Resources for Gardening & The Environment

Title Available As Summary Date ID Author
Urban Water-Quality Management: Insect Pests of Water Garden Plants
Aphids are often called plant lice. Several species are troublesome pests on above-water leaves (a), stems, and flower buds of aquatic plants. These sucking insects distort succulent new leaves, causing them to curl, wilt, or turn yellow.
Apr 8, 2015 426-040 (HORT-124P)
Urban Water-Quality Management - What Is a Watershed? May 1, 2009 426-041
Urban Water-Quality Management - Winterizing the Water Garden
Water gardens require maintenance throughout the year. Preparation for the winter months is especially important for the survival of both the aquatic plants and the wildlife in and around the pond. Some plants will not tolerate winter weather and must be removed from the pond while cold-hardy plants need only to be completely immersed in the pond.
Mar 19, 2015 426-042 (HORT-125P)
Urban Water-Quality Management: Rain Garden Plants
A rain garden is a landscaped area specially designed to collect rainfall and storm-water runoff. The plants and soil in the rain garden clean pollutants from the water as it seeps into the ground and evaporates back into the atmosphere. For a rain garden to work, plants must be selected, installed, and maintained properly.
Mar 18, 2015 426-043 (HORT-130P)
Urban Water-Quality Management: Purchasing Aquatic Plants Apr 8, 2015 426-044 (HORT-122P)
Urban Water-Quality Management: Wildlife in the Home Pond Garden
Small home pond gardens support aquatic plants and also attract a variety of wildlife. Turtles, frogs, birds, snakes, lizards, and raccoons as well as many other animals may use these ponds. Most wildlife needs water to survive and will seek out ponds for drinking, bathing, habitat, and in some cases, reproduction.
Mar 19, 2015 426-045 (HORT-126P)
Groundwater Quality and the Use of Lawn and Garden Chemicals by Homeowners May 1, 2009 426-059
Invasive Plants -- A Horticultural Perspective Apr 28, 2009 426-080
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)
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)
Environmental Horticulture: Guide to Nutrient Management May 1, 2009 426-613
Pest Management for Water Quality
Research has shown that consumers find reading and understanding the label to be the most difficult aspect of applying pesticides. However, an understanding of the label information is essential before work begins. The label printed on or attached to a container of pesticide tells how to use it correctly and warns of any environmental or health safety measures to take. Read the label when you purchase a pesticide and again before mixing or applying it. If you are confused about any part of the label, consult your Extension agent or a representative of the company that makes the product. Many pesticides now list a toll-free number for consumers. The label includes specific information that you should be aware of and learn to understand.Diane Relf, Extension Specialist, Horticulture, Virginia Tech Reviewed by David Close, Consumer Horticulture and Master Gardener Specialist, Horticulture, Virginia Tech
Mar 18, 2015 426-615 (HORT-138P)
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)
Making Compost from Yard Waste Oct 18, 2012 426-703 (HORT-46P)
Using Compost in Your Landscape May 1, 2009 426-704
Storing Pesticides Safely May 1, 2009 426-705
Choosing Pesticides Wisely
Healthy plants are less susceptible to attack by pests, and good cultural practices can reduce pest outbreaks.
Jan 15, 2016 426-706 (HORT-202P)
Understanding Pesticide Labels Jan 14, 2016 426-707 (HORT-201P)
Applying Pesticides Safely Jan 19, 2016 426-710 (HORT-199P)
Building Healthy Soil Apr 21, 2015 426-711 (HORT-149P)
Conserving Energy with Landscaping
Well-placed plantings can significantly alter the microclimate around a home, resulting in a more comfortable environment and significant savings in heating and cooling costs over time.
Apr 6, 2015 426-712 (HORT-110P)
Creating a Water-Wise Landscape Feb 3, 2016 426-713 (HORT-200P)
Landscaping for Less in the Landfill Apr 22, 2015 426-716 (HORT-162P)
Reducing Erosion and Runoff
Soil erosion occurs when soil particles are carried off by water or wind and deposited somewhere else such as into a stream or at the bottom of a bay. Often soil particles are carried by runoff, water that does not soak into the ground, but flows over the surface and runs to another area – such as into stormdrains, streams, or lakes.
May 22, 2015 426-722(HORT-116P)
Home Landscape Practices to Protect Water Quality
In Virginia, we rely on reservoir systems, wells, and other sources for our freshwater. In recent years, our previously plentiful clean water supplies have been threatened not only by overuse, but also by contamination. Pollutants are carried down with water soaking through the soil to the water table. Runoff (water that does not soak into the ground) flows over the surface, often taking soil and polluting chemicals with it into lakes and streams.
Mar 19, 2015 426-723(HORT-137P)
Mulching for a Healthy Landscape
Soil erosion occurs when soil particles are carried off by water or wind and deposited somewhere else such as into a stream or at the bottom of a bay. Often soil particles are carried by runoff, water that does not soak into the ground, but flows over the surface and runs to another area – such as into stormdrains, streams, or lakes.
May 22, 2015 426-724(HORT-127P)
Reducing Pesticide Use in the Home Lawn and Garden
Pesticide use affects the quality of human health, the environment, and nontarget organisms in the ecosystem. Therefore, any pesticide application warrants a careful assessment of the expected benefits and risks. Too often, however, homeowners use pesticides inappropriately or without careful consideration of alternatives. This fact sheet outlines general pest control tactics that can easily be implemented for home lawns and gardens, along with other information that home owners can use to make sound pest management decisions. The intent is to ensure that homeowners are aware of alternative control tactics and pesticide characteristics, and that pesticides are used properly and only when necessary.
Apr 29, 2015 450-725 (PPWS-56P)
Botryosphaeria Canker and Dieback of Trees and Shrubs in the Landscape
Most trees and shrubs are susceptible to dieback and cankers caused by several species of the fungal genus Botryosphaeria. Botryosphaeria fungi are typically opportunistic pathogens. Opportunistic pathogens only cause disease on plants that are stressed. Therefore, avoiding plant stress, which predisposes plant tissue to infection and colonization by this fungal group, is the best strategy to prevent Botryosphaeria disease problems.
Mar 16, 2015 450-726 (PPWS-50)
The Virginia Yard Waste Management Manual May 1, 2009 452-055
Compost: What Is It and What's It To You May 1, 2009 452-231
Closing the Loop: Public-Private Partnerships for On-Farm Composting of Yard Waste
This publication is designed for waste managers, community planners, recycling and environmental coordinators, and others interested in waste reduction and recycling.
May 1, 2009 452-233
Pest Management Guide: Home Grounds and Animals, 2017
This 2017 Virginia Pest Management Guide provides the latest recommendations for controlling diseases, insects, and weeds for home grounds and animals. The chemical controls in this guide are based on the latest pesticide label information at the time of writing. Because pesticide labels change, read the label directions carefully before buying and using any pesticide. Regardless of the information provided here, always follow the latest product label instructions when using any pesticide.
Mar 15, 2017 456-018 (ENTO-220P)
Virginia Master Naturalist
The Virginia Master Naturalist program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.
Oct 27, 2014 465-300 (ANR-117NP)
The Basics of Hardwood-Log Shiitake Mushroom Production and Marketing
Shiitake mushroom production offers an income opportunity for Virginia’s small-farm operators and smallwoodlot owners while providing enjoyment for others. It is also a relatively simple food-production activity, like gardening, that can be a hobby or used for teaching. This publication describes a technique for shiitake production and marketing that can be used and adapted by Virginia farmers, hobbyists, or teachers. It describes common techniques based on the available research, as well as areas of disagreement and typical difficulties producers may face, such as pests. In addition to production methods, this publication describes some of the basics of the finances and marketing of shiitake mushrooms for those interested in using them for income production.
Apr 3, 2014 ANR-102P
Virginia Master Naturalist Program Strategic Planning Report 2015-2020
This report summarizes the findings from a strategic planning process conducted by the Virginia Master Naturalist program in 2013-2014. The process involved three steps: a comprehensive needs assessment to identify program needs, strategic planning workshops to identify initiatives for addressing those needs, and online voting to prioritize proposed initiatives.
Apr 9, 2015 ANR-137NP
Fertilizer Applicator Certification Training Apr 12, 2013 ANR-66
How to Plan for and Plant Streamside Conservation Buffers with Native Fruit and Nut Trees and Woody Floral Shrubs Sep 4, 2013 ANR-69P
Living Well Newsletter, Volume 9, Issue 1 Aug 8, 2013 FCS-46P
Food Safety For School and Community Gardens
Creating and maintaining community and school gardens has been identified as an effective strategy to increase healthy food awareness and consumption. Unfortunately, fresh fruits and vegetables have been linked to more than 450 outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S. since 1990. In commercial food production, employing a set of risk-reduction steps — known as good agricultural practices (GAPs) — has been pointed to by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the best prevention against foodborne, illness-causing pathogens.
May 29, 2013 FST-60P
Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Application Feb 9, 2016 HORT-211NP
Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Re-Enrollment Form
volunteer re-enrolment form
Feb 11, 2016 HORT-212NP
For the Birds, Butterflies & Hummingbirds: Creating Inviting Habitats Aug 1, 2014 HORT-59NP (HORT-74NP)
Care Sheet for Sabal minor or “Dwarf Palmetto” in Virginia Landscapes Sep 5, 2013 HORT-60NP
Therapeutic Gardening
Gardening is a great activity to help maintain physical and emotional well-being. However, it is not without its challenges, even for the able bodied. With a little creativity, gardening can be an accessible activity and can have therapeutic value. As a therapy, gardening is unique in that a living medium, plants, are used. This allows the gardener to be anchored in reality. When gardeners realize that they have an effect on something else that is living there are often positive changes in their behavior and feelings. The term therapeutic gardening means that the activity of gardening is designed to assure positive health outcomes and minimize negative outcomes.
Jul 28, 2014 HORT-66NP (HORT-73NP)
Integrated Pest Management for Plant Diseases in the Home Garden and Landscape, Learning Module I: Integrated Pest Management Apr 22, 2015 PPWS-14NP
Integrated Pest Management for Plant Diseases in the Home Garden and Landscape, Learning Module II: The Plant Disease Triangle Apr 22, 2015 PPWS-15NP
Impatiens Downy Mildew May 21, 2013 PPWS-19NP