Summer Webinar Series: Garden Natives & Invasives 2011

Summer is just around the corner, which means we need to make sure our gardens are ready. The Linn County Fair is still looking for volunteers to help with the gardens on the grounds. If you are interested please email info@thelinncountyfair.com for more info.

With that in mind I wanted to pass on this information about the “Summer Webinar Series: Garden Natives and Invasives 2011”. Enjoy!

The Iowa Master Gardener program will offer the second annual Summer Webinar Series: Garden Natives & Invasives 2011. Iowa State University Extension county offices are hosting these gardening webcast programs. Please note that the nearest participating location is the Linn County Extension Office, which is located at 3279 7th Ave Suite 140 in Marion.  The webinars will run from 6:30-8:30pm.

The first session, Plant Communities of Iowa, is scheduled for May 24 and will discuss the history and relevance of native ecosystems across Iowa. Geology, soils, climate and human intervention will be included. Items regarding the culture of some of these plants will include discussions on how things like aspect, slope and soil types play a role in selecting proper plants for your sites. By learning some of these principles, participants will be better able to design their own landscapes using native plants. Suggested species of native plants for each plant community will be mentioned. The session presenter is Howard Bright of Ion Exchange, Inc., Harpers Ferry, Iowa.

Identification and Management of Invasive Woody Plants in Iowa is scheduled for June 28. This session will include a discussion of our most notorious invasive woody plants, their potential impacts, and the life history characteristics of woody plants that increase the likelihood of their invasiveness. In addition, we will discuss how a specific invasive plant (common buckthorn) contributes to the establishment of other invasive pests, and a citizen-scientist project that participants can join to help manage buckthorn. Two presenters from Iowa State University – Jan Thompson, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, and Matt O’Neal, Department of Entomology – will conduct this session.

Tallgrass Prairies of Iowa is the topic of the third session on July 26. During this session, the history and reach of the Tallgrass Prairie Center located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, will be displayed. The mission of the Tallgrass Prairie Center is to ‘develop research, techniques, education and Source Identified seed for restoration and preservation of prairie vegetation’. Daryl Smith, from the Tallgrass Prairie Center and University of Northern Iowa, is the presenter.

On August 23, Native Friends and Invading Forces, the final session, will highlight the importance of native species and discuss the problems and related issues with invasive species in Iowa. An attempt will be made to define the elusive terms “native” and “invasive.” Participants will learn about appropriate and inappropriate uses of native materials, and also tips on selection of plant materials for use in landscapes with a better chance of not overstaying or overgrowing their welcome. Because gardening success is often largely dependent on choosing materials to fit planting sites that are adapted, an exploration of reasonable site adaptations will be included in the session. The program will help tie together information that has been presented in earlier programs in the series and will be presented by Rich Pope, Harrison County Extension Coordinator from Logan, Iowa.

Please join us this summer to learn more about these timely topics in gardening. See the complete list of participating counties at:http://www.mastergardener.iastate.edu/info/summerwebinar2011.html.  The series is Free, but space is limited so please contact Michelle Kenyon Brown, mkenyonb@iastate.edu, at the Linn County Extension office, 319-377-9839 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            319-377-9839      end_of_the_skype_highlighting,  end_of_the_skype_hig to register or if you have questions regarding these programs.

Michelle Kenyon Brown, Linn County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator,     319-377-9839 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            319-377-9839      end_of_the_skype_h, mkenyonb@iastate.edu

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