Biweekly Update – September 9, 2021

New Announcements:

1.    Plant Disease Clinic will begin charging for sample diagnosis – The Plant Disease Clinic will begin charging for sample diagnosis beginning Oct. 1, 2021. The attached memo provides an overview of the process. A few important notes on the memo:

a.     In the table on p. 2 there are links to some downloadable relevant resources, such as a public relations flyer, to help VCE offices and their clients transition to this fee. We hope you will post the public relations flyer in your offices and/or share it with your clientele, so they will have some fore-knowledge of the fee. There are also links for downloadable electronic and hardcopy handouts to provide to clients to help them navigate payment via Destiny One.

b.    Please note that Traci McCoy is currently in the process of setting up a Destiny One website for payment to the Plant Clinic for all offices that have submitted a sample to the Plant Clinic since Jan. 1, 2019 (refer to the memo for further info). We will send a list of links to the County Destiny One websites as soon as they have all been set up, and certainly before Oct. 1, 2021.

2.    Fall armyworm update: Fall armyworms are a statewide/regional problem on lawns in 2021. A new publication with information on management was just released:

3.    Virginia Beach “Gifts from the Garden” Fall Gardening Festival Oct. 2, 2021; 10am – 3pm – Hampton Roads AREC, 1444 Diamond Springs Rd, Virginia Beach

a.    Join the Virginia Beach Master Gardeners in our celebration of all the good things that come from gardening. Festival features demonstrations and garden-themed make & take projects, a garden yard sale, botanically-inspired arts & crafts, a large children's activity area, plant sale, vendors & garden society information tables, a seed library, garden tours, and bake sale. Free admission & parking. Family & pet friendly. Rain Date – Oct. 9. More information can be found at

4.    Fall Lawn Care and Great Lawn Alternatives –2 p.m. Saturday, September 18, Zoom

b.    Piedmont Master Gardeners will offer a free online Garden Basics presentation on “Fall Lawn Care and Great Lawn Alternatives.” Participants will learn how to shape up a lawn using environmentally friendly practices; manage weeds and pests while doing no harm to pollinators, birds, and other wildlife; and reduce a lawn with groundcovers and low-maintenance native plant beds. To reserve a spot in the program, register by September 13 at An invitation to the Zoom session will be sent the morning before the program.

5.    Piedmont Master Gardeners Launch “Share Your Harvest” – To help combat food insecurity in their community, the Piedmont Master Gardeners have launched Share Your Harvest, a campaign to encourage gardeners in the Charlottesville-Albemarle County area to donate their extra produce to emergency food providers. Their website,, offers a listing of food banks and food pantries that accept homegrown fruits and vegetables, and includes details about when and where fresh produce can be delivered. The site also includes an interactive map to help locate donation sites and a form for reporting donations.

6.    UPDATED COVID GUIDANCE – Effective August 10, 2021, all individuals at all Virginia Tech and VCE associated facilities located in areas of substantial or high transmission are required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.  These areas include lobbies, foyers, atriums, hallways, and elevators accessible to the general public.  This mask requirement does not apply to private work spaces, such as an office, work area, or employment meeting space that is not open to the public in the normal course of business. Please review the new COVID-19 Guidance and 4-H In-person Guidance.


Old September Announcements

1.    CE opportunity for Tree Stewards: Community Forestry Webinars: The Role of Climate Change on Forest Trees, Including Fall Coloration, in the Eastern U.S. – Wed., Sep. 15, 2021, 12:00 PM: Join Marc Abrams, Ph.D. Steimer Professor, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Penn State University! The eastern US is unique in that climate change (warming) has been mainly limited to the northern tier. This has been coupled with an increase in precipitation, which has mitigated most of the negative impacts seen in the western US and many other locations worldwide. Learn more

2.    Rapidan River Master Gardeners Yard & Garden Sale – September 18 & 19 10a-4p each day:  Lots of plants, seeds and garden accessories from our personal gardens will be sold.  Our Carver Demonstration Garden will be open and host Master Gardeners will interpret and answer questions.  Held in conjunction with Culpeper Harvest Days with open houses at 15 county farms, plantations, wineries, bison farms (!) and more.

3.    Preserving Your Bounty – Growing Your Own Food Series – Zoom, September 21, 6 pm: Becky Gartner, B.S. Home Economics Education, Virginia Tech; M.S. Human Nutrition and Foods, Virginia Tech. Register: at: The final session, in the series, will cover the preservation of the bounty from your garden. An overview of food preservation methods, from drying to pressure cooking, including the plusses and minuses of each. Becky will also cover the different equipment used for each method, and the trusted sources for the equipment. Food safety protocols and standards are emphasized to assure the enjoyment of the food. More info.

4.    A Gardener's & Farmer's Best Friend – September 28, 1 pm, Washington VA Vol. Fire Dept. Meeting Hall, 10 Firehouse Ln.: Join the EMGs of Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties, and the public, for this enlightening program by Master Naturalist Bonnie Miles. Bonnie was a licensed bat rehabilitator, and is a life-long advocate of bats. So, if you are not fond of cucumber beetles, June beetles, grasshoppers, green stink bugs, corn earworms, grey or brown moth larvae that ruin your broccoli, or would like to eliminate 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour, we look forward to seeing you on Sep. 28. More info


Old October Announcements

5.    Registration open for the Mid-Atlantic Urban Agriculture Summit – October 12-14, 2021

a.    On behalf of the planning committee for the Mid-Atlantic Urban Agriculture Summit (formerly known as the Virginia Ag Summit), I’d like to invite you to attend the summit that will be held virtually on October 12-14, 2021. Registration is now open. Please see the link: We’re currently accepting abstracts for poster, oral and panel presentations, as well, so if you you’d like to participate, you can submit the abstract here: Finally, we’d appreciate helping to spread the word about this opportunity.


Old Announcements


6.    Have you ever found a typo in the training handbook? – We are embarking on a handbook update process and need help identifying existing errors in the handbook! If you've ever noticed a typo, error, or other mistake in the training handbook, please let us know! Submit your typos, errors, or other corrections here:

7.    Help scientists! Monitor for disease in your vegetable garden: Do you have a vegetable garden?! Scientists NEED your help to accurately predict the spread of downy mildew. By contributing to this project, you can help Extension researchers advise farmers so that they do not experience crop losses, and so they know when fungicide applications are warranted. Monitoring the spread of plant disease takes all of us working together!!

a.    Downy mildew of cucumber and other cucurbits (cucumber is the most important crop to monitor!)

b.    Downy mildew of basil

8.    Better Impact: Important information for you to know as we launch BI: 

a.    We’ve created a helpful video to walk you through the basic use of the system. It’s only 30 minutes long, so please watch it before you use the new system:

b.    Between the training document here and the video linked above, you should have the information you need to get started in Better Impact! Your unit may have additional instructions and training for you, so please watch for communications from your program leads. They have been hard at work behind the scenes getting things ready to go!

c.     If you have questions as you navigate this new system, please contact your local volunteer coordinator or Extension Agent.


Other Announcements:

1.    Send us your announcements! Have you converted educational programs to an online format? You can still submit those announcements for the biweekly email! Submit an item for the biweekly update here.

2.    Follow the State Office on social media: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

3.    Subscribe to In Season, our quarterly newsletter

4.    View our most recent webinar

                                               i.     View a recording of our most recent state office webinar:

5.     Resources for fertilization of lawns and for those involved with Healthy Virginia Lawns programming  

6.    Do you have questions coming in to your Extension Master Gardener program and need to find some answers? Extension Search Resources for EMG Questions

Posted in biweekly update.

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