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Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
1988-1995 Apricot Variety Evaluations in Virginia Feb 24, 2015 422-761 (HORT-100P)
1995 Apple Variety Evaluations Feb 24, 2015 422-760 (AREC-130P)
2016 Mid-Atlantic Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations Jan 29, 2016 456-420 (AREC-168NP)
America's Anniversary Garden: A Statewide Corridor and Entrance Enhancement Program

In 2007, Virginia will mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the first English settlement in the Americas. The 18-month-long commemoration begins in May 2006 and will feature educational programs, cultural events, fairs, and various live and broadcast entertainments sponsored by Virginia and cities and towns across the commonwealth. See the America's 400th Anniversary website at www.americasanniversary.com for information about this salute to America's birthplace.

Jul 23, 2015 426-211 (HORT-186P)
America's Anniversary Garden: Red, White, and Blue in Fall and Winter Gardens

Virginia Cooperative Extension developed the America’s Anniversary Garden to help individuals, communities, and groups commemorate America’s 400th anniversary with a signature landscape or garden. These signature gardens have red, white, and blue color schemes. Other VCE garden design, plant selection, plant installation, and maintenance publications for patriotic gardens are listed in the Resources section .

Apr 10, 2015 426-228(HORT-164P)
American (Fagus grandifolia) and European (Fagus sylvatica) Beeches Feb 21, 2012 HORT-6
American Beautyberry


(Callicarpa americana)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 10 feet

Spread: 6 feet

Shape: upright informal habit.

The primary and sole attribute of beautyberry, a large loosely branched shrub, is the showy display of magenta fruits in the fall.

May 1, 2009 2901-1033
American Hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana Feb 21, 2012 HORT-5
American Yellowood

(Cladrastis kentukea (prior name C. lutea))


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 50 feet

Spread: 55 feet

Shape: Vase-shaped

This vase-shaped medium tree has smooth bark and showy white flowers in the spring. It is also quite drought and alkaline soil tolerant.

May 1, 2009 2901-1034
Applying Pesticides Safely

Proper use of pesticides is essential for your safety and for that of the environment. Pesticides must be used correctly to be effective.

Review the product label before each use. Be sure you have all the materials necessary for a safe and proper application. Check precautions label sites (e.g., types of plants or areas) and timing requirements such as days to harvest, temperature, and wind speed restrictions. Be sure you can indeed use this pesticide when and where you intend to!

Jan 19, 2016 426-710 (HORT-199P)

 Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that will live from 12 to 15 years or longer. It is one of the most valuable of the early vegetables and is well adapted to freezer storage. During the harvest period (traditionally spring, but see below for summer harvest instructions), the spears develop daily from underground crowns. Asparagus does well where winters are cool and the soil occasionally freezes at least a few inches deep; it is considered very hardy.

Mar 6, 2015 426-401(HORT-152P)
Austrian Pine, Pinus nigra Nov 3, 2010 3010-1462
Backyard Composting

Composting is a degradation process brought about by bacteria and fungus organisms. Large amounts of organic kitchen, garden, lawn, and/or farm refuse can be reduced in a relatively short time to a pile of black, crumbly humus which makes an ideal soil conditioner. Compost added regularly to soil will inevitably benefit the soil. The soil's structure will improve, since humus contains substances which cause aggregation (sticking together) of soil particles. In a clay soil this means that the microscopic individual particles will be clumped together and more air spaces will be opened up between clumps. Without these air spaces the clay particles stick tightly to each other, forming a nearly impenetrable barrier to water and gases. 

Feb 27, 2013 HORT-49P
Backyard Wildlife Habitats

The area where an organism lives and meets its basic needs for food, water, cover, and space to survive is called its habitat. Each species of wildlife has different habitat requirements. As residential and commercial development by humans continues to expand, wildlife habitats in the affected areas are altered and may become unable to support the needs of species that previously occupied those areas. Alternatively, species that are better adapted to metropolitan conditions may increase their presence and abundance as a direct result of this development.

Mar 6, 2015 426-070 (HORT-155P)

Environmental Preferences

Light: sunny

Soil: well-drained

Fertility: medium rich

pH: 5.8 - 7.0

Temperature: warm (65 degrees - 80 degrees) except fava beans

Moisture: average

Apr 16, 2015 426-402 (HORT-145P)

(Kolkwitzia amabilis)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 15 feet

Spread: 8 feet

Shape: Upright, arching

The primary and sole attractive aspect of beautybush is a stunning mass of pink, bellshaped flowers in spring.

May 1, 2009 2901-1036
Bigleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla Nov 3, 2010 3010-1463
Bradford Callery Pear (and other cultivars) Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’ Nov 3, 2010 3010-1464
Calibrating Your Lawn Spreader

There are two basic types of fertilizer spreaders for use on the home lawn: the drop and the broadcast.

The drop type spreader (shown at left) "drops" a set rate of fertilizer. This type is best suited for a limited space in order to avoid wide dispersal on sidewalks and driveways. The amount of fertilizer that is spread depends on the opening setting, the type of fertilizer used, and the speed at which the spreader is pushed.

May 1, 2009 430-017
Canadian Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis Nov 3, 2010 3010-1465
Care Sheet for Sabal minor or “Dwarf Palmetto” in Virginia Landscapes Sep 5, 2013 HORT-60NP
Carolina Silverbell, Halesia carolina (formerly H. tetraptera) Nov 3, 2010 3010-1466
Cedars, Cedrus spp. Nov 3, 2010 3010-1467
Chastetree, Monk’s Pepper Tree, Vitex agnus-castus Nov 3, 2010 3010-1468

(Prunus laurocerasus `Otto Luyken')


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 4 feet

Spread: 8 feet

Shape: Spreading

The species (Prunus laurocerasus) is generally not sold in the U.S. Cultivars of cherrylaurel are low-growing with handsome glossy foliage and white flowers in spring. This species tolerates shade and is used as a border, hedge, and in mass.

May 1, 2009 2901-1038
Chinese Elm (Lacebark Elm), Ulmus parvifolia Feb 21, 2012 HORT-7
Chinese Juniper, Juniperus chinensis Nov 3, 2010 3010-1469
Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis Feb 21, 2012 HORT-8
Choosing Pesticides Wisely

If you determine a pesticide is needed, read the pesticide labels carefully. You must choose a product that is specifically labeled for use on the plants you wish to protect and effective against the pest you want to control. Never use a pesticide on a food-bearing plant unless the label directs such use. The general term pesticide includes insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides, etc. You must determine which product is appropriate to combat your problem. For example, an insecticide is effective only against insect pests, and some insecticides target only a certain type of insect. An insecticide alone will not solve a weed or disease problem. However some pesticide products contain two or more active ingredients. For instance, a formulation for rose care may contain an insecticide and a fungicide.

Jan 15, 2016 426-706 (HORT-202P)
Cole Crops or Brassicas

All of the following crops are members of the cabbage family. It is best not to plant cabbage family crops in the same spot year after year, since diseases and insect pests will build up. Rotate crops within your garden. 

Apr 21, 2015 426-403 (HORT-156P)
Colorado Spruce, Picea pungens var. glauca Nov 3, 2010 3010-1470
Common Ground: Why Should University Faculty Partner with Virginia Cooperative Extension? Jul 10, 2013 VCE-129NP
Common Periwinkle, Lesser Periwinkle, Vinca minor Nov 3, 2010 3010-1471
Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture is a relatively new trend in agricultural production. As mid-sized farms are bought out by large-scale producers, the number of family farms is declining. In addition, produce travels an average of 1500 miles from producer to consumer. (2) There is a movement around the world to bring back a sense of community and to involve that community in the local production of vegetables. Farmers are now turning to consumers to share in the risk of production.

Jul 17, 2009 2906-1301
Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems Nov 2, 2016 ALCE-155NP
Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems (CLRFS) Forum Executive Summary

Virginia’s food system directly impacts the survival and viability of farms and farmland; the economic development of rural and urban communities; the care, restoration, and resilience of ecological resources such as local waterways; and critical health issues. We use the language of community, local, and regional food systems to broadly define a complex and interconnected set of systems and pathways that comprise sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management to bring about social, economic, and ecological change that benefits all residents.

Oct 7, 2016 ALCE-157NP
Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems (CLRFS) Forum Report

Virginia’s food system directly impacts the survival and viability of farms and farmland; the economic development of rural and urban communities; the care, restoration, and resilience of ecological resources such as local waterways; and critical health issues.

Oct 7, 2016 ALCE-156NP
Conserving Energy with Landscaping Apr 6, 2015 426-712 (HORT-110P)
Consider Rhubarb as an Addition to Your Spring Roadside Market Mix

Rhubarb is an over-looked vegetable that can be a good choice as a complementary spring vegetable, particularly for strawberry growers, and other early season roadside marketing situations.

Jul 23, 2009 2906-1322
Considering Specialty Crops?

Over the years in extension I have often had opportunity to consult with folks interested in growing specialty crops. Many have experience with other agricultural crops and have been farming for years, some are already involved in some aspect of specialty crop farming, while a fair share are new growers with limited experience. Many have preconceptions and are idealistic in their goals; others being more practically grounded.

Jul 24, 2009 2906-1325
Container and Raised-Bed Gardening

Container gardening allows you to have and enjoy many ornamental and food supplying plants that, for whatever reason, you do not want to grow in ground beds. You can use containergrown plants in entryways, patios, decks, rooftops, gardens, indoors, or anywhere you have a need to add a living component to enhance the appeal of an area. Each planted container will have its own personality; you can create container scenes. They can range from dramatic to subtle, and from grand to petite. Plants and containers offer limitless combinations of size, color, form, and texture that can give your inside and outside environments a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

May 1, 2009 426-020
Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Cornus mas Nov 3, 2010 3010-1472

(Cotoneaster species)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf (some species are evergreen)

Height: 12 inches to 6 feet

Spread: 2 to 8 feet

Shape: Spreading or upright

Leaves are small and glossy green. Showy small, white/pink, spring flowers are followed by red or black fruit which cover branches in the fall. The fruit display can be quite showy.

May 1, 2009 2901-1039

(Lagerstroemia indica)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 4 to 25 feet (depending on cultivar)

Spread: 5 to 20 feet (depending on cultivar)

Shape: Upright or mound (depending on cultivar)

Glossy, dark green foliage turns yellow, orange, and red in fall. Flowers may be white, pink, red, or purple. Exfoliating bark is ornamental.

May 1, 2009 2901-1040
Creating a Water-Wise Landscape
Water-wise landscape design and management focus on working with nature and natural forces (such as rainfall) to create an aesthetically pleasing, livable landscape, while using less water from the local supply.


Feb 3, 2016 426-713 (HORT-200P)
Creeping Juniper, Juniperus horizontalis Nov 3, 2010 3010-1473
Cucumbers, Melons and Squash

Varieties include both the slicer or fresh salad type and the pickle type (which can also be used fresh); vined, dwarfvined and bush varieties; all female or all-female seedless (no pollination required); burpless; and, various mixtures of these characteristics. Disease resistance is available in many varieties.

Mar 16, 2015 426-406 (HORT-147P)
Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides Nov 3, 2010 3010-1474
Daylilies in Virginia

Daylilies are good plants for the beginning gardener because they are relatively maintenance free. Daylilies are not true lilies (genus Lilium). They belong to the genus Hemerocallis, from the Greek words meaning "day" and "beauty" or "beautiful for a day." This is appropriate because each blossom typically lasts no more than a day. Each plant produces an abundance of buds, however, so the total blooming time of a wellestablished clump may be 30 to 40 days.

May 1, 2009 426-030
Dealing with the High Cost of Energy for Greenhouse Operations Jun 30, 2009 430-101
Deer: A Garden Pest Sep 5, 2013 HORT-62NP
Diagnosing Plant Problems

Something is wrong with your plant. What’s the cause? You can begin to determine the cause of the problem by taking on the role of Sherlock Holmes – be a keen observer and ask many questions. Diagnosing plant problems is often a difficult task. There can be many different causes for a given symptom, not all of them related to insects or diseases. The health of a plant may be affected by soil nutrition and texture, weather conditions, quantity of light, other environmental and cultural conditions, and animals, including humans. Complicating this scenario is the fact that any two of the above factors can interact to give rise to a problem. For example, a prolonged period of drought may weaken plants so that they are more susceptible to pests; this is typically observed with boxwoods.

May 1, 2009 426-714
Displaying in a Farm Market

Bringing awareness to, and development of effective roadside marketing techniques was first addressed in the bustling fresh vegetable markets of Ohio. Dr. Ed Watkins, now retired from Ohio State University, played a significant role in helping to improve these markets.

Jul 24, 2009 2906-1333
Do Fall Crucifers Have A Place In Virginia?

One of the reasons we are re-visiting these crops is to focus on their potential for SW Virginia, where crucifers, in particular cabbage, have been grown for decades in the elevational regions near Hillsville.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1304
Doublefile Viburnum

(Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 10 feet

Spread: 12 feet

Shape: Upright with horizontal branching pattern

Doublefile viburnum is a large wide spreading shrub with a horizontal branching habit and a spectacular flower display in spring.

May 1, 2009 2901-1041
Douglasfir, Pseudotsuga menziesii Feb 21, 2012 HORT-9
Drooping Leucothoe

(Leucothoe fontanesiana)


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 6 feet

Spread: 6 feet

Shape: Mound with arching branches

Drooping leucothoe is a beautiful and graceful evergreen medium-sized shrub with lustrous, dark green foliage. White bell-shaped flowers bloom in the spring. Its arching branches give it a fountain-like effect. This plant is not suitable for sunny or dry locations.

May 1, 2009 2901-1042
Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Picea glauca ‘Conica’ Nov 3, 2010 3010-1475
Eastern Arborvitae, American Arborvitae, White Cedar, Thuja occidentalis Nov 3, 2010 3010-1476
Eastern Redcedar, Juniperus virginiana Nov 3, 2010 3010-1477
Emerald Ash Borer Feb 7, 2014 HORT-69NP
English Ivy, Hedera helix Nov 3, 2010 3010-1478
European Cranberrybush Viburnum (Guelder Rose), Viburnum opulus Nov 3, 2010 3010-1479
European Hornbeam, Carpinus betulus Nov 3, 2010 3010-1480
European Larch, Larix decidua Nov 3, 2010 3010-1481
European White Birch

(Betula pendula)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 40 to 50 feet

Spread: 25 to 35 feet Shape: Upright

European white birch is a small/medium fast-growing tree with showy white bark and pendulous branch tips (especially when bearing seed). Small, glossy-green summer foliage turns yellow in fall exposing ornamental white bark. This species is considered to be short lived due its susceptibility to pests.

May 1, 2009 2901-1043
Evaluation of Blackberry Varieties in Virginia

Blackberries (Rubus spp.) are of interest among strawberry and vegetable growers in Virginia looking to diversify their crops. Including blackberries in farm plans could allow these growers to keep their farms and pick-your-own activities open to customers for a longer duration, increasing agritourism and sales; however, Virginia growers lack information on blackberry varieties that perform well in the state. 

Oct 7, 2016 HORT-226P
Evergreen Azalea


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 3 to 8 feet (depending on cultivar)

Spread: 4 to 8 feet (depending on cultivar)

Shape: Upright, spreading

There are hundreds of evergreen azalea cultivars which vary in hardiness, size, form, flower color, time of flowering, and foliage. The primary attractive feature of azaleas is the very attractive and showy flower display in spring.

May 1, 2009 2901-1035
Evergreen Hollies, (Ilex spp.) Nov 3, 2010 3010-1482
Evergreen Rhododendron


Foliage: Evergreen

Height: 6 to 15 feet (depending on species or cultivar)

Spread: 5 to 15 feet (depending on species or cultivar)

Shape: Upright, rounded to oval

There are many Rhododendron species and cultivars thereof, as well as hundreds of hybrids.

Rhododendron species come in many sizes and shapes with a wide variety of leaf and flower forms. Azaleas are in the Rhododendron genus and will discussed in another article.

May 1, 2009 2901-1065
Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Application Feb 9, 2016 HORT-211NP
Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Re-Enrollment Form Feb 11, 2016 HORT-212NP
Farm Security - “Treat it Seriously” – Security for Plant Agriculture: Producer Response for Plant Diseases, Chemical Contamination, and Unauthorized Activity

Acts of terrorism have heightened our awareness of the need for security, both at home and on the farm or nursery. This publication and the checklist that accompanies it will help you be proactive with regard to farm security.

Mar 9, 2011 445-004
Fertilización de árboles y arbustos

Los árboles y arbustos necesitan nutrientes para crecer y estar sanos. Los tres nutrientes más importantes son nitrógeno, fósforo y potasio. Un análisis de suelos es siempre la mejor manera de saber qué nutrientes se necesitan y la cantidad necesaria de cada uno. 

Feb 18, 2016 430-018S (HORT-165P)
Field Production of Cut Flowers: Potential Crops

Do you have a roto-tiller and at least 1/2 acre of land? Consider cut flower production. Commercial vegetable growers, tobacco farmers, and young people interested in summer income are all potential candidates. Andy Hankins, VCE Extension Specialist for Alternative Agriculture, notes that even large-scale grain and livestock farmers have regained some profitability in their operations by adding cut flower production. For many greenhouse and nursery operations, mid-summer business is slow relative to spring. A field-grown cut flower business is a viable option to fill in the summer production and cash flow gap. 

May 1, 2009 426-619
Flowering Crabapple, Malus spp. Nov 3, 2010 3010-1483
Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida Nov 3, 2010 3010-1484
Flowering Quince

(Chaenomeles speciosa)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 10 feet

Spread: 12 feet Shape: Upright

Flowering quince is a large fast-growing shrub whose main merit is showy flowers (red, orange, white, pink depending on cultivar) in early spring. Uses of this species include hedge, shrub border, or mass plantings. Plants have thorns and therefore need careful placement.

May 1, 2009 2901-1044
Fooling Mother Nature: Forcing Flower Bulbs for Indoor Bloom Apr 8, 2014 HORT-76NP
For the Birds, Butterflies & Hummingbirds: Creating Inviting Habitats Aug 1, 2014 HORT-59NP (HORT-74NP)
Franklinia, Franklinia alatamaha Nov 3, 2010 3010-1485
Fraser Photinia, Red Tip

(Photinia x fraseri)


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf Height: 20 feet

Spread: 10 feet Shape: Upright

Red tip is a large evergreen shrub. Newly emerging foliage is red and quite showy for a few weeks after which it changes to glossy, dark green. Clusters of white flowers occur in late spring. This plant is widely used in the south as a hedge. Unfortunately, this plant is overused in the landscape and is also susceptible to a serious leaf spot disease.

May 1, 2009 2901-1045
GAPs and FSMA – an Overview for Hop Growers in Virginia

Food safety is a hot topic for hop
growers and brewers. With multiple
acronyms for various practices,
standards, and regulations: GAPs,
FSMA, PSR, PCR, and more; the
confusion is understandable. Let’s
examine where the small-acreage hop
grower fits in. Caveat: this publication
is simply an orientation to these
standards, regulations, and practices;
it is in no way a complete set of
guidelines or substitute for training.

Dec 20, 2016 HORT-237NP
GAPs: Common Sense for Fresh Produce Growers

Over the past several years, when and where we can, cooperative extension has introduced the GAPs (Good Agricultural Practices) program to fresh produce growers across the state. In particular the message has been directed to our wholesale growers who sell to brokers and commercial chain stores.

Jul 31, 2009 2906-1359
Garden Sumacs, Rhus spp. Nov 3, 2010 3010-1486
Gardening & Your Health, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Gardening with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be very difficult, especially when a long day of shoveling, raking, or weed pulling leaves you with a painful or “tingling” hand or wrist. These aches and pains are often caused in part by improper techniques or tools used in gardening.

Mar 19, 2015 426-060(HORT-131P)
Gardening and Your Health: Plant Allergies

Allergic reactions are caused by an overactive immune system response to a foreign substance such as pollen, dust, or molds. When this reaction affects the eyes or nose, it results in allergic rhinitis. Typical symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy watery eyes. When an inflammation affects the bronchial tubes, it results in asthma. Typical symptoms include wheezing and shortness of breath.

Mar 18, 2015 426-067 (HORT-129P)
Gardening and Your Health: Protecting Your Hands and Feet
The skin on hands and feet is like most ornamental plants. Neither likes the extremes of being dried out or kept too wet. Treat skin as tenderly as the most sensitive plants and safeguard your horticultural health.
Apr 29, 2015 426-061 (HORT-135P)
Gardening and Your Health: Protecting Your Knees and Back

Many gardening tasks require knee strength and stability, whether kneeling, sitting, standing, or walking. The best way to protect knees from the stress and strain is to condition them with strengthening exercises and stretching.

May 22, 2015 426-065(HORT-128P)
Gardening and Your Health: Sunburn & Skin Cancer

Most people have suffered from at least one bad sunburn. The beginning of a sunburn is shown by hot, pink skin. Later comes swelling, burning pain, and possibly blistering. As the burn leaves, peeling inevitably appears. Peeling means that the skin is thickening up to protect itself from further sun damage. If burned skin continues to get exposed to sun, damage can’t be repaired. Even if damage is not visible, skin cells mutate with each sun exposure. Over a lifetime these mutations may add up to cancer, a problem seen on gardeners who work unprotected in the sun. A severe sunburn is one of the biggest risk factors in getting a melanoma skin cancer.

Mar 18, 2015 426-063 (HORT-133P)
Gardening and Your Health: Ticks

During early spring and summer, as the weather warms up and the garden springs back to life from its winter dormancy, many gardeners -- and ticks -- eagerly return to their outdoor activities. Gardeners should be aware of the risks and know how to protect themselves from becoming hosts to disease-carrying ticks.

May 1, 2009 426-066
Getting Started in the Nursery Business: Nursery Production Options Apr 27, 2015 430-050 (HORT-89P)
Getting Started in the Production of Field-Grown, Specialty Cut Flowers

Specialty cut flowers are one of the most profitable field crops you can grow. Lynn Byczynski, editor of Growing For Market newsletter (see Resources section), estimates a value of $25,000 to $35,000 per acre for field-grown cuts. The most basic requirements are at least half an acre of open, arable land, a rototiller, and, of course, time and effort. This publication is directed to those new to market gardening, but commercial vegetable growers, tobacco farmers, and young people interested in summer income are all potential candidates. Even grain and livestock farmers have increased profitability in their operations by adding cut flower production. For many greenhouse and nursery operations, mid-summer business is slower, relative to spring. A field-grown cut flower business is a viable option to fill in the summer production and cash flow gap.

May 2, 2014 426-618 (HORT-71P)
Giant Arborviatae, Western Arborvitae, Thuja plicata Nov 3, 2010 3010-1487
Ginkgo, Maidenhair Tree

(Ginkgo biloba)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 80 feet

Spread: 40 feet Shape: Spreading, a lot of variation in the species

Ginkgo is a large shade tree that is tolerant of adverse growing conditions and has a bright yellow fall foliage color. One should only plant male trees since female trees bear fruit that smell like vomit.

May 1, 2009 2901-1046
Glossy Abelia, Abelia ×grandiflora Nov 3, 2010 3010-1488
Goldenchain tree, Laburnum × watereri Feb 21, 2012 HORT-10

(Koelreuteria paniculata)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 40 feet

Spread: 30 feet

Shape: Upright rounded

Goldenraintree is a medium tree with showy yellow flowers in early summer. Flowers are followed by bladder-like fruits that start out light green, turn yellow, and then brown. Fall color can be fair to good depending on the individual tree. This species is quite tolerant of adverse conditions.

May 1, 2009 2901-1047
Green Ash

(Fraxinus pennsylvanica)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 60 feet

Spread: 50 feet Shape: Spreading

This large fast-growing tree is very tolerant of adverse conditions. Its fall foliage color is a yellow.

May 1, 2009 2901-1048
GroZone Tracker

In-house testing of pH and electrical conductivity (EC) helps to avoid many nutritional problems. Knowing the chemical elements of your irrigation water — and if they vary over time — can help you manage crop quality.

Sep 21, 2016 HORT-227P
Groundwater Quality and the Use of Lawn and Garden Chemicals by Homeowners

The people of Virginia use nearly 400 million gallons of groundwater each day to meet industrial, agricultural, public, and private water demands. One-third of Virginia's citizens rely on groundwater as their primary source of fresh drinking water, and 80 percent of Virginians use groundwater to supply some or all of their daily water needs. Groundwater is an important resource, but it is a hidden one and, therefore, is often forgotten. In fact, until recent incidents of groundwater contamination, little attention was paid to the need to protect Virginia's groundwater.

May 1, 2009 426-059
Growing Apples in Virginia Feb 16, 2015 422-023 (HORT-95P)
Growing Cherries in Virginia Feb 26, 2015 422-018 (HORT-166P)
Growing Peaches & Nectarines in Virginia Feb 17, 2015 422-019 (HORT-96P)
Growing Pears in Virginia Feb 19, 2015 422-017 (HORT-97P)
Growing Small Grains for Forage in Virginia

Cereal crops are used throughout the world for livestock feed. When they are managed properly they provide excellent grazing and high-quality silage or hay.

May 1, 2009 424-006
Heaths (several species of Erica) and Heathers (Calluna vulgaris) Nov 3, 2010 3010-1489
Hinoki Falsecypress, Chamaecyparis obtusa Feb 21, 2012 HORT-11
Home Hydroponics

Hydroponics is often defined as "the cultivation of plants in water." Research has since determined that many different aggregates or media will support plant growth; therefore, the definition of hydroponics has been broadened to read "the cultivation of plants without soil."

May 1, 2009 426-084
Hops in Virginia: Need-to-Know Information about Extension Resources May 7, 2015 HORT-182NP
Impact of Composting on Drug Residues in Large Animal Mortality

Mortalities are inevitable in animal agriculture. For most animal operations in the United States, the average annual mortality is estimated to be between 4.5 and 6 percent of the livestock population. Common methods of mortality disposal include burial, rendering, incineration, and use of a landfill. The availability of options for disposing of mortality, particularly rendering, have changed in recent years, and financially and environmentally sound alternatives are needed. 

Sep 25, 2014 APSC-59P
Impatiens Downy Mildew May 21, 2013 PPWS-19NP
Indoor Plant Culture

Select only those plants that appear to be free of pests. Check the undersides of the foliage and the junction of leaf and stem for signs of insects or disease. Select plants that look sturdy, clean, and well-potted. Choose plants with healthy foliage. Avoid plants with yellow or chlorotic leaves, brown leaf margins, wilted foliage, spots or blotches, or spindly growth. In addition, avoid those with torn leaves. Plants that have new flower and leaf buds along with young growth are usually of superior quality.

May 1, 2009 426-100
Intensive Gardening Methods

The purpose of gardening intensively is to harvest the most produce possible from a given space. More traditional gardens consist of long, single rows of vegetables spaced widely apart. Much of the garden area is taken by the space between the rows. An intensive garden minimizes wasted space. The practice of intensive gardening is not just for those with limited garden space; rather, an intensive garden concentrates your work efforts to create an ideal plant environment, giving better yields.

May 1, 2009 426-335
Introduction to Cold-Hardy Tropicals for Virginia Landscapes

Any Virginian who has ever been smitten by palm trees and tropical landscapes while on vacation can build a similar oasis in their own backyard. A number of tropical plants, including palms, are cold-hardy and worthwhile perennial additions to the home landscape, providing texture, whimsy and even evergreen winter interest.

May 11, 2010 3005-1446
Invasive Plants -- A Horticultural Perspective

Invasive nonnative (nonindigenous) plants are the subject of a considerable amount of attention and debate. Stories about invasive plants are now common in the popular media. As purchasers of nonindigenous plants that have the potential to invade natural areas, consumers are links in the distribution chain of invasive plants. Other links are those who import, propagate, transport, and sell nonindigenous plants. Ultimately, the result is a potential impact on our natural environment.

Apr 28, 2009 426-080
Japanese Barberry

(Berberis thunbergii var. atropurpurea )


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 3 to 8 feet (depending on cultivar)

Spread: 4 to 7 feet (depending on cultivar)

Shape: Upright mound

This medium to large shrub has purple foliage throughout the growing season. Japanese barberry has thorns which may be an advantage (deer proof, pedestrian traffic control) or a liability (injury to pedestrians).

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Resources and the Virginia Native Plant Society have ranked this as a “moderately invasive species” in the mountain, piedmont, and coastal areas of Virginia.

May 1, 2009 2901-1050
Japanese Camillia

(Camellia japonica)


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 15 feet

Spread: 10 feet

Shape: Upright, dense Japanese camellia is a dense and formal-appearing large shrub/small tree suitable for USDA plant hardiness zones 7 to 9. Foliage is a glossy, dark-green. Large flowers, ranging from white to pink to red, bloom from winter to spring.

May 1, 2009 2901-1051
Japanese Cryptomeria, Cryptomeria japonica Feb 21, 2012 HORT-12
Japanese Garden Juniper, Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’ Nov 3, 2010 3010-1490
Japanese Holly

(Ilex crenata)


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 2 to 10 feet (depending on cultivar)

Spread: 2 to 10 feet (depending on cultivar)

Shape: Upright or low mound (depending on cultivar)

There are numerous cultivars of Japanese holly. Many are compact, mounded forms with small, spineless, dark-green leaves and black fruit. They are primarily used in mass for borders, backgrounds, and foundation plants.

May 1, 2009 2901-1052
Japanese Maple

(Acer palmatum)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf. Foliage color, depending on cultivar, varies from green to red to purple to a marble pattern composed of varying combinations of white, pink and shades of green. Foliage shape can vary from the “normal” looking leaf to dissected (leaves with very thin lobes often referred to a “cut leaf” forms). Dissected leaves impart a very lacy look and fine texture to plants. Spring and fall foliage colors are quite vibrant and can be bright red, yellow, chartreuse, or maroon. Red-leaved cultivars will have green leaves if grown in the shade.

May 1, 2009 2901-1049
Japanese Pachysandra, Japanese Spurge, Pachysandra terminalis Nov 3, 2010 3010-1491
Japanese Pagodatree, Sophora


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 75 feet

Spread: 75 feet

Shape: Oval to round, spreading

Japanese pagodatree is a medium/large shade tree with showy flowers in summer. Green seed pods, somewhat ornamental, hang on tree until late in the fall. Flower petals can be messy if tree is used near a house, road, or pathway.

May 1, 2009 2901-1053
Japanese Pieris, Pieris japonica Nov 3, 2010 3010-1492
Japanese Stewartia, Stewartia pseudocamellia Feb 21, 2012 HORT-13
Japanese Zelkova, Zelkova serrata Feb 22, 2012 HORT-14
Katsuratree, Cercidiphyllum japonicum Feb 22, 2012 HORT-15
Keeping Produce Safe During the Harvest Season

Produce safety is a topic all growers need to be concerned about. As we move into the busy peak of the harvest season here in Virginia, keep in mind two primary areas of safety concern:

1. Use of registered pesticides only, and abiding by re-entry and harvest interval restrictions for pesticides.
2. Bacterial contamination of produce.

Jul 22, 2009 2906-1311
Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa Feb 22, 2012 HORT-16
Lacebark Pine, Pinus bungeana Feb 22, 2012 HORT-17
Leafy Green Vegetables

Lettuce, a cool-season vegetable crop, is one of the easiest to grow. Lettuce withstands light frost; however, sunlight and high summer temperatures usually cause seedstalk formation (bolting) and bitter flavor. Slow-bolting or heat-resistant varieties are available and are recommended for extending the lettuce-growing season.

Mar 16, 2015 426-408 (HORT-148P)
Leatherleaf Viburnum


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 15 feet

Spread: 15 feet

Shape: Upright, multi-stem shrub

This large shrub has dark green leaves that are large, slender, and wrinkled. This species has showy white flowers in late spring. Clusters of red to black berries form (inconsistently) in late summer.

May 1, 2009 2901-1054
Leyland Cypress, ×Cupressocyparis leylandii Feb 22, 2012 HORT-18
Lilacs, Syringa spp. Nov 3, 2010 3010-1493
Littleleaf Linden


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 70 feet

Spread: 40 feet

Shape: Upright oval

This medium tree has wonderfully fragrant flowers in June and is tolerant of adverse conditions.

May 1, 2009 2901-1055
Live Oak


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 40 feet

Spread: 60 feet

Shape: Spreading

A massive and majestic shade tree with evergreen foliage that is bright olive-green when new and changes to a glossy, dark green when mature.

May 1, 2009 2901-1056
London Planetree


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 100 feet

Spread: 80 feet

Shape: Pyramidal in youth, spreading with age

London planetree is a medium/large species that is very tolerant of adverse conditions. It has ornamental which bark flakes off, exposing tan, greenish and creamy white colors.

May 1, 2009 2901-1057
Mimosa (Silk-tree or Albizia), Albizia julibrissin Feb 22, 2012 HORT-19
Monitoring Nutrients in Large Nursery Containers

Using suction-cup lysimeters is a good way to extract the substrate solution from large containers when electrical conductivity, pH, and nutrient analyses are needed. A lysimeter, a soil water sampler, consists of a tube connected to a porous ceramic tip that is inserted into the container so that the tip rests on the bottom of the container. Lysimeters should be installed for the whole course of a growing season in large containers.

May 1, 2009 430-070
Mountain-Laurel, Kalmia latifolia Nov 3, 2010 3010-1494
Mugo Pine, Pinus mugo Nov 3, 2010 3010-1495
Nandina, Heavenly Bamboo


Foliage: Evergreen or semi-evergreen broadleaf

Height: 10 feet Spread: 5 feet

Shape: Upright, cane growth (very little side branching)

Heavenly bamboo is a medium-large upright shrub. In late spring it bears showy white flowers and in the late fall/winter it has attractive reddish foliage (sun) and large clusters of red berries. This species can tolerate full sun or full shade and is drought tolerant. There are several dwarf cultivars that are suitable for small spaces.

May 1, 2009 2901-1058
Natural Plant Hormones Are Biostimulants Helping Plants Develop Higher Plant Antioxidant Activity For Multiple Benefits

For the November, 2003 SE Strawberry Expo at Durham, NC, I was asked to make a presentation on the topic "Introduction to Foliar Feeding." Several folks helped me find background reference information on this subject, which was used to assemble this presentation and is included herein. I hope this information will help you produce better berry, fruit and vegetable crops!

Jul 27, 2009 2906-1339
New Pumpkin Guide Released By NRAES

In June the folks at Cornell released a new guide for pumpkin production entitled "Pumpkin Production Guide" by Dale Miles Riggs, a noted pumpkin researcher, and several other contributing authors.

Jul 27, 2009 2906-1341
No-till Organic Culture of Garlic Utilizing Different Cover Crop Residues and Straw Mulch for Over-wintering Protection, Under Two Seasonal Levels of Organic Nitrogen

Garlic is a crop that can be grown organically with a minimum of effort. It is usually planted in the Fall so that cloves have time to grow and develop roots, and meet chilling requirements for proper bulbing in the Spring.

Aug 17, 2009 2906-1389
Norway Maple


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 50 feet

Spread: 50 feet Shape: Oval to round

Norway maple is a medium/large shade tree that is tolerant of adverse conditions. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Resources and the Virginia Native Plant Society have ranked Norway maple as a “moderately invasive species” in the mountain, piedmont, and coastal areas of Virginia.

May 1, 2009 2901-1059
Norway Spruce, Picea abies Feb 22, 2012 HORT-20
Notes on Harvesting and Handling Melons

Depending on where you are in Virginia, cantaloupe harvest has been ongoing since mid-to late June in the Southeast, and early July in the Piedmont and Southwest. Watermelon harvest is in full swing in the east and just starting for growers in the Southwest. These two types of melons make up the majority of acreage in the state, though there are some honeydew and specialty melons such as casaba, crenshaw and french charentais grown for direct markets.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1308
Off-season Management Tasks and Considerations for Selected Small Fruit Crops

Late fall, winter and early spring is an important period of management for small fruit crops such as strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, blueberries, and currants/gooseberries. Paying attention to management details during this time helps to ensure a successful crop the following season.

Aug 17, 2009 2906-1390
Old Fashioned Weigela


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 9 feet

Spread: 12 feet Shape: upright, spreading

Old fashioned weigela is a large shrub with a coarse texture and showy spring flowers. This plant is best suited for a shrub border. There are several new cultivars which are improved versions (dwarf, foliage and flower characteristics) compared to the species.

May 1, 2009 2901-1060
Onions, Garlic, and Shallots

Onions are often grouped according to taste. The two main types of onions are strong flavored (American) and mild (often called European). Each has three distinct colors, yellow, white, and red. In general, the American onion produces bulbs of smaller size, denser texture, stronger flavor, and better keeping quality than European types. Globe varieties tend to keep longer in storage.

Mar 16, 2015 426-411(HORT-143P)
Oregon Grape Holly (Manhonia)


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 3 to 9 feet (depending on form)

Spread: 5 feet

Shape: Upright, cane growth (very little side branching)

Oregongrapeholly is a slow-growing, medium to large evergreen shrub with lustrous foliage and bright yellow flowers in spring which are followed by robin egg blue fruit in summer.

May 1, 2009 2901-1061
Organic Production - Some Thoughts and Considerations

Across the state, organic production of specialty crops is on the increase, particularly on small farms and direct market operations.

Jul 22, 2009 2906-1317
Oriental Arborvitae, Thuja orientalis (also known as Platycladus orientalis) Nov 3, 2010 3010-1496
Paperbark Maple, Acer griseum Feb 27, 2012 HORT-21
Patriotic Gardens: Bulbs for a Red, White, and Blue Spring Garden

Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) developed the America’s Anniversary Garden™ to help individuals, communities, and groups commemorate America’s 400th Anniversary with a signature landscape or garden. These signature gardens have red, white, and blue color schemes. Although the commemoration has passed, this guide continues to be useful for creating a patriotic garden. This is the third in a series of VCE garden design, plant selection, plant installation, and maintenance publications for America’s Anniversary Garden™.

Apr 9, 2015 426-220(HORT-163P)
Patriotic Gardens: How to Plant a Red, White and Blue Garden

Virginia Cooperative Extension developed the America’s Anniversary Garden in 2007 to help individuals, communities, and groups mark America’s 400th Anniversary with a signature garden planting. The signature gardens have red, white, and blue color schemes. Although the commemoration has passed, this guide continues to be a useful guide for creating a patriotic garden. This publication is the first in a series of Virginia Cooperative Extension publications and support materials to guide gardeners - new and experienced - in developing their own patriotic gardens. 

Jul 17, 2015 426-210 (HORT-185)
Patriotic Gardens: Red, White, and Blue Native Plants

In 2007, Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) developed the America’s Anniversary Garden to help individuals, communities, and groups commemorate America’s 400th Anniversary with a signature landscape, garden, or container planting. These signature gardens have red, white, and blue color schemes. Although the commemoration has passed, this guide continues to be useful for creating a patriotic garden.

Jan 14, 2015 426-223 (HORT-86P)
Peach and Nectarine Varieties for Virginia Feb 23, 2015 422-762 (AREC-128P)
Pest Management Guide: Home Grounds and Animals, 2017 Feb 15, 2017 456-018 (ENTO-220P)
Physiology of Pruning Fruit Trees Feb 26, 2015 422-025 (HORT-98P)
Pin Oak


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 70 feet

Spread: 40 feet

Shape: Upright pyramidal in youth, oval at maturity

This large oak has wine-red foliage in the fall.

May 1, 2009 2901-1062
Planning the Vegetable Garden

How much time will you be able to devote to your garden on a regular basis? The answer to this question will dictate the size of your garden. You must remember that, once planted, the garden will have to be weeded once a week, irrigated during droughts, and vegetables harvested when ripe. Depending on the type of vegetables, you may also need to undertake pest control measures.

Dec 11, 2015 426-312 (HORT-209P)
Planting on Your Septic Drain Field

Perhaps the most entertaining answer to the question 'What should I plant over a septic system's leach field?' is 'Something fragrant.' Although the question arises often, there are few hard and fast answers as to what can be planted, because every drain field is unique. You can decide what will work best in each situation, however, by following a few simple guidelines.

Oct 15, 2010 426-617
Poison Ivy: Leaves of three? Let it be!

Those who experience the blisters, swelling, and extreme itching that result from contact with poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), poison oak (Toxicodendron pubescens), or poison sumac (Toxicodendron vernix) learn to avoid these pesky plants. Although poison oak and poison sumac do grow in Virginia, poison ivy is by far the most common. This publication will help you identify poison ivy, recognize the symptoms of a poison ivy encounter, and control poison ivy around your home.

May 1, 2009 426-109
Potatoes, Peppers and Eggplant

Environmental Preferences

LIGHT: Sunny.

SOIL: Well-drained with moderate organic matter.

FERTILITY: Medium-rich.

pH: 4.8 to 6.5

TEMPERATURE: Cool (55 TO 65°F).

MOISTURE: Uniform moisture, especially while tubers are developing.

Apr 16, 2015 426-413 (HORT-146P)
Potential for Vegetables During the Strawberry Season

The potential of bringing early vegetable crop sales into the strawberry season is a marketing opportunity worth considering. It makes sense to have early season vegetable crops available as customers come out for the first strawberries of the season.

Aug 4, 2009 2906-1365


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 4 to 15 feet

Spread: 4 to 8 feet Shape: Bushy

Small, green, summer foliage. When unpruned, pyramidal clusters of small white flowers produce black berries.

May 1, 2009 2901-1063
Problem-free Shrubs for Virginia Landscapes Jun 27, 2016 450-236 (PPWS-69P)
Problem-free Trees for Virginia Landscapes Oct 19, 2016 450-237 (PPWS-70P)
Pruning Crapemyrtles

One of Virginia’s most popular yet mistreated landscape plants is the beautiful crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica, L. fauriei, and L. indica with L. fauriei or L. speciosa hybrids ). Selected and prized for their long summer bloom period (often called the "plant of the 100 day bloom"), cultivars have a range of flower colors, with an interesting seed head following the flower. In addition, crapemrytles have lustrous green leaves that change to bright fall colors, subtle to stunning multicolored bark, and unique winter architecture that makes this plant exceed most landscape choices for four-season interest and appeal.

May 1, 2009 430-451
Pruning Peach Trees Jan 28, 2015 422-020 (HORT-93P)
Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia Feb 27, 2012 HORT-22
Red Maple


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 60 feet

Spread: 60 feet

Shape: Oval to round

Red maple is a fast-growing medium/large shade tree species with a spectacular fall foliage color. It has showy red flowers in the spring. There are many cultivars of this species that vary in form, tolerance of wet conditions, and fall color.

May 1, 2009 2901-1064
Red Twig Dogwoods, Tatarian Dogwood (Cornus alba) and Redosier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) Nov 3, 2010 3010-1497
Resources for Greenhouse and Nursery Operations and Operators May 6, 2016 430-104 (HORT-188P)
River Birch, Betula nigra Feb 27, 2012 HORT-23
Root Crops Mar 5, 2015 426-422 (HORT-150P)
Rose of Sharon, Shrub Althea


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 10 feet

Spread: 6 feet Shape: Upright

Rose-of- Sharon is a large shrub with showy. Relatively large single or double flowers bloom in summer. Flower colors include white, red, purple, violet, and blue.

May 1, 2009 2901-1066
Saucer Magnolia, Magnolia ×soulangeana Feb 27, 2012 HORT-24
Sawara Falsecypress (Japanese Falsecypress), Chamaecyparis pisifera Feb 27, 2012 HORT-25
Scarlet Firethron, Pyracantha


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf Height: 15 +feet Spread: 15 feet

Shape: Spreading – can get wild (sprawling) if not pruned

Pyracantha is a large, fast-growing shrub has showy white blooms in spring and a spectacular display of orange/red fruit in the fall. This plant requires pruning since unpruned plants are very rangy looking. Stems have very sharp thorns, thus pruning this plant must be performed with caution. Plants should be not situated where children or pedestrians may encounter stems.

May 1, 2009 2901-1067
Scotch Pine, Pinus sylvestris Feb 27, 2012 HORT-26
Season Extenders

To get the most out of a garden, you can extend the growing season by sheltering plants from cold weather both in early spring and during the fall. Very ambitious gardeners harvest greens and other cool-weather crops all winter by providing the right conditions. There are many ways to lengthen the growing season, and your choice depends on the amount of time and money you want to invest.

Apr 22, 2015 426-381 (HORT-159P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Boxwoods

Boxwood is used extensively in the landscape development of homes, gardens, and public grounds in Virginia. Since colonial times, it has been an integral part of the landscape, and many historical gardens in the state are noted for their boxwoods. Today, many people who have colonial architecture select this plant because they feel it fits this style best, but boxwood is also being used with modern or contemporary homes.

Feb 5, 2013 426-603 (HORT-45P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Groundcovers

Ground covers are low-growing plants that spread quickly to form a dense cover. They add beauty to the landscape and, at the same time, help prevent soil erosion. Grass is the best known ground cover, but grass is not suited to all locations. Other ground cover plants should be used where grass is difficult to grow or maintain.

Nov 29, 2012 426-609 (HORT-31P)
Selecting Plants for Virginia Landscapes: Showy Flowering Shrubs Aug 19, 2015 HORT-84P
Selecting and Using Plant Growth Regulators on Floricultural Crops

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are chemicals that are designed to affect plant growth and/or development (figure 1). They are applied for specific purposes to elicit specific plant responses. Although there is much scientific information on using PGRs in the greenhouse, it is not an exact science. Achieving the best results with PGRs is a combination of art and science — science tempered with a lot of trial and error and a good understanding of plant growth and development.

Nov 18, 2013 430-102 (HORT-43P)
Shore Juniper, Juniperus conferta Nov 3, 2010 3010-1498
Shrubs: Functions, Planting, and Maintenance

What is a shrub? A shrub is generally considered a multi-stem woody plant that is less than 15 feet tall. Of course, this and other plant size categories are definitions contrived by humans to categorize nature. What is the difference between a large shrub and a small tree? In many cases, there is none. A shrub does not become a tree just because it grows higher than 15 feet. Classifying plants into ground cover, shrub, and tree designations are aids to allow us to conveniently classify and describe plants, albeit with a significant amount of ambiguity.

May 1, 2009 426-701
Smokebush, Smoketree


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 15 feet

Spread: 15

Shape: Upright, spreading

Smokebush is a small tree or large shrub depending on how one prunes the plant. Leaves of the species are green. Depending on cultivar; leaves can be purple or yellow during the growing season. After flowering (with small relatively inconspicuous flowers) in spring, clusters of fine filaments associated with flowering give the appearance of “smoke”. Fall foliage color is quite showy.

May 1, 2009 2901-1068
Soil Preparation

The ideal soil for a vegetable garden is deep, friable,

and well-drained with a high organic matter content.

Proper soil preparation provides the basis for good seed germination and the subsequent growth of garden crops. Careful use of various soil amendments can improve garden soil and provide the best possible starting ground for your crops.

Aug 12, 2015 426-313 (HORT-191P)
Soil Test Note 19: Vegetable and Flower Gardens (Supplement to Soil Test Report) May 1, 2009 452-719
Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum Feb 27, 2012 HORT-27
Southern Magnolia


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 80 feet

Spread: 50 feet

Shape: Upright, pyramidal to narrow pyramidal

This is a magnificent large evergreen tree with very large, wonderfully fragrant white flowers in late spring and early summer. There are many cultivars with variations in tree shape and size, flower, and foliage characteristics.

May 1, 2009 2901-1069
Southern Waxmyrtle


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 15 feet

Spread: 15 feet Shape: Upright, multi-stem

Southern waxmyrtle is a large evergreen shrub or small tree depending on how one prunes it.

This species tolerates wet and dry soils and females have a somewhat showy display of gray berries in the fall/winter.

May 1, 2009 2901-1070
Specialty Crop Profile: Asparagus

Asparagus, (Asparagus officinalis), is a hardy perennial vegetable belonging to the Lily Family. It is grown for its succulent early spring vegetative shoots that originate from an underground crown (Figure 1). Nutritionally, asparagus is almost 92 percent water, and it provides fairly high amounts of carbohydrates, vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, and phosphorus. A native of coastal Europe, asparagus has naturalized over much of the eastern United States. With the assistance of man and birds that have spread the seeds, asparagus can be found in gardens, old homesteads, fencerows, roadsides, and railroad right of ways across the state. It is well adapted to most of Virginia, preferring well-drained loam soils and easily tolerating winter cold and summer heat. Asparagus is long lived, and a well-managed planting can last 10 to 15 years. For those considering it as a potential crop, good planning and soil preparation are essential for long-term success.

Jan 28, 2015 438-102 (HORT-91P)
Specialty Crop Profile: Blueberries

Blueberries are long-lived, woody perennial shrubs that produce an annual crop of one-quarter- to threequarter- inch diameter berries (Figure 1). They are members of the Ericaceae family that includes plants adapted to acid soil such as azaleas and rhododendrons. Blueberries are naturally found in well-drained, but nutritionally poor organic sands. In some areas of the country (southern New Jersey, southwest Michigan, and the Carolina coastal plains) where these soils are prevalent, important commercial production exists. Blueberries can be successfully grown in mineral (clay, loam mix) soils, but can be a special challenge for growers out of the natural adaptation zones. Careful site and cultivar selection, site preparation, and proper cultural practices are critical to ensure success.

May 1, 2009 438-103
Specialty Crop Profile: Blueberries for the Upper Piedmont and Mountain Regions - Part 2

Planting of bare-root stock should be scheduled as early as possible in the spring (Feb-March) when the danger of severe frost has passed. Containerized plants can be set in the fall (Sept-Oct.), in all but the coldest elevation regions.

Aug 11, 2009 2906-1380
Specialty Crop Profile: Ginseng

For those familiar with ginseng they know it as a tender perennial native of the Appalachian region. As a wild plant it has been sought after and dug since the times of Daniel Boone, who reportedly was into the export business of this profitable root which still enjoys great demand as a medicinal herb in Asian markets.

Jul 28, 2009 2906-1345
Specialty Crop Profile: Globe Artichoke

Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) is an herbaceous perennial that is grown for its tender, edible, immature flower buds. The globe artichoke should not be confused with Jerusalem artichoke, another member of the composite family native to North America, which is grown for its fleshy tubers. Globe artichoke plants can become large: four to five feet tall and wide, with long, heavily serrated silvery green leaves (Figure 1a). Unopened flower buds resemble large pinecones (Figure 1b). Buds can grow up to three to four inches in diameter, are rounded at the base, and tapering to the tip or blocky in shape. Many spiny, pointed, green bracts (small, leaf-like structures) surround the hidden flower parts. The buds are harvested at an immature stage before they open and expose the flower. The base of each bract and the large fleshy base or receptacle (artichoke “heart”) on which the flower and bracts are borne are fleshy and edible. If the buds are allowed to mature and open, the resulting flowers are quite attractive, large, and fragrant (Figure 1c) , but the base and bracts harden and become inedible.

Jan 28, 2015 438-108 (HORT-92P)
Specialty Crop Profile: Horseradish

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana Gaertn., Mey, and Scherb.) is an herbaceous perennial. It can grow to two to three feet tall and wide and has a distinct rosette growth habit with numerous erect and long-petioled leaves originating from a central crown (Figure 1). Plants develop a deep root system of multiple branches and many finer rootlets. The roots are thick and fleshy tan to medium brown and smooth to corky on the outside and pure white on the inside. The edible, very pungent

May 1, 2009 438-104
Specialty Crop Profile: Ornamental Gourds

Ornamental gourds are an important addition to the fall sales mix, along with pumpkins, Indian corn, and fall mums (Figure 1). They fit both direct market and commercial bulk sales outlets. Like pumpkins, gourds are usually packed by bulk box or bin for shipping. In direct markets, they usually are sold by the piece, sometimes by weight. Compared to pumpkins, gourd market windows are longer with the advantage of being sold through the Thanksgiving holiday season. Gourds also can be sold throughout the year as a decorative craft items, such as birdhouses and carved or decorated gourds (Figure 2). Gourd crafting represents a significant value-added opportunity for the creative marketer and is not bound by traditional marketing seasons for produce.

May 1, 2009 438-101
Specialty Crop Profile: Pawpaw

Pawpaw (Asimina spp.) is a native fruit crop that is in the beginning phases of domestication in this country. As it is adapted to a commercial orchard setting, many issues related to genetic refinement, production and culture, handling, use, and marketing are being addressed by various research and educational programs. The primary effort is coordinated by Kentucky State University where an intense program was initiated in the 1980s. This publication provides basic background information about pawpaw, its potential, and the issues related to its development as a niche specialty crop in Virginia and throughout the Eastern U.S.

May 1, 2009 438-105
Specialty Crop Profile: Pawpaw (part 1)

This first article of a two-part series provides some background information about pawpaw, and its potential and problems in development as a niche specialty crop in the Eastern US.

Jul 22, 2009 2906-1318
Specialty Crop Profile: Pawpaw (part 2)

The following article is the second and final part of this specialty crop profile on pawpaw:


Jul 22, 2009 2906-1319
Specialty Crop Profile: Popcorn

Popcorn is a niche crop often seen in various direct market settings. Usually marketers buy pre-packaged shelled product or sell the small ears as an ornamental along with the other types of Indian corns on the market.

Aug 4, 2009 2906-1364
Specialty Crop Profile: Pumpkins

Pumpkins (Cucurbita spp.) are an important specialty crop for Virginia with over 2,000 acres grown annually. The scale of production ranges from an acre or two to several hundred acres per grower. Pumpkins are marketed as an ornamental crop. The primary market window, the Halloween season, usually starts in late September and goes through October (Figure 1).

The information provided in this publication covers the basics of growing pumpkins as a specialty crop, from understanding the various types and classifications of pumpkins, to field production, harvest considerations, and marketing.

May 1, 2009 438-100
Specialty Crop Profile: Rhubarb

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is an herbaceous edible perennial and a member of the buckwheat family. It has also been classified as Rheum rhaponticum, Rheum x hybridum, and Rheum x cultorum, and there are many related, non-edible Rheum species. It is native to Siberia, and has been used as a medicinal plant in Asia for over 5,000 years. Rhubarb was once a very well-known and popular vegetable in this country. But it is not as widely grown as it was in the past. Introduced by European settlers in the 1700s, it is commonly known as “pie plant” and is grown for its edible, but very tart leaf petioles (leaf stalks), which can reach 12 to 18 inches long and one to two inches thick with a crispy texture similar to a large celery stalk (Figures 1a, b). The leaves are toxic because of their oxalic acid (soluble oxalates) content, which can cause human and animal poisoning and must be trimmed from the petiole prior to use.

May 1, 2009 438-110
Specialty Crop Profile: Ribes (Currants and Gooseberries)

Currants and gooseberries are two closely related species within the genus Ribes. This genus is diverse with over 150 known species and hundreds of cultivated varieties (cultivars). Currants and gooseberries are easily distinguished by the presence or absence of thorns; gooseberries have thorns, while currants do not.

All ribes are long-lived perennial shrubs that are cold hardy, some to USDA Zone 2. Species and cultivars vary in plant size and form, but are usually upright to spreading (three to six feet) in habit. Disease and insect resistance are variable, depending on the cultivar. The fruit are versatile and nutritious with some currants being especially high in vitamin C. Fruit within species vary in presentation, ease of harvest, flavor, shape, size, texture, and color.

May 1, 2009 438-107
Star Magnolia, Magnolia stellata Feb 27, 2012 HORT-28
Sugar Maple


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 100 feet

Spread: 80 feet Shape: Oval to round

Sugar maple is a medium/large shade tree with a no less than spectacular fall foliage display.

There are many cultivars; cultivar characteristics include growth rate, form, and fall foliage color.

May 1, 2009 2901-1071
Sweet Corn

Sweet corn varieties differ significantly in time to maturity and in quality; yellow, white, bi-color, standard, and extra-sweet varieties are available. Most varieties planted are hybrids which have been bred for greater vigor and higher yields. A continuous harvest can be planned by planting early, mid-season, and late-season varieties or by making successive plantings of the same variety every two weeks or when the last planting has three to four leaves (corn sown in early spring will take longer because of cool temperatures).

Mar 16, 2015 426-405 (HORT-151P)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 50 feet

Spread: 30 feet Shape: Pyramidal in youth, round to oval at maturity

Sweetgum is a medium/large tree with very showy fall foliage colors. It tolerates moist to dry

soils. A notable disadvantage is the mess created by the fallen spiny fruit (gum balls).

May 1, 2009 2901-1072
Taking Another Look At Globe Artichokes At Virginia Tech

Many readers may be familiar with globe artichoke, an herbaceous perennial and relative of thistle harvested for its immature flower buds. The market for this crop is dominated by California, which has several coastal areas amenable to perennial production of this unique crop. In recent years, annual production of artichoke in the desert areas of California and Arizona has grown, where off-season production under cooler winter temperatures is employed.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1306
The Basics of Fertilizer Calculations for Greenhouse Crops Sep 21, 2015 430-100 (HORT-187P)
The Effect of Landscape Plants on Perceived Home Value May 1, 2009 426-087
Therapeutic Gardening Jul 28, 2014 HORT-66NP (HORT-73NP)
Thornless Common Honeylocust

(Liquidambar styraciflua)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 50 feet

Spread: 30 feet Shape: Pyramidal in youth, round to oval at maturity

Sweetgum is a medium/large tree with very showy fall foliage colors. It tolerates moist to dry soils. A notable disadvantage is the mess created by the fallen spiny fruit (gum balls).

May 1, 2009 2901-1073
Time to Plant Garlic

Garlic is an important crop for many market growers in Virginia. For direct marketers, garlic can be an important sales item to complement other early summer crop offerings. Though it requires advance site preparation and planning, garlic is generally an easy crop to grow, and one which lends itself well to organic production.

Jul 28, 2009
Tips for Handling Gourds this Fall Season

Each year I observe more direct market and wholesale growers adding gourds to their fall sales mix, along with pumpkins, ornamental corn and fall mums. Proper harvest timing, handling and curing are important to ensure maximum longevity of gourds once the consumer brings them home.

Jul 21, 2009 2906-1307
Tomatoes are valuable garden plants in that they
require relatively little space for large production. Each
standard tomato plant, properly cared for, yields 10 to
15 pounds or more of fruit.
Sep 29, 2016 426-418 (HORT-288P)
Training and Pruning Apple Trees Jan 30, 2015 422-021(HORT-94P)
Training and Pruning Apple Trees in Intensive Orchards Feb 24, 2015 422-024 (HORT-99P)
Trees and Shrubs for Acid Soils

The trees and shrubs on your new home site are growing poorly, so you take samples to the Extension office and the agent suggests a soil test. Test results show that your soil has a pH of 4.5, which is rated as strongly acid. The agent suggests you either take corrective action to raise the pH or grow different plants.

Apr 8, 2015 430-027 (HORT-115P)
Trees for Parking Lots and Paved Areas

Parking lots and paved areas are essential urban features that tend to be unsightly in their basic form. Municipal ordinances often mandate specific amounts of parking for different types of commercial or residential land use, as well as landscaping for these parking areas. Landscaping in and around parking lots and pavement improves appearance, prevents soil erosion, and reduces carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Planted areas also reduce storm water drainage problems, reduce the detrimental effects of wind and noise, and enhance human comfort by providing heat-reducing shade.

May 1, 2009 430-028
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites -- Air Pollution

Conditions in urban environments place trees under numerous stresses including compacted soil, soil moisture extremes, and reduced soil fertility. Polluted air is another stress that contributes to the decline of urban trees. Air pollution may cause short-term (acute) damage, which is immediately visible, and long-term (chronic) damage, which can lead to gradual tree decline. Long-term damage may predispose trees to other disorders, making diagnosis difficult.

Apr 8, 2015 430-022 (HORT-123P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites -- The Walnut Tree: Allelopathic Effects and Tolerant Plants

Walnut is the common name given to twenty species of deciduous trees in the genus Juglans, of which six species are native to the United States. The black walnut, Juglans nigra, which is native to Virginia, grows from Maine west to southern Michigan and south to Texas and Georgia.

Apr 10, 2015 430-021(HORT-113P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites — Screening

Using trees as living screens can easily enhance living and working spaces. Before selecting trees for screening, first determine the screen's purpose, whether functional or environmental. Screening can be used to define an area, modify or hide a view, create privacy, block wind, dust, salt and snow, control noise, filter light, and direct traffic flow.

Apr 9, 2015 430-025 (HORT-117P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites — Trees for Hot Sites

Hot landscape sites require special consideration before trees are planted. Trees can survive, and even thrive, in hot sites if the site is prepared correctly, if heat-tolerant species are selected, and if the trees are properly maintained. A variety of different locations and situations qualify as hot landscape sites.

Apr 9, 2015 430-024 (HORT-118P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites — Trees for Landscape Containers and Planters

Planting trees in aboveground containers and planters is becoming a common practice on sites that are not suited for inground planting. Containers differ from raised planters in that they are usually smaller in volume and moveable, whereas planters are generally larger, and often built as part of the permanent hardscape (paving, etc.). The greatest challenge in selecting trees for containers and planters is in choosing trees that can survive temperature extremes, and that can establish roots in a limited volume of substrate (potting soil). Consider several factors when selecting containers and trees including environmental influences, container and planter design, substrate type, and tree characteristics.

Apr 9, 2015 430-023 (HORT-119P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites — Wet and Dry Sites Apr 8, 2015 430-026 (HORT-114P)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf

Height: 90 feet

Spread: 50 feet

Shape: Upright oval

Tuliptree is a very tall, large tree with a straight trunk. It bears beautiful tulip-shaped flowers in May but generally go unnoticed since they high in the tree.

May 1, 2009 2901-1074
Umbrella-Pine (Japanese Umbrella-Pine), Sciadopitys verticillata Feb 27, 2012 HORT-29
Understanding Pesticide Labels

Research has shown that consumers find reading and understanding the label to be the most difficult aspect of applying pesticides safely. However, it is essential that you understand the label information before you begin work. The label printed on or attached to a container of pesticide tells you how to use it correctly and warns of any environmental or health safety measures to take.

Jan 14, 2016 426-707 (HORT-201P)
Understanding Soil Moisture Sensors: A Fact Sheet for Irrigation Professionals in Virginia

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, water resources are increasingly being scrutinized due to changing surface water or groundwater availability. Access to good quality water is a continuing concern, and in many communities, managing water use — particularly consumptive use — is a priority to conserve public water supplies to meet the needs of a growing population.

Sep 23, 2016 BSE-198P
Urban Water Quality Management–Residential Stormwater: Put It in Its Place. Decreasing Runoff and Increasing Stormwater Infiltration

Humans and plants depend on an adequate supply of clean water for a number of reasons, from producingfood to sustaining life. The average Virginia resident uses 826 gallons of fresh water daily (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality [VADEQ] 2008). In the Commonwealth alone, there are more than one million households that depend on well water, withdrawing more than 50 billion gallons annually (Virginia Department of Health 2008). For groundwater replenishment, we depend largely on recharge (water moving from the surface to groundwater) from infiltration of precipitation through permeable surfaces in the environment — an important part of the natural water cycle (VADEQ 2010).

Jun 18, 2015 426-046(HORT-160P)
Using Plant Growth Regulators on Containerized Herbaceous Perennials

There is a tremendous diversity of herbaceous perennial plant species being grown for both the retail and landscaping sectors of the industry. Because of the diversity in species grown, there is much more unknown about perennials production than is known. Growth regulation is of particular concern. In production settings, as well as in retail locations, herbaceous perennials grown in pots tend to stretch and become leggy or simply overgrow their pots before their scheduled market date. These plants are less marketable, and harder to maintain. Many growers resort to pruning, which is not only costly in terms of labor, but also delays plant production two to four weeks.

Jun 8, 2012 430-103 (HORT-4P)
VCE Model of Community, Local, Regional Food Systems Oct 7, 2016 ALCE-154NP
Vanhoutte Spirea

(Spiraea x vanhouttei)


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 10 feet

Spread: 12 feet Shape: Vase-shaped with arching branches

Vanhoutte spirea is a large shrub with graceful arching branches. Its main claim to fame is it abundant and showy display of white flowers in spring. This species is best used in a shrub border or in mass.

May 1, 2009 2901-1075
Vertical Gardening Using Trellises, Stakes, and Cages May 7, 2015 HORT-189NP
Virginia Firescapes: Firewise Landscaping for Woodland Homes

When the forest becomes a community, forest fires and homes are inseparable.

A home in a woodland setting is surrounded by flammable vegetation. Firewise landscaping can help you create a defensible space or buffer zone around your home. This not only helps to keep fire from approaching your woodland home, but it also provides a safe space in which firefighters can work.

Jul 14, 2015 430-300(HORT-136P)
Washington Hawthorn, Crataegus phaenopyrum Feb 27, 2012 HORT-30
Weed Management in Small Fruit Crops

For small fruit growers, the challenge of weed management is one of the greatest they will face to successfully grow these crops. Factors such as climate, weed introductions and adaptability, and years of agricultural activity have come together to select for weed species that are aggressive and persistent. Without management, weeds compete with crops for light, nutrients and water, resulting in stressed plants, poor fruit quality and yield.

Jul 24, 2009 2906-1327
Weeds in the Home Vegetable Garden

The most common definition of a weed is a plant out of place. Many plants that are considered weeds in the vegetable garden are beneficial wildflowers in other settings. Some, such as the Venice mallow (or flower-of-an-hour), morning glory, and even thistles, have flowers that rival those intentionally planted in flower beds. Unfortunately, some of the plants, while attractive in the wild, are too aggressive for use in the home garden and can take over the landscape. Seeds of even very obnoxious wild flowers may be sold occasionally, so care must be used in the selection of wildflowers vs. weeds.

Apr 22, 2015 426-364 (HORT-157P)
What in the World? International Produce Takes a Stand at Virginia Farmers Markets

Virginia is an increasingly attractive place for people
from other countries to call home. According to the
2010 census, Virginia had the 7th highest
immigration rate nationwide, with the greatest
concentrations in the Northern Virginia, Richmond,
and the Hampton Roads metropolitan areas.
Regional diversity broadens the landscape of
culinary options, both for long-term residents and

May 25, 2016 HORT-225NP
White Fringetree, Old-man’s-beard, Chionanthus virginicus Nov 3, 2010 3010-1499
White Oak


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 100 feet

Spread: 80 feet Shape: Broad-rounded

White oak is a magnificent large spreading tree. This species is somewhat slow growing but is well worth the wait. Do not plant this tree in an area that is apt to be subjected to soil compaction.

May 1, 2009 2901-1076
Wine Making for the Home Gardener

Wine making has increased in popularity as a hobby  for home gardeners who have taken the science and craft beyond the grape vineyard to the bramble patch, vegetable garden, and flower garden. The American Homebrewers Association estimates that more than one million Americans brew beer or make wine at home at least once a year.

Feb 4, 2016 HORT-213NP


Foliage: Deciduous broadleaf Height: 10 feet

Spread: 10 feet Shape: Upright oval

Winterberry is a large shrub and somewhat informal in character. There are cultivars that are shorter and have a more formal appearance. This native wetland species has very showy bright red fruit (on female plants) in early autumn that persist till February.

May 1, 2009 2901-1077
Wintercreeper Euonymus


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf 

Height: 4 inches as a ground cover 20 feet as a vine

Shape: Spreading Wintercreeper euonymus is a low-growing evergreen ground cover that will climb when it encounters a vertical surface. There are several cultivars which vary in foliage color and height.

May 1, 2009 2901-1078
Yaupon Holly Cultivars


Foliage: Evergreen broadleaf

Height: 5 to 20 feet (depending on cultivar)

Spread: 3 to 10 feet (depending on cultivar)

Shape: Compact mound

This and several other similar cultivars are used in landscapes as border plants or in mass. This species is very tolerant of most adverse landscape conditions. Some female cultivars have stems laden with very showy persistent red fruit. This species is suited to warmer areas of Virginia (zone 7 and higher).

May 1, 2009 2901-1079
Yews, Taxus spp. Nov 3, 2010 3010-1500
Yuccas, Yucca spp. Nov 3, 2010 3010-1501