Maryland Grows

Featured Video: How to Plant Garlic

Garlic is a cool-season crop. Now through November is a great time to plant your cloves of garlic. Take a look and see how easy it is to start a crop of garlic. Purchase certified, disease-free garlic bulbs from a reputable seed source. Never plant garlic from a grocery store. It may be a symptomless disease carrier.

Meadow Making at Wiles Branch Park


Volunteers line up next to one of two large brush piles they generated at
Middletown’s Wiles Branch Park on Saturday, August 26. Photo by Dr. Sara Tangren.

Under the direction of University of Maryland Extension’s Dr. Sara Tangren, local residents, Master Gardeners, and Master Naturalists cleared invasive plants from a 600 square foot section in Middletown’s Wiles Branch Park. The meadow section runs from Wiles’ Branch Park’s furthermost loop trail down to Catoctin Creek between two footpaths. The volunteers are making space for the abundant native plants in the area to flourish. The designated wildlife and pollinator meadow plans grew from a collaboration between The Monarch Alliance, the Town of Middletown, and the University of Maryland Extension.
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Monarch Tag and Release Workshops in Baltimore County

monarch butterfly imageThe University of Maryland Extension (UME) Master Gardener Program of Baltimore County is providing free workshops for the public to learn about monarch butterflies and take part in ongoing research to help this species survive and thrive. Attend an upcoming workshop this fall and learn how to raise monarch larvae, tag and release monarch butterflies, and collect butterfly migration data.

Workshop Details 

  • When: Wednesday mornings at 10:00 AM, September 20, 27 and October 4, 11, 18, 25
  • Where: Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park, 1114 Shawan Road, Cockeysville, MD
  • How: No registration is required. The workshops are free.  Come to the Farm Park Demonstration Garden on any of the days listed above. Note: The majority of monarchs do not fly in colder temperatures or in rainy conditions; please check the hourly weather forecast when making your travel plans to these events.

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Why are Oaks Declining? Dr. Dave Describes 3 Oak Diseases

oak wilt symptoms

Leaves showing oak wilt symptoms, Pittsburgh, PA (Photo: Dave Clement)

We’ve recently received inquiries about oak trees declining and dying. People usually want to know if this is caused by oak wilt. Importantly, oak wilt is not known to occur widely in Maryland. Two common leaf diseases of oaks in Maryland are oak anthracnose and bacterial leaf scorch of oak.

oak anthracnose

Oak anthracnose

Oak anthracnose is caused by a fungal pathogen, Apiognomonia quercina, and it typically is a cool, wet weather, springtime disease. In wet cool summers like the one we’re experiencing this year however, the symptoms can continue through the season. Most oak species will show a range of symptoms scattered through the leaf canopy. Symptoms range from small brown spots and irregular dead areas on distorted leaves to severe blight that kills twigs and causes leaf shriveling. This disease in oaks typically doesn’t cause much leaf drop.
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Lawn and Garden Tips and Tricks for September

Every month, we will highlight a few timely, key tips for Maryland homeowners’ lawns and gardens.


  • If needed, this is the ideal time to begin a total lawn renovation project. Total renovation is best if your lawn is always failing due to poor soil, has over 50% weeds or is mostly dead. For the best results, work in ample amounts of organic matter. Use leaf gro, thoroughly composted horse or cow manure or peat moss. See our lawn renovation publication,  (PDF) HG 102 Lawn Establishment, Renovation, and Overseeding.  In addition, take a look at our recent blog post on the subject.
  • The dormancy (browning) of cool season grasses is a natural response that helps turfgrass survive drought and heat. Grasses that go dormant will usually green-up and grow vigorously again in the fall. If you have areas in your lawn that haven’t greened up yet you should consider reseeding them now.

Insects and Pests:

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The Three Sisters Garden


Our planting in July

This year at the Derwood Demo Garden we acquired some new planting space, which I decided to use for a growing technique we just haven’t had the square footage for in many years: a Three Sisters garden. Growing corn, beans, and squash together in this symbiotic way is an innovation of several Native American peoples, particularly the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois. Each of the sisters has a role: the corn, grown in small groups in separate hills, creates a tall structure; the beans twine up the corn and stay high up for picking; the squash spreads out to suppress weeds and deter animals. Read More

Get Your Lawn Back in Shape This September

With summer winding down — nights are getting longer and days getting cooler — September is a perfect time to rejuvenate tall fescue lawns. Aerating and overseeding now in the fall will make your lawn stronger and better able to resist pests and weed encroachment for next season.

Here are a few points to remember when aerating and overseeding for a lawn rejuvenation this fall:

  • The aerator you use makes a difference. A heavier, more powerful (> 5 HP) aerator will be more forceful and more effective in creating deeper cores. Ideally, you should be able to aerify to a soil depth of at least 3-4”.  Equipment rental stores often have suitable aerating machines available. Remember not to go over the lawn too fast and allow the machine to just “bump” along. Travelling slowly and ensuring the area isn’t too dry will help encourage quality cores to be pulled from the soil.

    Lawn aerator

    Aerifying in fall provides more oxygen to the roots and protected holes for new seed to germinate.

  • If you have substantial areas of dead grass or crabgrass weeds, it is probably more effective to remove the dead grass leaves with a hard rake, a “power rake”, or a de-thatcher. The turf seed will need to have good soil contact in order to germinate and grow to provide better coverage. By seeding into an area with a lot of dead debris, the seed may germinate and then dry out – or not “take” at all.

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