Biweekly Update – December 22, 2021

New Announcements:

1.    PLEASE enter your hours in Better Impact, contact Kathleen Reed if you need access to the system

2.    Seed Exchange at Blandy Farm, January 29, 2022 State Arboretum at Blandy, Clarke County: The 11th Annual Master Gardener Seed Exchange will be held 10 am–2 pm on Saturday January 29, 2022. The event will be held in the Library and Dining Room of the Blandy Experimental Farm at the Virginia State Arboretum in Clarke County. Gardeners are invited to swap seeds, plants, roots, cuttings, and stories with fellow gardening enthusiasts. Admission and parking are free. Check our website for full information.

3.    Extension Resources website down until further notice: The new publication website is being permanently retired and a transition to the old system is underway. To find publications in the meantime, search or

4.    Plant clinic closed Dec 22-Jan 3: The VT Plant Clinic will be closed for the holidays on Wednesday, December 22, and will reopen on Monday, January 3. Please make sure that samples sent this month arrive at the lab by Friday, December 17, to allow time for lab processing before the holidays. Samples that arrive after December 21 will not be placed in the cold room and will not be adequate for diagnosis after the holidays.

5.    Winter Judging School : Virginia Association of Fairs, Caroline County Fair and Virginia Cooperative Extension are excited to announce the upcoming Winter Judging School to be held January 8th at the Williamsburg Lodge in conjunction with the Virginia Association of Fairs Annual Meeting! See registration form for more information.

a.    Registrations should be sent to:



Old January Announcements:

6.    Central Rappahannock Area Master Gardeners 6th Annual Seed Swap!  January 29, 2022; 9am – 1pm Rowser Building, 1739 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Stafford VA

a.    Join the Central Rappahannock Area Master Gardeners for our 6th Annual Seed Swap. Package your saved seeds for swapping + bring any garden related items you want to swap (such as garden books and magazines, cookbooks, pots, tools, plants, cuttings, etc). The event will be held at the Rowser Building, 1739 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Stafford VA, from 9am to 1pm. Don’t have seeds to swap? Come anyway! Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and offer tips, speakers are scheduled throughout the morning, and free seeds and tea/coffee will be available. For more information:  

Old Announcements

7.    Updated indicia statement:

Virginia Cooperative Extension is a partnership of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments. Its programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status, or any other basis protected by law.


As always, remember to use the indicia statement on all material you distribute to the public. For promotional material for events, you also need the ADA statement, available here.

8.    If you attended online Master Gardener College in 2020, be aware that you may receive a “guest account deletion” email from Virginia Tech (if you have not already). The guest account you used to log in to the virtual college platform will expire one year from the last time you were active. You do not need to do anything further and there is no reason to worry about the email if you get it! This will not affect your Better Impact or any other accounts.

9.    Save the date: Virginia Tech’s Annual Giving Day will be February 23-24, 2022 noon to noon

10. New version of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Form available (#450-097): Please download this form and begin using it at your earliest convenience. Here is the link to the form on the VCE Educational Resources page:

11. BASF Slug and Snail Collection: Do you have slugs and/or snails in your garden? If so, we would love to have your participation in a citizen science project geared towards slug collection across the Commonwealth!

a.    BASF (a global chemical company) is interested in studying the nematodes that are native to NC and Virginia and are hoping to document the existence of one nematode species in particular, Phasmarhabditis californica. Documentation of this species will aid in the development of a chemical-free insecticide that will help prevent future crop loss.

b.    Collection is incredibly simple as BASF will mail you a slug collection kit with all the supplies you need including prepaid packaging to send your collected slugs to the lab. They are requesting folks collect as many slugs as they can (preferably a minimum of 20) and are hoping to have slug collection completed by the end of the month. And, if you are worried you don’t have enough slugs or snails around your home…this makes for a great neighborhood activity! I requested a kit myself and worked with some of my neighbors to complete our neighborhood slug collection — all of whom (especially the kids) ended up getting super excited to hunt for slugs! So if you’re interested in assisting, simply follow the steps below…

c.     How to contribute:1. Request a kit here. 2. Wait until dark, or early morning and then start digging for slugs and snails! 3. Collect as many as you can (20, 30 or more) and place them in the provided containers. 4. Ship your slugs back to us in the prepaid box.

12. 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

13. 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).

d.    Fact sheet:

14. 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:

e.    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.


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