November 2021
In 2021 we celebrate the 69th year of the Ocean County Soil Conservation District. We remain committed to building and sustaining a conservation legacy by working with our partners and constituents to conserve, protect and restore our soil, water and natural resources by providing technical assistance, implementing restoration projects, and most importantly through education.
Life in the Leaves!

Green leaves of summer are ablaze in scarlet, crimson and gold, as trees and shrubs begin to wind-down for winter. Through photosynthesis, these mini food factories provided an essential service in turning water and carbon dioxide into sugars for their host. But their job duties do not end there. Leaves take on a new role in the winter. These brown leafy blankets protect pupating caterpillars! (Photo of Sweet Gum leaves (Liquidambar styraciflua) by Becky Laboy, OCSCD, Education Outreach Specialist)
A Spicebush leaf is host to a Spicebush Swallowtail chrysalis. A Cecropia Moth caterpillar is tucked safely inside the leaf of a Wild Black Cherry. An Oak leaf protects the pupa of a Prometheus Moth. Leaves provide important habitat for moths, butterflies and other insects in the winter. Unfortunately, this benefit has been lost on humans, who mow, chip, rake and discard the leaves, and their caterpillars, in an effort to tidy the lawn. Turn over a new leaf and try a fresh approach to landscaping this fall. Rake your leaves into your garden beds, or into "tidy" piles in the corners of your yard. Allow the caterpillars to overwinter, and enjoy the beautiful moths and butterflies in your native flower garden next summer. Learn more about "leaving the leaves" from the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation. (Photo of Spicebush Swallowtail pupa attached to the leaf of Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) by Phyllis Delasandro of My Magik Garden.)
Cecropia Moth dries it wings on its host tree, Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina), where it spent the winter as a pupating caterpillar tucked within a leaf. (Photo by Phyllis Delasandro of My Magik Garden)
Polyphemus Moth emerges from its overwintering pile of Oak (Quercus sp.) leaves where it safely spent the cold months as a pupating caterpillar. (Photo by Phyllis Delasandro of My Magik Garden)
Guidelines for Safe (and Legal!) Fertilizing
A Look at Fertilizing in the Context of the NJ Fertilizer Law
The New Jersey Fertilizer Law - Designed to Protect and Restore the Barnegat Bay

November 15th Fertilizer Application Deadline Approaching! The NJ Fertilizer Law was conceived to protect all New Jersey surface and ground waters from impairment by minimizing nitrogen and phosphorus loading that may be derived from lawn fertilizer - one of the largest sources of nutrient pollutants in the Barnegat Bay. According to New Jersey’s fertilizer law, as of November 15 residents cannot apply fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus to their lawns until next spring (March 1). Commercial fertilizer applicators must complete their customer service cycle of late fall nitrogen or phosphorus fertilization by December 1, and cannot apply them again until March 1. Implementation of this law is also part of former Governor Christie’s 10-point action plan to protect and restore Barnegat Bay. Learn more about NJ's fertilizer laws on the OCSCD website. The Barnegat Bay Partnership. provides comprehensive information about fertilizers and water pollution. Learn how this law is being carried out in the Barnegat Bay watershed. Photo by Georgie Grieb, Inspector 1
Don't Guess - Get a Soil Test!

How much N, P, K is already in your soil? Rutgers University hosts a Soil Testing Laboratory designed to inform homeowners of specific needs of their lawn. Getting your soil tested will ensure proper application of various nutrients, saving you time and money. Visit the Rutgers Soil Testing Laboratory to learn more. Rutgers University also offers a free tool that can be used by any homeowner to determine the proper amount of fertilizer applied to a lawn. This online calculator will make it simple for you to comply with the new fertilizer laws while using just the right amount of nitrogen (not too much, which wastes time and money). To take the first steps at having a greener, healthier lawn, visit the Rutgers Blog Spot. Photo by Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist
NJ Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standards - Keeping Our Surface Waters Clean

The Standard for Permanent Vegetative Cover for Soil Stabilization has requirements for fertilizer application. Uniformly apply ground limestone and fertilizer to topsoil which has been spread and firmed in place. Fertilizer shall be applied at the rate of 500 pounds per acre or 11 pounds per 1,000 square feet of 10-10-10 or equivalent with 50% water insoluble nitrogen unless a soil test indicates otherwise and incorporated into the surface 4 inches. If fertilizer is not incorporated, apply one-half the rate described above during seedbed preparation and repeat another one-half rate application of the same fertilizer within 3 to 5 weeks after seeding. Please note the ratio of 10-10-10, which represents equal components of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (N-P-K), essential nutrients for plant growth. Read the complete Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Standards.
 Photo by Luis Almeida, Inspector 1
NACD Programs

Restore America's Estuaries
November 18 at 4pm

NACD (National Association of Conservation Districts) will be hosting Restore America's Estuaries, a one hour webinar on November 18, from 4-5pm. Restore America's Estuaries (RAE) is a national alliance of 10 coastal conservation groups dedicated to restoring and preserving America's estuaries and coasts. Learn about the diversity of projects and activities that RAE conducts including coastal wetlands restoration, shellfish habitat enhancement, and fish passage improvements. RAE also works on advocacy and policy issues that affect coastal communities. Registration is free!

Visit OCSCD's website to learn about the many ways we support the health of our local Barnegat Bay estuary through partnership projects.
Urban Agriculture Programs

State of the Food System Symposium
December 3 at 1pm

NJ Food Democracy Collaborative and Stockton University host New Jersey's first State of the Food System Symposium on December 3 from 1-4pm.
The NJ Food Democracy Collaborative is a state food system organizing and advocacy initiative, inspired by the food policy council model, focused on building resilience and equity in the food system through fostering collaborative action, affecting structural change, and advocating for innovation and optimization of public programs.

Gather at this virtual event to learn from each other's work and progress on this year's shared and interconnected food system challenges, celebrate our "wins", and find solidarity in learning as we face the challenges ahead. View symposium agenda. Pre-registration required.
Jersey-Friendly Yards Outreach Programs

Jersey-Friendly Yards - Landscaping for a Healthy Environment
December 7 at 7pm

Join this free webinar, hosted by the Hudson County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey. Explore the Jersey-Friendly Yards website, including the tools and resources that you can use to create a "Jersey-Friendly Yard". Learn the importance of a healthy foundation of soil, how to implement water conservation in the garden, and learn ways to attract pollinators, birds and wildlife to your yard using native plants. To register, please visit the Native Plant Society of New Jersey website, and follow the prompts to register for this program. For more information please email the co-leaders at the Hudson County Chapter.
Winter Gardens for Wildlife
In case you missed our Winter Gardens for Wildlife webinar, you can watch a recording on OCSCD's YouTube channel. Learn which trees and shrubs are most beneficial to wildlife in winter, and plant them in your yard. Presented by Becky Laboy, M.Ed., Education Outreach Specialist, OCSCD.
Jersey-Friendly Yards 2021 Webinar Series
Binge-Watch our 2021 Series of Jersey-Friendly Yards Webinars!
Jersey-Friendly Yards was developed by the Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP), with funding from NJDEP. The Jersey-Friendly Yards website provides comprehensive resources and tools about landscaping for a healthy yard and healthy environment in New Jersey. The Ocean County Soil Conservation District and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County are partnering with the BBP to offer educational programs about how you can make your yard more Jersey Friendly! Our 2021 webinar series has come to a close, but you can watch and enjoy our webinars anytime!
October - Spiders, They Can Be Your Friends
In case you missed our October webinar, click to view a recording of Spiders - They Can Be Your Friends, presented by Sabrina Turpak, Principal Laboratory Technician, Rutgers Plant Diagnostic Laboratory. Password: Spiders2021  (Photo: Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia), by Becky Laboy)
September - Soil, Water, Light
In case you missed our September webinar, click to view a recording of Soil, Water, Light - Tips for a Successful Garden Design, presented by Becky Laboy, Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District. Password: Design#3  (Photo: Heliopsis helianthoides, by Becky Laboy)
August - Designing and Planting with Natives
In case you missed our August webinar, click to view a recording of Designing and Planting with Native Plants: Creating a Native Habitat
Presented by Elaine Silverstein, Horticulturist. Password: Design#2 (Photo: Monarda sp., Oenothera sp., Asclepius sp., by Elaine Silverstein)
July - Support the Native Web of Life
In case you missed our July webinar, click to view a recording of Designing Gardens to Support the Native Web of Life, presented by Bruce Crawford, State Program Leader for Home and Public Horticulture, NJ Agricultural Experiment Station. Password: Design#1  (Photo: Helianthus angustifolium, by Bruce Crawford)
Schedule a Jersey-Friendly Yards Program for Your Group
Calling all Green Teams, Environmental Commissions and Garden Clubs! Is your "Green Group" interested in hosting a Jersey-Friendly Yards webinar for your constituents? Jersey-Friendly Yards partners will provide a free 1 hour webinar discussing the importance of landscaping for a healthy environment. We'll start by introducing the tools and resources on the Jersey-Friendly Yards website, explain how to get your soil tested, introduce water conservation practices, suggest appropriate native plants, and offer ways to attract and support pollinators and wildlife. Contact Karen Walzer and Becky Laboy to schedule a program.
Visit our website:
For more information about education programs, events and projects pertaining to soil, water, native gardening and natural resource conservation, please contact Becky Laboy, M.Ed., Education Outreach Specialist, Ocean County Soil Conservation District: