Category Archives: Landscape

Buffer Landscaping in Action: Master Gardeners & Master Naturalists Collaborate at Smith Mountain Lake

Photo Provided by Smith Mountain Lake Association Buffer Landscape Committee

When Smith Mountain Lake experienced an increase in runoff of fertilizers and sediments due to a housing boom in the 80’s, the Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA) recognized the importance of landscaping to prevent harmful runoff and erosion of the lake’s shoreline. In addition to promoting Phosphorous-free fertilizer, the SMLA manages a Buffer Landscape Advisory Service Team (BLAST) that helps introduce and support buffer landscaping to homeowners near the lake. Continue reading

When it Rains, it Pours: An Introduction to Stormwater Management

The autumn weather can be unpredictable. When storms come to visit, they often lead to messy runoff that carries away your garden’s dirt and form large puddles in the most inconvenient places. But where does all that water go once the storm passes?

This water, known as stormwater, often runs into storm drains that lead directly into the nearest streams with little to no filtration. Along the way, it picks up chemicals and oils from the street, plastic and other litter, and all the dirt that was washed from the garden along with whatever fertilizers and chemicals it contains. These pollutants end up in the local waterways, contributing to issues such as increased sedimentation and water pollution right in our own neighborhoods. Continue reading

Boxwood Blight: Frequently Asked Questions

boxwood blight

Boxwoods are a useful and popular element of many Virginia gardens, but boxwood blight, a serious fungal disease first discovered in the United States in 2011, poses a threat to Virginia’s boxwoods.

Mary Ann Hansen, manager of the VT Plant Disease Clinic, recently visited the Extension Master Gardener State Office to share information on boxwood blight and offer suggestions for controlling the spread of this serious disease in Virginia.

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hydrangea blooms

How to Choose a Bigleaf Hydrangea for Your Garden

Hydrangeas are one of the most popular garden plants, but, as many disappointed gardeners can attest, if you do not choose the appropriate species and cultivar for your location, your plant may not flower.

There are a few species of hydrangea, including four common species that are shrubs: Hydrangea macrophylla or bigleaf hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata or panicle hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia or oakleaf hydrangea, and Hydrangea arborescens or smooth hydrangea. This post focuses on Hydrangea macrophylla, or bigleaf hydrangea. Hydrangea macrophylla is one of the most common species among home gardeners.

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