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Master Gardeners attend conference

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Submitted by J.L. Gerhart

The annual Native Tree & Shrub Workshop sponsored by the Midwest Native Plant Society was held Feb. 28 at the Caesar Creek Lake Visitor Center near Waynesville. Despite the morning temperature at 0 degrees, 160 people from Ohio and Indiana attended the seminar. Pickaway County Master Gardener Volunteers attending were Loren and Cheryl Van Deusen, Lynn Huston, Jeanette Gerhart, Kathleen Hall and Marcele Bowen.

One speaker at the seminar was Jim McCormac, ODNR Division of Wildlife, who gave an early history of Ohio, current species of butterflies, moths, owls, turles, bats, mammals, etc., Ohio savannas and prairies and the Great Black Swamp. Quotation – “Everything depends on trees.”

Brian Jorg, manager of the Native Plant Program at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, reviewed a long list of native Ohio trees and plants. Quotation -“What’s the best time to plant a tree? YESTERDAY! We should always be looking towards the future.” He also said, “Shred leaves and plants and put them back into the soil – try to replicate what Mother Nature does.”

Solomon Gamboa of Cincinnati Parks provided basic information regarding how to choose trees and shrubs that were original to your landscape pre-settlement, accounting for disturbances such as grading and compacting.

Casey Burdick, ODNR Division of Forestry, discussed “Tree Health – What Your Tree is Telling You,” covering signs of a healthy tree versus a tree that has issues, invasive insects and disease issues. Quotation: “Plant the right tree in the right spot.”

Other speakers included Kim Baker, Naturalist; Bennett Dowling of Civic Garden Center; and Michele Stanton of USD/APHIS.

The emphasis of the seminar was the importance of trees and shrubs native to Ohio, how they benefit us and how the wildlife around us depend on them for survival. McCormac, Jorg, Gamboa and others were trip leaders who guided attendees through local fields and woods to learn about winter tree and shrub identification, as well as early spring bird migration and bird identification.

Suggested readings: “A Feathered River Across the Sky” by Joel Greenberg; “Milkweeds and Man”; “Ohio Breeding Birds Atlas II”; and “The Living Landscape” by Tallamy/Darke.

Contact Paul Hang at 740-497-4397 to sign up for the next Master Gardener Volunteer training program. To become a MGV, the trainee must complete the training program and volunteer 50 hours in the first year to OSU Extension.

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal