Biweekly Update – October 13, 2021

New Announcements:

1.    Tree Steward Manual released! Thanks to the dedication of a group of EMG volunteers, we now have a NEW, rewritten Tree Steward manual! View it online here or find a downloadable PDF here

2.    Sex and the Single Flower October 18 at 7 pm – Have you seen a fig’s flowers? How can you tell the sex of a plant? How many trees are needed for red oaks to reproduce? Answers to these questions and more can be found as Sherry Kern, VCE Virginia Beach Master Gardener, takes a look at both familiar and unfamiliar ways and interesting and weird ways that plants propagate their species. This free one-hour program will be offered, at 7PM, on October 18th via Zoom. To access the Zoom link go to  

3.     63rd Annual Garden Club of Virginia Conservation Forum, Birds: Feathers, Fields, Forests, and Flowers, Monday, October 25, from 9 a.m noon – Can you imagine a world without birds? In the past 30 years in North America, 3 billion breeding birds have been lost, that is one in four birds!  The avian and human environments are entwined in so many ways, we need each other!  Birds provide beauty, food, wonder and joy.  Join us to learn how we can help protect them.

a.     The 2021 Conservation Forum will be a Live Zoom webinar, Monday, October 25, from 9 a.m. until noon and is open to the public.  Registration is easy! Register online here or on the Garden Club of Virginia website at  The fee is $15 and students are admitted free.

4.     Congratulations to the Northern Shenandoah Valley EMGs for winning a $15,000 grant from the GIANT Company. Read more here


Old Announcements

1.    ALERT: Laurel wilt found in Virginia! In June, laurel wilt was discovered in Scott County. Laurel wilt is caused by the fungal pathogen Raffaelea lauricola, which is carried by the redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus). All species in the laurel family (Lauraceae) native to North America are susceptible to laurel wilt. In Virginia, these are primarily redbay (Persea borbonia), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and spicebush (Lindera benzoin).

a.    Fact sheet:

2.    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. This memo provides more information. 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.

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

4.    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.

5.    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.

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.    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