Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Winston County Master Gardeners Association (WCMGA) Complete Landscape Project at Louisville Welcome Sign

A project by the Winston County Master Gardeners Association (WCMGA) was completed on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. The master gardeners in conjunction with the city of Louisville and Louisville Utilities were to design, maintain and landscape the area around the Louisville Welcome sign located at Hwy 14 and Hwy 25. The master gardeners agreed to the project with the approval of Interim County Agent Dennis Reginelli. The landscaping was designed by Brenda Jowers; the group met and got the job done. Planted in the landscape are 3 Crepe Myrtles, 2 ‘Sunshine’ Ligustrums, 2 dwarf Loropetalum, 5 Abelia ‘Kaleidoscope’, 9 variegated monkey grass and 2 ‘moonbeam’ Coreopsis. After completing the project, a photo was sent to Mayor Hill. He sent a text back saying, “This is a wonderful addition to our ‘welcome’ to Louisville. Well done!!!
L to R: Elmetra Patterson, Gail Smith, Diana Northcutt, Johnna Williamson, Sandy Miles, Letitia ‘Cookie’ Jackson (president), Rebecca Gravett, Brenda Jowers. Master Gardeners not pictured: Richard Moncrief and Beverly Combs

The most difficult task in completing the landscaping was removing the landscape fabric which had a layer of top soil on it that was very heavy. The gardeners thought this would be a great opportunity to educate about the ‘cons’ of landscape fabric. The problem the gardeners were having was because fabric was decomposing and there was a soil build up. It takes the fabric 3 to 10 years to breakdown depending on the type of fabric one purchases. Landscape fabric is often used in ornamental landscapes as a method to block weed growth sometimes permanently sometimes not. However, sometimes they are used in ways that not only fail to control weeds, but cause other problems as well. Landscape fabric does not work that great keeping out fresh weeds.

Unfortunately, landscape fabric also makes weeding extremely difficult; you can't get a shovel down through the rock and fabric. The long lasting heavy fabric will make it hard for water filtering. It can interfere with oxygen getting to the root of the plant. And it's tough to pull weeds that root into the fabric The fabric keeps organic matter from the breakdown of wood mulches for being incorporated into the soil, leading to compaction, nutrient depletion, and an environment not beneficial to soil organisms. From Peterson Lawn Services on the Internet, one particularly annoying aspect of landscape fabric is that it can make weeding more difficult because grass can grow under the fabric, establishing a network that is impossible to eradicate without herbicide or lifting up the fabric barrier by lifting up the fabric. The grass can then send shoots right through at least some fabrics (and those that are beginning to deteriorate), or grow in the holes cut for planting of ornamentals. Weeds with strong taproots, such as dandelions and thistles, can either re-grow from parts of roots left in the soil before the fabric was laid then penetrate it from below, or germinate in mulch and send roots right through the fabric. For more information about landscape fabric, please contact the Winston County Extension Office.

The Winston County Master Gardeners were very appreciative of Richard Carter who stopped by the site as he was walking to the shopping area and helped dig the big holes for the crepe myrtles. He was formerly a National Emergency Grant (NEG) employee at Dean Park. The master gardeners look forward to undertaking other projects in the county. Each member is required to complete 20 service hours and 12 educational hours per year to be re-certified. They are hoping that others will take the state wide master gardening training which is scheduled to start February 2018 to become a master gardener. Please check this media for updated information or our face book page - Winston County Master Gardeners Association.

It is the purpose of the WCMGA: 1) to assist the Extension Service of Mississippi State University to accomplish its mission by providing easily accessible information about residential horticultural practices through educational presentations and use of the media; and 2) to provide a volunteer organization that completes community service projects which further the community’s understanding of and appreciation for the joy of gardening. For more information call the Extension Office at 662.773-3091 or 662.779-7900.

By Elmetra Patterson