Resources by David Close

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 - 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)
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.
Jun 1, 2017 426-060 (HORT-245NP)
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: 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: 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: 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)
Patriotic Gardens: How to Plant a Red, White and Blue Garden Jul 17, 2015 426-210 (HORT-185)
America's Anniversary Garden: A Statewide Corridor and Entrance Enhancement Program Jul 23, 2015 426-211 (HORT-186P)
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: 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)
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)
Managing Winter Injury to Trees and Shrubs
It is often necessary to provide extra attention to plants in the fall to help them over-winter and start spring in peak condition. Understanding certain principles and cultural practices will significantly reduce winter damage that can be divided into three categories: desiccation, freezing, and breakage.
Apr 9, 2015 426-500 (HORT-121P)
Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons
The spectacular spring flowers of azaleas and rhododendrons make them among the most popular garden shrubs. However, azaleas and rhododendrons are shrubs for all seasons. Throughout the summer and fall the leaves add a pleasing, deep‑green color to the garden. Some deciduous azaleas add bright fall color before the leaves drop. In winter, some varieties stand out with large, evergreen leaves.
Mar 30, 2015 426-602 (HORT-103P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Rare and Unusual Trees
There are many tree species that can be successfully grown in Virginia, but are rarely seen in our landscapes. Although not ordinarily recommended or readily available, these trees may be useful to carry out a specific landscape theme, to substitute for an exotic type which is not locally adapted, or may be prized for unusual form, flowers, fruits, bark, or foliage.
Jun 18, 2015 426-604(HORT-107P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Conifers
Conifers, also known as narrow-leaved or needled evergreens, are planted primarily for the attractiveness of their evergreen foliage. The variety of sizes, shapes, and colors available contributes to their popularity. Conifers range in size from prostrate plants growing only a few inches tall to large trees. Shapes include flat ground covers; horizontal spreaders; upright, pyramidal forms; and even weeping and contorted forms. Foliage color ranges from a gold and cream variegation to all shades of green, gray-green, and blue-green.
Apr 6, 2015 426-605 (HORT-108P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Broad-Leaved Evergreens
There are a large number of highly ornamental broadleaved evergreens. However, many of them require special attention if they are to develop into attractive, long-lived plants. Wide fluctuations in temperature, prolonged dry periods, drying winds, and bright sunshine are not ideal conditions for most broad-leaved evergreens, yet these conditions frequently occur in Virginia. Good soil preparation and a carefully selected location will help ensure the success of these plants. However, the year-round beauty and special effect that they give to the landscape make them well worth the extra care needed to grow them.
Apr 3, 2015 426-607 (HORT-105P)
Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees
Trees are the basic element for any landscape plan. They set the stage for the entire home grounds design. The type used and their location determine to a great extent what other plantings are appropriate. Providing shade usually requires tall, sturdy, long-living species. Density of foliage, which determines the amount of shading, is important. A tree such as a Norway maple will produce a very dense shade that prevents other plants from growing under it, while a honey locust will produce a light partial shade which is not a hindrance to other plants growing below it. Deciduous trees should be used to shade the south windows of a home in the summer, thus allowing the sun to penetrate in the winter.
Apr 1, 2015 426-610 (HORT-104P)
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)
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)
The Value of Landscaping
Landscaping is an integral part of our culture and plays an essential role in the quality of our environment, affecting our economic well-being and our physical and psychological health. If we are to keep our communities strong and prosperous, we must take responsibility for our environment. Environmental responsibility is a step beyond awareness, developed only through experience. Through our gardens and landscapes, we acquire a personal awareness and responsibility for the environment while we relieve the tensions and frustrations of everyday life.
Nov 17, 2016 426-721 (HORT-234)
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.
Jun 1, 2017 426-722(HORT-242NP)
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.
Jul 7, 2017 426-723 (HORT-246NP)
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.
Jun 1, 2017 426-724 (HORT-241NP)
Fertilizing Landscape Trees and Shrubs
Maintenance programs should be developed for trees and shrubs in both residential and commercial landscapes. A good maintenance program includes monitoring and controlling insect and disease problems, suppressing weed competition, and making timely applications of water, mulch, and fertilizer. Tree and shrub fertilization is especially important in urban and suburban areas of Virginia where soils have been altered due to construction. These urban soils tend to be heavily compacted, poorly aerated, poorly drained, and low in organic matter. Even where soils have not been affected, fertilization may be needed as part of a maintenance program to increase plant vigor or to improve root or top growth.
Apr 9, 2015 430-018 (HORT-120P)
Selection and Use of Mulches and Landscape Fabrics
The term “mulch” refers to materials spread or left on the soil surface as protective layers, whether organic or inorganic, loose particles or sheets.
Mar 20, 2015 430-019 (HORT-132P)
Trees for Problem Landscape Sites -- Air Pollution Apr 8, 2015 430-022 (HORT-123P)
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 — 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 — 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 — Wet and Dry Sites
To grow, all trees require air, light, water and nutrients. Some trees can survive over a wide range of climatic and soil conditions, whereas others are very site specific. Both wet and dry sites present establishment and growth challenges, making selection of the right tree for the right site very important.
Apr 8, 2015 430-026 (HORT-114P)
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. What do the test results mean? What are “acid soils” and what does pH measure? Why does this matter to your plants? How can you correct the situation or what alternative trees and shrubs can you grow?
Apr 8, 2015 430-027 (HORT-115P)
Trees and Shrubs that Tolerate Saline Soils and Salt Spray Drift
Concentrated sodium (Na), a component of salt, can damage plant tissue whether it contacts above or below ground parts. High salinity can reduce plant growth and may even cause plant death. Care should be taken to avoid excessive salt accumulation from any source on tree and shrub roots, leaves or stems. Sites with saline (salty) soils, and those that are exposed to coastal salt spray or paving de-icing materials, present challenges to landscapers and homeowners.
Apr 8, 2015 430-031 (HORT-111P)
24 Ways to Kill a Tree
Few residential trees die of “old age.” Mechanical damage and improper tree care kill more trees than any insects or diseases. Avoid making the tree-damaging mistakes shown in the diagram below. Few of these items alone would kill a tree, but multiple problems will certainly stress, and could eventually kill, a tree.
Apr 8, 2015 430-210 (HORT-112P)
Tree and Shrub Planting Guidelines
Select trees and shrubs well-adapted to conditions of individual planting sites. Poorly-sited plants are doomed from the start, no matter how carefully they’re planted.
Mar 3, 2015 430-295 (HORT-106P)
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)
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)
What in the World? International Produce Takes a Stand at Virginia Farmers Markets May 25, 2016 HORT-225NP
For the Birds, Butterflies & Hummingbirds: Creating Inviting Habitats Aug 1, 2014 HORT-59NP (HORT-74NP)
Emerald Ash Borer
The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) is a wood-boring beetle native to eastern Asia and is now considered the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America. Since its discovery in Michigan in 2002, it has killed tens of millions of native ash (Fraxinus spp.) trees in the United States and Canada. This destruction has already cost municipalities, property owners, and businesses tens of millions of dollars in damages.
Feb 7, 2014 HORT-69NP