Ume100_medium MDMaryland

University of Maryland Extension

(This group currently has 3 experts available to answer questions)

Questions asked to this group

garden club

Hi, I am starting an garden and art club for the most challenging students in my school. I have obtained a greenhouse (which would b indoors in front of a large bank of windows) and would like to do activities during the winter to prepare my kids for spring planting. I really have little knowledge about growing things and could use guidance about were to start and what they can do during the winter months. Can you all help with some suggestions. Thanks.

Baltimore MD Posted about 18 hours ago


Does the UM Extension service have a course in locating and identifying edible wild mushrooms? If not, where might I go to find such a course? There are many mushrooms due to the wet weather. Thank You!

Baltimore MD Posted 3 days ago

Iron fixing microbes

I have a single family home on approximately .5 acre of land in the Dunloggin section of Ellicott City. The house is connected to county drinking water & sewer service. The home & driveway are set into a hillside, with the house to the right of the driveway. At the top of the driveway, I constructed a retaining wall 30 years ago. A 4 inch plastic pipe pierces the retaining wall and drains the uphill portion of my land onto the driveway. Until this summer, the discharged groundwater was clear. Sometime during August, 2018 the groundwater began carrying a red-brown sediment and the water had an oily sheen. I contacted Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services and one of their employees examined the discharge in person. He identified the problem as being caused by iron fixing microbes that create iron floc and an oily film. I have several questions: Is there any doubt of his diagnosis? If any doubt, where could I have the soil and/or the discharge tested? Is there any way to neutralize the microbes causing this problem? I have extensive landscaping on the land uphill from the retaining wall. Can this microbe cause any problem with these plantings?

Howard County MD Posted 5 days ago

Spaghetti Sauce

I canned spaghetti sauce and am now afraid to use it. I roasted plum tomatoes, some garlic and onion until cooked. I pureed it, added some Ball spaghetti seasoning, sugar and beef boullion, boiled it down, packed it in hot jars and put it water bath for about 65 minutes. The jars sealed fine. I didn't use lemon juice or additional citric acid (some was in the spaghetti sauce seasoning though). Everything I read is scaring me and making me think I need to toss the 5 pints of sauce. Is it safe to eat? Is there a way to know if it is safe to eat?

Montgomery County MD home food preservation Posted 5 days ago

Plant Die-Off Following Fungus Gnat Treatment

I recently had several houseplants affected by fungus gnats. To treat for this, the plants identified as the source of the infestation were sealed in plastic bags for two days while materials were obtained. All plants in the house were then sprayed with insecticidal soap, repotted with a layer of sand on top of the fresh soil, and subsequent waterings have been done with water infused with Mosquito Bits. No fungus gnats have been seen since repotting and subsequent treatment. However, the plants that were bagged pending treatment (several herbs) have wilted and died completely following treatment (they were not this wilted when taken out of bags). The herbs that have completely wilted appear to have intact root structures. However, I have now noticed minor leaf discoloration and curling on other plants in the apartment, including two pothos plants, a spider plant, a mint, and a ti plant (cordyline), though these plants have only a couple affected leaves (now pruned) and so far have exhibited nothing like the rapid wholesale degeneration the bagged herbs experienced. All plants in the house exhibit a slight mildewy/earthy odor I originally associated with the insecticidal soap residue, but which am now more concerned about, since the odor is strongest on the wilted herbs. I have attached photos of the wilted herbs, as well as the affected leaves pruned from the pothos, and leaf warping observed on the ti plant. I also think I saw a very small white bug of some kind (not a fungus gnat) fly away from the mint, though I could have mistaken a dust mote. Is the affliction I am seeing the result of repotting and treatment shock or leaf burn from the insecticide, something that will not affect the hardier plants further if well cared for? Or is it a progressive disease introduced by the treatment that will kill all plants in the house in time? It looks like it is too late for the herbs, but can anything be done to protect the other houseplants? Thank you very much in advance for your time!

District of Columbia County DC Posted 7 days ago

Clumping River Birch with too many Trunks

I bought a Clumping River Birch in April of this year (2018) from Home Depot. It has many trunks (over ten), yet I would like it to have 3-4 main trunks. Is it safe to prune some of these extra trunks or will it injure the tree?

Oakland County Michigan trees and shrubs Posted 8 days ago

Boring Worms in Apple Tree?

I have a serious problem with a couple trees on my property in Annapolis, MD. Initially, I thought it was from a woodpecker or other boring critter. But I was told by the diagnostics guy at Homestead Gardens in Edgewater, MD, that tour Japanese Maple tree had boring worms. That was 2 years ago, and he had no recommendations for treatment. Our 90 year old Japanese Maple tree has been really damaged by this. I cut down 1/3rd of the tree in an attempt to stop the progression. Now this year they have shown up on our Apple tree. The tree is not looking healthy and has lost a lot of it's foliage. I returned to Homestead Gardens, hoping there would be more answers. They suggested Captain Jacks Deadbug Brew ( I sprayed the tree, but I think the tree need a systemic treatment to be effective. We also have a 100 plus year old holy tree next to the Apple tree and I'm concerned that it may be next, if it is not already infected. This is a serious problem for all of us, if all of our trees are dying. Do you have any suggestion for treatment to this problem. Regards, R Doane Photo Attached: R_Doane_Apple_Tree.jpg

Anne Arundel County Maryland Posted 8 days ago


Is there a way for me to make some kind of support (or even to purchase one) that's strong enough for a Maximillian perennial sunflower (sp. Helianthus)? Because of all the rain (or maybe my soil is too rich) it has splayed open from the center and the stems are covering surrounding plants. It is covered in flowers but is way too tall. I did cut it back once in the early spring to try to stunt the growth but it's still about 8' tall. Any suggestions to keep the tall stems growing upwards in a straight fashion? Thank you.

Baltimore Maryland plant care flowers: annuals and herbaceous perennials sunflower splaying out helianthus splaying out staking up perennials Posted 8 days ago

Buds on my Oklahoma Red Bud in Fall?

Just had this tree planted in June. Thought it was not supposed to bloom until Spring, but this is starting to happen now. I’m in Texas.

Rockwall County Texas trees and shrubs Posted 9 days ago

Possible sinkhole

I live in Prince George's County. My house is about 20 years old. I am concerned about an area of my back yard that is sinking. It is rectangular about 2ft x 6 ft. There are visible voids that go deeper. The soil is soft there, but it is collapsing into a deeper depression. I do not know the source of the movement. I have been aware of it for a few years. Any fill eventually disappears. My question is what service or professional would be able to help me determine the cause of this problem.

Prince George's County Maryland Posted 9 days ago