Tri-County Master Gardener Class – Spring 2019

 

   For map links, please click the location below:

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Click here to download a pdf copy of the Spring 2019 Syllabus

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Orientation / January 31, 2019 / Madison County Extension Office

ORIENTATION and Volunteer Opportunities
Guest Lecturer: Rhonda Britton & Presidents of Local Associations

– Objectives:

  • Welcome to the program
  • Review schedules and program requirements
  • Understand rights and responsibilities as a student in the program
  • Meet program staff and class participants

– REQUIRED Reading Assignment for after Orientation:

  • Alabama Master Gardener Handbook, Chapter 1

– Additional Resources Online:

– In Class Handouts:

  • Soil Test Box (For Class 2)
  • Soil Test Lab Sheet (For Class 2)
  • ANR-0006-A Home Soil Testing: Taking a Sample


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Class 1 / February 7, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

BASIC BOTANY and PLANT PHYSIOLOGY
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Rudy Pacumbaba

– Objectives

  • Review basic plant parts/structures and their functions in plant growth and development
  • Understand relationship of photosynthesis and respiration to plant growth and development
  • Identify the basic requirements for plant growth including the 12 essential elements
  • Recognize the process by which plants absorb essential elements

– Required Reading Assignment for Basic Botany/Plant Physiology:


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SERVICE REPORT and REGISTRATION. Guest Lecturer: Deen Rice

HARVEST FOR HEALTH. Guest Lecturer: Acacia Moore


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Class 2 / February 14, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

SOILS and PLANT NUTRITION
Guest Lecturers: Dr. Charles Mitchell & Rhonda Britton

– Objectives

  • Identify the five factors of soil formation
  • Recognize the physical components of soil
  • Be able to identify and explain the function of the elements essential to plant growth
  • Recognize types of fertilizer and their appropriate uses

– REQUIRED Reading Assignment for Soils and Fertilizers:

– Additional Resources for Soils and Fertilizers:


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Class 3 / February 21, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

VEGETABLE GARDENING PRODUCTION
Guest Lecturer: Doug Chapman

– Objectives:

  • Understand the basics of small scale vegetable gardening
  • Understand planting schedules and fertilization
  • Review methods of insect and disease control
  • Learn harvesting and storage techniques

– Required Reading Assignment for Vegetable Gardening:

  • Alabama Master Gardener Handbook, Chapter 12
  • ANR-1254 Crop Rotation: An Essential Part of Planning a Home Garden

– Additional Resources Vegetable Gardening:


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Class 4 / February 28, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

LANDSCAPE DESIGN (Hands on)
Guest Lecturer: Taylor Reeder & Advanced Master Gardeners

This class will be extended for one hour!

– Objectives:

  • Gain an awareness of the basic principles of “good” landscape design
  • Understand the process of analyzing a site to be landscaped
  • Become familiar with the steps involved in developing a landscape design

– Required Reading Assignment for Landscape Design:

– Additional Resources for Landscape Design:


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Class 5 / March 7, 2019 /
TN Valley Research Station

ENTOMOLOGY
Guest Lecturers: Dr. Ayanava Majumdar (Dr. A) & Chris Becker

– Objectives:

  • Learn to identify and control various types of common insects
  • Become familiar with the principles of pesticide safety

– Required Reading Assignment for Entomology:

  • Alabama Master Gardener Handbook, Chapter 4, Chapter 9, pages 197-201;
    chapter 10, pages 283-289; and Chapter 11, pages 323-329

– Additional Resources for Entomology:


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Class 6 / March 14, 2019 /
Tennessee Valley Research Station

PLANT PROPAGATION and PROPAGATION STATIONS (Hands on)
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Rudy Pacumbaba & Master Gardeners

THIS IS A HANDS-ON CLASS: Bring your garden gloves. We will split into small groups to rotate through four learning stations. Experienced Master Gardeners will show you various types of propagation and you will practice some of them. You will keep what you plant..; so bring a box in which to place your plants for transport. Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather!

– Objectives

  • Be able to categorize methods of propagation as sexual or asexual
  • Learn techniques and methods of vegetative propagation
  • Learn techniques and methods of propagation by seeds

– Required Reading Assignment for Plant Propagation:

– Additional Resources for Plant Propagation:


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Class 7 / March 21, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

TURFGRASS MAINTENANCE
Guest Lecturer: Rhonda Briton

– Objectives:

  • Identify the varieties of lawn grasses recommended for our area
  • Learn to evaluate them based on temperature tolerance, resilience, and amount of care required
  • Learn basic techniques involved in establishing lawn grass
  • Become familiar with the basic requirements for proper lawn maintenance

– Required Reading Assignment for Lawns:

  • Alabama Master Gardener Handbook, Chapters 6 and 11

– Additional Resources for Lawns:

  • ANR-0092 Selecting Turfgrasses for Home Lawns
  • ANR-0910 Common Insects and Disease Pests of Turfgrasses and Ornamentals in Alabama
  • ANR-0239 Home Lawn Maintenance
  • IPM-0590 Homeowner Lawns: Chemical Weed Control Recommendations for 2014
  • IPM-1314 Homeowner Lawns: Insect Control Recommendations for 2013
  • IPM-1292 Homeowner Lawns: Disease and Nematode Control Recommendations for 2013


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WEED MANAGEMENT
Guest Lecturer: Guest Lecturer: Tim Crow

– Objectives

  • Learn to identify and classify weeds
  • Become familiar with the four general methods of weed control
  • Understand the importance of proper selection of herbicides and safety procedures for their use

– Required Reading Assignment:

  • Alabama Master Gardener Handbook, Chapter 6

– In Class Handouts

  • Session Evaluation Form

– Additional Resources Online:


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Class 8 / March 28, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

PLANT PATHOLOGY
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Jim Jacobi

– Objectives:

  • Learn to identify the major diseases of ornamental flowers, shrubs, and trees
  • Acquire knowledge of techniques for diagnosing growth problems of ornamentals

– Required Reading Assignment Plant Pathology:

– Additional Resources for Plant Pathology:


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Class 9 / April 4, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

BACKYARD FRUIT PRODUCTION
Guest Lecturer: Mike Reeves

– Objectives:

  • Identify the recommended varieties of fruit trees for our growing zone
  • Gain an awareness of the basic cultural practices for home orchards and small fruits
  • Become familiar with methods to identify and control insects and diseases in home orchards and
    on small fruits
  • Learn the basic pruning techniques

– Required Reading Assignment for Small Fruits & Nuts:

  • Alabama Master Gardener Handbook, Chapter 13

– Additional Resources for Small Fruits & Nuts:


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HELP DESK ORIENTATION
Guest Lecturer: TBA


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Class 10 / April 11, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

TREES & SHRUB PRUNING TECHNIQUES and PLANTING (HANDS ON)
Guest Lecturer: Marcus Garner

– Objectives:

  • Become familiar with basic cultural practices relating to the planting and care of trees
  • Understand the importance of proper site analysis and selection
  • Learn to identify and control major diseases of trees
  • Recognize types of trees successfully grown in this geographic region
  • Learn appropriate basic pruning techniques

– Required Reading Assignment for Trees & Shrub Pruning Techniques:


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Class 11 / April 18, 2019 / Huntsville Botanical Garden

PLANT SELECTION, CARE & GARDEN TOUR
Guest Lecturer: Harvey Cotten

– Objectives:

  • Learn what to look for in a plant, i.e. growth habit and cultural requirements
  • Obtain an overview of plants that perform well in our growing zone

– Required Reading Assignment for Plant Selection:

  • Alabama Master Gardener Handbook, Chapter 3, pages 77-82; Chapter 9, pages 185-206; and
    Chapter 10, 225-264

– Additional Resources for Plant Selection:

  • Search www.ACES.edu Web site for specific plants of interest, i.e., boxwoods.

– ONLINE Handouts for Plant Selection:


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Class 12 / April 25, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

CONTAINER GARDENS, ANNUALS & PERENNIALS and HERBS
Guest Lecturer: Allyson Shabel

– Objectives:

  • Review the principles of color selection
  • Identify the principles for and demonstrate successful container gardening
  • Learn the basics of herb gardening including varieties appropriate for our area
  • Gain an awareness of growing, harvesting, and storage and use techniques
  • Learn about the selection and care of annuals and perennials
  • Become familiar with their growth habits and best cultural practices

– Required Reading Assignment for Container Gardens:

– Additional Resources for Container Gardens:


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Class 13 / May 2, 2019 / Tennessee Valley Research Station

BACKYARD WILDLIFE HABITAT and WATER FEATURES
Guest Lecturer: Herb Lewis

– Objectives:

  • Illustrate incorporating flowing water into a backyard wildlife habitat
  • Focus on the key element of flowing water
  • Demonstrate associated benefits within a small backyard setting

– Additional Resources for Wildlife Habitat:

– Additional Resources for Wildlife Habitat:

  • For the birds, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, March 2001
  • Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume One, Donald Stokes, Little Brown and Company, 1979
  • The Practical Rock & Water Garden, Peter Robinson, Hermes House 2002
  • Garden Stone, Barbara Pleasant, Story Books, Stone Publishing, 2002

– IN CLASS Handout:

  • Session Evaluation Form


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POST TEST and FINAL DETAILS / Rhonda Britton

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Chris Becker

Chris Becker



  • BS in Horticulture from Alabama A&M University
  • MS in Education from Auburn University

Limestone County Extension Coordinator, former Home Grounds, Garden and Home Pest REA for NW AL and Shoals Master Gardener Coordinator. Resident of Limestone County with wife Courtney and three children.

Kathryn Davis

Kathryn Davis



  • Master Gardener – 1998
  • Current and past president of the Limestone County Master Gardeners Association
  • Teaches Herbs

Kathryn says her interest in herbs arose from several points: her mother was a great cook and used herbs; she enjoys herb-flavored food; and, became most involved when she became a home owner with a sunny spot for a garden. However, to get that sunny spot she had to kick her husband's vegetable garden into the pasture. Her interest led her to join the Huntsville Herb Society within the Huntsville Botanical Garden, where she served several terms as President and oversaw much of the construction and growth of what now constitutes the Herb Garden. She is retired from the federal government and is active in the Donnell House of Athens and projects in her town of Mooresville.

Dr. Jim Jacobi

Jim Jacobi



  • Extension Plant Pathologist/Diagnostician
  • B.S. in Forestry from the University of Vermont
  • M.S. in Forest Pathology from Clemson University
  • Ph. D. in Plant Pathology from Auburn University
  • Teaches Plant Pathology

Dr. Jacobi manages the Plant Diagnostic Laboratory at the C. Beaty Horticulture and Environmental Center at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The diagnostic lab offers a place where homeowners and commercial representatives (lawn care companies, nurseries, golf courses, and others) can bring their turf grass and ornamental plant problems to be diagnosed for a minimal fee.

Alice Lawler

Alice Lawler



  • Tri-County MG Class Coordinator
  • Teaches Container Gardening

Alice Lawler earned a Bachelor's Degree in Home Economics and Psychology from Belmont University, and a Master's in Education from Alabama A&M University. She is retired from teaching. She took Master Gardener class in 1998 and has worked with classes in some capacity ever since. In 2005, Alice received the Mary Lou McNabb Master Gardener of the Year award from Master Gardeners of North Alabama. In 2010, Alice received the Gary Murray Outstanding Service and Dedication Award from the Alabama Master Gardeners Association.

Dr. Charles Mitchell

Charles Mitchell



  • B.S. degree in biology from ,Birmingham-Southern College
  • M.S. in Soil Fertility from Auburn University
  • Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Florida

Charles C. Mitchell, Ph.D., CCA, Professor Emeritus, Dep. Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, Auburn University, is a native of Marengo County, Alabama, where he grew up on the family farm and graduated from Marengo County High School. He was director of the South Carolina Agricultural Services Laboratory and taught at Clemson University before coming to Auburn in 1984 as Extension Soil Specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. He also has conducted soil fertility and soil amendment research with the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station at Auburn University and has worked closely with the A.U. Soil Testing Laboratory. He has managed some of the most historic field crop research plots in the United States including Alabama’s Old Rotation (c. 1896) and Cullars Rotation (c 1911) experiments. He has taught “Soils, Plant Nutrition and Fertilizers” for the Alabama Master Gardener program since its inception in the late 1980s. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, serves on the Board of the Southeastern Certified Crop Advisors, and is a past president of the Alabama Association of County Agricultural Agents and Specialists. He retired from Auburn University in April, 2016, but continues to serve on committees and teach Master Gardeners. He is an avid gardener, is president of the Lee County Historical Society, and is an active member of the Civitan Club of Auburn. He and his wife, Peggy, volunteer to help maintain 6 small gardens as part of Pioneer Park, a collection of museums and historic buildings in Loachapoka, AL.

Mike Reeves

Mike Reeves



  • BS in Horticulture from Auburn University
  • MS in Plant and Soil Sciences from Alabama A&M University

Morgan County Extension Coordinator for the Alabama Co-operative Extension Service. Previously he had been the regional Extension agent for commercial horticulture since 2008. He is an educational adviser for the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, a member of the state horticulture committee of the Alabama Farmers Federation, and a board member of the Morgan County Farmers Federation.

Taylor Reeder

Taylor Reeder



  • B.S. in Horticulture/Landscape Design from Auburn University
  • M.S. in Horticulture from Auburn University

After I completed my M.S. degree, I accepted a position working for UF/IFAS Extension in Tallahassee, FL as a Residential/Commercial Horticulture Agent from May 2013 to September 2015. Presently, I hold a position with ACES as a Home Grounds Agent and I cover Lauderdale, Limestone, Lawrence, Franklin, and Colbert Counties.