News from the UVM Extension

Community Horticulture Program




Wishing Cindy Well

Cindy Heath will be leaving her role as Volunteer Coordinator in December after six years of wonderful work with the program. Although we are sad that she is transitioning out of her role, we are happy for Cindy as she pursues her art and other adventures in her retirement. She will also be staying on with the program as a Special Projects staff where she will continue to lead our popular winter film series.

As you know, Cindy has been an integral part of our team and has been invaluable to me as I learn about our amazing volunteers in my role as state coordinator. I am deeply grateful for Cindy's professionalism, grace, creativity, and kindness. Please join me in congratulating Cindy on her new journey, and feel free to send your best wishes to her at

Cindy said, "I have so enjoyed meeting and working alongside the many dedicated Extension Master Gardener and Master Composter volunteers, Project Leaders, Steering Team members and program staff to bring science-based education to the home gardener! The creativity, enthusiasm, and commitment shown by our amazing community are remarkable. Thank you all for making my job so easy, and I look forward to catching up with everyone during the film series this winter." Thank you, Cindy!

Be well and happy gardening,

Deb Heleba, State Coordinator

1654099087099 image

University of Delaware's Dr. Doug Tallamy will keynote this year's conference.

Register Now for Annual EMG Conference

Register early to get the early bird rate for this year's Extension Master Gardener Conference.

The conference will feature Drs. Doug Tallamy and Ann Hazelrigg plus a local panel and time for EMG discussion.

Date: Saturday, December 3, 2022

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Location: Online (via Zoom)

More Info:


Fall Round-Up

Fall rains bring out a lot of fungi in our landscapes and woods. I recently received a picture of an impressive slime mold growing on a peony from a gardener in Maine. The primitive organism does not harm the plant but is using the peony stem as a substrate until it dries up and breaks down.

Photo credits: Jean Herlihy, Brunswick, ME

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), an edible mushroom is present in the woods in the autumn in Vermont and is easily identified by the bright orange and yellow shelf-like fruiting bodies. Chicken of the Woods is parasitic-attacking live hardwoods and conifers. Once the tree dies, the fungus becomes a saprobe living on decomposing wood causing a brown rot. Chicken of the Woods is often confused with Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), although it is a different genus and species. To avoid confusion, Hen of the Woods is often referred to as Maitake. This fungus typically grows as a large circular cluster at the base of oak trees and oak stumps and is also edible.

Chicken of the Woods mushroom (Laetiporus sulphureus) Photo credit: © Stephen John Davies

Hen of the Woods mushroom (Grifola frondosa) at the base of oak. Photo credit: Michele Poland/Free Range American

The honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea) is another mushroom common in the fall. This fungus causes Armillaria root rot disease in several deciduous or conifer tree species resulting in the fruiting bodies/mushrooms at the base of the attacked trees. Symptoms of the disease appear as discolored foliage, reduced growth and dieback/death. The main part of the fungus underground is made up of mycelial threads (like roots of the fungus) that can bundle together and form large black rhizomorphs, hence the common name the shoestring fungus. When actively growing the mycelia can be bioluminescent. 

Honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea) fruiting bodies. Photo credti: Shir Goldberg. 

Brown rhizomorphs of A. mellea. Photo credit: by Rosser 1954.

A couple of common fall home invaders are showing up. Neither causes any structural or health issues in the home, they are just annoying! The Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalisis about ¾ inch and feeds on pinecones in the summer but seeks out warm houses in the fall once the weather turns cold. They hide in cracks and crevices but are attracted to windows during the day and lights at nightThe Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), also invades homes when the weather turns cool. The small beetle can have a range of colors and typically has up to 19 black spots, but it can also be without spots. The best thing to do is either move the nuisance pests back outdoors or vacuum them up. Sealing cracks in windows and doors will help to exclude the pests.

Western Conifer Seed Bug. Photo credit: Gyorgy Csoka,

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle. Photo credit: 

There is a lot of tar spot on Norway maples this time of year. This fungus disease attacks late season and really does not harm the tree too much. Rake and destroy leaves to reduce the inoculum for next year.

(Photo credit: Andrej Kunca, Slovakia,

I wanted to include a picture of a spectacular tree in my yard with no disease or insect issues! It is a Black gum or Black Tupelo, Nyssa sylvatica, and it is an intense riot of color this fall- orange, red, yellow and everything in between. This tree is hardy in zones USDA 4-9 and tends to prefer moist well drained soils but can tolerate some drought. Because the native tree can have an irregular form and does not always grow straight, selections have been made for color, form and growth rate. Some of the cultivars are Afterburner®; Firestarter®; Forum®; Green Gable™; Gum Drop®; Northern Splendor; Red Rage®; Tupelo Tower™ and Wildfire. The foliage is still going strong although most of the maples have dropped their leaves already. 

Young winter burned Alaska cedar. 

Espaliered pear with mouse/rabbit guard.

Now is the time to think about winter protection. I have some young Alaskan cedars that I protected the year they were planted (2020) and skipped protecting them last winter which was a big mistake. I suspect a combination of cold temperatures and wind caused a lot of browning and desiccation this spring. They have recovered, but this year I will put up some burlap barriers to protect them. Be sure to get mouse/bunny guards on your susceptible trees this fall. Crabapples and apples are very susceptible to damage. I use a hardware cloth that I bury in the ground and just leave it throughout the year. I also must wrap my maples with plastic guards so the male deer don’t skin up the trees with their antlers. Be sure to protect less hardy plants, like some of the roses and lavender, with barriers filled with straw or other material to ensure they come back in the spring. Strawberries should be mulched with straw around Thanksgiving to protect their crowns from winter damage. 

On a final note, I thought I would include a picture of volcano mulch made of rocks. That was a new one for me (and not recommended)!

Ann Hazelrigg, UVM Extension Plant Pathologist



Celebrating Jan Sherman

In this issue, we celebrate Extension Master Gardener Jan Sherman. Jan is the co-chair of the Rutland County EMG Chapter and co-leads the Vermont State Fairgrounds Demonstration Gardens and Ask A Master Gardener exhibit. She has contributed more than 2,390 volunteer hours to the program. Thank you, Jan for your amazing leadership and ongoing efforts to support Vermonters to become better gardeners!

 Learn more about Jan here.


Project Leader Thank Yous!

Over the last couple of years, a number of approved projects have come to an end and/or long-time project leaders have transitioned from their Project Leader roles. We want to give a huge thank you to the Project Leaders, listed below with their projects, for their years of supporting the UVM Extension Master Gardener Program through their very important roles as Project Leaders and community educators, and wish them well! Please note that most of these Extension Master Gardeners are continuing to volunteer in different ways for the program -- thank you!  

We also want to acknowledge Sarah Gallagher, Co-Chair of the Rutland Chapter, and Susan Still, Co-Chair of the Southeast Chapter, as they step down -- we appreciate their leadership helping their chapters support Master Gardener and Master Composter activities. 

If we’ve missed anyone, please let us know and we’ll be sure to include you in the next newsletter. -- Cindy Heath

Wendy Alger, Central EMG Chapter Chair, Facebook Page* and Plant Sale Coordinator (now volunteering in KY)

Christine Barnes (in memoriam), Northfield Gardeners

Karen Burke, Shelburne Museum Gardens (now leading Burnham Memorial Library Gardens)

Madeline Chamberlain, Pollinator Pals* (now volunteering in MA)

Gordon ClarkVermont Victory Gardens

Donna Covais (in memoriam), South Burlington Adult Day Center

Bonnie Kirn DonahueNorthfield Falls Community Playground (continuing as garden columnist)

Cindy Gilhooly, Milton Library Children’s Garden (continuing as NW Chapter treasurer)

Mimi Haley, Barton Community Giving Garden (pictured in pink leggings)

Shari Johnson, Addison County Parent Child Center School Greenhouse (leading Cornwall School Garden Club & Vermont Flower Show)

Jill Lamothe, Burlington City Hall Demonstration Gardens (pictured with Dr. Mark Starrett)

Pat Morrow, Bridport Triangle Demonstration Garden

Patricia New, Russell Memorial Library Garden (now Helpline volunteer)

Liz Parker, Northfield Veteran’s Place Garden

Helen Prussian, Hartland Library Herb Garden

Christina Shaw, Benson Heights Senior Community Garden

Heather Smith, St. Albans City School Farm to School Stewardship Project (leading Down To Earth Community Garden)

Deb Squires, Middletown Springs Elementary School Garden Project

Karen Tuininga, Charlotte Central School Composting Program* (leading Charlotte Library Gardens)

Nadie VanZandt & Christina Shaw, DAR John Strong Mansion Museum Herb Garden (Nadie continuing as gardening columnist/NW Chapter Steering Committee)

*Contact Cindy or Deb if you are interested in leading these projects. 

Congratulations New Vermont Master Composter Interns

Congratulations to the following graduates of the 2022 Vermont Master Composter Course who are now starting their volunteer internship with the program: Kimberly Aldous, Debbie Archer, Tracy Bach, Julia Boger-Hawkins, David Burke, Lauren Carifio, Jessie Collmer, Nat Forcier, Emily Johnston, Alex Lacy, Sarah Lillibridge, Danielle Livellara, Bruce McDonald, Lee Moncton, Christine Palmer, Patrick Parillo, Dan Petherbridge, Morgan Pratt, Rebecca Rogers, Cedar Schiewetz, Nicolas Stevens, Alex Wilson, and Jane Woodhouse.

Thank you for agreeing to share your new composting knowledge with fellow Vermonters!

Special thanks to Dr. Wendy Sue Harper and Natasha Duarte as primary instructors for the course and to Emma Stuhl and the folks at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation who continue to support the course.

2023 Extension Master Gardener Course Registration Opening Soon

Registration will open on November 15 for the 2023 UVM Extension Master Gardener Course. The online course will run from January 20 through the end of May. The course fee is $400 for 16 weeks of instruction ($550 for out-of-state students) plus $75 for the 833-page Master Gardener Manual. 

Visit the webpage for details.


Storing & Preserving Your Harvest 

The following resources provide guidance on vegetable storage and food preservation.

Storage of Home-Grown Vegetables:

Harvesting and Storing Home Garden Vegetables:

Resources to Help Answer Your Food Preservation Questions:

Food Preservation Links:

Community Horticulture in the News

Thanks to our EMG garden columnists, here are some recent headlines, ready to share with your community.

Seeds To Plant This Fall:

Soil Health in Raised Beds:

Putting the Garden to Bed:

Protecting Plants from Winter Damage:

Thanksgiving and Christmas Cacti:

You can see all of our EMG press releases at:


Lisa Chouinard, Office & Program Support

Ann Hazelrigg, Plant Pathologist

Cindy Heath, Volunteer Coordinator

Deb Heleba, State Coordinator

Ask _500 _ 400 px_.png
support _1_.png

University of Vermont Extension

Community Horticulture Program

206 Jeffords Hall

Burlington, VT 05405

(802) 656-9562

Web  Facebook  Instagram

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.  Any reference to commercial products, trade names, or brand names is for information only, and no endorsement or approval is intended.