Horticulture News – the 101 on Composting and Vermiculture

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Are you sheltering-in-place at home? Looking for a way to recycle your food scraps? Interested in producing your own “black gold” for your yard or garden? Need an activity to do with your children? Want to avoid greenhouse gases from landfills and incinerators and store carbon in local soils?
Learn how to home compost! 
By composting at home, you can protect the planet and improve your soil while practicing safe physical distancing.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and for International Compost Awareness Week (May 3-9), we have launched new resources to help people home compost.
10 reasons to compost flyer
Composting at Home: An Introduction to the Basics 
Thursday, May 7, 2020
1 to 2:30 p.m. EDT
Rhonda Sherman photo
Rhonda Sherman, Extension Specialist, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. Rhonda Sherman is a leading authority on vermicomposting. Visit Rhonda’s amazing worm composting resources: North Carolina State Extension website on vermicomposting.
Brenda Platt photo
Brenda Platt, Director, Composting for Community Initiative, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Washington, D.C. She has been a home composter for more than 30 years and is a lead trainer for ILSR’s Neighborhood Soil Rebuilders Composter Train-the-Trainer Program.
cultivating community composting logo
Institute for Local Self Reliance logo

Caring for Your Lawn and the Environment
Reduce runoff and trap pollutants with a healthy yard! Use care when gardening to protect streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters.

Fertilizer Facts

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Fertilizer labels always display three numbers in the same order, (for example, 10-6-4). They represent the percent by weight of three important nutrients:

  • Nitrogen (N)—for green, leafy growth.
  • Phosphorus (P)—for root and bud growth.
  • Potassium (K)—promotes disease tolerance and drought tolerance.

Example: A 40 pound bag of 10-6-4 fertilizer has 10% nitrogen (4 pounds), 6% phosphate (2.4 pounds of P), and 4% potash (1.6 pounds of K).


Communities Thrive on Trees

Urban trees improve our lives by benefiting our economy, our environment, and our health. You can improve your community by being proactive, developing green infrastructure  and putting trees to work for you. Thriving communities that adopt community tree programs improve the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of their citizens. Green spaces attract people, commerce, and tourism. Conservation of urban forests and green space is a low-cost, multiple-benefit community investment.

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General Pruning Techniques

Pruning Trees & Shrubs

Here are techniques and tips that will enable you to prune just about any landscape plant. There is nothing quite like getting the pruners in hand and getting out there, so once you get the basics down, go practice!

Timing of Pruning

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You first must know the species, its condition, and the reasons you are pruning. As always, remove broken, dead, weak, or heavily shaded branches anytime. You can do light pruning about anytime. Remove unwanted growth to improve the structure of trees when the plant is young to prevent large pruning wounds. It is critical to train young trees for future form as early as possible. Pruning early means better health for the plant and the pocketbook! If you are unsure about how to prune trees, contact a certified arborist for guidance.

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