Posted Thursday, November 21st, 2019

Plant Pest and Disease Support in Morris Helps All Jersey Community Gardens 

A group of dedicated Morris County master gardeners called the Community Garden Detectives are helping to keep community gardens thriving in New Jersey, and their work recently was acknowledged with a presentation of the Award for Excellence at the Rutgers Master Gardener Association of New Jersey’s annual conference.

Each week, the seven Detectives scout two community gardens in Morris County — Morristown and Madison — to monitor for plant pests or diseases. Their thoroughly researched reports are ultimately distributed to nearly 2,000 individual community gardeners statewide.

Morris County Community Garden Detectives from Rutgers Master Gardeners Receive Award for Excellence

The Community Garden Detectives are Morris County master gardeners Brian Monaghan, Diane DuBrule, Margot Sample, Jennifer Basile, Mary Albright, Mary Olin, and Sue Wiedaseck.

The Community Garden Plant Detective Committee of Rutgers Master Gardeners of Morris County are: Mary Albright of Morris Township; Jennifer Basile and Mary Olin, both of Morris Plains; Margot Sample and Sue Wiedaseck, both of Denville; Diane DuBrule of Chatham, and Brian Monaghan of Madison.

Many Rutgers Master Gardener Interns also participate, putting their classroom learning and skills to the test while on their way to becoming certified Rutgers Master Gardeners.

As they check the gardens, issues that arise are researched by the team and reviewed by Extension faculty and staff. A final report, featuring research based controls and management techniques, references and appropriate cultural practices, is distributed to the Morristown and Madison Community Gardens managers, as well as the 35 member New Jersey Community Garden Association which in turn distributes it to their garden members.

The Detectives’ reports impact nearly 2,000 individual community gardeners statewide. These Morris County residents are the only master gardeners in the state providing the service.

In addition to the weekly reports, the Detectives also track the occurrences of insects and diseases by date and severity. This serves as a key resource and allows the gardeners to anticipate possible infestations throughout the next growing season.

Under the leadership of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Rutgers Master Gardeners of Morris County provide assistance with home gardening questions to residents of Morris County. Rutgers Master Gardener volunteers are trained to diagnose common plant and pest problems, suggest appropriate cultural practices and advise as to the best care for the home landscape and garden.

Morris County Community Garden Detectives from Rutgers Master Gardeners Receive Award for ExcellenceThe Rutgers Master Gardener Helpline is staffed from April through October, Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 pm to 4 pm and can be reached at [email protected] or 973-285-8305.

To learn more about the program, contact Dave Los at 973.285.8307 or email at  [email protected]. Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Morris County is located at County Building 550 West Hanover Avenue, Morristown, NJ 07963. For more information logon to morris.njaes.rutgers.edu.