What’s in Your Basement?: Rutgers Trains Professionals on Radon Measurement and Mitigation

How to Educate Homeowners on the Need for Radon Testing - Video for Radon ProfessionalsRadon professionals know radon is a silent, invisible killer, but many homeowners don’t think it could be a serious problem in their homes. The Eastern Regional Radon Training Center (ERRTC), a part of Rutgers NJAES Office of Continuing Professional Education, provides training for professionals to become certified as radon measurement or mitigation service providers. ERRTC is one of four Regional Radon Training Centers established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

New NJAES Catnip Releases May Make Purr-fectly Good Insect Repellents

Catnip plants in NJAES research plot at Rutgers Snyder Farm.

Catnip plants in NJAES research plot at Rutgers Snyder Farm.

Farmers and home gardeners may be as attracted to the new lines of catnip being released by Rutgers NJAES as cats are. The new varieties have larger leaves and flowers, which produce more of the essential oils that cats go crazy for. Rutgers Professor Jim Simon and doctoral student William Reichert have developed lines with a custom designed essential oil composition. Up to now, catnip oil has been too expensive to use as a repellent, but it has been shown to repel mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, termites, dust mites and deer ticks. Read more at Rutgers Today.

Rutgers Plant Diagnostic Laboratory: A Resource for Plant Professionals and Home Gardeners

At Rutgers NJAES Plant Diagnostic Clinic, Rich Buckley, M.S., and former plant pathology student intern Amanda MacDonald, examine diseased grape leaves, comparing spores in plant sap under the microscope against a disease key. Photo by Jack Rabin

At Rutgers NJAES Plant Diagnostic Lab, Director Rich Buckley and former plant pathology student intern Amanda MacDonald, examine diseased grape leaves, comparing spores in plant sap under the microscope against a disease key. Photo by Jack Rabin

Since the days of Rachael Carson and Silent Spring, plant health managers, green industry professionals, and home gardeners alike have been looking for ways to reduce the impact of pesticides in the food supply as well as the lawn and landscape. From outright pesticide bans, to highly specialized and precision integrated pest management systems, the quest for healthy plant systems with less input is ongoing.

Proper identification of the cause of a plant problem is the first step in any disease or insect pest management program. Only when one is aware of the cause, can appropriate interventions be made. For instance, there are many species of borers in shade trees. Some are invasive and some are native, but being able to distinguish them from each other is important in determining how much of a threat they pose, if a regulatory response is necessary, whether or not they can be controlled, if they can be eliminated or prevented, and when, what and how to apply a treatment. Even if there is no prescribed treatment for the problem, knowing the cause of the plant’s decline provides important information for selecting new plants or modifying the site for replanting.

Some disease problems are easy to identify, but others can be misleading. For example, several different fungi as well as certain insect pests, or abiotic stress factors, like poor drainage, can cause problems in the crown and root systems of plants. The symptoms of these plant problems in the field can be virtually identical regardless of the cause. Accurate identification of root-infecting fungi requires at least a microscope, and often needs special isolation or testing techniques that would only be available in a laboratory setting. [Read more…]

Oldwick Resident Given Citation For Doing Plant Therapy

After her daughter died, 89-year-old Lorraine Galbraith of Oldwick, was left alone. Gradually, her life, and her connections to others, grew smaller. She put herself in a wheelchair and lived in social isolation and in poor health. Over the years, she soldiered through Hurricane Sandy and numerous medical issues, including a stroke, by herself… Eventually, Right at Home Care, Galbraith’s caregivers, suggested horticultural therapy, which uses gardening and planting related activities to help better the lives of patients. Whittlesey contacted Laura DePrado, president of Final Touch Landscaping and a registered horticultural therapist with the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA), to work with Galbraith… "It couldn’t be more appropriate and beautiful to hold this event," added DePrado, who studied horticultural therapy at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences… According to Professor Joel Flagler, who teaches horticultural studies at Rutgers University, the therapy works because everyone can relate to plants in one way or another – we eat them, build with them and wear them on a daily basis.

Read the entire article at www.mycentraljersey.com »

Cumberland County Rutgers Master Gardener for 2015 Announced

Rutgers Master Gardeners of Cumberland County have honored Sam Pace of Millville with the Rutgers Master Gardener of the Year Award for 2015 in Cumberland County. Pace will be recognized for the outstanding work he has done in Cumberland County on Oct. 3 at the Master Gardeners’ Conference in New Brunswick… In 1985, Pace attended the Rutgers Greenhouse Growing Conference. This led to his building a small greenhouse on his property where he grew a variety of bedding plants, hanging baskets and flower bags. Today, he is in the process of completing another greenhouse. Due to an accident that has left him handicapped, Sam now specializes in container gardening and table gardening, the two types of plantings which make gardening for the handicapped accessible and rewarding… Pace graduated in the 2014 Rutgers Master Gardeners Program. He has been an instructor in the Therapeutic Horticulture Program at the Veteran’s Home in Vineland and the Master Gardeners’ native plant and vegetable propagation program.

Read the entire article at www.nj.com »