requires soil testing), fruit thinning (too many fruits  and flowers are a bad thing - who knew!) to ensure consistency in size.  Many grower will seal the apple In a brown paper bag as an insect control.

He recommends the  Midwest Home and Fruit Production Guide, which is available through the OSU Extension website.

Dr Gao also gave insights Into growing grapes and stone fruits.  He concluded with Information on pathogens and diseases.

Today's tasty treat from Nancy Reynolds was redbud jelly on biscuits.  The recipe was pretty simple (redbud flowers, sugar, pectin, and water) but gathering the flowers was a quite a chore!  Not to be outdone, Dr Chatfield reminded all of Secrest's Arbor-eatum that will be held in the fall (watch our Calendar for the date).  

The book Bark:  A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast by Michael Wojtech and Tom Wessels was won by Sue Cline of Madison County. 

Therapeutic Gardening

Our new class of 24 Master Gardener interns joined us May 6 at The Avalon of Lewis Center for a Therapeutic Horticulture Presentation followed by a tour of their fabulous greenhouse and raised bed gardens. 

Meanwhile our friends were patiently waiting inside for the pansy palooza/herb extravaganza to get started! We had a packed house with 7 tables full of residents. Everyone played guess the herb scents, planted pansies in old fashioned tea cups and enjoyed lavender lemonade, pansy cup cakes and lemon lavender cookies. It was a stimulating morning to say the least!!!

We are so thankful to Theresa Eddy and The Avalon of Lewis Center for embracing us. We can't believe it's been a year already! They are the Best!

Sheedy Sanctuary

Donna Reynolds shared a newly found wilderness area full of lovely sites and wonderful walking trails: the Sheedy Sanctuary, which is part of the Morrow County Park District.  The sanctuary is located at 189 County Road 204, Centerburg, Ohio.  Although it has a Centerburg mailing address the sanctuary is in the south east corner of Morrow County, just east of County Road 204 and approximately one mile south of County Road 15 In South Bloomfield Township.  And, as a special treat, you can stop by Groovy Plants Ranch on your way to or from the sanctuary.  Enjoy the pictures that Donna took of some spring ephemerals she found there.