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UD Cooperative Extension offers a plethora of lawn and garden resources, programs, events and more! Learn how to design and build a garden anywhere, grow plants successfully and reap the many benefits of gardening at home.

 

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Gardener Helpline

 

Master Gardeners are able to provide information and help on a wide variety of gardening topics including: lawns, vegetable gardens, perennial gardens, shrubs and insects. The helpline is a free and valuable gardening resource available to Delaware residents year round.

New Castle County

(302) 831-8862

Kent County

(302) 730-4000

Sussex County

(302) 831-3389

 

Resources by topic

Select a topic below to view additional information and available resources!

Lawns

The benefits of a healthy, attractive lawn are many and diverse. Lawns prevent erosion, provide cooling, reduce dust and mud, remove pollutants from the environment, reduce glare, absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Lawns provide a safe, comfortable space for many athletic and social activities. Areas of lawn, whether large or small, help to humanize the urban environment. Lawns provide the carpet upon which other plants are located and act as a unifying feature in the landscape.

While lawn may be an important part of your landscape, consider reducing your lawn area to reduce fuel consumption and emissions and improve the permeability of your property. If your lawn is small enough, you may be able to use a reel mower and eliminate the need for fuel altogether. What can the land be other than lawn? Planted landscape beds will look great but are expensive to install. Depending on the size of your lawn, consider allowing some lawn to become a managed meadow and allow the rest to grow into the forest.

Related Fact Sheets


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  • BUYING AND INSTALLING CERTIFIED SOD

    Like a house built on sand, your beautiful sod can be destroyed in hours by improper care at the outset. Its roots have been severed in the harvesting process and this makes it totally dependent on your tender, loving care for at least the first three weeks of its new life.

  • CHOOSING LAWN AND LANDSCAPE CARE COMPANIES

    Many homeowners no longer perform the work themselves when it comes to applying fertilizer and pesticides to their lawns and landscape beds. Lawn and/or landscape companies willing to supply that service are numerous. 

  • CLEMATIS VARIETIES PRUNING GUIDE

    Early Flowering: Blooms early in spring from last season’s buds (old wood). Only prune after flowering and remove dying vines. Mid-Season Flowering: Blooms in late spring and early summer before growth begins. Flowers from the side shoot off the previous year’s growth. Pruning must be done in early spring before new growth is visible.

  • COMBATING SOIL COMPACTION

    Soil texture refers to the size of soil particles, with clayey soils having the smallest particles, sandy the largest, and silty, medium. Loamy soils posses a relatively even concentration of the three particle sizes.

  • DEALING WITH DROUGHT IN THE LANDSCAPE

    It is less expensive economically and environmentally to maintain landscape plants during a drought with minimal watering than to allow landscape plants to die and lose the benefits they provide. 

  • DELAWARE GARDENER’S GUIDE TO LAWN AND LANDSCAPE FERTILIZERS

     Fertilizers contain one or more essential plant nutrients and can be applied to landscapes to improve plant growth and quality or to correct a nutrient deficiency. There are many fertilizers available to consumers at local lawn and garden centers. 

  • DELAWARE GARDENER’S GUIDE TO SOIL PH

    Soil pH is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. On the pH scale a value of 7 is neutral, pH values less than 7 are acidic, and pH values greater than 7 are alkaline. Homeowners and gardeners are interested in soil pH because soil pH directly affects the growth and quality of many landscape plants.

  • DELAWARE GARDENING: CHALLENGE TO NEWCOMERS

    Gardening in Delaware can be challenging. While the state of Delaware is small, it is comprised of two different growing environments—the piedmont and coastal plane. The piedmont covers about 5% of the land area of Delaware and exists on only the northern most corner of the state.

  • DELAWARE LIVABLE LAWNS

    The goal of the Delaware Livable Lawns initiative is simple - reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff from lawns. Did you know that the EPA considers stormwater runoff from yards, streets, parking lots and other areas to be one of the most significant sources of contamination in our country’s waters?

  • DESIGNING A SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE TO SERVE YOUR NEEDS

    Many traditional home landscapes feature vast areas of under-utilized space, such as large turf grass lawns. Sustainable sites feature spaces for human enjoyment, considering opportunities to design outdoor rooms that suit specific needs as well as promote the health of the environment.

  • DISEASES OF TURFGRASS: IDENTIFICATION AND MANAGEMENT

    Turfgrass diseases are diagnosed by identifying symptoms and signs of infection. Symptoms are the response of the plant that results from an infection by a plant disease causing organism or stress. 

  • DOLLAR SPOT OF TURFGRASS

    Dollar spot is an economically important disease of both cool-season and warm-season turfgrass. Due to the persistent nature of this disease, more money is spent on managing dollar spot than any other turfgrass diseases. Dollar spot reduces the aesthetic and playing quality of turfgrass.

     

  • FERTILIZER BASICS

    Proper fertilization will enhance plant growth without polluting the environment. However, misuse of fertilizer can harm the environment and injure landscape plants by causing fertilizer burn to leaves and/or roots.

  • GREEN ROOFS

    A green roof is a specially-engineered rooftop that supports plant life. Green roofs have been utilized in Europe for 30 years and are quickly gaining popularity in the United States.

  • GROUNDCOVER ALTERNATIVES TO TURF GRASS

    Plants that spread over time to cover the ground are referred to as groundcovers. Usually this term denotes low-growing plants, but groundcovers can also refer to taller, spreading shrubs or trees that grow together to create a dense cover of vegetation.

  • HOW DOES YOUR LAWN AND LANDSCAPE CARE IMPACT WATER QUALITY

    All living plants return some of this water back into the atmosphere through transpiration. Some groundwater also returns to the surface by flowing down grade to fill a pond, supply a stream or just bubble as a spring. Certain soils allow groundwater to infiltrate deeper into the soil and fill aquifers and deep wells. 

  • LAWN MANAGEMENT FOR WATER CONSERVATION

    When designing a landscape, consider alternatives to turf. Use attractive, low-maintenance ground covers, tree and shrub plantings and water-permeable paving. A major benefit of turf is that it will take traffic. Take advantage of that and install turf where it will be used as a play area.

  • LIVABLE LAWNS - MANAGING A HEALTHY LAWN

    The benefits of a healthy, attractive lawn are many and diverse. Lawns prevent erosion, provide cooling, re­duce dust and mud, remove pollut­ants from the environment, absorb CO2 and produce 02 Lawns provide a safe, comfortable surface for many athletic and social activities. Ar­eas of lawn, whether large or small, help bring green to the urban envi­ronment.

  • LIVABLE PLANTS FOR THE HOME LANDSCAPE

    This brochure provides plant suggestions that can help gardeners create diverse landscape plantings with native and non-invasive exotic plants. 

  • LIVEABLE ECOSYTEMS: A MODEL FOR SUBURBIA

    What is a suburban livable ecosystem? It’s a landscape that takes advantage of natural processes while providing tangible benefits to its owner. 

  • NATIVE PLANTS FOR DELAWARE LANDSCAPES

    Native plants are indigenous to a particular region and provide an essential foundation to support wildlife habitats for native insects and birds. Well-adapted to the local habitat, native plants grow using less water and fewer pesticide applications growing with minimum maintenance. 

  • PLANTS FOR A LIVABLE DELAWARE

    This series of brochures were developed to educate Delawareans about the problem of invasive plants in the landscape.  

  • PREVENTING EROSION

    A crucial role of sustainable sites is to reduce erosion, the physical wear of soil and surface rocks by water and wind. Eroded soil, called sediment, is the number one pollutant of our waterways.

  • PRUNING EVERGREENS

    Pruning is an important maintenance practice. Although necessary, pruning can be kept to a minimum by the wise use and proper placement of plant materials in the landscape. Evergreen plants can be divided into two broad categories: (1) Narrowleaf (needled) evergreens such as pines, junipers, yews, and (2) Broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons, hollies, boxwood.

  • PRUNING WOODY PLANTS

    Good pruning is necessary to preserve the general attractiveness of your landscape and to keep your ornamental plants healthy. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning, landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their safety and aesthetics.

  • RECYCLING LEAVES

    What organic material is full of nutrients, essential for the natural processes of soil rejuvenation, and arrives absolutely free of cost to millions of homeowners every autumn? You guessed it— the colorful liberated leaves of deciduous trees. Recycling leaves offers a great alternative to the environmental and economic expense of removing this resource from your property.

  • SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE MATERIALS AND PRACTICES

    A sustainable site incorporates renewable, local, and low-energy input landscape materials and avoids materials, products, and practices that are harmful to the environment.

  • TURFGRASS DISEASE: BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR DELAWARE

    In Delaware, turfgrass diseases are caused by pathogenic fungi and microbes that infect the leaves, stems, and roots of turf type grass plants. With infection, grasses may show symptoms such as leaf spots, mildew or mold, or patchy dead areas.

  • TURFGRASS MADNESS: REASONS TO REDUCE THE LAWN IN YOUR LANDSCAPE

    Frequent and often costly maintenance is needed to keep turf grass looking its best. During peak growing months, a single lawn may require mowing more than once a week. During periods of drought, irrigation may be required to keep a lawn from going dormant. Yearly fertilizer is usually recommended for encouraging lush growth.

  • TURFGRASS SELECTIONS FOR DELAWARE

    Turfgrasses are divided into two categories based on their climate adaptation.  Cool-season grasses grow best in the spring and fall, with optimum growth when the temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Warm-season grasses grow best in the summer, with optimum growth at 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • WEED CONTROL IN TURF

    Your lawn may grow more than the beautiful grass you intended.  It may also grow weeds, which prevent your lawn from looking its best. In addition to reducing the aesthetics of your lawn, weeds compete with the desired turfgrass for water, nutrients, and light.  If you don’t control weeds, your lawn will deteriorate over time.

  • YARD WASTE AND COMPOSTING

    Leave grass clippings on the lawn -If you mow frequently enough (one of the best ways to improve lawn health is to mow frequently), the clippings will just sift into the lawn. They also provide a great source of nitrogen as they decompose, reducing the fertilizer requirement for your lawn by one-third.

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Plant selection and design

In today’s rapidly urbanizing environment, we have a unique opportunity, if not a duty, to create livable landscapes that are attractive, easily managed, and provide a rich compliment of plants to support diverse ecosystems.  Many traditional home landscapes feature vast areas of under-utilized space.  Use these resources to help you select plants carefully, design and create a landscape that is personalized, functional, and sustainable, that works for both you and our environment.  

Plants for a Livable Delaware Series – This series of brochures were developed to educate Delawareans about the problem of invasive plants in the landscape.  Plants on the Delaware Invasive Species List that are still bought and sold in the nursery and landscape industry are highlighted in “Plants for a Livable Delaware” and at least 10 alternative plants are suggested to replace the popular invasive plant found in many home landscapes.  Control recommendations for removing troublesome invasive plants are covered in “Controlling Backyard Invaders.”  In “Livable Plants for the Home Landscape,” plant combinations are suggested that fill specific landscape niches, such as forest edges, sunny slopes and small garden spaces.  Finally, “Livable Ecosystems: A Model for Suburbia” shows how to plant and manage rain gardens, meadows, forests and other landscape plantings that provide valuable ecosystem services.

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  • AMERICAN HOLLY, DELAWARE’S STATE TREE

    Shirley Duffy is a recent transplant to Delaware who is proud of her new state. And as an avid gardener, she knew just the way to show her state pride — by planting an American holly in her Newark yard.

  • CARING FOR POINSETTIAS

    Popular for red flower-like bracts, poinsettias are great additions to holiday decor!  There are new cultivars that are compact, or have unique colors such as pink, yellow and orange (Thanksgiving poinsettias?).

  • CHECKLIST FOR PLANT REMOVAL DECISIONS

    During construction or landscaping, you may need to make decisions about existing plants on your property—should they stay or should they go? Sustainable sites promote preservation of healthy, mature specimens that offer benefits such as erosion control and wildlife habitat and do not pose a threat to human safety or the natural environment.

  • CLEMATIS VARIETIES PRUNING GUIDE

    Early Flowering: Blooms early in spring from last season’s buds (old wood). Only prune after flowering and remove dying vines. Mid-Season Flowering: Blooms in late spring and early summer before growth begins. Flowers from the side shoot off the previous year’s growth. Pruning must be done in early spring before new growth is visible.

  • CONTROLLING BACKYARD INVADERS

    Invasive plants quickly overwhelm and displace existing native plants by reducing the availability of light, water, nutrients and space. They have few, if any, natural controls to keep them in check. Ecologists now rank invasion by exotic plants, animals, and pathogens second only to habitat loss as a major threat to local biodiversity.

  • DELAWARE CHRISTMAS TREES

    This season, many people are shopping for a perfect cut tree or live tree to decorate their homes. Our local Christmas tree growers face many challenges to growing a perfect tree, an expensive and time-consuming process. A Christmas tree takes 8 to 10 years to grow to a good size, and there are many hurdles along the way.

  • DELAWARE GARDENING: CHALLENGE TO NEWCOMERS

    Gardening in Delaware can be challenging. While the state of Delaware is small, it is comprised of two different growing environments—the piedmont and coastal plane. The piedmont covers about 5% of the land area of Delaware and exists on only the northern most corner of the state.

  • DESIGNING A SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE TO SERVE YOUR NEEDS

    Many traditional home landscapes feature vast areas of under-utilized space, such as large turf grass lawns. Sustainable sites feature spaces for human enjoyment, considering opportunities to design outdoor rooms that suit specific needs as well as promote the health of the environment.

  • GREEN ROOFS

    A green roof is a specially-engineered rooftop that supports plant life. Green roofs have been utilized in Europe for 30 years and are quickly gaining popularity in the United States.

  • GROUNDCOVER ALTERNATIVES TO TURF GRASS

    Plants that spread over time to cover the ground are referred to as groundcovers. Usually this term denotes low-growing plants, but groundcovers can also refer to taller, spreading shrubs or trees that grow together to create a dense cover of vegetation.

  • HUMAN BENEFITS OF GREEN SPACES

    Interaction with gardens and natural spaces offers a variety of mental, physical and social benefits for humans, ranging from stress reduction, quicker healing, and mitigation of Attention Deficit Disorder in children to decreasing crime and air pollution. 

  • LIVABLE PLANTS FOR THE HOME LANDSCAPE

    This brochure provides plant suggestions that can help gardeners create diverse landscape plantings with native and non-invasive exotic plants. 

  • LIVEABLE ECOSYTEMS: A MODEL FOR SUBURBIA

    What is a suburban livable ecosystem? It’s a landscape that takes advantage of natural processes while providing tangible benefits to its owner. 

  • MULBERRY WEED (FATOUA VILLOSA)

    Mulberry Weed or hairy crabweed (Fatoua villosa) (Thunberg) Nakai is an invasive exotic Asian species from the Mulberry family (Moraceae).  First reported in Louisiana in 1964 by J.W. 

  • NATIVE PLANTS FOR DELAWARE LANDSCAPES

    Native plants are indigenous to a particular region and provide an essential foundation to support wildlife habitats for native insects and birds. Well-adapted to the local habitat, native plants grow using less water and fewer pesticide applications growing with minimum maintenance. 

  • PLANT SELECTION FOR WATER CONSERVATION

    Plant selection is one of the most important factors in designing a successful drought-tolerant landscape. Along with concern about plant size, texture, color and so on, we must be concerned about how a plant will perform from an ecological and horticultural standpoint.

  • PLANTS FOR A LIVABLE DELAWARE

    This series of brochures were developed to educate Delawareans about the problem of invasive plants in the landscape.  

  • PRUNING WOODY PLANTS

    Good pruning is necessary to preserve the general attractiveness of your landscape and to keep your ornamental plants healthy. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning, landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their safety and aesthetics.

  • PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE

    PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE is an herbaceous perennial plant characterized by a four-sided stem and long terminal spikes, each of which are surrounded by dense clusters of pink to magenta flowers. Each flower has 5 to 7 narrow, wrinkled petals. 

  • Pollinators

    What Pollinators Do For Us

    • Pollinators are critical to our food production system

    • More than 100 U.S.-grown crops rely on pollinators

    • The Honey Bee is our primary pollinator

  • THE "NEW" COMPANION PLANTING: ADDING DIVERSITY TO THE GARDEN

    Do tomatoes love basil but hate brussels sprouts? Traditional companion planting, which involves planting different types of plants together or in close proximity, makes many such statements, often based on little more than folklore.

  • TREES FOR DELAWARE

    Trees are important to people. Research shows that access to nature plays a significant role in life satisfaction. The most preferred scenes are ones in which nature is dominant, where there is a smooth ground texture and where trees help define the depth of the scene.

  • VEGETABLE GARDENING BASICS

    Plan and put your garden on paper first and record any planting changes. If this is not the first time gardening in this spot, use last year’s garden plan as a guide to place this year’s crops.

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Pruning

There are many reasons for pruning.  Plants are pruned to maintain health and vigor, modify form and size, maintain an attractive plant and to modify flowering or fruiting.

Plant health is improved with the removal of diseased, injured, dying or dead wood.  Dead wood can harbor or provide an entry point for insects and diseases.  Dead or diseased limbs can generally be pruned at anytime.

Plants are most easily maintained in their natural form.    Taking a few moments to locate a tree or shrub in the “right place”  where it can grow and be left in it’s natural form only takes a little planning prior to planting.

There is not a single “best time of the year” to prune.  Timing is determined by the type of plant, plant species, reason’s for pruning and the effect desired.   In general, most trees can be pruned at anytime except when they are leafing out in the spring or when they are losing their leaves in the fall.

Related Fact Sheets


All Results

Clear All Filters

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  • BUYING AND INSTALLING CERTIFIED SOD

    Like a house built on sand, your beautiful sod can be destroyed in hours by improper care at the outset. Its roots have been severed in the harvesting process and this makes it totally dependent on your tender, loving care for at least the first three weeks of its new life.

  • CHOOSING LAWN AND LANDSCAPE CARE COMPANIES

    Many homeowners no longer perform the work themselves when it comes to applying fertilizer and pesticides to their lawns and landscape beds. Lawn and/or landscape companies willing to supply that service are numerous. 

  • CLEMATIS VARIETIES PRUNING GUIDE

    Early Flowering: Blooms early in spring from last season’s buds (old wood). Only prune after flowering and remove dying vines. Mid-Season Flowering: Blooms in late spring and early summer before growth begins. Flowers from the side shoot off the previous year’s growth. Pruning must be done in early spring before new growth is visible.

  • COMBATING SOIL COMPACTION

    Soil texture refers to the size of soil particles, with clayey soils having the smallest particles, sandy the largest, and silty, medium. Loamy soils posses a relatively even concentration of the three particle sizes.

  • DEALING WITH DROUGHT IN THE LANDSCAPE

    It is less expensive economically and environmentally to maintain landscape plants during a drought with minimal watering than to allow landscape plants to die and lose the benefits they provide. 

  • DELAWARE GARDENER’S GUIDE TO LAWN AND LANDSCAPE FERTILIZERS

     Fertilizers contain one or more essential plant nutrients and can be applied to landscapes to improve plant growth and quality or to correct a nutrient deficiency. There are many fertilizers available to consumers at local lawn and garden centers. 

  • DELAWARE GARDENER’S GUIDE TO SOIL PH

    Soil pH is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. On the pH scale a value of 7 is neutral, pH values less than 7 are acidic, and pH values greater than 7 are alkaline. Homeowners and gardeners are interested in soil pH because soil pH directly affects the growth and quality of many landscape plants.

  • DELAWARE GARDENING: CHALLENGE TO NEWCOMERS

    Gardening in Delaware can be challenging. While the state of Delaware is small, it is comprised of two different growing environments—the piedmont and coastal plane. The piedmont covers about 5% of the land area of Delaware and exists on only the northern most corner of the state.

  • DELAWARE LIVABLE LAWNS

    The goal of the Delaware Livable Lawns initiative is simple - reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff from lawns. Did you know that the EPA considers stormwater runoff from yards, streets, parking lots and other areas to be one of the most significant sources of contamination in our country’s waters?

  • DESIGNING A SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE TO SERVE YOUR NEEDS

    Many traditional home landscapes feature vast areas of under-utilized space, such as large turf grass lawns. Sustainable sites feature spaces for human enjoyment, considering opportunities to design outdoor rooms that suit specific needs as well as promote the health of the environment.

  • DOLLAR SPOT OF TURFGRASS

    Dollar spot is an economically important disease of both cool-season and warm-season turfgrass. Due to the persistent nature of this disease, more money is spent on managing dollar spot than any other turfgrass diseases. Dollar spot reduces the aesthetic and playing quality of turfgrass.

     

  • FERTILIZER BASICS

    Proper fertilization will enhance plant growth without polluting the environment. However, misuse of fertilizer can harm the environment and injure landscape plants by causing fertilizer burn to leaves and/or roots.

  • GREEN ROOFS

    A green roof is a specially-engineered rooftop that supports plant life. Green roofs have been utilized in Europe for 30 years and are quickly gaining popularity in the United States.

  • GROUNDCOVER ALTERNATIVES TO TURF GRASS

    Plants that spread over time to cover the ground are referred to as groundcovers. Usually this term denotes low-growing plants, but groundcovers can also refer to taller, spreading shrubs or trees that grow together to create a dense cover of vegetation.

  • HOW DOES YOUR LAWN AND LANDSCAPE CARE IMPACT WATER QUALITY

    All living plants return some of this water back into the atmosphere through transpiration. Some groundwater also returns to the surface by flowing down grade to fill a pond, supply a stream or just bubble as a spring. Certain soils allow groundwater to infiltrate deeper into the soil and fill aquifers and deep wells. 

  • LAWN MANAGEMENT FOR WATER CONSERVATION

    When designing a landscape, consider alternatives to turf. Use attractive, low-maintenance ground covers, tree and shrub plantings and water-permeable paving. A major benefit of turf is that it will take traffic. Take advantage of that and install turf where it will be used as a play area.

  • LIVABLE LAWNS - MANAGING A HEALTHY LAWN

    The benefits of a healthy, attractive lawn are many and diverse. Lawns prevent erosion, provide cooling, re­duce dust and mud, remove pollut­ants from the environment, absorb CO2 and produce 02 Lawns provide a safe, comfortable surface for many athletic and social activities. Ar­eas of lawn, whether large or small, help bring green to the urban envi­ronment.

  • LIVABLE PLANTS FOR THE HOME LANDSCAPE

    This brochure provides plant suggestions that can help gardeners create diverse landscape plantings with native and non-invasive exotic plants. 

  • LIVEABLE ECOSYTEMS: A MODEL FOR SUBURBIA

    What is a suburban livable ecosystem? It’s a landscape that takes advantage of natural processes while providing tangible benefits to its owner. 

  • NATIVE PLANTS FOR DELAWARE LANDSCAPES

    Native plants are indigenous to a particular region and provide an essential foundation to support wildlife habitats for native insects and birds. Well-adapted to the local habitat, native plants grow using less water and fewer pesticide applications growing with minimum maintenance. 

  • PLANTS FOR A LIVABLE DELAWARE

    This series of brochures were developed to educate Delawareans about the problem of invasive plants in the landscape.  

  • PREVENTING EROSION

    A crucial role of sustainable sites is to reduce erosion, the physical wear of soil and surface rocks by water and wind. Eroded soil, called sediment, is the number one pollutant of our waterways.

  • PRUNING EVERGREENS

    Pruning is an important maintenance practice. Although necessary, pruning can be kept to a minimum by the wise use and proper placement of plant materials in the landscape. Evergreen plants can be divided into two broad categories: (1) Narrowleaf (needled) evergreens such as pines, junipers, yews, and (2) Broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons, hollies, boxwood.

  • PRUNING WOODY PLANTS

    Good pruning is necessary to preserve the general attractiveness of your landscape and to keep your ornamental plants healthy. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning, landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their safety and aesthetics.

  • RECYCLING LEAVES

    What organic material is full of nutrients, essential for the natural processes of soil rejuvenation, and arrives absolutely free of cost to millions of homeowners every autumn? You guessed it— the colorful liberated leaves of deciduous trees. Recycling leaves offers a great alternative to the environmental and economic expense of removing this resource from your property.

  • SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE MATERIALS AND PRACTICES

    A sustainable site incorporates renewable, local, and low-energy input landscape materials and avoids materials, products, and practices that are harmful to the environment.

  • TURFGRASS MADNESS: REASONS TO REDUCE THE LAWN IN YOUR LANDSCAPE

    Frequent and often costly maintenance is needed to keep turf grass looking its best. During peak growing months, a single lawn may require mowing more than once a week. During periods of drought, irrigation may be required to keep a lawn from going dormant. Yearly fertilizer is usually recommended for encouraging lush growth.

  • TURFGRASS SELECTIONS FOR DELAWARE

    Turfgrasses are divided into two categories based on their climate adaptation.  Cool-season grasses grow best in the spring and fall, with optimum growth when the temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Warm-season grasses grow best in the summer, with optimum growth at 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • WEED CONTROL IN TURF

    Your lawn may grow more than the beautiful grass you intended.  It may also grow weeds, which prevent your lawn from looking its best. In addition to reducing the aesthetics of your lawn, weeds compete with the desired turfgrass for water, nutrients, and light.  If you don’t control weeds, your lawn will deteriorate over time.

  • YARD WASTE AND COMPOSTING

    Leave grass clippings on the lawn -If you mow frequently enough (one of the best ways to improve lawn health is to mow frequently), the clippings will just sift into the lawn. They also provide a great source of nitrogen as they decompose, reducing the fertilizer requirement for your lawn by one-third.

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Related Fact Sheets


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  • ADAPTING TO SEA LEVEL RISE: ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGIC ROLES FOR SEASHORE MALLOW

    Although seashore mallow has application in inland saline or non-saline situations these thoughts are particularly about problems driven by climate change and sea level rise and its impact on the coastal ecotone. 

  • AN OIL-SEED BIOFUEL MULTI-USE CROP GROWN WITH SALTWATER

    Grow a salt-tolerant, oil-seed, multi-use crop on saline land or dry land that can be irrigated with brackish water or seawater, thus freeing fresh water and high quality soil for food and feed and bringing poor land into production.

  • CHECKLIST FOR PLANT REMOVAL DECISIONS

    During construction or landscaping, you may need to make decisions about existing plants on your property—should they stay or should they go? Sustainable sites promote preservation of healthy, mature specimens that offer benefits such as erosion control and wildlife habitat and do not pose a threat to human safety or the natural environment.

  • COMBATING SOIL COMPACTION

    Soil texture refers to the size of soil particles, with clayey soils having the smallest particles, sandy the largest, and silty, medium. Loamy soils posses a relatively even concentration of the three particle sizes.

  • DESIGNING A SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE TO SERVE YOUR NEEDS

    Many traditional home landscapes feature vast areas of under-utilized space, such as large turf grass lawns. Sustainable sites feature spaces for human enjoyment, considering opportunities to design outdoor rooms that suit specific needs as well as promote the health of the environment.

  • GREEN ROOFS

    A green roof is a specially-engineered rooftop that supports plant life. Green roofs have been utilized in Europe for 30 years and are quickly gaining popularity in the United States.

  • GROUNDCOVER ALTERNATIVES TO TURF GRASS

    Plants that spread over time to cover the ground are referred to as groundcovers. Usually this term denotes low-growing plants, but groundcovers can also refer to taller, spreading shrubs or trees that grow together to create a dense cover of vegetation.

  • MULBERRY WEED (FATOUA VILLOSA)

    Mulberry Weed or hairy crabweed (Fatoua villosa) (Thunberg) Nakai is an invasive exotic Asian species from the Mulberry family (Moraceae).  First reported in Louisiana in 1964 by J.W. 

  • PLANTS FOR A LIVABLE DELAWARE

    This series of brochures were developed to educate Delawareans about the problem of invasive plants in the landscape.  

  • PREVENTING EROSION

    A crucial role of sustainable sites is to reduce erosion, the physical wear of soil and surface rocks by water and wind. Eroded soil, called sediment, is the number one pollutant of our waterways.

  • PROVISIONAL SEASHORE MALLOW PLANTING, GROWING, AND HARVESTING PROTOCOL

    Background - We’ve prepared the seed bed both by tilling and by no-till using herbicides (glyphosate and gramoxone) to kill the weeds. Where we have nonsaline soil, weeds are a problem since we do not have herbicide-ready seashore mallow. 

  • RECYCLING LEAVES

    What organic material is full of nutrients, essential for the natural processes of soil rejuvenation, and arrives absolutely free of cost to millions of homeowners every autumn? You guessed it— the colorful liberated leaves of deciduous trees. Recycling leaves offers a great alternative to the environmental and economic expense of removing this resource from your property.

  • SALT MEASUREMENTS AND SOIL CLASSIFICATIONS (SWI SERIES 2)

    Soils have a natural characteristic called the cation exchange capacity (CEC) that allows them to hold (and exchange) cations (e.g., Ca+2 or Na+). 

  • SOILS AND SALTS (SWI SERIES #1)

    Salts are natural components of soil, surface, and groundwater. They are ionic mineral compounds, which means they bonded by electrostatic attractions between cations (+ charge) and anions (- charge). Some salts, like table salt (NaCl), are highly soluble in water, while others, like the mineral CaCO3 (lime), are less soluble.

  • SUCCESSFULLY ESTABLISHING MEADOWS FROM SEED IN DELAWARE AND THE MID-ATLANTIC

    Identifying and understanding the dynamics of the meadow site is crucial for success. Sites should have at least 6 hours of sun each day. Meadows can be found in a variety of soil types and are often adapted to varying levels of soil moisture, but the plants found in these conditions will differ. Select native or adapted plant species that fit the sunlight and soil moisture conditions of the site. 

  • SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE MATERIALS AND PRACTICES

    A sustainable site incorporates renewable, local, and low-energy input landscape materials and avoids materials, products, and practices that are harmful to the environment.

  • YARD WASTE AND COMPOSTING

    Leave grass clippings on the lawn -If you mow frequently enough (one of the best ways to improve lawn health is to mow frequently), the clippings will just sift into the lawn. They also provide a great source of nitrogen as they decompose, reducing the fertilizer requirement for your lawn by one-third.

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Vegetable gardening can be a great way to stay active and eat healthy!

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  • ALFALFA WEEVIL CONTROL IN ALFALFA (Section 2)

    The alfalfa weevil (AW) overwinters in both the adult and egg stages. Although egg laying occurs in the fall and spring, larvae hatching from spring-laid eggs cause the most damage.

  • ASH RUST

    Ash rust, caused by the rust fungus Puccinia sparganioides, is a disease which infects white and green ash in Delaware. Black ash is also reported as a host where it occurs. Leaves, petioles and green twigs are infected. Ash rust, like many rust diseases, needs two different hosts to complete its complicated life cycle. The alternate host for ash rust is marsh and cord grass (Spartina spp.and Distichlis spicata) which is found in coastal areas.

  • Arugula

    • Eruca sativa, Arugula
    • Brassicaceae family (mustards)
    • Sunlight: full sun. Light shade may help slow bolting.
    • Soil conditions: rich, well-drained soil.
  • BASIL DOWNY MILDEW

    DOWNY MILDEW ON BASIL is caused by an Oomycete pathogen that only goes to basil, but can be devastating. Symptoms include leaf yellowing, followed by dark lesions, and leaves of this popular herb become unusable. Spores are produced on the undersides of leaves, but can be confused with other fungi, dust and potting material. 

  • BEANS

    BEANS: General information- Phaseolus vulgaris, Beans, Fabaceae family, full sun, well-drained, fertile soil.

  • BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES

    BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • BEETS

    BEETS: General information- Beta vulgaris, Amaranthaceae family, full sun, fertile, evenly moist soil, free of rocks. Beets need cool temperatures to germinate and grow.

  • BROCCOLI

    BROCCOLI: General information- Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Requires well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • BRUSSEL SPROUTS

    BRUSSEL SPROUTS: General information- Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera, Brassicaceae family, full sun, consistently moist, fertile soil. Can be harvested as stalks or as sprouts.

  • Basil

    BASIL: General information- Ocimum basilicum, Lamiaceae family, full sun, well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Annual

  • CABBAGE

    CABBAGE: General information- Brassica oleracea var. capitata, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Light shade can be beneficial in warm weather. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter.

  • CARROTS

    CARROTS: General information- Daucus carota var. sativus, Umbelliferae family, full sun. Will tolerate very light shade. Good quality roots require plentiful moisture, well-drained soil that is deep, loose, free of stones and high in organic matter.

  • CAULIFLOWER

    CAULIFLOWER: General information- Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, Cauliflower, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Light shade. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Requires well-drained soil. Prefers fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • CHERRY TOMATOES

    CHERRY TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, TomatoSolanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • CHIVES

    CHIVES: General information- Allium schoenoprasum, Amaryllidaeae family, sun and part shade, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Perennial.

  • CILANTRO

    CILANTRO: General information- Coriandrum sativum, Apiaceae family, full to part sun, loamy, well-drained soil. Cilantro (leaves) Coriander (seeds). Grows well in a container. Annual.

  • COLLARDS

    Collards: General information- Brassica oleracea var. acephala, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Prefers full sun in spring but can benefit from light shade during hot weather. Requires well-drained soil. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter.

  • CONSIDER A VEGETABLE GARDEN THIS YEAR

    How much time do you have to plant, weed and harvest in your garden? A small garden is best for beginners. Go bigger as your skills and time increase. Do you have a sunny spot? Most vegetables require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Vegetables prefer loose, well drained soil; rich in organic matter (compost).

  • CUCUMBER

    CUCUMBER: General information- Cucumis sativus, Cucurbitaceae family, full sun, well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter.. Vining and bush varieties. Bush varieties grow well in a container.

  • Canning Fruits

    Fruits, acidified tomatoes, pickled products, and fruit spreads may be processed safely in a boiling-water bath.

  • Canning Vegetables

    In the interest of food safety, vegetables must be processed in a pressure canner. Pressure for processing ranges between 5 pounds pressure to 15 pounds pressure, depending on the type of canner and food being processed. Processing time varies according to specific vegetable and size container.

  • DILL

    DILL: General information- Anethum graveolens, Dill, Apiaceae family, full sun. Grows best in loamy, well drained soil but can grow in poor soil. Grows well in a container. Annual

  • DOWNY MILDEW ON LIMA BEAN

    Downy mildew of lima bean, caused by the oomycete, Phytophthora phaseoli, is a common disease in Delaware production areas. Proper identification and management of the disease is critical for protecting lima bean yields. This publication will review how to correctly identify the disease, describe its lifecycle, and outline management options for growers.

  • EGGPLANT

    • Scientific Name: Solanum melongena
      • Family: Solanaceae
    • Warm season
    • Planting Window: 
      • Start seeds under lights indoors in mid-March for transplanting
  • Fall Cover Crops

    During spring and throughout the summer, gardeners are busy harvesting from crops that were planted in their gardens. Our garden soils provide an abundance of harvested peas, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, yellow squash, zucchini, basil, zinnias and many other vegetables and flowers. 

  • HEIRLOOM TOMATOES

    HEIRLOOM TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • HOME ORCHARD PRODUCTION – APPLE, PEAR, AND STONE FRUIT DISEASE MANAGEMENT

    While it is tempting to plant fruit trees and not apply chemical control measures, it is often impractical, and the resulting fruit crop may be disappointing or not result in any harvestable fruit.

  • HUMAN BENEFITS OF GREEN SPACES

    Interaction with gardens and natural spaces offers a variety of mental, physical and social benefits for humans, ranging from stress reduction, quicker healing, and mitigation of Attention Deficit Disorder in children to decreasing crime and air pollution. 

  • INSECTICIDES FOR APHID CONTROL ON VEGETABLES

    Insecticide efficacy rankings based on consensus of Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern entomologists.

  • KALE

    KALE: General information- Brassica oleracea var. acephala, Brassicaceae family, full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun in spring and fall, but can benefit from light shade during hot weather. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • KOHLRABI

    KOHLRABI: General information- Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes(Kohlrabi) Brassicaceae Family, full sun. Tolerates light shade. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter.

  • LAVENDER

    LAVENDER: General information- Lavandula angustifolia, Lamiaceae family, full sun, low fertility, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • LEAF LETTUCE

    • Scientific Name: Lactuca sativa
    • Family: Asteraceae
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window:
      • Spring: mid-March to late April
  • LEAF SPOT DISEASES IN GARDEN TOMATOES

    Foliar leaf spot diseases and blights of tomato plants are common problems for tomato growers in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic States. Pathogens survive in plant debris or weed hosts, and are favored by humid weather and moderate temperatures.

  • LEEKS

    LEEKS: General information- Allium ampeloprasum, Allium family, full sun, well drained soil, high in organic matter. Best grown as a transplant. Blanch with soil to increase white shanks.

  • LETTUCE

    LETTUCE: General information- Lactuca saliva, Asteraceae family, full sun but can tolerate some shade, especially in the summer, moist, well-drained soil. Butterhead, Crisphead, Romaine, Looseleaf varieties.

  • LIMA BEANS

    LIMA BEANS: General information- Phaseolus lunatus, Lima Bean, Fabaceae family, full sun. Soil conditions: loose, evenly moist, well drained soil. Bush and pole varieties.

  • MELON

    MELON: General information- Cucumis melo, Melon, Cucurbitaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: fertile, well-drained soil.Can be grown on a trellis.

  • MINT

    MINT: General information- Mentha sp., Mint, Lamiaceae family, Sunlight: full sun to part shade. Soil conditions: rich, moist, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial, wide spreading, can become invasive.

  • MULBERRY WEED (FATOUA VILLOSA)

    Mulberry Weed or hairy crabweed (Fatoua villosa) (Thunberg) Nakai is an invasive exotic Asian species from the Mulberry family (Moraceae).  First reported in Louisiana in 1964 by J.W. 

  • NON-CHEMICAL PEST CONTROL OPTIONS FOR MANAGING INSECT PESTS ON BRASSICAS

    July and August in the vegetable garden typically bring bountiful harvests of colorful vegetables. These are also the months when insect pests can really make their presence known, with plant and fruit damage becoming increasingly noticeable. 

  • NON-CHEMICAL PEST CONTROL OPTIONS FOR MANAGING INSECT PESTS ON CUCURBITS

    July and August in the vegetable garden typically bring bountiful harvests of colorful vegetables. These are also the months when insect pests can really make their presence known, with plant and fruit damage becoming increasingly noticeable. 

  • NON-CHEMICAL PEST CONTROL OPTIONS FOR MANAGING INSECT PESTS ON SOLANACEOUS PLANTS

    July and August in the vegetable garden typically bring bountiful harvests of colorful vegetables. These are also the months when insect pests can really make their presence known, with plant and fruit damage becoming increasingly noticeable. 

  • ONION

    Onion: 

    • Scientific Name: Allium cepa
      • Family: Alliaceae, Amaryllidaceae
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window: mid-March to mid-April
    • pH = 5.5-7.0
  • ONIONS

    ONIONS: General information- Allium cepa, Onion, Amaryllidaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: Well-drained, fertile soil. Can be planted from seeds, sets, and transplants. Onion bulbing is triggered by day length. Short Day varieties form bulbs when day length reaches 10 hours.

  • OREGANO

    OREGANO: General information- Origanum vulgare, Oregano, Lamiaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: light, moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Can thrive in areas with tough growing conditions. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • PARSLEY

    PARSLEY: General information- Petroselinum crispum, Parsley, Apiaceae family, Sunlight: Full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Biennial

  • PASTE TOMATOES

    PASTE TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato, Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • PEAS

    PEAS: General information- Pisum sativum (Peas) Fabaceae Family (Legume) Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: fertile, well drained soil. Can tolerate light frost. Bush and vining varieties.

  • PEPPERS

    PEPPERS: General information- Capsicum annuum, Pepper, Solanaceae family, Sunlight: Full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained fertile soil. Bell (pictured here), sweet, and hot varieties.

  • PERMEABLE VS. IMPERMEABLE SURFACES

    Permeable surfaces (also known as porous or pervious surfaces) allow water to percolate into the soil to filter out pollutants and recharge the water table. Impermeable/impervious surfaces are solid surfaces that don’t allow water to penetrate, forcing it to run off.

  • POTATOES

    POTATOES: General information- Solanum tuberosum, Potato, Solanaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: prefers well-drained, light, deep, loose soil, high in organic matter.

  • Plant a Row for the Hungry

    Plant-A-Row for the Hungry (PAR) is a people-helping-people program.

  • RADISH

    RADISH: General information- Raphanus sativus (Radish) Brassicaceae family, Sunlight: full sun to part shade. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil. Needs consistent moisture. Grows well in container.

  • RADISHES

    Radishes: 

    • cientific Name: Raphanus sativus
      • Family: Brassica
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window:
      • Spring: mid-March to mid-April
      • Fall: mid-August to mid-September
  • ROSEMARY

    ROSEMARY: General information- Salvia rosmarinus, Rosemary, Lamiaceae family. Sunlight: full sun.Soil conditions: loose, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • SAGE

    SAGE: General information- Salvia offiinalis, Sage, Lamiaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: sandy, loamy, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • SLICER TOMATOES

    SLICER TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • SUMMER SQUASH

    Summer Squash: General information- Cucurbita pepo, Summer Squash, Cucurbitaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil, high fertility. Grows well in container.

  • SWEET POTATOES

    SWEET POTATOES: General information- pomoea batatas, Sweet Potato, Convolvulaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, loose soil. Grown from slips.

  • SWISS CHARD

    SWISS CHARD: General Information- Swiss Chard: Beta vulgaris var. cicla (Chenopodiaceae) Sunlight: full Sun to part shade. Soil conditions: requires well-drained soil. Prefers deep, loose, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Harvest outer leaves, avoiding center crown, for continued production.

  • THE "NEW" COMPANION PLANTING: ADDING DIVERSITY TO THE GARDEN

    Do tomatoes love basil but hate brussels sprouts? Traditional companion planting, which involves planting different types of plants together or in close proximity, makes many such statements, often based on little more than folklore.

  • THYME

    THYME: General information- Thymus vulgaris, Thyme, Lamiaceae family Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: light, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • TOMATO FACTS AND RECIPES

    Skin should appear deep, bright red (except heirloom tomatoes have different colors), without blemishes or bruises or discoloration. Feel: dense, firm, but not too hard; and without any soft spots. Smell: should have a strong, sweet, earthy odor by the stem.

  • TOMATOES

    Tomatoes: 

    • Scientific Name: Lycopersicon lycopersicum
      • Family: Solanaceae
    • Warm season
    • Planting Window:
      • Start seeds indoors, under lights in mid-March 8 weeks prior to transplanting around mid-May
  • TURNIPS

    TURNIPS: General information- Brassica rapa, Turnip, Brasssicaceae family (Mustards) Sunlight: full sun. Can tolerate some shade. Soil Conditions: loose, fertile soil with good drainage. Roots and leaves can be eaten.

  • TWO SPOTTED SPIDER MITE

    The twospotted spider mite (TSSM) is a plant-feeding mite that is an extremely widespread pest affecting nearly all crop plants (over 1000 plant species). TSSM is very small in size and requires magnification to see clearly. 

  • VEGETABLE GARDENING BASICS

    Plan and put your garden on paper first and record any planting changes. If this is not the first time gardening in this spot, use last year’s garden plan as a guide to place this year’s crops.

  • WATERMELON

    WATERMELON: General information- Citrullus lanatus, Watermelon, Cucurbitaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well drained, fertile soil. Heat loving, vining plant.

  • WINTER SQUASH

    WINTER SQUASH: General information - Cucurbita maxima, Winter Squash, Cucurbitaceae Family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil, high fertility.

  • YARD WASTE AND COMPOSTING

    Leave grass clippings on the lawn -If you mow frequently enough (one of the best ways to improve lawn health is to mow frequently), the clippings will just sift into the lawn. They also provide a great source of nitrogen as they decompose, reducing the fertilizer requirement for your lawn by one-third.

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Get creative with what you grow and eat!

  • Interplant traditional vegetable plants in your garden with a variety of drought-tolerant, aromatic, and useful herbs. 
  • Plant vegetables and fruit to add color and liveliness to your garden; consider brightly colored Swiss chard or dark colored beet greens. 
  • Add richness and diversity with non-traditional edible plant parts such as nasturtium and pansy flowers.
  • Select ornamental plants for your garden that are attractive, low-maintenance, and well-suited to Delaware, but also have the added benefit of producing food like the edible fruit of paw-paw, blueberry, or serviceberry.

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  • Arugula

    • Eruca sativa, Arugula
    • Brassicaceae family (mustards)
    • Sunlight: full sun. Light shade may help slow bolting.
    • Soil conditions: rich, well-drained soil.
  • BEANS

    BEANS: General information- Phaseolus vulgaris, Beans, Fabaceae family, full sun, well-drained, fertile soil.

  • BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES

    BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • BEETS

    BEETS: General information- Beta vulgaris, Amaranthaceae family, full sun, fertile, evenly moist soil, free of rocks. Beets need cool temperatures to germinate and grow.

  • BROCCOLI

    BROCCOLI: General information- Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Requires well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • BRUSSEL SPROUTS

    BRUSSEL SPROUTS: General information- Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera, Brassicaceae family, full sun, consistently moist, fertile soil. Can be harvested as stalks or as sprouts.

  • Basil

    BASIL: General information- Ocimum basilicum, Lamiaceae family, full sun, well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Annual

  • CABBAGE

    CABBAGE: General information- Brassica oleracea var. capitata, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Light shade can be beneficial in warm weather. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter.

  • CARROTS

    CARROTS: General information- Daucus carota var. sativus, Umbelliferae family, full sun. Will tolerate very light shade. Good quality roots require plentiful moisture, well-drained soil that is deep, loose, free of stones and high in organic matter.

  • CAULIFLOWER

    CAULIFLOWER: General information- Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, Cauliflower, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Light shade. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Requires well-drained soil. Prefers fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • CHERRY TOMATOES

    CHERRY TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, TomatoSolanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • CHIVES

    CHIVES: General information- Allium schoenoprasum, Amaryllidaeae family, sun and part shade, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Perennial.

  • CILANTRO

    CILANTRO: General information- Coriandrum sativum, Apiaceae family, full to part sun, loamy, well-drained soil. Cilantro (leaves) Coriander (seeds). Grows well in a container. Annual.

  • COLLARDS

    Collards: General information- Brassica oleracea var. acephala, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Prefers full sun in spring but can benefit from light shade during hot weather. Requires well-drained soil. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter.

  • CONSIDER A VEGETABLE GARDEN THIS YEAR

    How much time do you have to plant, weed and harvest in your garden? A small garden is best for beginners. Go bigger as your skills and time increase. Do you have a sunny spot? Most vegetables require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Vegetables prefer loose, well drained soil; rich in organic matter (compost).

  • CUCUMBER

    CUCUMBER: General information- Cucumis sativus, Cucurbitaceae family, full sun, well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter.. Vining and bush varieties. Bush varieties grow well in a container.

  • DILL

    DILL: General information- Anethum graveolens, Dill, Apiaceae family, full sun. Grows best in loamy, well drained soil but can grow in poor soil. Grows well in a container. Annual

  • EGGPLANT

    • Scientific Name: Solanum melongena
      • Family: Solanaceae
    • Warm season
    • Planting Window: 
      • Start seeds under lights indoors in mid-March for transplanting
  • Fall Cover Crops

    During spring and throughout the summer, gardeners are busy harvesting from crops that were planted in their gardens. Our garden soils provide an abundance of harvested peas, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, yellow squash, zucchini, basil, zinnias and many other vegetables and flowers. 

  • HEIRLOOM TOMATOES

    HEIRLOOM TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • KALE

    KALE: General information- Brassica oleracea var. acephala, Brassicaceae family, full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun in spring and fall, but can benefit from light shade during hot weather. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • KOHLRABI

    KOHLRABI: General information- Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes(Kohlrabi) Brassicaceae Family, full sun. Tolerates light shade. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter.

  • LAVENDER

    LAVENDER: General information- Lavandula angustifolia, Lamiaceae family, full sun, low fertility, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • LEAF LETTUCE

    • Scientific Name: Lactuca sativa
    • Family: Asteraceae
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window:
      • Spring: mid-March to late April
  • LEEKS

    LEEKS: General information- Allium ampeloprasum, Allium family, full sun, well drained soil, high in organic matter. Best grown as a transplant. Blanch with soil to increase white shanks.

  • LETTUCE

    LETTUCE: General information- Lactuca saliva, Asteraceae family, full sun but can tolerate some shade, especially in the summer, moist, well-drained soil. Butterhead, Crisphead, Romaine, Looseleaf varieties.

  • LIMA BEANS

    LIMA BEANS: General information- Phaseolus lunatus, Lima Bean, Fabaceae family, full sun. Soil conditions: loose, evenly moist, well drained soil. Bush and pole varieties.

  • MELON

    MELON: General information- Cucumis melo, Melon, Cucurbitaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: fertile, well-drained soil.Can be grown on a trellis.

  • MINT

    MINT: General information- Mentha sp., Mint, Lamiaceae family, Sunlight: full sun to part shade. Soil conditions: rich, moist, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial, wide spreading, can become invasive.

  • ONION

    Onion: 

    • Scientific Name: Allium cepa
      • Family: Alliaceae, Amaryllidaceae
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window: mid-March to mid-April
    • pH = 5.5-7.0
  • ONIONS

    ONIONS: General information- Allium cepa, Onion, Amaryllidaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: Well-drained, fertile soil. Can be planted from seeds, sets, and transplants. Onion bulbing is triggered by day length. Short Day varieties form bulbs when day length reaches 10 hours.

  • OREGANO

    OREGANO: General information- Origanum vulgare, Oregano, Lamiaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: light, moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Can thrive in areas with tough growing conditions. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • PARSLEY

    PARSLEY: General information- Petroselinum crispum, Parsley, Apiaceae family, Sunlight: Full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Biennial

  • PASTE TOMATOES

    PASTE TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato, Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • PEAS

    PEAS: General information- Pisum sativum (Peas) Fabaceae Family (Legume) Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: fertile, well drained soil. Can tolerate light frost. Bush and vining varieties.

  • PEPPERS

    PEPPERS: General information- Capsicum annuum, Pepper, Solanaceae family, Sunlight: Full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained fertile soil. Bell (pictured here), sweet, and hot varieties.

  • POTATOES

    POTATOES: General information- Solanum tuberosum, Potato, Solanaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: prefers well-drained, light, deep, loose soil, high in organic matter.

  • RADISH

    RADISH: General information- Raphanus sativus (Radish) Brassicaceae family, Sunlight: full sun to part shade. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil. Needs consistent moisture. Grows well in container.

  • RADISHES

    Radishes: 

    • cientific Name: Raphanus sativus
      • Family: Brassica
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window:
      • Spring: mid-March to mid-April
      • Fall: mid-August to mid-September
  • ROSEMARY

    ROSEMARY: General information- Salvia rosmarinus, Rosemary, Lamiaceae family. Sunlight: full sun.Soil conditions: loose, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • SAGE

    SAGE: General information- Salvia offiinalis, Sage, Lamiaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: sandy, loamy, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • SLICER TOMATOES

    SLICER TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • SUMMER SQUASH

    Summer Squash: General information- Cucurbita pepo, Summer Squash, Cucurbitaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil, high fertility. Grows well in container.

  • SWEET POTATOES

    SWEET POTATOES: General information- pomoea batatas, Sweet Potato, Convolvulaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, loose soil. Grown from slips.

  • SWISS CHARD

    SWISS CHARD: General Information- Swiss Chard: Beta vulgaris var. cicla (Chenopodiaceae) Sunlight: full Sun to part shade. Soil conditions: requires well-drained soil. Prefers deep, loose, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Harvest outer leaves, avoiding center crown, for continued production.

  • THYME

    THYME: General information- Thymus vulgaris, Thyme, Lamiaceae family Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: light, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • TOMATO FACTS AND RECIPES

    Skin should appear deep, bright red (except heirloom tomatoes have different colors), without blemishes or bruises or discoloration. Feel: dense, firm, but not too hard; and without any soft spots. Smell: should have a strong, sweet, earthy odor by the stem.

  • TOMATOES

    Tomatoes: 

    • Scientific Name: Lycopersicon lycopersicum
      • Family: Solanaceae
    • Warm season
    • Planting Window:
      • Start seeds indoors, under lights in mid-March 8 weeks prior to transplanting around mid-May
  • TURNIPS

    TURNIPS: General information- Brassica rapa, Turnip, Brasssicaceae family (Mustards) Sunlight: full sun. Can tolerate some shade. Soil Conditions: loose, fertile soil with good drainage. Roots and leaves can be eaten.

  • VEGETABLE GARDENING BASICS

    Plan and put your garden on paper first and record any planting changes. If this is not the first time gardening in this spot, use last year’s garden plan as a guide to place this year’s crops.

  • WATERMELON

    WATERMELON: General information- Citrullus lanatus, Watermelon, Cucurbitaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well drained, fertile soil. Heat loving, vining plant.

  • WINTER SQUASH

    WINTER SQUASH: General information - Cucurbita maxima, Winter Squash, Cucurbitaceae Family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil, high fertility.

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  • ALFALFA WEEVIL CONTROL IN ALFALFA (Section 2)

    The alfalfa weevil (AW) overwinters in both the adult and egg stages. Although egg laying occurs in the fall and spring, larvae hatching from spring-laid eggs cause the most damage.

  • AMERICAN HOLLY, DELAWARE’S STATE TREE

    Shirley Duffy is a recent transplant to Delaware who is proud of her new state. And as an avid gardener, she knew just the way to show her state pride — by planting an American holly in her Newark yard.

  • APPLIED RESEARCH RESULTS ON FIELD CROP AND VEGETABLE DISEASE CONTROL

    The primary purpose of this book is to provide cooperators and contributors a summary of the results of field research. Many data summaries and conclusions in chapters from this book have been submitted to the American Phytopathological Society for publication in Plant Disease Management Reports in 2015.

  • ARTILLERY FUNGUS AND OTHER THINGS THAT GROW IN MULCH

    Landscape mulch usually consists of hardwood shreds or bark chips, providing cover to hold moisture and add a finished look. Wood in mulch also provides a food source for fungi that are natural decomposers, breaking down plant material and utilizing organic matter. Without fungi, dead leaves, twigs and branches would clutter forests and landscapes. 

  • ASH RUST

    Ash rust, caused by the rust fungus Puccinia sparganioides, is a disease which infects white and green ash in Delaware. Black ash is also reported as a host where it occurs. Leaves, petioles and green twigs are infected. Ash rust, like many rust diseases, needs two different hosts to complete its complicated life cycle. The alternate host for ash rust is marsh and cord grass (Spartina spp.and Distichlis spicata) which is found in coastal areas.

  • Arugula

    • Eruca sativa, Arugula
    • Brassicaceae family (mustards)
    • Sunlight: full sun. Light shade may help slow bolting.
    • Soil conditions: rich, well-drained soil.
  • BACTERIAL LEAF SCORCH

    Bacterial leaf scorch (BLS) of hardwood trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants, is caused by the bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa. The small, xylem limited bacterium is carried from plant to plant by small insects such as leaf hoppers, sharpshooters, and spittlebugs. 

  • BAGWORMS (LEPIDOPTERA: PSYCHIDAE)

    Bagworms feed on a variety of deciduous and evergreen plants including arborvitae, juniper, spruce, pine, maples, sycamores and numerous others. Evergreen trees and shrubs cannot recover from complete defoliation; whereas deciduous trees usually develop new leaves following defoliation.

  • BASIL DOWNY MILDEW

    DOWNY MILDEW ON BASIL is caused by an Oomycete pathogen that only goes to basil, but can be devastating. Symptoms include leaf yellowing, followed by dark lesions, and leaves of this popular herb become unusable. Spores are produced on the undersides of leaves, but can be confused with other fungi, dust and potting material. 

  • BEANS

    BEANS: General information- Phaseolus vulgaris, Beans, Fabaceae family, full sun, well-drained, fertile soil.

  • BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES

    BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • BEETS

    BEETS: General information- Beta vulgaris, Amaranthaceae family, full sun, fertile, evenly moist soil, free of rocks. Beets need cool temperatures to germinate and grow.

  • BOXWOOD BLIGHT

    The fungus Calonectria pseudonaviculata (Cylindrocladium pseudonaviculatum) causes severe defoliation and death of container grown boxwoods, and dieback in in-ground plantings. Most boxwood species are susceptible, including American and English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), little leaf boxwood (B. microphylla) and hybrids such as B. sinica.

  • BROCCOLI

    BROCCOLI: General information- Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Requires well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • BRUSSEL SPROUTS

    BRUSSEL SPROUTS: General information- Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera, Brassicaceae family, full sun, consistently moist, fertile soil. Can be harvested as stalks or as sprouts.

  • BUYING AND INSTALLING CERTIFIED SOD

    Like a house built on sand, your beautiful sod can be destroyed in hours by improper care at the outset. Its roots have been severed in the harvesting process and this makes it totally dependent on your tender, loving care for at least the first three weeks of its new life.

  • Basil

    BASIL: General information- Ocimum basilicum, Lamiaceae family, full sun, well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Annual

  • CABBAGE

    CABBAGE: General information- Brassica oleracea var. capitata, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Light shade can be beneficial in warm weather. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter.

  • CARING FOR POINSETTIAS

    Popular for red flower-like bracts, poinsettias are great additions to holiday decor!  There are new cultivars that are compact, or have unique colors such as pink, yellow and orange (Thanksgiving poinsettias?).

  • CARROTS

    CARROTS: General information- Daucus carota var. sativus, Umbelliferae family, full sun. Will tolerate very light shade. Good quality roots require plentiful moisture, well-drained soil that is deep, loose, free of stones and high in organic matter.

  • CAULIFLOWER

    CAULIFLOWER: General information- Brassica oleracea var. botrytis, Cauliflower, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Light shade. Can tolerate light shade but will slow maturity. Requires well-drained soil. Prefers fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • CHECKLIST FOR PLANT REMOVAL DECISIONS

    During construction or landscaping, you may need to make decisions about existing plants on your property—should they stay or should they go? Sustainable sites promote preservation of healthy, mature specimens that offer benefits such as erosion control and wildlife habitat and do not pose a threat to human safety or the natural environment.

  • CHERRY TOMATOES

    CHERRY TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, TomatoSolanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • CHIVES

    CHIVES: General information- Allium schoenoprasum, Amaryllidaeae family, sun and part shade, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Perennial.

  • CHOOSING LAWN AND LANDSCAPE CARE COMPANIES

    Many homeowners no longer perform the work themselves when it comes to applying fertilizer and pesticides to their lawns and landscape beds. Lawn and/or landscape companies willing to supply that service are numerous. 

  • CILANTRO

    CILANTRO: General information- Coriandrum sativum, Apiaceae family, full to part sun, loamy, well-drained soil. Cilantro (leaves) Coriander (seeds). Grows well in a container. Annual.

  • CLEMATIS VARIETIES PRUNING GUIDE

    Early Flowering: Blooms early in spring from last season’s buds (old wood). Only prune after flowering and remove dying vines. Mid-Season Flowering: Blooms in late spring and early summer before growth begins. Flowers from the side shoot off the previous year’s growth. Pruning must be done in early spring before new growth is visible.

  • COLLARDS

    Collards: General information- Brassica oleracea var. acephala, Brassicaceae family, full sun. Prefers full sun in spring but can benefit from light shade during hot weather. Requires well-drained soil. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter.

  • COMBATING SOIL COMPACTION

    Soil texture refers to the size of soil particles, with clayey soils having the smallest particles, sandy the largest, and silty, medium. Loamy soils posses a relatively even concentration of the three particle sizes.

  • CONSIDER A VEGETABLE GARDEN THIS YEAR

    How much time do you have to plant, weed and harvest in your garden? A small garden is best for beginners. Go bigger as your skills and time increase. Do you have a sunny spot? Most vegetables require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Vegetables prefer loose, well drained soil; rich in organic matter (compost).

  • CONTROLLING BACKYARD INVADERS

    Invasive plants quickly overwhelm and displace existing native plants by reducing the availability of light, water, nutrients and space. They have few, if any, natural controls to keep them in check. Ecologists now rank invasion by exotic plants, animals, and pathogens second only to habitat loss as a major threat to local biodiversity.

  • CUCUMBER

    CUCUMBER: General information- Cucumis sativus, Cucurbitaceae family, full sun, well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter.. Vining and bush varieties. Bush varieties grow well in a container.

  • Canning Fruits

    Fruits, acidified tomatoes, pickled products, and fruit spreads may be processed safely in a boiling-water bath.

  • Canning Vegetables

    In the interest of food safety, vegetables must be processed in a pressure canner. Pressure for processing ranges between 5 pounds pressure to 15 pounds pressure, depending on the type of canner and food being processed. Processing time varies according to specific vegetable and size container.

  • DEALING WITH DROUGHT IN THE LANDSCAPE

    It is less expensive economically and environmentally to maintain landscape plants during a drought with minimal watering than to allow landscape plants to die and lose the benefits they provide. 

  • DELAWARE CHRISTMAS TREES

    This season, many people are shopping for a perfect cut tree or live tree to decorate their homes. Our local Christmas tree growers face many challenges to growing a perfect tree, an expensive and time-consuming process. A Christmas tree takes 8 to 10 years to grow to a good size, and there are many hurdles along the way.

  • DELAWARE GARDENER’S GUIDE TO LAWN AND LANDSCAPE FERTILIZERS

     Fertilizers contain one or more essential plant nutrients and can be applied to landscapes to improve plant growth and quality or to correct a nutrient deficiency. There are many fertilizers available to consumers at local lawn and garden centers. 

  • DELAWARE GARDENER’S GUIDE TO SOIL PH

    Soil pH is a measure of soil acidity or alkalinity. On the pH scale a value of 7 is neutral, pH values less than 7 are acidic, and pH values greater than 7 are alkaline. Homeowners and gardeners are interested in soil pH because soil pH directly affects the growth and quality of many landscape plants.

  • DELAWARE GARDENING: CHALLENGE TO NEWCOMERS

    Gardening in Delaware can be challenging. While the state of Delaware is small, it is comprised of two different growing environments—the piedmont and coastal plane. The piedmont covers about 5% of the land area of Delaware and exists on only the northern most corner of the state.

  • DELAWARE LIVABLE LAWNS

    The goal of the Delaware Livable Lawns initiative is simple - reduce fertilizer and pesticide runoff from lawns. Did you know that the EPA considers stormwater runoff from yards, streets, parking lots and other areas to be one of the most significant sources of contamination in our country’s waters?

  • DESIGNING A SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE TO SERVE YOUR NEEDS

    Many traditional home landscapes feature vast areas of under-utilized space, such as large turf grass lawns. Sustainable sites feature spaces for human enjoyment, considering opportunities to design outdoor rooms that suit specific needs as well as promote the health of the environment.

  • DIAGNOSING HORTICULTURAL PLANT PROBLEMS

    Diagnosing horticultural plant problems is similar to being a detective. The investigator must collect and evaluate all clues, keep good notes, establish the facts, and synthesize them into a conclusion. Take adequate representative samples and keep collected samples in good condition. Have an open mind and don't assume that the current problem is the same as another similar one.

  • DILL

    DILL: General information- Anethum graveolens, Dill, Apiaceae family, full sun. Grows best in loamy, well drained soil but can grow in poor soil. Grows well in a container. Annual

  • DISEASES OF TURFGRASS: IDENTIFICATION AND MANAGEMENT

    Turfgrass diseases are diagnosed by identifying symptoms and signs of infection. Symptoms are the response of the plant that results from an infection by a plant disease causing organism or stress. 

  • DOLLAR SPOT OF TURFGRASS

    Dollar spot is an economically important disease of both cool-season and warm-season turfgrass. Due to the persistent nature of this disease, more money is spent on managing dollar spot than any other turfgrass diseases. Dollar spot reduces the aesthetic and playing quality of turfgrass.

     

  • DOWNY MILDEW OF IMPATIENS

    Downy mildew of impatiens is a serious disease in the United States, caused by the fungus-like Oomycete, Plasmopara obducens. Originally found in Europe, impatiens downy mildew was detected in greenhouses in California in the U.S. in 2004.  Downy mildew was first confirmed in Delaware on Impatiens walleriana in Kent County in August 2012.

  • DOWNY MILDEW ON LIMA BEAN

    Downy mildew of lima bean, caused by the oomycete, Phytophthora phaseoli, is a common disease in Delaware production areas. Proper identification and management of the disease is critical for protecting lima bean yields. This publication will review how to correctly identify the disease, describe its lifecycle, and outline management options for growers.

  • EGGPLANT

    • Scientific Name: Solanum melongena
      • Family: Solanaceae
    • Warm season
    • Planting Window: 
      • Start seeds under lights indoors in mid-March for transplanting
  • FERTILIZER BASICS

    Proper fertilization will enhance plant growth without polluting the environment. However, misuse of fertilizer can harm the environment and injure landscape plants by causing fertilizer burn to leaves and/or roots.

  • Fall Cover Crops

    During spring and throughout the summer, gardeners are busy harvesting from crops that were planted in their gardens. Our garden soils provide an abundance of harvested peas, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn, yellow squash, zucchini, basil, zinnias and many other vegetables and flowers. 

  • GREEN ROOFS

    A green roof is a specially-engineered rooftop that supports plant life. Green roofs have been utilized in Europe for 30 years and are quickly gaining popularity in the United States.

  • GROUNDCOVER ALTERNATIVES TO TURF GRASS

    Plants that spread over time to cover the ground are referred to as groundcovers. Usually this term denotes low-growing plants, but groundcovers can also refer to taller, spreading shrubs or trees that grow together to create a dense cover of vegetation.

  • HEIRLOOM TOMATOES

    HEIRLOOM TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • HOME ORCHARD PRODUCTION – APPLE, PEAR, AND STONE FRUIT DISEASE MANAGEMENT

    While it is tempting to plant fruit trees and not apply chemical control measures, it is often impractical, and the resulting fruit crop may be disappointing or not result in any harvestable fruit.

  • HOW DOES YOUR LAWN AND LANDSCAPE CARE IMPACT WATER QUALITY

    All living plants return some of this water back into the atmosphere through transpiration. Some groundwater also returns to the surface by flowing down grade to fill a pond, supply a stream or just bubble as a spring. Certain soils allow groundwater to infiltrate deeper into the soil and fill aquifers and deep wells. 

  • HUMAN BENEFITS OF GREEN SPACES

    Interaction with gardens and natural spaces offers a variety of mental, physical and social benefits for humans, ranging from stress reduction, quicker healing, and mitigation of Attention Deficit Disorder in children to decreasing crime and air pollution. 

  • IDENTIFYING NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES IN ORNAMENTAL PLANT

    Healthy plant growth and reproduction requires 17 nutrients. Of these, carbon (C), oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H) are derived mainly from the atmosphere and water. Soil minerals and/or soil organic matter are the main source of the remaining essential nutrients. 

  • INSECTICIDES FOR APHID CONTROL ON VEGETABLES

    Insecticide efficacy rankings based on consensus of Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern entomologists.

  • KALE

    KALE: General information- Brassica oleracea var. acephala, Brassicaceae family, full sun to part shade. Prefers full sun in spring and fall, but can benefit from light shade during hot weather. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter. Needs plentiful, consistent moisture.

  • KOHLRABI

    KOHLRABI: General information- Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes(Kohlrabi) Brassicaceae Family, full sun. Tolerates light shade. Prefers well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter.

  • LAVENDER

    LAVENDER: General information- Lavandula angustifolia, Lamiaceae family, full sun, low fertility, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • LAWN MANAGEMENT FOR WATER CONSERVATION

    When designing a landscape, consider alternatives to turf. Use attractive, low-maintenance ground covers, tree and shrub plantings and water-permeable paving. A major benefit of turf is that it will take traffic. Take advantage of that and install turf where it will be used as a play area.

  • LEAF LETTUCE

    • Scientific Name: Lactuca sativa
    • Family: Asteraceae
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window:
      • Spring: mid-March to late April
  • LEAF SPOT DISEASES IN GARDEN TOMATOES

    Foliar leaf spot diseases and blights of tomato plants are common problems for tomato growers in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic States. Pathogens survive in plant debris or weed hosts, and are favored by humid weather and moderate temperatures.

  • LEEKS

    LEEKS: General information- Allium ampeloprasum, Allium family, full sun, well drained soil, high in organic matter. Best grown as a transplant. Blanch with soil to increase white shanks.

  • LETTUCE

    LETTUCE: General information- Lactuca saliva, Asteraceae family, full sun but can tolerate some shade, especially in the summer, moist, well-drained soil. Butterhead, Crisphead, Romaine, Looseleaf varieties.

  • LIMA BEANS

    LIMA BEANS: General information- Phaseolus lunatus, Lima Bean, Fabaceae family, full sun. Soil conditions: loose, evenly moist, well drained soil. Bush and pole varieties.

  • LIVABLE LAWNS - MANAGING A HEALTHY LAWN

    The benefits of a healthy, attractive lawn are many and diverse. Lawns prevent erosion, provide cooling, re­duce dust and mud, remove pollut­ants from the environment, absorb CO2 and produce 02 Lawns provide a safe, comfortable surface for many athletic and social activities. Ar­eas of lawn, whether large or small, help bring green to the urban envi­ronment.

  • LIVABLE PLANTS FOR THE HOME LANDSCAPE

    This brochure provides plant suggestions that can help gardeners create diverse landscape plantings with native and non-invasive exotic plants. 

  • LIVEABLE ECOSYTEMS: A MODEL FOR SUBURBIA

    What is a suburban livable ecosystem? It’s a landscape that takes advantage of natural processes while providing tangible benefits to its owner. 

  • MELON

    MELON: General information- Cucumis melo, Melon, Cucurbitaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: fertile, well-drained soil.Can be grown on a trellis.

  • MINT

    MINT: General information- Mentha sp., Mint, Lamiaceae family, Sunlight: full sun to part shade. Soil conditions: rich, moist, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial, wide spreading, can become invasive.

  • MULBERRY WEED (FATOUA VILLOSA)

    Mulberry Weed or hairy crabweed (Fatoua villosa) (Thunberg) Nakai is an invasive exotic Asian species from the Mulberry family (Moraceae).  First reported in Louisiana in 1964 by J.W. 

  • NATIVE PLANTS FOR DELAWARE LANDSCAPES

    Native plants are indigenous to a particular region and provide an essential foundation to support wildlife habitats for native insects and birds. Well-adapted to the local habitat, native plants grow using less water and fewer pesticide applications growing with minimum maintenance. 

  • NON-CHEMICAL PEST CONTROL OPTIONS FOR MANAGING INSECT PESTS ON BEANS

    July and August in the vegetable garden typically bring bountiful harvests of colorful vegetables. These are also the months when insect pests can really make their presence known, with plant and fruit damage becoming increasingly noticeable. 

  • NON-CHEMICAL PEST CONTROL OPTIONS FOR MANAGING INSECT PESTS ON BRASSICAS

    July and August in the vegetable garden typically bring bountiful harvests of colorful vegetables. These are also the months when insect pests can really make their presence known, with plant and fruit damage becoming increasingly noticeable. 

  • NON-CHEMICAL PEST CONTROL OPTIONS FOR MANAGING INSECT PESTS ON CUCURBITS

    July and August in the vegetable garden typically bring bountiful harvests of colorful vegetables. These are also the months when insect pests can really make their presence known, with plant and fruit damage becoming increasingly noticeable. 

  • NON-CHEMICAL PEST CONTROL OPTIONS FOR MANAGING INSECT PESTS ON SOLANACEOUS PLANTS

    July and August in the vegetable garden typically bring bountiful harvests of colorful vegetables. These are also the months when insect pests can really make their presence known, with plant and fruit damage becoming increasingly noticeable. 

  • OAK WILT

    Oak wilt is a serious, fatal disease of oak trees, caused by the fungus Bretziella fagacearum, formerly Ceratocystis fagacearum. It was first detected in Wisconsin in 1944 and has spread eastward in the U.S.

  • ONION

    Onion: 

    • Scientific Name: Allium cepa
      • Family: Alliaceae, Amaryllidaceae
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window: mid-March to mid-April
    • pH = 5.5-7.0
  • ONIONS

    ONIONS: General information- Allium cepa, Onion, Amaryllidaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: Well-drained, fertile soil. Can be planted from seeds, sets, and transplants. Onion bulbing is triggered by day length. Short Day varieties form bulbs when day length reaches 10 hours.

  • OREGANO

    OREGANO: General information- Origanum vulgare, Oregano, Lamiaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: light, moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Can thrive in areas with tough growing conditions. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • PARSLEY

    PARSLEY: General information- Petroselinum crispum, Parsley, Apiaceae family, Sunlight: Full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Grows well in a container. Biennial

  • PASTE TOMATOES

    PASTE TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato, Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • PEAS

    PEAS: General information- Pisum sativum (Peas) Fabaceae Family (Legume) Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: fertile, well drained soil. Can tolerate light frost. Bush and vining varieties.

  • PEPPERS

    PEPPERS: General information- Capsicum annuum, Pepper, Solanaceae family, Sunlight: Full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained fertile soil. Bell (pictured here), sweet, and hot varieties.

  • PERMEABLE VS. IMPERMEABLE SURFACES

    Permeable surfaces (also known as porous or pervious surfaces) allow water to percolate into the soil to filter out pollutants and recharge the water table. Impermeable/impervious surfaces are solid surfaces that don’t allow water to penetrate, forcing it to run off.

  • PLANT SELECTION FOR WATER CONSERVATION

    Plant selection is one of the most important factors in designing a successful drought-tolerant landscape. Along with concern about plant size, texture, color and so on, we must be concerned about how a plant will perform from an ecological and horticultural standpoint.

  • PLANTS FOR A LIVABLE DELAWARE

    This series of brochures were developed to educate Delawareans about the problem of invasive plants in the landscape.  

  • POTATOES

    POTATOES: General information- Solanum tuberosum, Potato, Solanaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: prefers well-drained, light, deep, loose soil, high in organic matter.

  • PREVENTING EROSION

    A crucial role of sustainable sites is to reduce erosion, the physical wear of soil and surface rocks by water and wind. Eroded soil, called sediment, is the number one pollutant of our waterways.

  • PRUNING EVERGREENS

    Pruning is an important maintenance practice. Although necessary, pruning can be kept to a minimum by the wise use and proper placement of plant materials in the landscape. Evergreen plants can be divided into two broad categories: (1) Narrowleaf (needled) evergreens such as pines, junipers, yews, and (2) Broadleaf evergreens like rhododendrons, hollies, boxwood.

  • PRUNING WOODY PLANTS

    Good pruning is necessary to preserve the general attractiveness of your landscape and to keep your ornamental plants healthy. Although forest trees grow quite well with only nature’s pruning, landscape trees require a higher level of care to maintain their safety and aesthetics.

  • PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE

    PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE is an herbaceous perennial plant characterized by a four-sided stem and long terminal spikes, each of which are surrounded by dense clusters of pink to magenta flowers. Each flower has 5 to 7 narrow, wrinkled petals. 

  • Plant a Row for the Hungry

    Plant-A-Row for the Hungry (PAR) is a people-helping-people program.

  • Pollinators

    What Pollinators Do For Us

    • Pollinators are critical to our food production system

    • More than 100 U.S.-grown crops rely on pollinators

    • The Honey Bee is our primary pollinator

  • RADISH

    RADISH: General information- Raphanus sativus (Radish) Brassicaceae family, Sunlight: full sun to part shade. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil. Needs consistent moisture. Grows well in container.

  • RADISHES

    Radishes: 

    • cientific Name: Raphanus sativus
      • Family: Brassica
    • Cool season
    • Planting Window:
      • Spring: mid-March to mid-April
      • Fall: mid-August to mid-September
  • RECYCLING LEAVES

    What organic material is full of nutrients, essential for the natural processes of soil rejuvenation, and arrives absolutely free of cost to millions of homeowners every autumn? You guessed it— the colorful liberated leaves of deciduous trees. Recycling leaves offers a great alternative to the environmental and economic expense of removing this resource from your property.

  • ROSE ROSETTE DISEASE

    ROSE ROSETTE DISEASE (RRD) is specific to Rosa species and is caused by the rose rosette virus, which is carried by a very small eriophyid mite, or graft transmitted. The virus disease is a threat to all cultivated roses, even rose cultivars with some disease resistance to black spot, such as the Knockout Series.

  • ROSEMARY

    ROSEMARY: General information- Salvia rosmarinus, Rosemary, Lamiaceae family. Sunlight: full sun.Soil conditions: loose, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • SAGE

    SAGE: General information- Salvia offiinalis, Sage, Lamiaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: sandy, loamy, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • SANITIZING PRODUCTS AVAILABLE FOR GREENHOUSE NURSERY

    This chart includes information about products and steps you can take to ensure you have a safe and clean greenhouse.

  • SELECTING PLANT DISEASE SPECIMENS

    Select material showing the symptoms you see. Send several samples showing different stages of disease development. Take samples showing transition areas between healthy and diseased. Dead plants, leaves or branches are generally of little use.

  • SLICER TOMATOES

    SLICER TOMATOES: General information- Solanum lycopersicum, Tomato Solanaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Tomatoes come in both determinate (bush) varieties and indeterminate (climbing) varieties.

  • SUCCESSFULLY ESTABLISHING MEADOWS FROM SEED IN DELAWARE AND THE MID-ATLANTIC

    Identifying and understanding the dynamics of the meadow site is crucial for success. Sites should have at least 6 hours of sun each day. Meadows can be found in a variety of soil types and are often adapted to varying levels of soil moisture, but the plants found in these conditions will differ. Select native or adapted plant species that fit the sunlight and soil moisture conditions of the site. 

  • SUMMER SQUASH

    Summer Squash: General information- Cucurbita pepo, Summer Squash, Cucurbitaceae family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil, high fertility. Grows well in container.

  • SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPE MATERIALS AND PRACTICES

    A sustainable site incorporates renewable, local, and low-energy input landscape materials and avoids materials, products, and practices that are harmful to the environment.

  • SWEET POTATOES

    SWEET POTATOES: General information- pomoea batatas, Sweet Potato, Convolvulaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well-drained, loose soil. Grown from slips.

  • SWISS CHARD

    SWISS CHARD: General Information- Swiss Chard: Beta vulgaris var. cicla (Chenopodiaceae) Sunlight: full Sun to part shade. Soil conditions: requires well-drained soil. Prefers deep, loose, fertile soil, high in organic matter. Harvest outer leaves, avoiding center crown, for continued production.

  • THE "NEW" COMPANION PLANTING: ADDING DIVERSITY TO THE GARDEN

    Do tomatoes love basil but hate brussels sprouts? Traditional companion planting, which involves planting different types of plants together or in close proximity, makes many such statements, often based on little more than folklore.

  • THOUSAND CANKERS DISEASE OF WALNUT

    Thousand cankers disease (TCD) of walnut has been detected in Maryland and Pennsylvania, so a detection is possible in Delaware this season. The disease caused by a fungus and carried by the very small walnut twig beetle may be fatal to mature walnut trees in our area.

  • THYME

    THYME: General information- Thymus vulgaris, Thyme, Lamiaceae family Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: light, well-drained soil. Grows well in a container. Perennial

  • TOMATO FACTS AND RECIPES

    Skin should appear deep, bright red (except heirloom tomatoes have different colors), without blemishes or bruises or discoloration. Feel: dense, firm, but not too hard; and without any soft spots. Smell: should have a strong, sweet, earthy odor by the stem.

  • TOMATOES

    Tomatoes: 

    • Scientific Name: Lycopersicon lycopersicum
      • Family: Solanaceae
    • Warm season
    • Planting Window:
      • Start seeds indoors, under lights in mid-March 8 weeks prior to transplanting around mid-May
  • TREES FOR DELAWARE

    Trees are important to people. Research shows that access to nature plays a significant role in life satisfaction. The most preferred scenes are ones in which nature is dominant, where there is a smooth ground texture and where trees help define the depth of the scene.

  • TURFGRASS DISEASE: BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR DELAWARE

    In Delaware, turfgrass diseases are caused by pathogenic fungi and microbes that infect the leaves, stems, and roots of turf type grass plants. With infection, grasses may show symptoms such as leaf spots, mildew or mold, or patchy dead areas.

  • TURFGRASS MADNESS: REASONS TO REDUCE THE LAWN IN YOUR LANDSCAPE

    Frequent and often costly maintenance is needed to keep turf grass looking its best. During peak growing months, a single lawn may require mowing more than once a week. During periods of drought, irrigation may be required to keep a lawn from going dormant. Yearly fertilizer is usually recommended for encouraging lush growth.

  • TURFGRASS SELECTIONS FOR DELAWARE

    Turfgrasses are divided into two categories based on their climate adaptation.  Cool-season grasses grow best in the spring and fall, with optimum growth when the temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Warm-season grasses grow best in the summer, with optimum growth at 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • TURNIPS

    TURNIPS: General information- Brassica rapa, Turnip, Brasssicaceae family (Mustards) Sunlight: full sun. Can tolerate some shade. Soil Conditions: loose, fertile soil with good drainage. Roots and leaves can be eaten.

  • TWO SPOTTED SPIDER MITE

    The twospotted spider mite (TSSM) is a plant-feeding mite that is an extremely widespread pest affecting nearly all crop plants (over 1000 plant species). TSSM is very small in size and requires magnification to see clearly. 

  • VEGETABLE GARDENING BASICS

    Plan and put your garden on paper first and record any planting changes. If this is not the first time gardening in this spot, use last year’s garden plan as a guide to place this year’s crops.

  • WATERMELON

    WATERMELON: General information- Citrullus lanatus, Watermelon, Cucurbitaceae family. Sunlight: full sun. Soil conditions: well drained, fertile soil. Heat loving, vining plant.

  • WEED CONTROL IN TURF

    Your lawn may grow more than the beautiful grass you intended.  It may also grow weeds, which prevent your lawn from looking its best. In addition to reducing the aesthetics of your lawn, weeds compete with the desired turfgrass for water, nutrients, and light.  If you don’t control weeds, your lawn will deteriorate over time.

  • WINTER SQUASH

    WINTER SQUASH: General information - Cucurbita maxima, Winter Squash, Cucurbitaceae Family, Sunlight: full sun. Soil Conditions: requires well-drained soil, high fertility.

  • YARD WASTE AND COMPOSTING

    Leave grass clippings on the lawn -If you mow frequently enough (one of the best ways to improve lawn health is to mow frequently), the clippings will just sift into the lawn. They also provide a great source of nitrogen as they decompose, reducing the fertilizer requirement for your lawn by one-third.

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Contact us

Contact

Sue Barton
Extension Specialist, Plant and Soil Science
 302-831-1375

Contact

Carrie Murphy
Extension Agent, Horticulture, Master Gardener coordinator for New Castle County
 302-831-1426

Contact

Megan Pleasanton
Extension Educator, Delaware State University, Master Gardener coordinator for Kent County
 302-857-6438

Contact

Tracy Wootten
Extension Agent, Horticulture, Master Gardener coordinator for Sussex County
 302-856-7303

Contact

Blake Moore
Extension Agent, Natural Resources
 302-730-4000