County Extension Office offers family fun and garden help

By Ellen Huckabay County Extension Coordinator Baldwin County Extension Office
Posted 8/4/17

Summer break might be winding down, but the Baldwin County Extension Office still has some activities to get you through the last few weeks before school starts back. On Aug. 11, 4-H and Master …

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County Extension Office offers family fun and garden help

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Summer break might be winding down, but the Baldwin County Extension Office still has some activities to get you through the last few weeks before school starts back. On Aug. 11, 4-H and Master Gardeners will be hosting a 4-H Summer Field Day at the Gulf Coast Research and Extension Center in Fairhope.

This will be a fun-filled, end of summer party with activities including jam making, yoga, gardening, and a watermelon seed spitting contest. Cost is just $5 per family and includes a lunch sponsored by the Baldwin County Cattlewomen’s Association. Call the office at 251-937-7176 to RSVP by Aug. 8 so you don’t miss out.

Our office is also recruiting volunteers for the Master Environmental Educator Program for the 2017-2018 School year. Don’t let the title intimidate you! Volunteer educators present prepared environmental lessons to Baldwin County students in second through twelfth grade. No experience is necessary.

Training and teaching materials are provided. Registration is FREE, but required to attend. The training is set for Thursday Aug. 17 at the Gulf Coast Regional Research and Experiment Station, 8300 State Hwy. 104, Fairhope from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm with lunch provided. This is a great and unique opportunity to teach Baldwin County students about our environment.

Did you know that Baldwin County Master Gardeners have a toll-free gardening hotline to answer all of your horticultural questions? Whether you need to know what plants do best on the Gulf Coast, what’s eating or killing your tomato plant, or how to read your soil test report, Master Gardeners are here to help! Just ring them up Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the MG Helpline at 1-877-252-GROW (4769). A trained, personable volunteer will assist you in finding a solution to your problem. If they don’t know the answer, they will find out!

Citrus Pest Alert

Citrus greening (HLB), caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, has recently been detected in Dauphin Island, Mobile County and in Baldwin County by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI). This is a federally regulated pathogen.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid. Symptoms of the disease include: mottling of the foliage, a single yellow shoot on an otherwise healthy appearing tree, interveinal yellowing of foliage, green islands on leaves, corky veins, uneven fruit ripening or lopsided fruit, and dieback.

Pathologists suspect that infection may occur several months prior to visible symptoms. This disease shortens the lifespan of trees and gives fruit a bitter taste. Other than tree removal, there is no known cure or effective control once plants are infected and Symptoms are easily confused with those of nutritional deficiencies.

According to the Ornamental Horticulture Research Center, “Home gardeners with citrus should be checking their tress regularly for Asian citrus psyllid. They are very small and usually found on the new emerging tender growth. They are the vector for citrus greening. They are not widespread in Alabama but are present and it is important to control them now to prevent the spread of this disease. The nymphs resemble whitefly nymphs somewhat but are easy to tell apart if you compare images easily found online. Often, they will produce abundant waxy strings.”

Citrus greening is not just a concern for commercial citrus growers. Any homeowner with even one citrus tree should be on the lookout for the Asian Citrus psyllid and symptoms of the disease. If you suspect a citrus tree is infected with citrus greening, please contact ADAI-PPQ (local inspector) or the Auburn Plant Diagnostic Lab if greening is suspected. This disease has devastated citrus groves in Florida, and we want to minimize the impact on Alabama’s citrus industry as much as possible.

Baldwin County Extension calendar

Aug. 10 – Master Gardener monthly meeting (open to the Public), speaker: T. Jensen Lacey topic: Native American horticulture

Aug. 11 – 4-H/MG Gardening camp

Aug. 18 – Master environmental educator volunteer training

Aug. 18 – Income tax for timber operations

Got gardening questions? Call the MG Helpline 1-877-252-GROW(4769) M - F 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.