The Piedmont Master Gardeners Association provides science-based gardening information to the community of Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. Here you will find our calendar of gardening events, resources to answer your gardening questions, a lively and topical monthly newsletter (The Garden Shed), a list of our projects and community partners, and information on how to become a Piedmont Master Gardener.

<strong>Give Us Your 'Green Elephants' for PMG's May 4 Plant Sale</strong>

Are you cleaning out your basement? Reorganizing your shed? The Piedmont Master Gardeners will gladly accept any garden-related items you no longer need, including tools, hoses, decorative items, outdoor furniture—virtually anything used to create, maintain or enjoy a home landscape.

These “Green Elephants” will be offered for sale to the public during PMG’s Spring Plant Sale, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Albemarle Square Shopping Center. Proceeds will support the many free and low-cost programs we offer to the community.

Donations may be dropped off at 402 Albemarle Square between 10 a.m. and noon on Tuesdays or Saturdays through the end of April. To arrange a pickup of large items or for more information, please contact us at greenelephant@piedmontmastergardeners.org.

Ask a Master Gardener
Ask a Master Gardener posts go live on our Facebook every month. This month’s topic:

Easy Care Houseplants

Question:  I don’t have a green thumb.  What easy care houseplants can you recommend?  I’d like to have some showy ones.  How do I keep them healthy? By Emily Douglas and Marilyn Keller, Piedmont Master Gardener Interns Raising and caring…

Upcoming PMG Programs & Events

Garden Basics: Native Plants for Shade

Adding native plants to your shady yard is both ecological and beautiful. Learn how to: layer your landscape, identify types of shade, and determine which plants work in each situation. We will cover trees, shrubs, and perennials so you can...

Free
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Piedmont Master Gardeners’ Spring Plant Sale

The Piedmont Master Gardeners' annual Spring Plant Sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Albemarle Square Shopping Center in Charlottesville. The sale will offer thousands of annuals, perennials, vegetables, fruit-bearing plants, herbs and...

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Garden Basics: Dividing Bulbs, Corms, Tubers, and Rhizomes

Many beautiful plants come from bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes. Some can be left in the ground over the winter, while others can be dug up, stored, and planted the following spring.  You will discover: how to identify bulbs, corms,...

Free
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Garden Basics: Backyard Composting for Healthy Soil and a Healthier Planet

Composting makes sustainable and beneficial use of food and yard waste, reduces chemical fertilizer and insecticide use, and keeps organic wastes out of landfills. This workshop will cover: soil and plant nutrient basics, the benefits of natural soil building by...

Free
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Garden Basics: Making Hypertufa Containers

Hypertufa containers last for years and are ideal for displaying flowers, bulbs, succulents, and other plants—indoors or out. You will learn: what hypertufa is, how to make a hypertufa container safely, and plants that do well in a hypertufa container....

Free
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Garden Basics: Square-Foot Gardening

Learn how to maximize your growing space in the vegetable garden by using the square-foot gardening method. Square-foot gardening makes it easy to organize your garden layout and stop guessing about spacing. You will also identify weeds more easily. You...

Free
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Garden Basics: Fall Tasks in the Perennial Garden

Take a trip to the demonstration garden at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital to learn how to prepare your garden for winter. We will cover: how and when to cut back plants, fall mulching and soil amendments, dividing and planting bulbs,...

Free
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Garden Basics: Nature’s Cornucopia of Holiday Plants and Decorations

Welcome the winter holiday season with this festive workshop. Learn how to select, showcase, and maintain plants such as amaryllis, paperwhites, and Christmas cactus. Discover possibilities for decorating with materials collected in the yard or on the trail. Get inspired...

Free
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For more information on any of our events, visit our Events page.

 
Invasive Plants, Insects & Diseases
Spotted Lanternfly adults, nymphs, and egg masses

A potentially very serious pest of grapes, peaches, hops and a variety of other crops, the spotted lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula, was detected in Albemarle County, Virginia, in July 2021. As of June 15th, 2022, Albemarle County has been placed in a Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine. To read more about the spotted lanternfly, click here.

Vascular Streak Dieback: Threat to Redbuds and Dogwoods

You may wonder why you haven’t seen many flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida) or Eastern Redbuds (Cercis canadensis) in local nurseries this spring. This is likely due to concern about Vascular Streak Dieback, a fungal infection attacking these and other trees. It has been observed in nurseries in Virginia and other U.S. states (especially Tennessee), and state inspectors have found it in Albemarle County. Nurseries around the country have had to destroy infected inventory.

Virginia Cooperative Extension has issued this fact sheet on the emerging problem (VCE Publication SPES-483P) with photos of symptomatic plants. 

Symptoms include leaf yellowing, leaf scorching, wilting and branch death, typically starting at branch ends and progressing toward the trunk. Streaking can be seen in the vascular tissue of infected branches, but this discoloration is often not visible in dogwoods. Researchers report that the disease is evident in seedlings, grafted plants, older nursery stock produced in container or field production settings, and landscape plants. Consumers should not buy trees that show these symptoms or that are grouped with any trees that are symptomatic.

Laboratories around the country, including at Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, have received samples of diseased trees and have isolated a diversity of fungi. According to VDACS plant pathologist Devin Bily, Rhizoctonia (Ceratobasidium) theobromae has been consistently detected in symptomatic plants, including both redbud and dogwood. “We know this fungus is present,” he said. “What is not known is the host range, pathogenicity or virulence on different hosts, as well as dispersal mechanisms.” The fungus has been confirmed in a number of tree and shrub species, he noted, but in Virginia redbuds, dogwoods, and maples have been most affected.

Because the disease appears to affect the vascular tissue (xylem) that draws water and nutrients through the tree, it may spread through grafting, pruning, and budding. Stress factors such as poor site conditions, over-fertilization, drought, pest damage and herbicide exposure have been associated with the disease, so following best practices for planting and caring for trees may reduce their vulnerability. These include maintaining rigorous sanitation standards when grafting and pruning. Clean tools between each cut with 70 percent alcohol or a mixture of one part bleach to nine parts water. Also, follow proper planting procedures to give new trees a healthy start.  

If you suspect Vascular Streak Dieback in a tree on your property, bring a sample to the Virginia Cooperative Extension office at 460 Stagecoach Road in Charlottesville for testing by Virginia Tech’s plant disease clinic. It is imperative that you follow these steps for preparing the sample and that you bring it in on a Monday or Tuesday to ensure it reaches the clinic before the weekend. The charge for in-state residents is $35. If you have questions about submitting a sample, call the VCE office at (434) 872-4580, or write directly to the clinic at clinic@vt.edu.

Photos courtesy of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 

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